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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (June 20th)

The shocks kept coming on Friday at the three grass court tournaments being played in Birmingham, Halle and Queens and that has shown up in a Semi Final line up that is perhaps a little unfamiliar to casual fans.

Andy Murray and Roger Federer still lead the big names out there as the Semi Finals are played on Saturday, although the weather in London is not looking particularly good for the tournament at Queens.

Rain may delay any beginning to the Semi Finals, but the evening should clear up to make sure the tournament remains on schedule for the Sunday finish and then we are just eight days away from the beginning of Wimbledon.

Roger Federer Win First Set 7-6 v Ivo Karlovic: The weather in Halle might mean this Semi Final is played indoors and that is going to suit Ivo Karlovic just fine if Friday is anything to go by. On that day Karlovic broke the record for most aces in a three set match as he pummelled Tomas Berdych for 45 aces and came through to face Roger Federer.

It was a special win for Karlovic, but Roger Federer is a completely different kettle of fish and someone he doesn't have a winning record against like he did with Berdych. In fact Karlovic has lost 14/15 sets since shocking Federer with his sole victory against him back in 2008.

Roger Federer has been playing pretty well this week, although his return of serve is going to be tested to the fullest by Karlovic, and he has won the two previous matches on grass against the big serving Croatian. Both of those came in straight sets at Wimbledon, but the indoor conditions might make it difficult for Federer if Karlovic is serving anything close to what he produced in the Quarter Final.

It has to be stated that 8/13 of their previous matches has seen the first set go to the tie-break so the service performances of both players suggest that trend can continue. Federer is also 13-3 against Ivo Karlovic in tie-breakers and two of those losses came in the sole defeat in 2008 so you'd have to say that Federer does find a way to get a return or two in play to force the mini-breaks.

Federer will slice the ball back and he will begin to get a feel for where Karlovic wants to go with the serve and a small interest in him winning the first set 7-6 has to be warranted.

Kristina Mladenovic + 2.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: This looks to be an intriguing Semi Final between two players that could be dark horses to have a very strong Wimbledon tournament in the coming weeks. Both players have put together some impressive wins in Birmingham to reach this Semi Final and I think it has the makings of a match that could go the distance and be decided by a couple of points here and there.

Both Kristina Mladenovic and Karolina Pliskova have the serve that should offer them plenty of cheap points on the grass and both should be looking to attack the second serve to try and put pressure on their opponent.

Mladenovic and Pliskova are both comfortable on the Doubles court too so neither is going to be afraid to get forward and put away volleys when they have the other in a difficult place on the court.

There are plenty of similarities about their games, but Pliskova has definitely been the more consistent. However, the last couple of weeks has seen Mladenovic build plenty of confidence and I also feel the Frenchwoman has shown a little more on this surface than Pliskova in recent years.

Of course the Pliskova game is built for the grass courts and faster surfaces in general and she has been dominant this week which has to be respected. Mladenovic has had to dig deeper which would have taken more out of her from a mental and physical standpoint and she also had to deal with the tougher Quarter Final. However, I can see Mladenovic doing enough to keep this close and she has to be the call with the games.

Angelique Kerber - 2.5 games v Sabine Lisicki: This is the first time these two German women will have met since the 2012 Wimbledon Quarter Final which saw Angelique Kerber come through in three sets and extend her head to head to five wins over Sabine Lisicki.

Things have changed in the last three years with Sabine Lisicki improving on the grass courts in each season, but the players that have beaten her look to have something in common. Simona Halep, Marion Bartoli and Alison Riske are the last three players to beat Lisicki on the grass courts and all of those players are pretty solid defenders that can extend rallies to the breaking point of the Lisicki game while also being able to turn defence into attack.

Angelique Kerber is able to do something very similar- she is a very good mover on the grass and can get plenty of balls back in play as she looks to break down Lisicki's game. Players this week have shown you can start extracting the errors from the Lisicki game when you extend the rallies to beyond five shots and Kerber will be capable of doing that.

The lefty serve will be awkward for Lisicki to deal with and I think the match up is simply not a great one for her if Kerber is patient and looks to draw out the rallies. If she can just start getting a feel of what Lisicki is doing with her serve, which is very effective on the grass, then I like Kerber's chances of finding a 76, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer to Win 7-6 in the First Set @ 3.50 Coral (1 Unit)
Kristina Mladenovic + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 10-16, - 13.76 Units (52 Units Staked, - 26.46% Yield)

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