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Saturday, 6 June 2015

French Open Day 14 Picks 2015- Women's Final: Serena Williams v Lucie Safarova (June 6th)

Both men's Semi Finals hit the heights that we were expecting for them on Friday, but the biggest winner on the day might have been Stan Wawrinka who managed to get past Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets despite a big wobble in the middle of the match.

He isn't just the winner of the day for moving into his second Grand Slam Final, but Stan Wawrinka would have enjoyed seeing Andy Murray somehow dig out the third set against Novak Djokovic and then to see the heavens open meaning the second Semi Final has to be held over until Saturday.

While most neutrals will be looking at the remainder of the Murray-Djokovic match as a potential classic in the making, Wawrinka will be cheering on Murray to push the match into a fifth set and will  likely hope it goes as long as possible to strengthen his chances on Sunday.

Forget all this rubbish about wanting to beat players at their very best, Wawrinka would happily face the shell of either Murray/Djokovic in the Final if it means another Grand Slam victory and many others have taken advantage of this in the past.

Most notable was the US Open where the winner of the second men's Semi Final used to have almost nothing left on a regular basis when they persisted with the 'Super Saturday' schedule for television benefits and I don't remember too many looking back at those Slam Champions while looking to put an asterisk by their name.

The Murray-Djokovic match was outrageous at times.

The standard of tennis produced by both players was ridiculously high and it does add to the feeling that these two could be competing for the remaining two Grand Slams to be played this season and potentially much further. I think Novak Djokovic will be kicking himself for not pushing the foot down on the accelerator in the third set when he had chances to break the Andy Murray serve, but you have to also credit Murray for sticking in and finally earning a chance to get into the match with two stunning points at 5-5 in the third set.

Murray had yet to see a break point on the Djokovic serve prior to that, but took his chance and the next thing you knew he was a break up in the fourth set after holding serve from 0-40. Failing to hold onto that break might have been the turning point, but the interruption in play means the match is finely balanced overnight.

Serena Williams - 3.5 games v Lucie Safarova: There are two major questions that need to be answered in the women's Final at Roland Garros on Saturday. The first is how much has Serena Williams been able to recover from the illness that clearly affected her in the first set of her Semi Final win over Timea Bacsinszky?

The second is how well will Lucie Safarova deal with her first Grand Slam Final as a Singles competitor? She played well in her first Grand Slam Semi Final last year at Wimbledon before falling away against Petra Kvitova, but Safarova began nervously in her Semi Final against Ana Ivanovic.

One additional factor that is perhaps being underplayed is that Safarova was involved in the Doubles Semi Final with Bethanie Mattek-Sands on Friday and had to play three tough sets during the heart of the warm weather. Will that cause some fatigue to go with the inevitable nerves or will Safarova be able to keep control of her emotions both physically and mentally?

These are some tough questions to answer and we won't really know how it will pan out until the match begins on Saturday. Serena Williams would be a big favourite in normal circumstances, but the layers are unsure about her fitness and that means she looks an attractive pick in the Final.

I really like Safarova- she seems to be a nice person, but someone who is finally making use of all the weapons she has been afforded. She has served well through the tournament and straight set wins over Maria Sharapova, Garbine Muguruza and Ana Ivanovic is an impressive run of results. Of course Serena Williams is a level above all of those performers when at her best, but that is where the first question brings in the doubts.

Safarova is playing well enough to give Williams a lot of problems regardless of the health of the latter as long as she doesn't let the occasion get to her. I'm not a fan of her being out in the Paris brutal heat for as long as she was in the Doubles Semi Final on Friday and Williams has found a way to break down Safarova with her additional power in past matches.

The way that Williams was serving in her match with Bacsinszky was also inspiring for those who think the American is going to win her 20th Grand Slam title and I do believe the day off might have helped Serena find the strength to win this match.

I can see it being a competitive Final, but I think Williams' power has helped her out of some difficult spots and her experience is tough for Safarova to replicate. While there are factors we can't possibly determine at the moment, I believe Williams might have come through her most difficult moments at Roland Garros and can win her second title in three years here in a tough 75, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Serena Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units) To Be Completed 63, 63, 57, 33

French Open Update: 44-33, + 16.44 Units (151 Units Staked, + 10.89% Yield)

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