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Friday, 10 June 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (June 10th)

A bit of bad luck coupled with a couple of bad picks made it a more difficult Thursday compared to Wednesday.

The grass courts can be difficult for predictions because a match can quickly become very tight if chances to break serve are not taken when the come along. It was the main reason Juan Martin Del Potro didn't earn the cover on Thursday as he had plenty of opportunities to earn a couple of breaks in the second set of what was a comfortable 64, 64 win over John Millman.

Roger Federer also made it through to the Quarter Finals, but he wouldn't have expected such a tight battle against Taylor Fritz which could have easily gone the other way with a point here or there going in favour of the young American.

For a lot of the time Federer did look physically comfortable as he gets his match fitness back up to the full level he expects.

Friday is all about the Quarter Finals in the various grass court tournaments being played this week and I am looking to get back to winning ways.

Sam Querrey - 3.5 games v Stefan Kozlov: This has already been a big tournament for 18 year old Stefan Kozlov who won his first ever match on the main Tour. He backed that up with an upset win over Steve Johnson, but this is a big challenge for him against Sam Querrey who is very comfortable on the grass courts and has looked good so far this week.

Winning matches will build confidence for any young player on the Tour, but it will be difficult for Kozlov to handle the scoreboard pressure that someone like Querrey will bring to the court. The higher Ranked American has been in fine serving form and that is only going to increase the pressure on Kozlov if Querrey is able to rattle through his service games as he has done for much of the first two Rounds.

Stefan Kozlov was beaten by Denis Kudla on the grass courts in Manchester last week and he didn't have a lot of success in previous years on the surface. The higher level that Querrey can produce should make the difference in this one and I think he will be offered up some chances to break the Kozlov serve.

There were 21 break point opportunities handed out by Kozlov in his first two matches and giving those up to a big serving Querrey should lead to the latter coming through 64, 64.

Bernard Tomic v Nicolas Mahut: This Quarter Final in Hertogenbosch looks incredibly close to call as two players very comfortable on the grass courts meet each other. Nicolas Mahut is the defending Champion, but Bernard Tomic is looking for a couple of big runs in preparation for Wimbledon.

There is a different approach that both Mahut and Tomic will take to this Quarter Final match- Mahut will look for the big serve to set up his approaches to the net and will use plenty of slice to get to the net and force Tomic to pass him over and over again.

For Tomic it will be much more about control from the baseline and trying to attack the second serve, but the Australian will also have to serve well to keep Mahut from taking control of the rallies.

I have no doubt that this is going to be a keenly contested match, but I think Tomic looked focused on his tennis in the first match he played here this week. He is also the better returner so might extract some volleying errors from Mahut and I think he can come through in three very highly contested sets.

Dominic Thiem - 2.5 games v Mikhail Youzhny: The grass courts are the last surface on which Dominic Thiem is trying to find some consistency having produced good results on the clay and the hard courts. That has seen him move into the World Number 7 spot in the Rankings and Thiem has had a solid win in the Second Round here over Sam Groth.

This is a tough match for Thiem who faces a experienced grass court player in Mikhail Youzhny but he should be looking to beat a veteran like this. It has been a good week for Youzhny who has battled through two Rounds, his first back to back wins on the main Tour since the Canadian Masters last year.

The Russian has all the grass court nous to give Thiem problems, and the latter has to find a way to give himself the time to unleash his shots on a surface where the balls come through quicker and often lower than players think. The win over Groth won't have helped in terms of building a rhythm but Thiem has a serve that should work well on the grass and I expect he will have plenty of joy in the rallies against the veteran.

Youzhny lost all three grass court matches he played last season and I think Thiem will prove too good in a 75, 64 win.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Florian Mayer: A few years of injuries have affected Florian Mayer and his ability to stay in a position to earn his place in these kind of tournaments. He is currently outside the top 200 in the World Rankings so his two wins in the main draw will give Mayer some important Ranking points and he is a very good player on the grass.

The second serve is not a strength, but Mayer has shown through the week that his first serve can set up the points for him, although the challenge is markedly stronger on Friday. The German has played well in these pre-Wimbledon tournaments in the past in his home country so playing in Stuttgart won't bother Mayer but inspire him.

He will need all of his experience when taking on Roger Federer who was close to exiting the tournament at the hands of Taylor Fritz in the Second Round. That three set win will have tested how Federer is feeling having returned to the Tour for the first time since the Rome Masters and back on his favourite surface.

Federer has won all six previous matches against Mayer and I think he will have a better time returning against this opponent than he did against Fritz. I do look for Federer to be better behind serve too and that should lead him to a 63, 64 win in this Quarter Final.

Radek Stepanek + 2.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: This has been an impressive run from Radek Stepanek to the Quarter Final here in Stuttgart having come through the Qualifiers. It follows a really impressive performance in a defeat to Andy Murray at the French Open and Stepanek is a player that is much more comfortable on the grass courts.

He will look to base a lot of his threat from the first serve and an ability to close angles at the net and Stepanek had a very strong serving display in the win over Marin Cilic. This match up has been a good one for Stepanek in the past with seven wins from eight matches against Philipp Kohlschreiber, although the last of those was three years ago.

The German will have the support of the home fans behind him and has been in good form in his first two wins in Stuttgart. Kohlschreiber will need to serve well to keep Stepanek at bay because his second serve is likely to be attacked with the Czech player looking to again close the net and force his opponent to make the passes.

This has all the makings of a match that might need three sets to decide it and I like Stepanek's chances of keeping this competitive. He looks to have matched up well with Kohlschreiber, loves the grass and has some momentum behind him as Stepanek looks to move up the World Rankings and I will take the games in this one.

Juan Martin Del Potro - 2.5 games v Gilles Simon: Matches between Gilles Simon and Juan Martin Del Potro have been very competitive in the past but their two previous matches on the grass have landed in favour of the latter. The head to head might be three wins apiece, but those two wins on the grass will give Del Potro the edge especially in the form he has shown so far this week.

The serving has been very much on point from Del Potro and he will need to be at his best in that aspect of his game to see off the Frenchman. There will be chances to break serve if he can look after his own serve and Del Potro's flat hitting can be a problem for opponents on this quicker surface.

Simply being the bigger hitter won't be enough for Del Potro who has to take the chances that come his way in better fashion than he did against John Millman in the Second Round. Simon has shown that he can diffuse big hitters in wins over Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych on the grass last year, but I do think Del Potro has a little more to his game on the grass than those two players.

Del Potro will employ the slice a lot more than Raonic and Berdych and I think his shots have a little more off the ground while those come very flat and can stay low on the grass. It should be a competitive match, but I think Del Potro can come through 76, 64 for a place in the Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Sam Querrey - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Betway (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Radek Stepanek + 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Juan Martin Del Potro - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-8, - 0.12 Units (32 Units Staked, - 0% Yield)

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