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Friday, 3 June 2016

French Open Tennis Day 13 Picks 2016 (June 3rd)

It looks like the prayers of the French Open Organisers might have been answered over the next few days as it looks like the rain delays that have affected the play in Paris will not be causing more havoc to close the tournament.

We are still looking for the tournament to get back on schedule as all four Semi Finals will be played on Friday with the Women's Final set for Saturday and the Men's Final set for Sunday. The edge might be given to the bottom half of the draw when it comes to the Women's draw as Garbine Muguruza and Sam Stosur have at least had a day of rest between their Quarter Final and Semi Final while Serena Williams and Kiki Bertens will be playing on consecutive days through to the Final.

At least the winners of the Men's Semi Finals will have a day off on Saturday to get ready for the Final on Sunday as we look to have some interesting matches to get through on Friday.

The picks had a mixed Thursday with the two Men's Quarter Finals going as planned but the two Women's Quarter Finals letting me down. It is almost certain that this tournament will be the worst performance I've had at the French Open since beginning this blog, but I am hoping for a strong final three days to bring in some momentum to take into the grass court season which begins on Monday.

I will be looking for a little more luck to go my way to get things moving in a positive direction on Friday with the Semi Finals to be played on Philippe-Chatrier and Suzanne-Lenglen from Midday UK time.

Kiki Bertens + 5.5 games v Serena Williams: There are always a couple of obstacles that Serena Williams has to battle through on her way to any Grand Slam success and the feeling is she has avoided a couple already here in Paris. Kristina Mladenovic came very close to the upset, but Yulia Putintseva was only a couple of points from being able to serve for the match in her Quarter Final defeat to Serena Williams.

That might be the last time the World Number 1 is threatened with a defeat in this tournament, although she will be well aware of the the threats still left in the tournament. Perhaps Serena Williams is feeling the pressure of matching Steffi Graf's number of Grand Slam titles and she may be a little tight in the next two matches, but usually this is a player that bounces back from almost exiting a tournament by putting together some strong performances.

There is no doubt that Serena Williams will have to be at her best against Kiki Bertens who has a long winning run behind her and continues to defy expectations here in Paris. Her maiden Grand Slam Semi Final is going to lead to some nerves too, but Bertens is a player that can hit through the court and give Williams some problems if she is on her game when it comes to the serve.

The leg issue that needed re-taping in her win over Timea Bacsinszky is a concern for Bertens who has played a lot of tennis over the last couple of weeks. The Dutchwoman is most comfortable on the clay courts which should give her a chance in this one and I do think she can keep this one as competitive as when she played Serena Williams at the US Open.

It is a dangerous thing backing against Serena Williams even with these number of games in the pocket, but Bertens has the confidence to push the American. It might come down to which of these players controls their nerves, for differing reasons, best on the day, but I will back Bertens with the games in this one to keep this one competitive.

Garbine Muguruza - 3.5 games v Sam Stosur: This is an interesting Semi Final between two players at the opposite end of the career spectrum and both desperate to reach another Grand Slam Final. For Sam Stosur there might not be any better chances to get back into a position to win a Grand Slam title as she has here in Paris, while Garbine Muguruza could reach her second Grand Slam Final within twelve months as she continues to show the improvement in her game that her potential has been calling for.

Both players are very comfortable on the clay courts and both Muguruza and Stosur have had some impressive wins to their names in Paris.

It should be a big hitting game as both players look to bring in a heavy forehand behind a very good serve and that makes it tough to pick a winner. However I do think Muguruza has a clear edge when it comes to the backhand battle and the conditions didn't look as heavy on Thursday as they had earlier in the week.

That will make it tougher for Stosur to find a way to run around the backhand where she has been struggling for pace as a wrist issue continues to bother the Australian. Muguruza does look to have the bigger game and I wouldn't put a lot of stock into the fact that Stosur won their only previous match on the clay courts of Madrid as that did come in 2014.

I think the Spaniard will be happy with the conditions and being able to employ her heavy groundstrokes in this one and I think Muguruza is the more likely winner. She should have enough to record a 63, 75 kind of win in this one and I will back Muguruza to cover the handicap in this Semi Final.

Stan Wawrinka v Andy Murray: I have gone back and forth on a couple of markets in this Semi Final over the last couple of days but I have ultimately decided on backing the underdog Stan Wawrinka to win this match. It is strange to think that Wawrinka and Andy Murray have only played once since September 2013 considering the places in the World Rankings, but it is Wawrinka who has won their last three matches.

Wawrinka has also won all three matches played on the clay courts between these players and while they have split four Grand Slam matches, it is Wawrinka who has won the last two of those.

The defending Champion has the power to hit through the conditions that are being seen in Paris and he will be a confident player after coming through the last four matches fairly comfortably following his First Round win over Lukas Rosol. It has also been a much more routine path for Andy Murray after his first two Rounds which saw him a set away from being knocked out of the French Open on both occasions.

I did consider backing this match to end with at the total games being covered as I would be surprised if we don't see at least four sets in this one. However I think it was something of a surprise that Stan Wawrinka is the underdog in this one considering his success here last season and his record against Andy Murray.

Wawrinka has won the last seven sets competed against Murray and I think he is playing well enough to beat him again, especially on a court where he is very comfortable. The Swiss player has to take advantage of the second serves he will see and I just believe he is playing the more effective tennis compared with Andy Murray at this moment in time and I do think Stan Wawrinka will be back in the Final here in Paris on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic - 6.5 games v Dominic Thiem: Novak Djokovic has won the two previous matches against Dominic Thiem, but the latter will look at their match from earlier this season and point out the 1/15 break point conversion as being his undoing. I am a big fan of Dominic Thiem and it is going to be great to see him enter the top 10 in the World Rankings on Monday, but a maiden Grand Slam Semi Final has to bring up some nerves.

Thiem is a player with his head screwed on and I don't think the moment will be too big for him, but there was a lot of physical and emotional effort put into the Quarter Final win over David Goffin. With no time to really recover, I do wonder if Thiem is going to have spent a little too much energy on the court on Thursday compared with Novak Djokovic who was a fairly straight-forward winner over Tomas Berdych.

It was easily the best performance Djokovic has put in during this entire French Open and the World Number 1 looks very focused on the prize as he looks to finally add this trophy to an ever increasing cabinet. The way he handled the Berdych game was impressive and Djokovic will put pressure on Thiem with the return that should cramp the Austrian from free-swinging at the first ball he sees.

The groundstrokes that Thiem is able to produce will likely bring up some break points in his favour too, but Djokovic looked his most focused on Thursday and did get through his Quarter Final with less emotional and physical output as Thiem put in to his own Quarter Final.

I love the competitive spirit that Thiem has, but I do think it might be a step too far for him in this tournament. There will be moments he plays some outstanding tennis and put some pressure on Novak Djokovic, but the World Number 1 looks a player very focused on achieving his goals and I think he will wear down his opponent in a 75, 63, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Kiki Bertens + 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Garbine Muguruza - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka @ 2.20 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 6.5 Games @ 1.73 William Hill (2 Units)

French Open Update: 24-29, - 13.18 Units (105 Units Staked, - 12.55% Yield)

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