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Friday, 12 September 2014

Davis Cup Tennis Picks 2014 (September 12th)

The US Open might now be in the history books as one of the more surprising men's Grand Slam winners for quite a few years took the title in Marin Cilic on the final Monday of the tournament. I have been talking up Cilic's credentials for about eighteen months as I have been impressed with the added aggression that he has shown in his play, but I didn't think he had quite enough to come through seven best of five set matches to win a Major tournament.

Like Juan Martin Del Potro when he won the US Open back in 2009, Marin Cilic has skipped a level as he is yet to win a Masters title before winning his first Grand Slam. His 2015 season will be interesting to see if he can back up this success, although the more immediate test will be seeing if Cilic can pick up enough points over the next two months to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Both Finalists from the US Open will be looking to kick on and join the top three players in the World in London, although the likes of Andy Murray are sure to push them all the way. That is the biggest draw left at the end of the season with the Tour moving to Asia before the final few tournaments at indoor events in Europe.

First of all, there is the matter of deciding which two teams will be competing for the Davis Cup, one of the few things in tennis that Roger Federer has not achieved. I backed Switzerland to win the Davis Cup as soon as it became clear that both Federer and Stan Wawrinka were going to commit to it and the Swiss are strong favourites to see off Italy at home on a indoor hard court.

The second Semi Final is much tougher to predict despite France seemingly having more depth than the Czech Republic and also playing at home. However, the Czech Republic have won the last two Davis Cup titles, including on the road in Serbia last season, and I think they have three players in Tomas Berdych, Lukas Rosol and Radek Stepanek that will believe in their ability to find a way to win three rubbers this weekend at the famous Roland Garros venue.

The US Open was a successful one for the picks and made up, if not completely, for a poor summer on the hard courts for my picks. I couldn't catch a break in Toronto/Montreal and Cincinnati, but the majority of the surprise results at Flushing Meadows were thankfully avoided.

The picks still took a pretty big hit this summer, which was a real disappointment, although I will be hoping that the US Open sparks a decent end to the season which can provide some more successes.

Tomas Berdych - 2.5 games v Richard Gasquet: The first rubber in the Semi Final between France and the Czech Republic features a match between two players that will both have full belief in their ability to get their nation off to a strong start.

While Tomas Berdych representing the Czech Republic wasn't much of a surprise at all, France picking Richard Gasquet ahead of the in-form Gael Monfils wasn't what I was expecting.

Gasquet is a solid player on the clay courts, but he has only won 2 of his last 6 Davis Cup ties played on clay courts compared with Berdych who has won 6 in a row on the surface.

Neither of these players can point to a really strong summer of tennis, although Berdych did reach the Quarter Final at the US Open and also reached the same stage at the French Open so this venue won't intimidate him. Berdych can use his big serve to set up the points in this one, and I also believe he will have more of a chance to get involved in the Gasquet service games.

The Frenchman does have all the shots in his arsenal to extend rallies and stretch Berdych, but I think the stronger man will come through and I have less issues about Berdych's physical well-being compared with Gasquet.

I believe this match will likely go into four sets, but Berdych will be able to come through and cover these games.

Lukas Rosol + 6.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: If you asked these two players on which surface they would be preferring to play this match, I think Lukas Rosol would be very comfortable in picking a clay court, while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga may have pointed to a faster surface.

That isn't to say Tsonga hasn't had success on the clay courts in the past, especially here at Roland Garros, but I also think that makes this match have all the potential of being closer than the spread may have you believe.

My biggest issue against Lukas Rosol is the way he can fall apart in matches and quickly go through a rash of errors that can see him lose sets comfortably. He has a huge serve and heavy forehand that should be a great combination, but Rosol has to cut out the errors that can rear their head from nowhere and cause him to fall into big holes.

That would be my concern in this one if he loses heart and falls into a 61 set loss, but I do think the surface gives him half a chance of taking at least one, possibly two, sets off of Tsonga despite the serve the latter also produces.

However, I think the shift in surface could affect Tsonga's game more than Rosol's and the latter has a chance of springing a surprise, although I would imagine the Frenchman will ride the emotion of the crowd to a four set win, albeit one that might not have enough to cover the games here.

Roger Federer - 7.5 games v Simone Bolelli: I really do think the Switzerland team is in a great position to reach the Final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1992 and Roger Federer can win the first rubber of this Semi Final against Simone Bolelli.

I was wondering how Federer would deal with the disappointment of losing to Marin Cilic in the US Open Semi Final last week, but he seems in pretty good spirits and is still one of the best indoor players in the world.

That means this tie should play firmly into his hands and I expect Federer to really dominate Bolelli whose best days are behind him while the Italian is also very much a clay court player these days. Bolelli actually has a decent serve that should work well on the indoor hard courts considering the speed of the surface, but I think any extended rallies will be asking too much for him to get his timing right and Federer should win the majority of them.

It might start off tight, but I think Federer will end up coming through this match 64, 62, 63.

Stan Wawrinka - 6.5 games v Fabio Fognini: Following Roger Federer, I would also be expecting Stan Wawrinka to be able to dictate play against Fabio Fognini on an indoor hard court and I think he can take advantage of the Italian's unfamiliarity with the surface.

Of course Fognini has played on the surface, but his results haven't been the best and I think his serve is vulnerable on a court where first strike tennis can be so effective.

My other concern for Fognini is how much fight he is willing to show if he falls behind and Simone Bolelli has already lost the first rubber as I expect him to. Stan Wawrinka has a big serve that could frustrate Fognini and the additional power on the Swiss side of the net will be tough to defend on this kind of surface where attacking tennis can pay off so well.

These two haven't met on any other surface than clay courts in the past and Wawrinka has won 4 of their previous 5 meetings despite that being Fognini's best surface. If the Italian loses a bit of heart, Wawrinka could be able to move the final set to cover this number in a 63, 64, 62 win.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol + 6.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 7.5 Games @ 1.90 Unibet (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 6.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2014+ 25.64 Units (1365.5 Units Staked, + 1.88% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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