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Saturday, 4 July 2015

Wimbledon Day 6 Picks 2015 (July 4th)

It was another special evening on Centre Court as we saw one of the top players on the Tour being pushed to the edge by an opponent most would have expected them to roll over. Where Rafael Nadal failed to get the job done, Serena Williams dug herself out of a huge hole to beat Heather Watson and remain on course to win all of the Grand Slams in one calendar year.

There is no doubting that Serena Williams is going to have to play a lot better than she did in the Third Round match against Watson if she is going to go all the way in SW19, especially with a very difficult match against Venus Williams looming. It was a poor performance from 62, 43 when the match seemed to be completely under her control, although the British media of course want to hand the credit to Heather Watson.

I have been pretty hard towards the British players that don't seem to expect much more than an early loss at Wimbledon which gives them a chance to scratch around the Tour for another year, but I do think Heather Watson needs to be given some praise. It was a strong performance from a mental perspective, which will stand her in good stead going forward, but Sam Smith hit the nail on the head when talking about the various areas where Watson needs to improve her game.

The tightness of the match was more down to Williams playing down rather than Watson playing up, but it was still something she can use as a positive as long as she puts in the hard graft on the practice courts. In all honesty, getting to the Third Round at Wimbledon is a positive for Watson, but the key for her will be how she backs up a successful tournament as she heads off to the hard courts in preparation for the US Open.

There were some surprise results around Wimbledon on Friday, even if Watson failed to join that list, and the tournament is beginning to take shape heading into the second week. Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka look set for another collision course to complete their set of matches at every Grand Slam, while the women's draw has been set up to produce some very intriguing matches in the top half of the draw.

On Saturday we will complete the line up for the Fourth Round before Middle Sunday which is left empty at Wimbledon, the only Grand Slam to do that. It does mean Monday is usually a fantastic day to go watch some tennis if you are fortunate enough to have the chance to buy a ticket through the ballot.

It has not been the greatest week for the picks as Wimbledon continues to be my least productive Grand Slam despite it also being the one closest to where I live. The outright picks look intact for the most part going into the second week, but Karolina Pliskova and Grigor Dimitrov have exited the event before the Fourth Round.

Friday might have been seriously disappointing if Serena Williams had also departed, but she has to raise her levels if she is going to win four matches to take home the Wimbledon crown, although Novak Djokovic has looked strong.

With Middle Sunday in place, I will have a look back at the first week and also take a look at how the rest of the tournament may go along with my picks from the Fourth Round which will all be played on Monday.

Victor Troicki - 1.5 sets v Dustin Brown: Thursday night has to have been the biggest day of Dustin Brown's career, surpassing the win he had over Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon in 2013, as he beat Rafael Nadal in four sets. To be perfectly frank, Brown just had 'one of those days' when he couldn't do anything wrong and I think it will be a big ask to back that up against another competent grass court player unless lightning strikes twice.

After beating Hewitt in 2013, Brown had a similar level of fame around the courts of SW19, but he was comfortably beaten in the Third Round by Adrian Mannarino. So the big test off the surprise win over Rafael Nadal is whether Brown can back it up more effectively when he faces Victor Troicki.

These players split two matches last year with Brown coming through in three tight sets on a carpet court at the end of the year in a Challenger in Italy. Since then, Troicki has really picked up his form to the point of entering Wimbledon as a Seeded player and he has to be the favourite to take advantage of this section of the draw to earn a Quarter Final place.

He has been playing well on the grass and beat Aljaz Bedene fairly comfortably, although he did have another dip in that match as he did in the First Round. Troicki can't really afford any dips in his level in this one after seeing what Brown did, but I do think Dreddy will find it tough to pick himself up emotionally for this match.

The last three players to stun Nadal at Wimbledon have all been knocked out in the next Round and they have won set between them. All of the media and fan attention on Brown after his Second Round win can be tough for someone to deal with and unless Brown has learned from the experience of beating Hewitt, I think he struggles again.

Troicki will have to have his wits about him, but I like him to get this done in three or four sets with a couple of tie-breakers likely the deciders in a couple of the sets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 1.5 sets v Ivo Karlovic: Both of these players have had to come through five set matches in the first week of Wimbledon, but Ivo Karlovic's match finished late on Thursday evening and I wonder how he has recovered physically. Age is definitely not on Karlovic's side and he has never really had consistent success at Wimbledon, although he did have a Third Round win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2009.

It is no surprise that that match was decided in four incredibly tight sets as Karlovic managed to win the big points in a match short of returning quality. It has been six years since that match and while Karlovic still has a monster serve, I do think he has lost a slight step when getting up to the net.

The Second Round win over Alexandr Dolgopolov will have taken something from him physically you would feel and Tsonga has the big game to get the job done. His two wins this week will have given the Frenchman confidence and I just think he can play the big points better than he did those years ago in that defeat to Karlovic.

If there is any hangover from a long fifth set for Karlovic, I would expect Tsonga to find a way to get this done in three or four sets and move into a potentially blockbuster Fourth Round match with Andy Murray on Monday.

James Ward + 1.5 sets v Vasek Pospisil: I have been heavily critical of James Ward and his lack of consistency on the Tour, but he looks set for his best ever World Ranking at the end of Wimbledon as he finally cracks through into the top 100. His win in the Second Round over Jiri Vesely was impressive and I am really surprised he is such a big underdog to beat Vasek Pospisil in the Third Round.

Yes, the Canadian has a big game which should be suited to the grass, but I don't think Pospisil is the most consistent player and is liable to making a lot of mistakes. He needed five sets to come through the First Round against Vincent Mallot, although Pospisil's four set win over Fabio Fognini was a classy win.

He also won the Doubles here with Jack Sock last year, so Pospisil can play on the grass, I just don't believe he is that much stronger than Ward on this surface. Both of James Ward's wins have come in four sets this week and I think he is enjoying taking advantage of David Ferrer's withdrawal while Rafael Nadal's exit has opened up a potential Quarter Final place.

With Pospisil not exactly having a strong Singles success on the grass courts, Ward has to feel he has the chance to pull the upset and I do think he has every chance of doing that. As long as Ward can continue to serving well and playing with the confidence he has shown this week, I do think he can push Pospisil very hard in this one and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a fifth set in this Third Round match.

Backing Ward on the set handicap looks to be the most productive way of backing a player that I think can go close to winning outright and that is the way I will go.

Madison Keys - 4.5 games v Tatjana Maria: If I had to pick one young player as a future Wimbledon Champion, I would think Madison Keys will have every chance of winning this event. The American has the big game to really work well on the grass courts as she showed by winning in Eastbourne last year and she is quietly making her way through the Wimbledon draw.

I think Keys has a very good chance of making it through to the second week at Wimbledon as she takes on Tatjana Maria who had to come through the Second Round with a 10-8 final set victory.

Maria has taken advantage of what has been a kind draw thanks to Eugenie Bouchard's First Round exit and it is a surprise to see her name in the Third Round. The German didn't show a lot of form in the tournaments leading into Wimbledon and the grass hasn't been her most productive period of the year.

Tiredness has to be a factor having played in the heat of Thursday and being out in more hot conditions on Saturday. If Keys can maintain her focus, I think this could be a fairly routine day for her and I like her to come through 63, 64.

Caroline Wozniacki - 3.5 games v Camila Giorgi: You won't have to tell Caroline Wozniacki how dangerous Camila Giorgi can be as a player as the Italian has a 2-1 head to head record over the Dane. That includes a win at a Grand Slam at the US Open, although Wozniacki can take some heart from having won their sole previous meeting on grass last year in Eastbourne.

Both players have had their wobbles in the opening two matches at Wimbledon before moving through to the Third Round, although it has to be said that neither has dropped a set. It is a classic defensive versus offensive player in this match as Giorgi doesn't really take a backward step and Wozniacki is capable of retrieving plenty of balls.

While Wozniacki managed to extract the errors from the Giorgi game in Eastbourne, the other two matches has see Giorgi hold her errors for long enough to win. When Giorgi is in form, she can be very difficult to slow down, but I think Wozniacki has looked pretty good in terms of her back issues and I think she can find her way past the Italian.

I can just see Wozniacki finding a way to frustrate Giorgi as the match wears on and that can help her win this match. However, the key to covering this number is to make sure she doesn't let Giorgi get away during an inevitable purple patch that the latter will have. If Wozniacki can find a way to stick with her, she can come through 75, 64 with an impressive Third Round win.

MY PICKS: Victor Troicki - 1.5 Sets @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 1.5 Sets @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
James Ward + 1.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 12-13, - 3.29 Units (49 Units Staked, - 6.71% Yield)

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