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Monday, 4 July 2016

Wimbledon Tennis Day 8 Picks 2016 (July 4th)

People's Sunday at Wimbledon was something of a disappointment when you consider the matches that had been left over to complete in the Third Round, but did provide a good chance for members of the public to attend an event that is difficult to get to.

It also means 'Magic Monday', or 'Manic Monday' as some like to call it, will go ahead as scheduled and this remains arguably the best single day of tennis you will see anywhere in the world. The entire Fourth Round is played on one day and I am fortunate enough to be attending on this day again having been there last year.

The Order of Play has worked out as I wanted with Federer, Serena Williams and Andy Murray's matches all set for Centre Court and I am looking forward to spending my day there.

After a very strong Sunday when all five picks made came back as winners, I am looking to back up such a successful day with another strong showing on Monday. The tennis will come thick and fast through the day and it should be enjoyable for those attending SW19 and those who will be following the action at home.

Marin Cilic-Kei Nishikori under 41.5 total games: A rematch from the US Open Final in 2014 takes place in the Wimbledon Fourth Round on Monday and this looks like one of the stronger matches to be played on the day. It is something of a surprise to me that this isn't on Court 1 at the very least when you think of the two players in action, but it perhaps highlights that Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori have not found the consistency they would have wanted at Grand Slam level following that Final in New York.

On that occasion Kei Nishikori had run out of gas in a comprehensive defeat in the Final, but he should feel he is stronger now with his rib issue seemingly under control. He also has a very strong record against Marin Cilic having won seven of their ten previous matches, but I think it is important to mention that Cilic has won their last two Grand Slam matches.

Picking a winner is tough in this one and the layers seem to agree with little between them in the outright market. They are favouring Nishikori, but I do feel Cilic has the deeper grass court pedigree and I think he would be the more likely winner, although the bigger feeling I get is this is too many games for the pair to combine and cover.

I do think the match will go four sets, but neither player can really look at their serve as being invulnerable and I can see a situation where there are breaks in this match. That should prevent us seeing more than one set going at least 5-5 on the scoreboard and I think the only way this will go over this number of games is if we see five sets.

Nicolas Mahut - 1.5 sets v Sam Querrey: No matter what kind of results we see during the second week of Wimbledon, I can't imagine a situation where will see a bigger upset than Sam Querrey beating Novak Djokovic in the Third Round. Some might have thought the big serving American would cause some problems for Djokovic, but I can't imagine too many rushed out to back Querrey to win when the match began although I do wonder if Djokovic was at full health.

With Djokovic out of the way, the Mens draw suddenly looks a lot more open and someone like Nicolas Mahut might take advantage of Querrey opening the top half of the draw.

I am guessing Querrey will be very confident he can back up his win, but it is a big ask to come back out and produce the same quality of tennis he did when away from the big show courts. He also was beaten by Mahut in three sets when they met at Hertogenbosch and Mahut looked the stronger player when they met there in June.

If Mahut serves well, I think he can have his successes in this one and this might be a real chance for him to have a special Grand Slam performance on the Singles circuit. You do have to respect how well Querrey played against Djokovic, but I think he might struggle to reach that level again and I believe Mahut might beat him in three or four sets in this one.

Roger Federer-Steve Johnson over 35.5 total games: There were a couple of ways I was interested in approaching this Fourth Round match and all pointed to Steve Johnson playing a significant part in it. The layers seem to think Roger Federer should be walking through this Fourth Round encounter, but I think his opponent is about as confident as he will be when taking on a 17 time Grand Slam Champion.

Winning the title in Nottingham after reaching the Queens Quarter Final before winning three matches at Wimbledon will give anyone confidence. Johnson is serving very big at the moment and the forehand is firing, while the American might also be improving his returning game.

Johnson has only dropped one set this week and his wins over Jeremy Chardy and Grigor Dimitrov look better than Roger Federer's wins over Marcus Willis and Dan Evans. Those came after Federer struggled in the First Round to really break free from Guido Pella and I do wonder if the Number 3 Seed is perhaps not battle tested for this match.

The seven time Wimbledon Champion had two surprising losses in Stuttgart and Halle in preparation for this tournament and I think Federer will be tested to his limits if Johnson brings his recent form into the match. Eventually I think Federer will make Johnson a little predictable on the court which should see him get passed his American opponent but I do think Johnson can win a set. That should give these two every chance of covering this number of games and I will back that to happen.

Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Jiri Vesely: It feels strange to hear players talk about Tomas Berdych as their 'idol' because it reminds me of how we have all aged, but that is what Jiri Vesely does think of his compatriot. The two Czech players meet for a place in the Quarter Final at Wimbledon and it should be an interesting contest to see how Vesely deals with the pressure of taking on someone he looked up to.

The big question for me is whether this is a breakthrough tournament for Vesely who is yet to show strong consistency on the Tour. His wins so far this week have been impressive and Vesely has a big serve and a strong forehand which makes him a dangerous opponent on the grass.

That makes this number of games dangerous for Tomas Berdych to cover, but I think he will feel he is performing at a decent level while quietly moving through the draw. It can't be ignored that this is still the only Grand Slam in which he has reached the Final and I think Berdych will be able to make enough returns to pressure Vesely through this match.

My overriding feeling is that Vesely has taken advantage of what has been a decent draw outside of his tough win over Dominic Thiem. While impressed with the way he played in that one, especially the way he served, I think Vesely will find it more difficult to do that against Berdych with the mental obstacle of trying to beat a player he has looked up to through his career.

Berdych can wear down his compatriot in this one and have a rare straight sets win at this Grand Slam while covering this number.

David Goffin-Milos Raonic over 3.5 sets: I don't think anyone will be disputing the talent that David Goffin possesses, but the serve is an obvious weakness and some will try and work out how he has reached so high in the World Rankings with that issue. However David Ferrer has shown that having a limited serve is not a problem to surpass expectations and Goffin looks his natural successor in the top ten of the World Rankings.

This is a very difficult match for David Goffin against a big serving Milos Raonic who will feel he can have a 'free shot' at the Goffin serve in his return games. The Canadian will likely have enough to keep Goffin at bay if he is serving well and Raonic is considered a dark horse to win the Wimbledon title with John McEnroe as his mentor.

However I think Goffin is capable of making enough returns to find his way into the match and it has to be said that he has found a way to steal a set off of Raonic in each of their last two meetings with one another. The Belgian lost a tight one to Stan Wawrinka in the Fourth Round last year at Wimbledon and I do think he has played well enough on the grass to trouble Raonic.

With that in mind, I do think Goffin will need a helping hand from his opponent who can't bring his ultimate serving performance to the court on Monday. If Raonic serves at top form, Goffin might not have enough to get something out of this match, but I do think he is being underestimate to take a set at least in this one and force this match to go at least four sets.

I would be completely surprised if Goffin won this in straight sets considering he has lost his last couple of matches against Raonic, but I will back at least four sets to be needed.

Nick Kyrgios-Andy Murray over 3.5 sets: This is the one match I have been looking forward to most since the draw was made and I am very happy that both Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray have made their way through three Rounds to get here. They might be good friends off the court, but both are fiery characters on the court and I think this could be a blockbuster of a Fourth Round match.

Andy Murray is the clear favourite and you can't argue with that when you think he has won all four Tour matches between these two players over the last couple of seasons. The last three of those took place in the Slams in 2015, although Nick Kyrgios will feel he broke through a barrier by finally taking a set off the World Number 2 at the US Open.

After beating Murray in the Hopman Cup in January, Kyrgios may have gotten further belief that he can compete with someone as defensively strong as Murray. A first meeting on grass changes things compared with the other Slams as there might be a little more pop on the Kyrgios serve, but I still fancy Murray will get the job done as a player with a return as strong as he has.

Murray will look to make Kyrgios play plenty of balls and will know he has the chip return at his disposal considering the Australian's lack of confidence coming to the net behind his serve to put away volleys. That is a key reason I believe Murray wins this match, but I can see Kyrgios hitting a purple patch of form and breaking through the Murray defences to take at least one set in this one.

They hadn't played too many close sets before the US Open last September when Kyrgios finally did win a set against Murray and I think he will thrive in this atmosphere. After blowing Rafael Nadal off the court at Wimbledon a couple of years ago, Kyrgios has perhaps become more known for his outbursts than his tennis but I think he will give the Centre Court crowd a treat and at least make this anything other than a straight-forward win for Murray and I do think they will need at least four sets to decide this.

Coco Vandeweghe - 4.5 games v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: At first glance this looks a huge number of games for Coco Vandeweghe to cover against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova with the latter possessing the kind of power to fight back against the American. However, I think Vandeweghe has a serve which is more consistent than Pavlyuchenkova and that can help her set up the points in a more timely manner and see her get through a difficult Fourth Round opponent.

After reaching the Quarter Final at Wimbledon last year, Vandeweghe has backed up that performance with a strong showing on the grass this past month. Winning a title in Hertogenbosch has given her confidence and there is no doubting the damage her serve does on this surface which will mean the pressure is on Pavlyuchenkova to respond.

I am surprised to see that Pavlyuchenkova is still higher than Vandeweghe in the World Rankings at this point, but I am expecting that to change by the end of the season. Some strong results at Wimbledon to get to the Fourth Round have impressed, but it is hard to ignore the Russian's losses in Birmingham and Eastbourne while this is also the best run Pavlyuchenkova has had at Wimbledon in her career.

Usually she exits the Singles draw fairly early and while I think her own serve can give Vandeweghe problems, I also believe Pavlyuchenkova might struggle to cope with the firepower moving her around the court for much of this match. The first set will likely be tight, but I can then see Vandeweghe pull away for a 75, 63 win and a place in the Quarter Final at SW19 for the second year in a row.

Dominika Cibulkova + 2.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: I backed Dominika Cibulkova to beat Agnieszka Radwanska with a handicap head start in Eastbourne prior to Wimbledon and I will back the 'pocket rocket' to frank that result. It was a tight first couple of sets in Eastbourne, but Cibulkova wore down Radwanska there and has to be feeling very confident going into this Fourth Round match having won eight matches in a row on the grass courts.

Matches between Cibulkova and Radwanska tend to be very competitive for the most part and all three matches in 2016 between them have needed three sets to find the winner. The last two of those have been won by the Slovakian and she is in the kind of form that makes her a dangerous player through the remainder of this tournament.

There will be some long rallies and I can see both players having their moments and also having to deal with a number of break points. While I think Cibulkova might hold the mental edge having beaten Radwanska in Eastbourne, I do think Radwanska has the capabilities of turning that around if she can just hold her unforced errors together a little longer than she did in Eastbourne.

Cibulkova hasn't lost a set since she dropped the opening set to Radwanska in Eastbourne and I am interested to see how she would cope if she goes behind this time. However I have to say Cibulkova is in the kind of form that makes it strange to see her as a significant underdog and I do think she can make these games count even if she was to lose in what is likely to be a deciding set.

Ekaterina Makarova - 2.5 games v Elena Vesnina: There is a Quarter Final place on the line for these two friends who are also Doubles partners and amongst the best in that form of the game. For now both Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina will put their friendship aside and battle it out and and it is Makarova who has a significant edge in the head to head.

These two have played seven times in the past and it is Makarova who has won the last six of those including a straight-forward win over Vesnina at the French Open last year. Makarova has won the last twelve sets played between these two and nothing the other will bring to the court should be a surprise although this is the first time they will be playing one another on the grass.

It is also Makarova who has the deeper grass court pedigree even if both have shown some good form in the tournament so far. The Vesnina serve has been a big weapon for her, but this is something that Makarova would have seen plenty of in practice and I think it might be a match up that she simply enjoys a little more than Vesnina does.

That can happen between friends and Makarova's lefty serve is probably the more dangerous of the two services which can be a difference maker on the day. I will look for Makarova to reach her second Quarter Final in three years at Wimbledon while covering this number of games.

Venus Williams - 1.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: The layers have not found it easy to separate Venus Williams and Carla Suarez Navarro in this Fourth Round and I think that says a lot about where Venus Williams is in her career. The grass courts would normally have favoured Venus Williams significantly against Suarez Navarro, but she hasn't always looked convincing going into the Fourth Round.

Venus Williams has needed three sets to come through the last couple of Rounds, while her Third Round win saw the American blow a strong advantage before coming through. However it has to be said that Suarez Navarro has also had to dig deep to win her own matches here at SW19 to get through to the Fourth Round and I think it will come down to which of these players imposes themselves a little more on the day.

That is where I think Venus Williams can come through in this Fourth Round match because I still believe she has the serve that can provide some cheaper points. Her movement might not be up to the level it was in her pomp, but Venus Williams should also be able to get on the front foot in the return games by playing first strike tennis and force Suarez Navarro to play shots out of pressurised situations.

The Williams serve is not as dominant as it once was, but I think she can get the better of Suarez Navarro on this surface and will back her to come through with her most impressive win of the week so far.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Svetlana Kuznetsova: After coming close to winning her twenty-second Slam at the Australian Open and French Open, Serena Williams still came into Wimbledon as the favourite to win this tournament. She survived a tough Second Round match against Christina McHale and Serena Williams was back to her dominating best, after a slight blip, on Sunday when dismissing Annika Beck.

Now she faces Svetlana Kuznetsova who holds a win over Serena Williams from Miami earlier in the year and who has been playing confident tennis. She battled back from 5-2 down to beat Sloane Stephens 7-5 in the final set on Sunday but Kuznetsova will be the first to say she needs to up her game if she is going to beat Serena.

I have little doubt this is going to be a fun match to watch, but Williams holds a significant advantage on the grass courts. She will earn a lot more free points from her serve compared with Kuznetsova and it can take its toll on a player when they have to play a lot of tennis balls to win points, especially when facing the power that Serena brings to the court.

The key for Serena Williams is to not offer Kuznetsova the kind of encouragement she has given her last two opponents, but I expect a really focused World Number 1. She was embarrassed at the manner of her loss to Kuznetsova in Miami, but earned revenge by demolishing her on the clay courts in Madrid and I think Williams is a much stronger grass court player.

She will know the dangers that Kuznetsova can provide if not focused and I think Williams will have enough joy on the return of serve to record an impressive straight sets win in this one and cover a big number.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic-Kei Nishikori Over 41.5 Total Games @ 2.00 Will Hill (2 Units)
Nicolas Mahut - 1.5 Sets @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer-Steve Johnson Over 35.5 Total Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
David Goffin-Milos Raonic Over 3.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Nick Kyrgios-Andy Murray Over 3.5 Sets @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Coco Vandeweghe - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Dominika Cibulkova + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Ekaterina Makarova - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 33-23, + 17.28 Units (112 Units Staked, + 15.43% Yield)

1 comment:

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