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Friday, 17 June 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (June 17th)

This week has been another busy one for me which means the tennis picks have not been coming as frequently as usual. Heading over to France for Euro 2016 is the main reason I have not been around for the first four days of the week, although it does seem the weather has been playing havoc with the events that were set for this week.

The opening picks didn't have much success and I am looking to turn this season around at the end of the grass court season to take into the hard court campaigns going into the US Open. The last twelve months have proved difficult for the tennis picks, but I will redouble the efforts to make sure that turns around going forward.

Hopefully we will get through the matches expected to be played on Friday with plenty of rain around London and Halle, and it could be a stop-start kind of day.

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games v Steve Johnson: A place in the Semi Final is waiting for the winner of the Marin Cilic and Steve Johnson Quarter Final and both players will feel they have played well enough this week to get into that position. Out of the two players, Cilic looks the more comfortable on grass, although Johnson will be very pleased with his two upset wins this week.

The grass should be a surface on which Johnson is comfortable with a decent serve and a big forehand, but he hasn't always produced his best on these courts. He doesn't have a lot of strong results to call upon on this surface in the past and Johnson has had a difficult time on the Tour this season which he is hoping he can turn around this week.

Marin Cilic will feel his own grass court pedigree can help him past this opponent as he has a decent return of serve which can zip through the faster surfaces. His own serve should put Johnson under pressure in this one and I think Cilic will prove a little too good for Johnson once he begins to read the return of serve.

I am a little concerned that Cilic is capable of throwing in a terrible service game which can be difficult to recover on the grass, but I think he will ultimately prove too good. After getting through some tough moments, I like Cilic to come through 75, 64 in this one.

Andy Murray - 5.5 games v Kyle Edmund: It had been ten years since Andy Murray last played a player representing Great Britain before his win over Aljaz Bedene in the Second Round. Now he gets to play another as he meets Kyle Edmund in the Quarter Final and it will be interesting if Murray feels any sympathy for his Great British colleague and perhaps takes away some of the focus.

However Murray will be well aware of the rain expected in the area and he might not want to spend as much time on the court as usual in case of delays. He actually returned very well against Bedene and he might have won by a more comfortable margin if playing a couple of big points a little more effectively here and there.

Edmund is a decent player, but he is yet to really turn it on at the highest level and he is still finding his feet on the grass. He had lost seven in a row on grass prior to his win over Gilles Simon in the First Round and Edmund is going to have to be even better if he is to beat someone like Murray who has to be considered in the top three best grass court players in the world.

I expect Murray will have a chance to pressure Edmund's serve and I think he will eventually have too much experience and quality for him. Andy Murray can extract errors from the Edmund game and I believe he will come through with a 63, 63 win.

Gilles Muller + 1.5 games v Bernard Tomic: The grass courts should be a very good surface for Gilles Muller to play on, although the one concern is how much he has left emotionally after a tough Second Round win over John Isner. That was won in the third set, although Muller didn't have to spend a lot of time on the court, but the physical effort might not have been as taxing as the mental aspect of winning back to back tie-breakers.

Muller will need to be at his best as he looks to back up a strong run to the Final in Hertogenbosch last week, but he has previous in this match up having won all four previous matches against Bernard Tomic. The last of those was back in January 2015 so the head to head isn't too relevant, and Muller does have a lot of tennis in the legs which has to be an issue.

However I am not all that convinced about Bernard Tomic who has been sloppy behind his serve and was convincingly beaten by Nicolas Mahut last week. His two wins have been impressive enough this week, and Tomic has had strong results on the grass, but someone like Muller can put a lot of mental pressure on the Australian if he is serving well.

Tomic has not been able to cope too well with mental pressures through his young career and I think Muller has every chance of winning this match outright. If he serves well, he can get a couple of breaks of serve and I do think Muller can be backed with this number of games behind him.

Marcos Baghdatis v Alexander Zverev: There wasn't a lot of success on the grass in 2015 for Alexander Zverev, but 2016 could begin very differently in Halle. He has two wins already to reach the Quarter Final but this is a big test for him against Marcos Baghdatis who is very comfortable on the grass.

You would think the Zverev serve will make him dangerous on this surface, but I also think his movement is perhaps not as comfortable as on other surfaces. Another issue might be the bounce of the ball with the tall Zverev perhaps unable to get down to some of the balls off the court, while he is still finding his consistency off the ground.

Those are areas in which Baghdatis will feel he will have success, but he will also have to serve well to keep his opponent at bay. The Cypriot has two solid wins this week against tough players like Tomas Berdych and Dustin Brown and serving well has already been a key for him so it looks like something he can build upon in this match.

Last year it was Baghdatis who beat Zverev in straight sets on the grass. This match might be a little closer, but I still believe Baghdatis will win it and I will back him to do so.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v David Goffin: A run to the Semi Final in Stuttgart might be seen as a disappointment for Roger Federer who made his return to the Tour last week. On the grass he will expect to win any tournament he enters and Federer is back in another Quarter Final this week although there is room for improvement.

The biggest weakness since Federer returned to the Tour has been his return game which has not been as effective as the former World Number 1 would have been looking for. Some of that is down to the level his opponents have produced on a usually fast surface, but Federer won't have that excuse in this one.

As much as I respect David Goffin as a player, he doesn't have the serve that will blow his opponents off the court. That serve should allow Federer to build his rhythm on the return and try to add to his four wins against Goffin in the past, especially if the latter is not upping the level from his first two wins.

Goffin is a decent grass court player as he showed by pushing Stan Wawrinka all the way in a three set loss at Wimbledon last year. The Belgian also reached the Final in Hertogenbosch last season, but Federer is a really bad match up for Goffin and I do think the 17 time Grand Slam Champion comes through with a 75, 63 win.

Dominic Thiem - 1.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: On Monday, Dominic Thiem and Philipp Kohlschreiber completed their Stuttgart Final which had been delayed by the rain. On Friday they will meet in the Halle Quarter Final and I am looking for Thiem to frank his win over Kohlschreiber with another one on Friday.

There wasn't a lot between the players in the Stuttgart Final, but I am a big fan of Thiem and I think the younger player can handle all the tennis he has been playing better than Kohlschreiber. It has to be said that the veteran has played well so far this week having come so close to winning the title in Stuttgart, but he had to dig deeper to beat Ivo Karlovic after being pushed into a third set.

It will be another close match with little between these players- Thiem will be looking to dominate behind first serve again and also use his superior movement around the court to perhaps make a big difference.

This will potentially go three sets again, but I expect Thiem to take more of the chances than he did in Stuttgart and will look for the Austrian to keep his good run of form going.

Andreas Seppi - 2.5 games v Florian Mayer: Two veterans of the ATP Tour meet in the Quarter Final here in what has otherwise been difficult seasons for them. For both Andreas Seppi and Florian Mayer this has to be seen as a big opportunity to get into an ATP Tour Semi Final as well as picking up vital World Ranking points that will come with that.

Both players have gotten past one of the Seeded players this week although in different ways- Seppi beat David Ferrer while Mayer was given a walkover by Kei Nishikori, but those results have opened up the draw.

There will be some eye catching rallies in this one with Mayer using a lot of variation in his play to extract errors from Seppi, while I think the German has the stronger first serve. On the other hand I can't ignore the fact that Seppi has dominated the head to head between these players and is a very decent grass court player.

I am expecting some slicing and dicing from Seppi to try and match what Mayer is bringing to the table and I think the Italian will be able to record yet another win over him. It might go three sets, but I like Seppi winning this one 46, 63, 64.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gilles Muller + 1.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 1.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-5, - 8.34 Units (12 Units Staked, - 69.5% Yield)

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