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Friday, 1 July 2016

Wimbledon Tennis Day 5 Picks 2016 (July 1st)

The organisers must have been loving the fact that the rain missed SW19 on Thursday as they bid to get the Wimbledon tournament back on track in time for 'Magic Monday'.

There is every chance they will be able to do that over the next couple of days, although they might be hoping their Seeds can work their way through the draw to make sure there are some big matches to come next week. On Thursday it seemed like Seeds were falling everywhere you looked including some big names in both the Mens and Ladies draws.

Garbine Muguruza and Dominic Thiem might be the ones who garner most of the headlines with their exits a blow to the 'next generation'. Both of their losses were big upsets, while home hope Johanna Konta will be looking at all of her missed opportunities in the final set against Eugenie Bouchard when she had the momentum behind her which looked to be taking her through to the Third Round.

On Friday we have a mix of Second and Third Round matches the tournament looks to get firmly back on track by the end of Saturday evening.

Tomas Berdych - 6.5 games v Benjamin Becker: The sole Grand Slam in which Tomas Berdych has made the Final is at Wimbledon but recent seasons have been more difficult on the grass for the big-serving Czech player. He had to battle through his First Round match against Ivan Dodig which highlighted some of the weaknesses Berdych has on the surface as he doesn't really deal with the strange bounces as effectively as he did in his run to the Final in 2010.

His return has not been as strong while the movement on the grass has caused Berdych some issues, but even with that in mind I have to like his chances to get through to the Third Round. The match up with Benjamin Becker is one he has enjoyed previously although the German has not played Berdych since 2012.

This might be seen as a potential good omen for Berdych as he did beat Becker on his way to the Final in 2010, but Berdych can't overlook an opponent who has had some decent results on grass. Becker's first serve can offer him plenty of cheap points and Berdych will have to dent his confidence early in this match to prevent it becoming a dragged out affair.

Becker will look to stay with Berdych as long as possible, but he doesn't have a deep record at Wimbledon and this has the makings of a tough, but relatively straight-forward win for the higher Ranked player. I like Berdych coming through with a 63, 75, 64 win.

Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 games v Fabio Fognini: The weather has not been kind to Fabio Fognini who had to conclude a five set First Round win on Thursday and is now back on court to take on the dangerous Feliciano Lopez. The Italian hasn't had a lot of success on the grass courts, but he can be a dangerous opponent when he 'fancies' playing although I don't think he will be able to stick with Lopez in this one.

It has been a relatively poor grass court season for Lopez to this point and he had a disappointing early defeat at Wimbledon last year. This is a player that has loved playing on the grass as it really is suited to his lefty serve and ability to hit plenty of volleys and so I am sure he is expecting a much longer stay at SW19 this season.

You cannot disguise the fact that the Lopez return is one of the weaker parts of his game, but he will use plenty of slice and also will know that Fognini is not likely to blow him off the court with his own serve. That should mean Lopez can get his eye in on a few return games and a big serving day would frustrate Fognini much as it did when they met at the US Open last season.

The recent performances at Wimbledon have not been up to the standards that Lopez may demand of himself, but he can begin to build momentum this time around. I like the Spaniard being able to dominate behind serve for much of the day and help get into a position to record a 63, 76, 64 kind of win.

Nick Kyrgios-Dustin Brown over 3.5 sets: If you're looking for some flashy, big serving tennis, you would do well to get over to the court where Nick Kyrgios takes on Dustin Brown in the Second Round on Friday. Both players have a huge serve, but Brown is more likely to get to the net and influence matters from there, while Kyrgios will look to set up the big groundstrokes off the serve.

There is one other major similarity between the players- both Nick Kyrgios and Dustin Brown have upset Rafael Nadal on Centre Court with their big games in recent seasons.

Most will be expecting Kyrgios to be too good for Brown on the day and anything other than a win for the Australian would surprise me. However, Kyrgios is still not always mentally focused and can get distracted and a player like Brown will do that to you while also being a frustrating opponent when he is serving big and hitting his ridiculous volleys.

Brown has had some big wins at Wimbledon with both Nadal and Lleyton Hewitt, two former Champions here, having been seen off in different years. He isn't the best returner so a focused day from Kyrgios likely sees him win this in straight sets, but the latter is still not quite consistent enough from a mental aspect and I think this might need four sets to separate the players with tie-breakers likely involved.

Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 sets v Juan Martin Del Potro: There is no doubting that this is the match of the day as Stan Wawrinka and Juan Martin Del Potro meet in the Second Round. Both players are Grand Slam winners and both have had some success on the grass courts in the past and I have to say I am envious of those who have Centre Court tickets for Friday.

I don't think either player is completely comfortable on the grass either, but both have a game that makes them very dangerous. Big serves, heavy groundstrokes penetrate the grass, although neither Wawrinka or Del Potro have returned as effectively as they would like.

This does make the chances of seeing tie-breakers pretty high which makes my pick a little dangerous on the lottery of a breaker. However I think Wawrinka is the stronger player at this moment in their careers with Del Potro simply happy to be back in Grand Slam action for the first time in eighteen months.

I am a big fan of Del Potro and would love to see him making strides back up the World Rankings, but this is a big task for him to beat someone as confident and strong as Wawrinka. While Del Potro won their last three matches, the last of those came before Wawrinka became a Grand Slam Champion and I think the Swiss player gets this done in three or four sets.

Kei Nishikori - 5.5 games v Andrey Kuznetsov: The rib injury that has bothered Kei Nishikori coming into the tournament looks to be pushed to the back of his mind if you saw the way he dealt with Julien Benneteau in the final three sets on Thursday. The physical issues are one of the big obstacles in the way of Nishikori really becoming a threat at the Grand Slam level and having to play on back to back days can be difficult.

He is also playing a dangerous opponent in Andrey Kuznetsov who has a decent first serve and loves to put plenty of power into his groundstrokes. That can see him rattle through games and Kuznetsov has to be respected for the way he handled Gilles Muller in a straight sets win in the Second Round.

When these two met at the French Open, Nishikori was an impressive straight sets winner over Kuznetsov, but he will be challenged in this one. The Nishikori return is very strong and will put his opponent in some very strange places on the court, but I don't think he can afford to underestimate what Kuznetsov is capable of when he is at top form.

Ultimately I do think the Nishikori return will prove to be a big difference maker in this contest and help the Number 5 Seed come through the match. I would not be surprised if we need a tie-breaker in one of the sets as Kuznetsov rattles off some big games, but I think Nishikori will come through 64, 76, 63.

Novak Djokovic - 7.5 games v Sam Querrey: The World Number 1 will have to play on Court 1 on Friday, but I don't think Novak Djokovic is bothered all that much about these things. He might have some poor memories of the court having been pushed to five sets by Kevin Anderson here last season and Djokovic is facing another dangerous big server in Sam Querrey this time around.

While a player like Querrey is fairly limited as to how he can attack the best player in the world, the big serve makes him dangerous if he is feeling it off the racquet. There is no doubting that Querrey can take the racquet out of Djokovic's hands if he serving at his full potential, but the more likely scenario is that Djokovic is able to dictate much of the match.

Djokovic is in the position he is in at this moment of his career thanks to a very strong return of serve and I think he will be able to get enough balls back in play. I think Djokovic is more than capable to get into the weaker backhand wing of Querrey and he did dismiss him very comfortably when they last met at the US Open in 2014.

As much as the American will look to pound down serves, he was beaten easily enough by Roger Federer here last season. Novak Djokovic has yet to hit his best form consistently through a match at Wimbledon, but I think he can move into the second week of the tournament with an impressive win and I will be looking for him to cover what is a big number on first glance.

Roger Federer - 7.5 games v Daniel Evans: For the second time in three days, Roger Federer has to face a British player who is not expected to challenge him on the Centre Court at Wimbledon. Marcus Willis was a great story, but Daniel Evans has been playing some decent tennis of late and is definitely expected to be more competitive than Willis was against Federer.

It is a different match for Federer as he is now facing an orthodox player and Evans is not possessing a serve that is going to earn him too many cheap points. However, Evans has a little more about his game than relying on too many drop shots and his win over Alexandr Dolgopolov will have made that clear to Federer.

In saying that, Federer should still be too strong for a player who has lost grass court matches to players much inferior to the seven time Wimbledon Champion. My one concern is that Federer hasn't looked at 100% since returning to the Tour following a back issue, although he has served effectively in the first couple of Rounds.

He should have a few chances to break the Evans serve and while the latter will stick around a little longer than Willis, I do think Federer is going to secure a fairly comfortable win and his place in the Fourth Round on Monday.

Simona Halep - 3.5 games v Kiki Bertens: The run that Kiki Bertens had at the French Open has boosted her World Ranking, but might have more importantly boosted her confidence. The Dutchwoman showed she had a very big game in that run to the Semi Final before coming up against Serena Williams and it was no surprise that she decided to bypass any grass events prior to Wimbledon.

It has allowed Bertens to get healthier and her two wins this week have been impressive, although Simona Halep is the biggest test she would have faced so far at Wimbledon. This is already the best run Bertens has had at Wimbledon and she has erased the painful memories of last season when she helped open Centre Court on the Tuesday in a hammering at the hands of Petra Kvitova.

Halep also was beaten in the First Round at Wimbledon last year and she has struggled at this Grand Slam notwithstanding one Semi Final run in 2014. Her two wins this week have been fairly comfortable, but Halep will have to make sure she controls the unforced errors if she is going to get the better of Bertens in this tough Third Round clash.

I have little doubt there will be some difficult moments for both players to negotiate, but I do feel the consistency Halep has might help her past Bertens. After some breaks both ways, I think Halep can work her way through to a 64, 64 win.

Lucie Safarova - 3.5 games v Jana Cepelova: Last year it was Simona Halep and this year it is Garbine Muguruza who has suffered a big upset loss to Jana Cepelova. There is no time for that result to be digested by Cepelova as she is back in Third Round action on Friday and I do wonder if she is going to be able to back up that win over the Number 2 Seed.

Cepelova will be tested to the fullest by Lucie Safarova who has the game for the grass courts as proved by a Semi Final run in 2014. This year has been very difficult for Safarova as she has looked to recover from injury and wins have been hard to come by.

However the lefty serve can be tough for opponents to read and Safarova has some very strong groundstrokes that will give Cepelova things to think about. I also can't ignore the fact that Cepelova was beaten comfortably enough in her match following the win over Halep last year and she does not have the best record on the grass courts outside of those two memorable wins.

As long as Safarova serves well to keep the pressure on Cepelova, I think the Czech player can succeed where Muguruza failed and wins this match 63, 64.

Friday Morning Edit: I had three further picks in mind which I wanted to sleep upon before deciding and I have added those to the 'MY PICKS' section below. I have placed them in bold italics to highlight those.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Stan James (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Nick Kyrgios-Dustin Brown Over 3.5 Sets @ 2.38 Bet365 (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 Sets @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Ekaterina Makarova + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Nicolas Mahut - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 18-15, + 4.40 Units (66 Units Staked, + 6.67% Yield)

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