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Monday, 6 July 2015

Wimbledon Day 7 Picks 2015 (July 6th)

Middle Sunday of Wimbledon is the only day of the Grand Slam season when the schedule is deliberately left empty by the organisers and preparation has been for 'Manic Monday'. A full day when every Fourth Round match is played is always great for the fans and I will be fortunate to be sitting on Centre Court through the day.

The first week of Wimbledon has been very intriguing with some big upsets, especially in the women's draw. The defending Champion, Petra Kvitova, was beaten in the Third Round on Saturday having seemingly been in complete control of that match with a set and a two points from a double break in the second set in her hand before Jelena Jankovic turned things around.

Kvitova had looked like the dominating Champion that I, and many others, had expected to see in the first week, but that loss will have hurt as she looks to make an impact in the final Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. It has seemed to open the door for Serena Williams to win the tournament, especially as the American came through her customary scare early in a Grand Slam with a close win over Heather Watson in her own Third Round match at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams had to dig deep to remain in with a chance to win the 'Calendar Grand Slam' and a second 'Serena Slam', but her Fourth Round match against elder sister Venus Williams looks like another big test of her character. Serena will be a big favourite to win the title over the second week, but there have been signs of vulnerabilities at the French Open and in the Third Round here so there are players who will feel they can take advantage.

However, only four of the top ten in the World Rankings remain alive in the women's draw and it would be a big surprise if Serena Williams wasn't lifting her third Grand Slam of the season in the next few days.

A lot of the headlines this week in the men's draw was created by Rafael Nadal's shock exit at the hands of Dustin Brown in the Second Round, his second defeat to Brown on the grass courts. Some have basically ruled a line through Nadal ever really being a threat at Grand Slam level again, while the Spaniard himself suggested he won't ever be the same player at Wimbledon again.

Personally I think Nadal will find his way back to form, especially when it comes to the clay courts next season, but he has to find the confidence in the forehand which has been dropping far too short. I also don't think the suggestion he find a new voice in his camp a bad one- bringing in someone to complement Toni Nadal and give him a new direction might be the best way to help Nadal turn around what has been a disappointing six months for the standards he has set.

I do wonder if the knees will ever be the same for Nadal, but that doesn't account for the poor length he has been getting in rallies and I think a short break before the hard court season will help, although any real recovery won't be seen until next season.

Other than Nadal, the main names we all expected to reach the Fourth Round are still involved in the men's draw and Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have looked particularly strong. Both have been impressive, but are expecting much bigger tests going forward, while Andy Murray's shoulder issue might be a concern for his supporters.

Murray has said he is not overly concerned about the shoulder, while he also dismissed suggestion it was a 'mind game' attempt with Andreas Seppi in the Third Round win over Saturday, and he has seen his section of the draw open up thanks to both Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer out of this portion of the draw.

I have had a pretty poor opening week of this Grand Slam, one that is regularly my worse one of the year, but the outright picks are mainly intact. I have one unit picks knocked out in Angelique Kerber, Karolina Pliskova and Grigor Dimitrov exiting as well as Petra Kvitova which was a two unit pick, but Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray provided multiple unit picks who remain in contention going into the second week.

Hopefully that second week will be more productive for the daily picks too and produce a strong end to the tournament for the picks.

Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Denis Kudla: It has already been a tough tournament for Marin Cilic who had to play twenty-two games in the final set against John Isner which was completed on Saturday. He should have had enough time to recover in time for this Fourth Round match as Cilic looks to get back into the Quarter Final.

The Fourth Round match up against Denis Kudla looks a good one for him and I do think Cilic can take advantage against the American who has been in fine form this grass court season. He won the Wild Card into Wimbledon, reached a Final and won a Challenger on the grass in preparation for this tournament and Kudla has done really well to come through three Rounds.

Kudla had to win two five set matches this week and also a four setter so any physical issues that Cilic may have could be off-set. His return has looked a little better and I expect him to get some joy from attacking Kudla whose game simply isn't as big as Cilic when the Croatian gets things right.

It hasn't been plain sailing by any means for Cilic in the last two Rounds when he has been pushed harder than he might have expected. As awkward as John Isner is, Ricardas Berankis was a much more difficult match for Cilic than he would have expected, so he has to remain focused in this one. If Cilic can just keep it together on serve, I expect he wins this 76, 63, 64.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Gilles Simon: One of the stranger head to head records on the Tour has to be Gilles Simon holding a 6-4 advantage over Tomas Berdych, although they have split their last four meetings. The only one in the 2015 season saw Berdych come through for the loss of three games against Simon on an indoor court in Rotterdam, but I still think he can back that up to make it two in a row against the Frenchman.

However, Berdych will do well to acknowledge how well Simon has been playing during the grass court season and an impressive battling win over Gael Monfils can't be ignored. That finished late on Saturday, but Simon has had enough time to recover and perhaps show he should be helping lead the line for France in their Davis Cup tie against Great Britain on the grass in just under two weeks time.

Simon will have to find a way to make Berdych feel the pressure with his defensive superiority, although it has to be said that Berdych has looked comfortable in the draw so far. He has played some sloppy games to perhaps keep opponents in matches, but Berdych has been serving well for the most part and that can set him up in this match.

You can always get a chance on the Simon serve which remains a big weakness especially on the faster surfaces where one break can prove to be enough to win a set. Berdych could easily drop a set in this one as he did against Jeremy Chardy and Pablo Andujar, but I think the big man has enough to recover with a 63, 36, 64, 63 win.

Ivo Karlovic-Andy Murray Over 3.5 sets: There really isn't a lot to say about this Fourth Round match as Andy Murray looks to continue his charge for a second Wimbledon title against the dangerous Ivo Karlovic. Andy Murray did have a shoulder issue in the match with Andreas Seppi on Saturday, but he doesn't believe it is too serious and will be healthy to go in this one.

He'll have to remain more focused in this one than he was against Seppi in the final two sets having dropped the third and then fallen a break behind in the fourth. If he does that against Ivo Karlovic, he is unlikely to grab the break back with the way the Croatian has been serving and I do think he can steal at least a set thanks to that weapon.

While Murray is a much stronger returner than most players Karlovic comes up against, the serve is simply coming out a tree and can be nigh on impossible to return effectively if Karlovic is on form. He beat Tomas Berdych in Halle and his run was only stopped on consecutive tie-breakers by Roger Federer, while his serve has aided him massively in wins over Alexandr Dolgopolov and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga this week.

When they met at Wimbledon in 2012, Karlovic was able to win one of the two tie-breakers played and it would be a huge upset if he was to win in straight sets. At odds against, backing at least four sets to be played looks the call.

Stan Wawrinka - 5.5 games v David Goffin: I have a lot of respect for how David Goffin has played this week to come through his first three matches without dropping a set. For the most part he has been incredibly comfortable after some first set difficulties and Goffin will come into the second week at Wimbledon with plenty of confidence after a decent grass court season.

However, the level of competition goes up a few levels for Goffin as he takes on the French Open winner Stan Wawrinka, a player that has yet to drop serve this week. That is despite an awkward Third Round match against Fernando Verdasco which ended with a straight forward Wawrinka win and he is playing with supreme belief in his own game.

If Wawrinka continues protecting his serve as he did in the first week, it is going to be very difficult for Goffin to get the better of him. As good as Goffin can be on his day, Wawrinka has the power and the accuracy to really trouble the Goffin serve and create break point chances.

He has been effective in taking the chances that come his way for the majority of time, especially as Goffin doesn't have the big serve to quickly get out of trouble. Wawrinka has won both previous matches including a comfortable straight sets win in Chennai at the start of the year and I think he will produce something similar as he moves into another Wimbledon Quarter Final after a regulation 75, 64, 63 win.

Roger Federer - 7.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: It has been a very good first week at Wimbledon for Roger Federer and he might not have been able to pick a better Fourth Round opponent than Roberto Bautista Agut. As much as Federer talked up the ability of his opponent, Bautista Agut is the exact kind of player that will allow Federer to play his entertaining brand of tennis and their two previous matches so the comfort the multiple Grand Slam Champion has had.

Both of the previous matches have come on hard courts, but Federer hasn't really been pushed in either and Bautista Agut's serve is not one that will intimidate anyone. With the way Federer has been serving I would expect he is able to fend off more opportunities than the Spaniard and I think that will eventually show up on the scoreboard.

I don't want to dismiss Bautista Agut completely as a former title winner on grass, but he hasn't done that much on the surface outside of that in Hertogenbosch last season.

He failed to come close to defending the title this time around and was beating by Andy Murray 62, 63, 62 last season at Wimbledon. While Bautista Agut can play some fancy looking tennis at times with decent shot-making ability, he will be on the defensive for much of this one as Federer dictates behind the serve and forehand.

Federer will look to get to the net when he can too and I think he is a comfortable 64, 63, 62 winner in this one.

Novak Djokovic-Kevin Anderson Over 31.5 Total Games: It looks like the layers have been very impressed with the manner and ease in which Novak Djokovic has pushed through the first week at Wimbledon. The Serb might not have felt as comfortable as it looked at times, but I think this is going to be his biggest test of the Grand Slam so far as he takes on Queens Runner Up Kevin Anderson.

I am not the biggest fan of the Anderson game because I think he is regularly caught out by the best players on the Tour and never really threatens to challenge the top players. That is shown by the fact he has never surpassed the Fourth Round in any Grand Slam, although Anderson has improved his showing at each of the last three Wimbledon tournaments having reached this stage last year.

Improving on that Fourth Round appearance looks very difficult against a returner of the quality of Djokovic, but Anderson has to be respected more than the layers seem to have done. While they believe Novak Djokovic wins easily enough, I think Anderson can force at least one tie-breaker and may even have enough to steal a set.

I am not expecting Anderson to win this match, but he can offer Djokovic the toughest match he has played here if serving well. As difficult as it is to break Djokovic and hold on against his return of serve, Anderson has the kind of serve to make that 'easier' if that is the right word. The big South African was beaten handily enough by Andy Murray at Queens and at Wimbledon last year, but a similar scoreline to Murray's 64, 63, 76 win would be a strong win for Djokovic and likely the best he will have to settle with in this Fourth Round.

Lucie Safarova - 3.5 games v Coco Vandeweghe: Both of these players have had some impressive wins at Wimbledon already this tournament, but I do think Lucie Safarova is the stronger player and can work her way past Coco Vandeweghe of the United States.

This has nothing to do with Vandeweghe's comments about Carmelo Anthony and my New York Knicks, but I simply think Safarova has the better skills on the grass court. The lefty serve is a seriously big weapon on the surface and Safarova has had such an immense last twelve months, the type of experience you can't buy.

Both players are still involved in the Doubles too so both Safarova and Vandeweghe have proved to be comfortable on the grass. Vandeweghe is a former grass court title winner at Hertogenbosch, but she has suffered some disappointing defeats on the surface this year and will need to serve at her very best to have a chance.

The American can certainly do that, but I do feel Safarova is in a great place mentally and isn't afraid of showcasing her talent on the big stage. Her Semi Final run here and French Open Final appearance all gives her the mental edge to produce her best when she needs it and I think she can wear down Vandeweghe in a 76, 63 win.

Maria Sharapova - 6.5 games v Zarina Diyas: How much has Zarina Diyas learnt from her hammering at the hands of Maria Sharapova from the Australian Open? That is going to be the big question in this Fourth Round match up and I do think Sharapova will underline her dominance behind her power game which can be tough for Diyas to deal with if the Russian is on her game.

Wimbledon hasn't been that kind to Sharapova over the years, but she is yet to drop a set and has been comfortable despite some less than stellar serving. That will have to improve in the next seven days if she is going to win her second Wimbledon title, while Sharapova hasn't been beyond the Fourth Round since reaching the Final in 2011.

The match up is a good one despite Diyas having a couple of impressive wins last week, and I think it will be hard for Diyas to keep Sharapova off the attack. Even the win over Andrea Petkovic saw Diyas save 9/11 break points and I am not sure Sharapova will be as generous if the chances come her way.

My biggest concern has to be the way Sharapova has been serving at times and whether that will give Diyas a chance to break serve and stay within this number. If Sharapova prevents getting the second serve yips, I do think she can hold enough games to come through with a fairly routine 64, 61 win which will be enough for her to cover this big number.

Serena Williams-Venus Williams Over 20.5 Total Games: Without a doubt the biggest match in the women's Fourth Round has to be the one between two players that have dominated Wimbledon over the last fifteen years... And they happen to be sisters!

Both Serena Williams and Venus Williams have won 5 Wimbledon titles each since the year 2000 and it is no surprise that they have been given Centre Court to entertain. Matches between the two have been competitive for the most part and Serena Williams leads 14-11, although the last match in Canada last year ended with a Venus Williams surprise win.

The grass court should be the best surface for Venus Williams to cause a shock if she is serving well, but I do think it could be fairly routine for Serena Williams if she is seeing a lot of second serves. It is hard to go against the younger Williams who is still at the very top of her game, although Venus Williams has been playing very well over the last twelve months herself.

The layers very much consider Serena Williams as being a very likely comfortable winner, but I don't think she is going to have it completely her own way. Their last eight matches has seen five go the distance, while 11/12 have gone over this total number of games.

I am expecting the two to give it their all on the court, but they both know what to expect from the other and are capable of offering up an entertaining match first up on Centre Court. This could easily go all the way to a third set, but even a tight two setter should be enough to surpass this number of games with the winner of the Williams battle likely to be confident of winning it all.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic-Andy Murray Over 3.5 Sets @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 7.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic-Kevin Anderson Over 31.5 Total Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Serena Williams-Venus Williams Over 20.5 Total Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 15-15, - 1.57 Units (59 Units Staked, - 2.66% Yield)

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