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Monday, 15 June 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (June 15th)

The grass court started last week, but there is no doubt that the tournaments in Birmingham, London and Halle this week are the 'big' events leading into Wimbledon and the fields that have been brought together backs up that feeling.

Some of the biggest names on the Tour are in action this week including French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka who takes part at the Queens Club, but the idea of the strength of the field is shown by his First Round draw against Nick Kyrgios.

This is going to be a big week which will give us some indication over the players that can go deep into the draw at Wimbledon in a couple of weeks time and I hope I can back up a decent first week on the grass courts for the picks.

A strong tennis week is expected with the talent on show and hopefully that is matched by the picks.

Fernando Verdasco v Roberto Bautista Agut: He might be on course for a better season in terms of wins than 2014, but Fernando Verdasco let me down in a straight sets loss to Robin Haase last week which does concern me going to back him to win his First Round match at Queens.

Verdasco has the game to be a strong grass court player, but he has to stay in this match mentally because Roberto Bautista Agut will look to frustrate him for long periods. The defence of the latter can see him force opponents to hit extra balls and that is a clear way to break down the Verdasco game if he lets that get to him and goes too close to the lines that he ends up over-pitching his shots.

It was a way Bautista Agut eventually broke down the Verdasco game in Madrid last year on a clay court, but I do think he is perhaps over-rated on his title win in Hertogenbosch last season. Any person who can win a title on grass has to be respected on the surface, but Bautista Agut hadn't shown a lot of form outside of that tournament and was beaten by Nicolas Mahut last week defending his title.

Of course Mahut is a very competent grass court player and won the title in Hertogenbosch this week so that defeat might not be as bad as some think. However, I think Verdasco is also very comfortable on grass and has had more consistent success on the surface which can see him come through as the underdog.

Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Simone Bolelli: The grass court season is a short period in the grand scheme of the tennis Tour so there are some players that really don't like it. On the other side of the coin are those players that seem to thrive on the surface and Richard Gasquet is one such player who has had plenty of success on grass in the past.

Injuries and issues with form have perhaps prevented him from having the impact he would have liked in recent years, but he returns to Queens in 2015 for the first time in five years ready to go. Gasquet reached the Fourth Round at the French Open, but his game does look suited for grass with his solid volleying and decent serve giving him a chance to progress.

The draw looks like one he should be very happy with as Gasquet goes up against Simone Bolelli, a player he has beaten five times in his career. That includes a couple of wins on the grass, although Bolelli is a dangerous opponent having won a couple of qualifiers this week.

The Italian might prefer the clay courts, but Bolelli has done well on grass previously and those two wins will give him plenty of confidence. He has a big serve and can certainly use the grass to his advantage, although the problem is that he can be very inconsistent and doesn't protect the serve as well as he should have.

If Bolelli is not quite on form with his serve, Gasquet will enjoy the longer rallies on a surface he is more comfortable on than his opponent. He has loved the match up with Bolelli and I think he comes through 76, 63.

James Ward + 3.5 games v Milos Raonic: The one thing I really hate at this time of year is the way certain British channels love to promote every British player in action.

Any one who follows the Tour on a year round basis knows that the majority of the British players are just not that good, but we are supposed to care about them despite them earning a lovely cheque for an inevitable First Round exit at Wimbledon thanks to a Wild Card being given to them.

However, I do have to say that the best of three set matches on grass certainly gives some Brits a chance to have a decent run in a main Tour event and James Ward could be one who takes advantage this week. He isn't a great player, but he has done well at Queens in the past as he takes advantage of other players that are simply not that comfortable on the grass.

On the face of things, Milos Raonic shouldn't be one of those players with a huge serve and an ability to hit big forehands and who has developed a net game. However, Raonic has struggled on the grass because of his limited return game and even a good run at Wimbledon last season hasn't convinced me the Canadian is a good thing at very short odds.

Some will say the run to the Semi Final at Wimbledon wasn't a surprise for Raonic last season, but he had only won back to back matches at 2/11 previous grass court events. He had never been beyond a Quarter Final and comes into Queens this year having been suffering with an injury that kept him out of the French Open.

Ward will have to serve well and hope chances come his way if he is going to secure the upset, but he might at least be able to keep this close even if he can't quite win the match. I can see a 76, 64 kind of victory to whoever comes though so the games being offered on Ward look tempting enough.

Sam Querrey + 3.5 games v Grigor Dimitrov: The defending Champion Grigor Dimitrov comes into Queens after yet another disappointing French Open, but he will be hoping he can bounce back on this surface as he did twelve months ago. However, Dimitrov might have hoped for a much easier First Round match than facing another former Champion at this tournament in Sam Querrey.

To be honest, Querrey has never really kicked on from some early successes in his career that suggested he might be the next American star, but he has remained a very good grass court player in recent years.

It is that grass court pedigree that does make him a threat to Dimitrov, especially if the latter is just feeling short of confidence after his French Open First Round loss. Dimitrov did perform properly out of a similar situation twelve months ago, but Querrey looks like he has the weapons that could frustrate the Bulgarian.

The Dimitrov serve, while a strong aspect of his game, is still one that can offer up chances to opponents when he is not quite at his top level and Querrey can steal a set. That will give him a chance to cover the number, even in a losing effort, and I think Dimitrov is giving up one too many games in this match.

Andreas Haider-Maurer + 2.5 games v Dustin Brown: I'll be the first to say that Andreas Haider-Maurer is a hard player to take seriously after some 'lacklustre' performances in the past. You can't always tell how seriously he is going to take a match and that makes him a tough player to trust, but I am still scratching my head that Dustin Brown is favoured so strongly in this match.

Haider-Maurer doesn't have a deep grass court pedigree, but he showed his toughness in a close loss to Gael Monfils last week and the Frenchman isn't even close to be as erratic as Brown.

Dustin Brown has a big serve and some very good volleying skills, but his decision making is very poor and he would much rather go for the spectacular than the basics. That means losing points he shouldn't and making mistakes to present opponents chances to break serve and wins sets.

Yes Brown should win this game... But no, he can't be trusted to win this in straight sets and a similar performance to the one produced in Stuttgart will give Haider-Maurer a real chance to spring the upset. Tie-breakers should be the order of the day, but the Austrian has a chance if he can stay mentally focused.

He showed that by getting to two tie-breakers against a much more effective returner in Monfils and I think the games could be crucial, even this small number.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco @ 2.05 Stan James (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
James Ward + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Sam Querrey + 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Andreas Haider-Maurer + 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Picks Final14-9, + 6.43 Units (45 Units Staked, + 14.29% Yield)

Season 2015+ 51.28 Units (900 Units Staked, + 5.70% Yield)

Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your insights and keep up the good job!