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Monday, 1 June 2015

French Open Day 9 Picks 2015 (June 1st)

It was mainly a frustrating day in Paris for the spectators as the poor weather meant only five of the scheduled eight matches were able to be completed, although that could have been worse if not for the rain holding off in the evening. That does mean three matches have crept over to Monday, although the weather forecast for the rest of the week looks like being very good so the tournament is set to complete on time.

While the full tennis scheduled wasn't played, the fans won't feel short-changed, particularly those on the Philippe-Chatrier Court who witnessed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga moving into the Quarter Final and Gael Monfils level his match with Roger Federer at one set each.

The matches being carried over means Monday is a slightly fuller schedule than usual as the Quarter Final line up is completed- most of the eyes of the tennis world will be on Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal who will meet in the next Round if they can get past Richard Gasquet and Jack Sock respectively.

It is hard to imagine either of those players being able to create the upset, but it has been a strange tournament in that regard and you can't rule it out completely. However, it would be a massive shock and the Quarter Final that everyone has been looking forward to should be set up for Wednesday afternoon.

The weekend was a decent one for the picks, but there were some picks that have rolled over to Monday and I am adding some from the matches to be played in the Fourth Round.

Andy Murray - 7.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: There has been plenty of talk about how well Jeremy Chardy is playing after he beat John Isner in the Second Round, but I think his straight sets win over David Goffin in the Third Round was the more impressive performance. Chardy might have played well so far in the tournament, but Andy Murray is another step up in class and one that I don't believe the Frenchman is going to be able to bridge.

Chardy hadn't shown much form prior to his arrival at his home Grand Slam and someone like Andy Murray can give him fits with his ability to make plenty of balls back in play. The Chardy first serve is decent, but the second serve can be a little predictable and I think that is where Murray will be able to dominate, although the British Number 1 does need to serve better than he has in his last couple of matches.

With the home support behind him, Chardy could be tough to peg back if Murray makes a slow start, but their previous head to heads show that Murray can break down the Chardy game. That includes a comfortable win over him in Rome despite winning the tournament in Madrid the week before and Murray contemplating pulling out of that event prior to the match against Chardy.

I imagine the first set will be highly competitive, but Murray can start pulling away after that and I do think he wins one of the sets with a double break as he moves into the Quarter Final behind a 75, 63, 62 win.

David Ferrer - 4.5 games v Marin Cilic: It looked like Andy Murray might have caught a big break in the Third Round as David Ferrer was 2-1 down in sets against Simone Bolelli. However the Spaniard raised his game as he wore Bolelli down and ended up cruising into the Fourth Round where he might be surprised to meet Marin Cilic.

The latter was Seeded to get to the Quarter Final, but he had been struggling for form and there would have been plenty of people who might have expected Leonardo Mayer to beat him in the Third Round. It was an impressive win for Cilic who still hasn't dropped a set in this tournament, but I think David Ferrer is consistent enough off the ground to give him too many issues over a best of five set match.

Losses to the likes of Victor Estrella Burgos, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Santiago Giraldo in the build up to the French Open showed that Cilic is still on the road back from injury. He has also never really put it together at the French Open and will need to serve exceptionally well to beat Ferrer in this Fourth Round match.

I don't think it will be a straight sets win for the Spaniard, but I do think Ferrer can cover the spread with a 36, 63, 64, 63 win and likely set up a huge Quarter Final with Andy Murray.

Rafael Nadal - 7.5 games v Jack Sock: Two players with heavy spinning forehands meet in the Fourth Round and both might be happy with the expected warmer conditions in Paris on Monday. This match could come down to which of Jack Sock or Rafael Nadal is able to utilise that shot most effectively going into the weaker backhand wings, but it would be a huge surprise if the nine time French Open winner does not move into the Quarter Final.

Jack Sock certainly represents a move up in class from Rafael Nadal's Third Round opponent Andrey Kuznetsov, but Nicolas Almagro is the toughest opponent Nadal has faced and his impressive performance is rebuilding what looked like a shattered confidence.

It has been a long time since Nadal had failed to win a title during the European clay court season in preparation for the French Open and that meant a lot of doubts about this chances of winning a tournament he has dominated. However, Nadal has looked very impressive in his first three Rounds here and I think he will have too much for his American opponent.

That is no disrespect to Sock who has already stunned one Seed in Grigor Dimitrov and looks set to have a career year despite missing the opening couple of months of the season. His game is well suited to the clay courts, but I am also expecting good things from Sock on the grass and hard court periods to come.

However, I think Nadal has just begun to produce the level of tennis that we all know he is capable of. That is going to make it tough on Sock to keep up with him and I think the Spaniard will eventually crack through after a couple of tight sets which still gives him a chance to cover after a 76, 63, 62 win.

Novak Djokovic - 8.5 games v Richard Gasquet: The Third Round win over Thanasi Kokkinakis might have looked like it had come in three tough sets for Novak Djokovic, but it was a fairly routine day in the office for the World Number 1. I have to credit the young Australian for staying competitive, but he barely got a look in on the return games and Novak Djokovic erased any doubts about a lingering injury that had to be treated in the Second Round.

The level of performance that Djokovic has been producing will be tough for Richard Gasquet to handle, particularly if he is struggling to be dominant on his own serve. He might have beaten Kevin Anderson in four sets, but Gasquet gave his opponent plenty of chances to break and need five sets to beat Carlos Berlocq in the Second Round too.

That kind of serving isn't going to get it done against the best returner in tennis and I expect to see Djokovic create plenty of chances to break serve. Djokovic hasn't had to overexert himself to reach this stage of the tournament, but the level does pick up and Gasquet is a capable player if he brings his best to the court.

However, I think Djokovic is also playing to such a high standard that he is capable of winning one or two sets by wide margins which should see him get over this number. A 63, 62, 63 win for Novak Djokovic is the kind of margin I am expecting in this Fourth Round match.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Sloane Stephens: Serena Williams has had to come through a couple of really tough matches to reach the Last 16 and the draw doesn't get any easier with Sloane Stephens next up. There is no love lost between these American players and Williams does usually find her best tennis when facing an opponent she either respects massively as a threat or simply doesn't have much time for.

You can have no doubt that Serena Williams is going to need to be at her best with the way Sloane Stephens has been playing in the first week of the tournament. This is coming off a strong week where she reached the Semi Final in Strasbourg and Stephens has given Williams things to think about in past meetings.

The younger player has some heavy weapons, but her serve can be erratic and that can't be the case if Stephens has real ambitions of beating Williams in another big Grand Slam match. Her lack of consistency on the court is shown in the three previous matches against Serena Williams with the first set being highly competitive before the World Number 1 takes over and dominates.

Williams has not been quite herself as an injury is restricting her own serve, but she still has a huge game and I think this will follow recent matches between the two. The first set will be competitive, but Williams will then move away in a 75, 62 win for the World Number 1.

Julia Goerges + 3.5 games v Sara Errani: It is perhaps a surprising Fourth Round match between Julia Goerges and Sara Errani when you consider the likes of Andrea Petkovic and Caroline Wozniacki were Seeded to meet in this spot. However, both Goerges and Errani have earned their spots by beating Wozniacki and Petkovic along the way respectively and confidence should be high for two players who have had underwhelming 2015 seasons.

Neither player has really been producing the goods on the Singles Tour during the first five months of the season and neither can really point to strong form in the clay court season.

The match up should be fun to watch as the contrast between Goerges' attacking intent and Errani's capability to get plenty of balls back in play should gel perfectly. It is the player that is able to impose their game best on the match that will likely move into a surprising Quarter Final although that is likely to be against Serena Williams when their run will likely come to an end.

The Errani serve is a real liability, but it is up to Goerges to keep her head on straight and not become frustrated by the Italian's ability to get balls back into play. If Goerges can keep the unforced errors in check, she has every chance to take at least a set, if not win the match outright, and that makes this number of games appealing to take.

Petra Kvitova - 2.5 games v Timea Bacsinszky: Both Petra Kvitova and Timea Bacsinszky had impressive straight sets victories in the Third Round and both will be confident of moving into a Quarter Final against either Alison Van Uytvanck or Andreea Mitu. That means the winner of this Fourth Round match is going to be a big favourite to reach the Semi Final and this is going to be one of the better matches played on Monday.

The Bacsinszky story of her return to the Tour is an inspirational one and it is likely to be heard a few times over the course of the season in her current form. However, I don't think the clay courts are her favourite surface and she might be more of a threat a Wimbledon or the US Open in the remaining two Slams left to play.

Bacsinszky has been very comfortable in the French Open so far and no one has taken more than seven games off of her, but the level of competition has gone up a couple of levels. Petra Kvitova had her most impressive win in the last Round and the winner of the Madrid tournament is a real threat to go all the way and definitely match her previous best of a Semi Final at Roland Garros.

There are times when Kvitova can lose focus or make too many mistakes to allow an opponent back into matches, which isn't a surprise considering the attacking tennis the Czech player produces. That would be an issue against someone of the quality of Bacsinszky who beat Kvitova in their sole previous match earlier this season.

However, I think Kvitova is the more comfortable player on this surface and can battle past her opponent in a tough three set win which shouldn't hinder her covering a small number of games.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 7.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 8.5 Games @ 1.80 Betway (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Julia Goerges + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Gael Monfils + 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)- 36, 64 to be completed
Garbine Muguruza - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)- cancelled Sunday
Lucie Safarova + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)- cancelled Sunday

French Open Update: 32-24, + 12.10 Units (110 Units Staked, + 11% Yield)

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