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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Wimbledon Tennis Day 2 Picks 2016 (June 28th)

Ivan Dodig to win a set v Tomas Berdych: This is an interesting First Round match between a player like Ivan Dodig who has the potential to be a dangerous opponent for any Seeded player against Tomas Berdych who is looking to back up a decent showing at Roland Garros.

This might be the only Grand Slam in which Berdych has competed in the Final, but he has only managed one Quarter Final appearance in the five years since 2010. If you look at the Berdych results in that time, he has had a lot more success at the other Grand Slam events and an early loss in Halle might be a worry when heading onto the grass courts in SW19.

Berdych is going to be tested by Dodig who has a decent serve and will be willing to get to the net and put away volleys. He is one of the best Doubles players on the Tour and so Dodig will feel confident he can pressure Berdych in this First Round match, although he hasn't shown a lot of form on the Singles Tour in the last couple of years.

Even with that in mind, I think Dodig is able to sneak a set out of Berdych whose last eight wins at Wimbledon have only once seen him come through in straight sets. Dodig is the kind of player who might fall apart as the match goes on, but he can get through the first couple of sets by showing off his quality at the net and perhaps sneak a tie-breaker to take a set.

At odds against, Dodig has to be backed to at least win a single set in this one.

Taylor Fritz to win a set v Stan Wawrinka: One of the promising young players on the Tour has made a remarkable rise up the World Rankings and might soon be feeling the pressure of being the face of a nation in the coming years. Taylor Fritz is the next big hope of American men's tennis and his performance in a three set defeat to Roger Federer in Halle shows the talent he has.

Of course he is young and that comes with the inconsistency of results at this stage of his career which has been highlighted in the fact that Fritz has lost both matches played since the defeat to his idol Federer. The manner of those defeats would be a concern for Fritz, but he might be able to surprise Federer's compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the First Round.

Fritz has the typical American game- he has a huge serve which he will look to set up his groundstrokes and Fritz could frustrate Wawrinka. I am a big fan of 'Stanimal' but the grass has not always been his favourite surface and someone like Fritz may have enough to frustrate him at times of this match.

There always seems to be a let down in the Stan Wawrinka game and that can especially be true early in a Grand Slam tournament. This match looks like one that could be a tight one and I think Fritz is more than capable of stealing a set off of him like he did against Federer as his youthful exuberance gives Wawrinka moments of annoyance.

This is another match where I think the underdog is capable of taking a set as the underdog and I will back that to happen at odds against.

John Isner - 1.5 sets v Marcos Baghdatis: While John Isner's serve is a huge weapon on the grass courts, the fact is that the American is a limited returner and that means he is relying on tie-breakers to win sets. That also leads to there being a high chance that he is involved in some really long matches early in the tournament which saps his energy and eventually costs him his place in the draw.

He would have been hoping for an easier First Round match than facing Marcos Baghdatis who has plenty of solid grass court experience. Baghdatis has played well in the warm up events for Wimbledon, but he has previously struggled against John Isner who has won all six of their previous matches.

All of those matches have come on the hard courts in North America so Baghdatis will be hoping the grass gives him more of a chance against Isner. It is hard to know if that will be the case as Isner's serve will still be a potent weapon on the surface and it will be up to Baghdatis to try and contain the frustration which he will surely suffer through the match.

Isner has won 13 of 16 sets these two have competed against one another and I think he will see plenty more second serves in this match which can give him a chance to pressurise Baghdatis. Even though Baghdatis has had the more impressive wins preparing for Wimbledon, I think Isner can get the better of him again and I like him to win in either three or four sets in this one.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas + 5.5 games v Vasek Pospisil: It has only been twelve months since Vasek Pospisil battled his way through to the Quarter Final at Wimbledon. Things have been much tougher for him since then and the Canadian could have a significant drop in his World Ranking at the end of this tournament.

Pospisil has had some success on his return to the grass courts, but his overall form in 2016 has been very poor which makes him look a vulnerable favourite in this First Round match.

The match does look a good one for Pospisil as Albert Ramos-Vinolas hasn't had any really impactful wins on the grass. A really solid performance in Roland Garros and a surprise Quarter Final berth in that tournament might inspire some confidence that the Spaniard can take into this one, while his lefty serve should be a dangerous weapon.

I do think Ramos-Vinolas can take a set in this one which should give him every chance of covering this number of games. His serve can be a big weapon for him when he is hitting his spots, but Ramos-Vinolas has to make sure he tries to dominate on Pospisil's second serve if he is going to earn the upset.

Even with Ramos-Vinolas' poor grass form in mind, Pospisil has struggled for confidence on the Singles Tour and I will take the games in this one.

Nick Kyrgios-Radek Stepanek Over 3.5 sets: One of the dark horses for the Wimbledon men's title has to be Nick Kyrgios who has the game that is perfectly suited to the grass. An early loss at Queens might have dented some confidence, but Kyrgios doesn't strike me as someone who will hold onto early defeats for too long and a potential Fourth Round clash with Andy Murray is a salivating thought.

Before that though, the Australian will do well to take the threat of Radek Stepanek very seriously as the veteran has shown some good form over the last couple of months. He hasn't quite cracked a return into the top 100 of the World Rankings but reached a Quarter Final in his sole grass court event this past month and no one will forget the way he took Andy Murray to five sets at the French Open after Qualifying for the main draw.

Stepanek also has a very good game for the grass as he is comfortable getting forward to the net and employs plenty of variation in his game. While he was beaten in an upset in the First Round at Wimbledon last year, it has taken the likes of Novak Djokovic (twice), Fernando Verdasco, Lleyton Hewitt and Mikhail Youzhny to end other runs in this event.

He has taken a set off of each of those opponents mentioned in matches since 2009 and Stepanek will believe he can find a way to irritate Kyrgios in this First Round encounter. Their sole previous match saw Kyrgios beat Stepanek in straight sets at the French Open, but it took a tie-breaker in each set and I think this one will be closer.

While I am expecting Kyrgios to eventually be too strong, I do think Stepanek can play his part and backing this match to go at least four sets is the call.

Bernard Tomic - 3.5 games v Fernando Verdasco: This looks like one of the best matches in the First Round at Wimbledon, but I did think Bernard Tomic would be a slightly stronger favourite to beat Fernando Verdasco. That is no disrespect to the latter who is the kind of dangerous player that most Seeds would want to avoid early in the draw when he is physically at his best, while Verdasco has performed well on the grass before.

The lefty serve is dangerous on all surfaces, but particularly on grass where it can slide away from opponents and the slice will stay low on the surface. Verdasco also has plenty of power off the ground with which he can hit through opponents and Tomic will need to be wise to those threats.

However Tomic was a three set winner over Verdasco when they met at Queens earlier in the month and he also has a strong 4-1 record against him on the head to head. That includes coming from 2-0 down to beat Verdasco at the Australian Open in 2012 and Tomic will use plenty of variation to try and frustrate the Spaniard, although Tomic's movement can be a hindrance.

The best performances from Tomic in Grand Slams has come at Wimbledon where his sole Quarter Final was achieved and he does love the grass. It will need a good serving day from Tomic to make sure he doesn't offer Verdasco too much encouragement and I think the Australian is able to overcome a stubborn First Round opponent with a 76, 46, 63, 64 win.

Tara Moore + 3.5 games v Alison Van Uytvanck: If you have ever heard of Tara Moore before it might have been down to a controversial tweet she sent out criticising Serena Williams for essentially 'faking' during her French Open Semi Final in 2015. That earned her a vitriolic response from many others as Moore has not really achieved too much on a tennis court to have been taken shots at one of the best female players of all time, but now the British player has a chance to make a better name for herself.

Her performances on the grass courts over the past month might have inspired some confidence in Moore as she looks for her first win in the Wimbledon main draw at her third attempt. Both of her losses have been very competitive and her recent results on grass suggests she can upset Alison Van Uytvanck in the First Round.

Van Uytvanck had a memorable run at the French Open last season reaching the Quarter Final but she has a poor 2-10 record on the main Tour this season. That has dented confidence as well as her World Ranking which has slipped back outside the top 100 while the Belgian player doesn't have the best record on the grass courts.

This is going to be a competitive match as both players will look at the other as someone they should be beating and I think Moore might be under-rated. Her two previous appearances at Wimbledon in the main draw has seen her lose in the third set each time in competitive matches, but she hasn't faced someone like Alison Van Uytvanck with both losses coming against stronger players.

Getting 3.5 games looks a lot for Moore and I like her to at least stay within this number.

Monica Puig + 2.5 games v Johanna Konta: This time last year, Johanna Konta would have simply been happy to be playing in the main draw at Wimbledon but a meteoric rise up the Rankings has followed. Now she comes in as one of the top 16 Seeds and would have expected a kinder draw than she has been given in the First Round.

Last year it was Maria Sharapova and while Monica Puig is not at that level, she has shown she is very dangerous on the grass courts over the last month. Two Semi Final appearances in Nottingham and Eastbourne would have boosted Puig's belief on this surface and she has had enough time to recover physically from her exploits in Eastbourne last week.

Puig looks to be having a career year although she hasn't performed well at Wimbledon since her first appearance here in 2013 that resulted in a Fourth Round finish. Subsequent First Round losses are a disappointment, but Puig has the serve and heavy groundstrokes to make Konta battle very hard in this one.

We have heard Konta say she is not feeling the pressure of expectation, but she hasn't performed as well on the grass courts this past month as she may have wanted. Another strong run in Eastbourne might have boosted her confidence, but Konta has never won a main draw match at Wimbledon which is going to be another mental obstacle to overcome as well as the dangerous player on the other side of the court.

This looks highly competitive and I can't allow my belief in Konta to waver from what looks the obvious pick. Monica Puig can spring an outright surprise in this one but I will take the games and hope Konta wins a tight one.

Caroline Wozniacki - 2.5 games v Svetlana Kuznetsova: It has been a long time since Caroline Wozniacki went into a Grand Slam event as one of the non-Seeded players and it is Svetlana Kuznetsova who has drawn the short straw in facing her first. Wozniacki has had injury issues which has seen her drop down the World Rankings, but there have been a couple of positive signs over the last month as she got some grass court tennis under her feet.

The same can not be said for Kuznetsova who might not agree with the grass these days as she has lost three of her last four matches at Wimbledon. Early on in her career there were some Quarter Final efforts from her time at Wimbledon, but Kuznetsova hasn't really hit those heights in recent years and this is a difficult match for her.

The Russian has won three of the last four on the head to head, but the exception came on the grass courts in Eastbourne last season. That also means Wozniacki has won both previous matches between these players on the grass and I think the Dane has a little more feel on the surface than Kuznetsova at this stage of their careers.

It will be a battle at times and Wozniacki can be hard to trust behind that weak serve, but she has done a lot more winning than Kuznetsova at Wimbledon recently and I think she has the edge. I can see this taking three sets to separate them but I like Wozniacki coming through 46, 63, 64.

MY PICKS: Ivan Dodig to Win a Set @ 2.20 William Hill (2 Units)
Taylor Fritz to Win a Set @ 2.38 William Hill (2 Units)
John Isner - 1.5 Sets @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas + 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Nick Kyrgios-Radek Stepanek Over 3.5 Sets @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Tara Moore + 3.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Monica Puig + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 5-2, + 5.28 Units (14 Units Staked, + 37.71% Yield)

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