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Monday, 11 July 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (July 11th)

This is an Olympic season for the tennis Tour which means the week after Wimbledon has not been reserved for one last grass court event on the ATP Tour and then the Davis Cup Quarter Finals. While those two events are still taking place, this is also a busy week on the Tour with events in Hamburg and Bastad on the ATP Tour and in Bucharest and Gstaad on the WTA Tour.

It will also be a slightly different run up to the US Open with the Canadian Masters event being played in July before some of the players make a trip to Rio for the Olympic Games. The Cincinnati Masters will then be played in August as usual before the final Grand Slam of the season begins in New York.

Wimbledon was an interesting tournament with a couple of really good quality and exciting matches and the two winners, Serena Williams and Andy Murray, were deserving of their prizes. Both players had reached the Final of the previous two Grand Slam events and fallen short so both would have been glad to have got over the line.

For Serena Williams the target has now shifted to overtaking Margaret Court's 24 Grand Slams, while Andy Murray might just have cemented himself as the best British player of all time with his third Slam and second title at Wimbledon. I like Murray and I think he will be appreciated even more once he concludes his career and the huge vacuum his absence will leave on British tennis, but I am not sure I buy the suggestions he should be Knighted.

I know earning that recognition has become a little less exclusive than it used to be, but I don't think sportsmen or women should be able to earn that for being successful alone and certainly not at 29 years old. That might just be me though, but I was never behind the 'Sir David Beckham' suggestions a couple of years ago and I am not convinced 'Sir Andy Murray' should be opening Wimbledon next season either.

Usually the week after Wimbledon is something of a relaxed one for the tennis picks simply because there aren't any matches being played. However that has changed this week and I should have a few picks over the course of the tournaments being played as long as they are matches that I feel I have a decent read of.

Last week was a strong one for the picks from Wimbledon, but the reason remains a disappointing one to this point with less than half the year to go.

Vania King - 3.5 games v Paula Kania: A year of injury issues dropped Vania King outside of the top 100 in the World Rankings, but she could see an improvement in that Ranking over the coming weeks. It is important that the American starts putting some wins together in main Tour events she is playing in and she is in a decent portion of the draw in Bucharest which could see a run to the Semi Final if King can win this match.

She won't want to look too far into the week and the draw ahead as King gets set to face Paula Kania for the second time this season. The first match was also on the clay courts and King only dropped one game in that one, but this is going to be a lot closer or so you would imagine.

That match was Kania's first on the clay courts this season, but her record over the last three years on this surface is only 11-19. A lot of her defeats have come in straight-forward fashion in that time, but she does have more to her game than what she showed in the earlier defeat to King.

One issue that might be a problem for Kania to solve is the defensive work King gets through around the court. That can help her extract errors from the Kania game, although it is hard to imagine King not having some issues holding serve which is a weak part of her own game. King dominated behind her first serve when they played each other in Prague, but I think Kania can help make this closer by getting more joy in the return games, although ultimately I am backing the American to come through with a 64, 64 win.

Dudi Sela v Lukas Lacko: Wimbledon might have drawn to a close on Sunday, but that doesn't mean the end of the grass court season. For a long time now, Newport has been played the week after the Wimbledon Final and remains the last stop for grass on the Tour.

That isn't to say a deep field attends and this is a tournament that has been won by some less familiar names in recent years. Rajeev Ram is the defending Champion and has won the title here twice, while John Isner is another multiple time winner.

A chance to pick up some important Ranking points make this is an important match for Dudi Sela and Lukas Lacko and the winner might feel they can perhaps have a surprising run. When the draw was made, Sela began as a slight underdog, but I think the markets are beginning to adjust correctly as I like the Israeli to win this First Round match and he is now going into it as the favourite.

Sela might have had a very early defeat at Wimbledon, but he did win three matches on the grass in Nottingham. His serve is vulnerable which makes it tough for him on a surface where one break can lose you a set, but Sela has a strong record against Lacko including beating him on a grass court last season.

It was a good run for Lacko at Wimbledon where he reached the Third Round after coming through the Qualifiers, but he hasn't had a lot of success in main Tour matches on this surface. 2016 in general has been disappointing for Lacko who throws in poor service games too often and that has resulted in him struggling to get back inside the top 100 of the World Rankings.

This match might come down to which of the players is able to overcome difficulties on serve the best in the games where they face break points. However you have to think Sela holds the mental edge which can help in those moments when the big points will be contested and I will back him to move through to the Second Round.

MY PICKS: Vania King - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Dudi Sela @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)

Season 2016- 35.10 Units (1035 Units Staked, - 3.39% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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