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Thursday, 2 June 2016

French Open Tennis Day 12 Picks 2016 (June 2nd)

The rain finally moved away from Roland Garros on Wednesday and the tournament is almost back on schedule. However it looks like there will still be some issues with the weather in Northern France in the coming days and the prospect of a Monday Final (when the weather isn't exactly forecasted to be great) is looming large again.

I think it is a shame when any Grand Slam is being overshadowed by events that have nothing to do with what is happening on the court, but at least we have two of the four Semi Finals set with the other two Semi Finals to be put together on Thursday.

That will likely see all four of those played on Friday, if possible, with the Women's Final on Saturday and Men's Final on Sunday but all of that is if the weather plays nice too.

The disruptions have also played havoc with the picks as some of those where I thought fatigue could be an issue were given enough time to recover, while other matches were completely turned around between the rain delays.

Hopefully it will be clearer in the coming days, but it is just the way it goes when you have to second guess the conditions in which the organisers will allow play and in which they will suspend matches.

Novak Djokovic - 7.5 games v Tomas Berdych: This might have looked a much more difficult Quarter Final for Novak Djokovic if his opponent Tomas Berdych hadn't been coming into the French Open with some heavy losses under his belt. The double bagel suffered by Berdych at the hands of David Goffin prompted the Czech player to fire Daniel Vallverdu as his Coach and it has resulted in a strong showing in Roland Garros.

His wins over Pablo Cuevas and David Ferrer for the loss of one set will have given Berdych a lot of confidence, but neither of those players are up to the level that Djokovic can produce.

We might not have seen Djokovic at the top of his game just yet, but he has been making fairly easy progress through the draw which makes him a dangerous player. The World Number 1 is sure to pick up his level in the final few days in Paris as he looks to win the one trophy he covets above any other.

Djokovic might not be that happy with the heavy conditions being seen in Paris, but I think he is capable of moving Berdych around the court and hitting through him. Of course Berdych will have his successes too, but it might take a bit off the serve which is dangerous against a returner of the quality of Djokovic and I believe the World Number 1 will be able to take control of another match against him.

This did look a lot of games for Djokovic to cover at first glance, but Berdych was beaten handily by Andy Murray and David Goffin in matches prior to this tournament and Djokovic has proven too good for him the majority of the time they have met. Their last meeting in Miami saw Djokovic run out an easy winner and I think he will have enough in the locker to come through this one with a 63, 63, 64 win.

Dominic Thiem-David Goffin Over 39.5 Total Games: The winner of this Quarter Final won't just be making their first appearance in a Grand Slam Semi Final but they will also move into the top ten in the World Rankings. Many have tipped Dominic Thiem and David Goffin to be part of the 'next generation' of ATP talent and both have had very strong tournaments to this point.

With the weather as it has been in Paris, both Thiem and Goffin completed their Fourth Round matches on Wednesday and would have been grateful for fairly straight-forward wins even if they had to play four sets. Little rest is what they are going to have if they are going to surprise everyone and win the title in Roland Garros, but both Thiem and Goffin have youth on their side.

The edge has been given to Thiem by the layers and you can't argue with that considering the success he has had on the clay courts on the Tour. This has looked his best surface, but it is Goffin who will have the fans behind him as they have been all week. The French speaking Belgian is very adept on this surface too while he holds a 5-2 lead against Thiem, although their two meetings on clay have been split one apiece.

Their match at the Australian Open earlier this season was the first between them on the Grand Slam stage and it was Goffin who came through in four competitive sets. This one has the potential to be a tight one with a bit of tension at the end of sets knowing what is on the line for each player. I can see it going at least four sets, but every chance of perhaps even needing a decider and I think these players can combine to surpass the total games set by the layers.

Serena Williams - 6.5 games v Yulia Putintseva: Both of these players had to win their Fourth Round matches on Wednesday, but neither was pushed into a third set so should be ready to go. Out of the two players, Serena Williams will be much more comfortable dealing with the issues that have affected the French Open with her vast experience at Grand Slam level and she was a very convincing winner over Elina Svitolina in the Fourth Round.

Her opponent is Yulia Putintseva who is in uncharted waters at the Grand Slam level but who has been in very good form this week. However the challenge of facing Serena Williams is much more difficult than Putintseva has met so far, although the Kazakh player will know she has pushed Williams to a tie-breaker in their previous two matches in the first set.

The heavier conditions might go against Putintseva as she is playing someone with considerable power to hit through the court and who will attack her serve which was lost a number of times against Carla Suarez Navarro on Wednesday. The difference here is that Serena Williams has a big serve that can see her pick up some easier games and I think the World Number 1 might just have knuckled down her focus to keep her fresh for the remainder of this tournament.

Putintseva is a fighter and she won't give Serena Williams an easy time, but it is going to be hard for her to keep up with the World Number 1 if the latter is in the form she showed on Wednesday. It will be difficult for Putintseva to protect her serve while she will need to be very good with the break points that come her way to keep this one competitive.

However I think that is going to be too much for Putintseva to do in her maiden Grand Slam Quarter Final and I think Serena Williams comes through 75, 61.

Timea Bacsinszky - 2.5 games v Kiki Bertens: This is perhaps an unexpected Quarter Final on the face of things, but both Kiki Bertens and Timea Bacsinszky have had strong clay court seasons to this point. Bertens won a tournament prior to the French Open beginning and she has had four strong wins this week in Paris to reach this Stage of the event.

Bacsinszky also won a title on the clay and her runs to the Fourth Round in Madrid Quarter Finals in Rome showed this is a player who is in good form at the moment. She has also reached the Semi Final in Paris before having got to that position last season before falling short against Serena Williams and that experience might give her the edge in this one.

I do like the way Bertens has been playing the last couple of weeks and she is very confident which makes her a difficult player to stop. The same can be said for Bacsinszky who is yet to drop a set on her run to the Quarter Final compared with Bertens who was pushed very close by Daria Kasatkina having needed eighteen games to beat her in the decider.

There will be some long rallies in this one and I think Bertens may have the edge when it comes to power, although Bacsinszky's variation could cause some issues. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this one needs three sets to separate them, but I think Bacsinszky will eventually have the superior fitness and can come through 63, 46, 64.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 7.5 Games @ 1.91 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem-David Goffin Over 39.5 Total Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Timea Bacsinszky - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Sporting Bet (2 Units)

French Open Update: 22-27, - 12.82 Units (97 Units Staked, - 13.22% Yield)

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