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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (June 8th)

Tuesday was another mixed day, but going 2-2 is better than finishing with a losing record on the day.

Now is the time to push on and look to get this week going in a positive direction. It might be a slow Wednesday with the tournament in Stuttgart looking to be heavily affected by the poor weather in the area and I am not convinced too many matches get played through on that day.

The fans won't want to hear that with Roger Federer set to make his debut in Stuttgart and his big return to the Tour having missed the French Open. I am convinced Federer goes into this month with full belief he can win the title at Wimbledon and so getting his grass court campaign off and running is key for him.

Second Round matches are scheduled for the three different tournaments that are being played this week as the first grass court main Tour events continue on Wednesday.

Bernard Tomic - 3.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: Aljaz Bedene might represent Great Britain these days, but he has yet to really take to the grass courts that his adopted country is known for. He did win his First Round match here in Hertogenbosch comfortably, but the competition level is ramped up significantly when he takes on Bernard Tomic in the Second Round.

The Australian is very comfortable on the grass courts even if he hasn't had the really spectacular results over the last couple of seasons. Tomic has not been in the best form recently, but I don't think he is very comfortable on the clay courts and the move back to the grass should be effective with his solid first serve and variation giving opponents something to think about throughout the match.

He did reach the Quarter Final here after two impressive wins last season before Tomic found Rafael Nadal too good, a player that went on to win the title here. Tomic has had some really disappointing losses on the grass last season and his attitude on the court is not always at the level it should be which makes it difficult to trust him at all times.

However if Tomic serves well I would think he can keep Bedene under some pressure, while his slice return might force some errors from his opponents game. Bedene has yet to really get his feet set on the grass courts and I think Tomic will find a way to record a 76, 63 win in this one.

Sam Querrey - 3.5 games v Tatsuma Ito: The serving was on point in the First Round win over Benjamin Becker, but Sam Querrey will feel he should have done more on the return in that match. Someone like Becker can be awkward if his first serve is working, but a player like Tatsuma Ito doesn't have that same penetration and will have to work for every point he earns in this match.

The majority of Ito's time is played at a level below the main Tour although he did have an impressive win over Ivan Dodig in the First Round. His issue will be trying to keep clear of scoreboard pressure if Querrey is serving as well as he was against Becker when he simply didn't offer up too many chances to get into his service games.

The American will try and use the big serve and heavy forehand to keep Ito on the back foot and he should have a better opportunity to time his returns against the Ito serve. It is key for Querrey to play first strike tennis on this surface and I think he will put his opponent under pressure.

Ito has a habit of playing some really poor tennis behind his serve as he can't rely too much on the cheap points that Querrey might do. Having to work hard can break a player down mentally and physically and I think Querrey will beat him 63, 76 in this one.

Madison Brengle - 2.5 games v Richel Hogenkamp: At 24 years old, you would think Richel Hogenkamp would be looking to play a lot more main Tour tennis, but she has been stuck at the level below that. A Wild Card into Hertogenbosch is her first appearance in the main draw of this tournament and was likely given to her after a strong run at Wimbledon twelve months ago.

In 2015 she did reach the Second Round at the third Grand Slam of the season after coming through the Qualifiers which is impressive. Hogenkamp was a very easy winner in the First Round and should be confident when she takes on the American Madison Brengle.

It was not a big surprise that Brengle did not have the best clay court season as she heads onto the grass. Brengle has not had a lot of wins on the grass in recent years, but she had a difficult draw at Wimbledon last year when matched up against Venus Williams, and her win in the First Round here was impressive.

The crowd will be behind her opponent and there are likely to be quite a few break points on offer for both players, but I do think Brengle is the better player. She might not have the best recent grass court record, but can perform on the surface and I think Brengle will be able to extract enough errors over the course of a couple of hours to record a 46, 64, 63 win.

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 4.5 games v Denis Kudla: It was almost a perfect performance from Philipp Kohlschreiber in his First Round win on Tuesday and he will return to the court on Wednesday hoping to replicate that form. The grass courts have always been very comfortable for Kohlschreiber who has a decent serve and heavy groundstrokes that can be tough to contain when he is at his best.

The German only dropped five games in two sets in his win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, but Denis Kudla surpassed that with only two games dropped in his own win. I think much of that had to do with his opponent Dusan Lajovic who was not at the races, but Kudla is another player that has recorded some very good results on the grass in the past.

Kudla reached the Semi Final of a Challenger event on the grass last week and last year he won a title at that level as well as reaching the Final of another event and the Fourth Round at Wimbledon. That shows he is a player to be respected although the majority of his wins have come against players lower down the Rankings.

The big question is whether Kudla can pick himself up from the mental blow of winning just one game against Kohlschreiber at the Indian Wells Masters earlier this season. There is no doubt this one will be a lot closer than that match, but I do think Kohlschreiber has enough grass court experience to work his way to a 64, 63 win.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Taylor Fritz: We are going to get a few more of these situations in the coming years where young players get to play against their idols and this Second Round match in Stuttgart is one of those occasions. Taylor Fritz has admitted that he was streaming the US Open Final of 2009 to watch his idol Roger Federer in action but now he has the opportunity to play him on grass, a surface Federer once dominated.

The big question for Federer fans is how their man is doing after missing the French Open with a back issue that has been affecting his play since the Australian Open. A knee injury was another issue that Federer has been dealing with as this looks to be the most injury hit year he has had on the Tour since he turned professional.

Federer will be hoping he is back to full health now at a time of the season when he feels he can play his best tennis. Preparing for Wimbledon means Federer will take in Stuttgart for the first time before he heads to Halle and it will be interesting to see how he is feeling after this match.

I do think Federer will be good enough to get through this first match though and then he will have to see how he is feeling. For anyone it can be tough going against your idol and I think that might affect some of the Fritz shot selection as this young player is still in the early stages of his professional career. After some hardship, I expect Federer can have enough in the tank to record a 63, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Bernard Tomic - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sam Querrey - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Madison Brengle - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 4.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-3, + 0.02 Units (12 Units Staked, 0% Yield)

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