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Monday, 13 July 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (July 13th)

The third Grand Slam of the season is in the books after Novak Djokovic picked up his second Grand Slam title of the season with a four set win over Roger Federer who continues his wait to win his eighteenth Grand Slam title.

It was a very good Final at Wimbledon, but it was clear that Novak Djokovic was the better player with his consistent depth on the return forcing Roger Federer to go backwards and unable to dictate in the same manner he had in the Semi Final win over Andy Murray. It was also huge for the World Number 1 to serve well and he did that for the majority of the match which meant he was not feeling the same mental pressure as Murray did on Friday and allowed him to get into a position to win the match and the third Wimbledon title of his career.

I think it is important that Djokovic has finally defended a Grand Slam title outside of the Australian Open and the Serb will go into the US Open as a big favourite to take the title at Flushing Meadows. Djokovic was beaten in the Semi Final there last year, but it is hard to see a player that can be trusted to beat him on those hard courts.

I do have a couple of names- Andy Murray is capable of beating Novak Djokovic on the hard courts, but he needs to go into that match without having a series of tough matches before that; another is Stan Wawrinka who is capable of getting very hot and being able to hit through Novak Djokovic as he has shown in wins over him in Australia and France over the past two seasons.

Wawrinka is also capable of forcing Djokovic to expend a lot of energy in any match with him and that may leave the World Number 1 vulnerable in the tournament, but it is hard to look beyond Djokovic adding the US Open to his collection barring the stars aligning against him.

Where does Roger Federer go? I didn't think he would have too many better chances to win another Grand Slam than at Wimbledon in 2014 after forcing a fifth set against Novak Djokovic, but he looked to be in better form going into this match. Once again Federer fell short, but I think the US Open hard courts suit his game too and I do feel he will be a threat at Flushing Meadows where he was a Semi Finalist last year before being out-hit by Marin Cilic who eventually won the title.

I have said I feel the final five months of the season will suit Federer more than the first five months and have always felt Wimbledon and the US Open will give him his best chance to win another Slam. If he can go into the US Open as the Number 2 Seed, I think Federer will have a very good chance of reaching another Major Final, and I do hope he overcomes his disappointment and is good to go at the Canadian Masters in Montreal.

The third Slam of the season might be over, but the tennis Tour doesn't take a break as the ATP Tour heads to Newport for the final grass court event of the season and the WTA Tour takes in stops in Bastad and Bucharest. Serena Williams is the biggest name that will be playing this week, but some others will also be taking to the courts for the Davis Cup ties that will be played on Friday through to Sunday at the end of the week.

I will update the season totals following Wimbledon on the next post of picks from the tennis matches to be scheduled for the week, although there is no guarantee I will have a pick from every day with the tournaments in action this week. More likely is there will be one or two picks per day heading into the Davis Cup ties at the end of the week when I will perhaps find more interesting matches to back.

Steve Johnson - 3.5 games v Michael Berrer: The last grass court tournament of the season is being played in Newport this week and there are a number of players who will feel they can add a title to their resume. I am not completely convinced that Steve Johnson is going to be one of those at the business end of the week, but I do think he is capable of beating the veteran Michael Berrer at this stage of their careers.

There is little doubt that Michael Berrer has the kind of game to really work well on the grass as he has a decent lefty serve and is very comfortable putting points away at the net. That makes him a dangerous player to face, especially as Berrer showed he is more than capable on the surface having qualified for Wimbledon.

He makes his first appearance in Newport since 2012 but Berrer is just 1-2 at this tournament and Steve Johnson is solid enough to beat him for the second time on this surface. The first win came last year in a Challenger in Nottingham, although Johnson didn't have the greatest of grass court seasons over the last few weeks.

However, Johnson did reach the Quarter Final in Newport last year and should keep the pressure on Berrer if he can serve well. There is little doubt that one set will go to the tie-breaker, but I think Johnson is going to be a little too good all around for Berrer and come through 63, 76.

Austin Krajicek + 2.5 games v Jared Donaldson: Jared Donaldson had the better results over the grass courts than Austin Krajicek, but I don't think the younger American player was so much better that he is a strong favourite in this First Round match.

Donaldson might have been 3-3 on the grass this season, but that is far better than Krajicek who lost all four matches played, but I am willing to back the latter who made each defeat competitive for the most part. His opponent also won just one of his six matches on the grass in straight sets and Krajicek taking a set will make it very difficult for Donaldson to cover this small number of games.

I also expect Krajicek will have some good memories of this tournament having reached the Second Round last season following a couple of wins in qualifiers. He has a big serve that should work on the grass, although movement might be an issue for Krajicek.

However, as I have mentioned, Donaldson has had his own struggles protecting serve on the grass and a break for Krajicek should see him win the set and that gives him a chance to cover these games. I do think there is every chance Krajicek could win the match outright and I will back him on the handicap instead simply because of his poor set of results in recent weeks on the grass.

MY PICKS: Steve Johnson - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Austin Krajicek + 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)

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