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Wimbledon Preview and Outright Picks 2017 (July 3-16)

The third Grand Slam of the season comes hot on the heels of the second Slam and this time the men's tournament will have all of the top...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 20th)

It was a decent, if unspectacular, Wednesday with two of the three picks returning a winner.

Thursday is a day reserved for the second half of the Second Round matches to be played at the various tournaments outside of ATP Newport which has reached its Quarter Final Round although they do spread those four matches over two days.

No one can deny there are plenty of matches to get through on Thursday, but I will be honest and say only two of those have intrigued me enough to add to the picks for this week.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Facundo Bagnis: Some may have been moved away from this pick after seeing the struggles Fernando Verdasco had initially in his win over Elias Ymer in the First Round. The veteran may not have covered that day, but he played well enough to have a chance to do that and I think he can beat Facundo Bagnis for a second year in a row in Bastad.

Last year Verdasco lost just three games to Bagnis in a comfortable win here and he is still returning well enough to give the Argentinian troubles in those games. Bagnis did beat another veteran in the First Round when coming from a set down to beat Tommy Haas, but the challenge is much different when facing an opponent who is still inside the top 50 compared with one who is calling time on a long career.

There have been improvements in the Bagnis game when coming up to the higher level which may make him more competitive in this match with Verdasco who is also a year older. However Bagnis has not played well against the top 50 when his serve has proven to be one that can be attacked, while his return game is still not as strong as it should be to make an impact at that level.

That is not so much a concern for Verdasco who should be able to serve and return with effective enough ability to put himself in a strong position in the match. Nowadays Verdasco is more likely to throw in a stinker of a set, like he did in the First Round, but the numbers backed up the superior player.

With a slightly better returning day, as he has shown when players lower down the Ranking table, Verdasco should be able to come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: There are a couple of factors that may put some off from this pick and the most notable is the way that Thiago Monteiro has played against fellow left handed players on the clay courts. He has won all previous matches against fellow lefty's on this surface, but I think the defending Champion can break down the South American in this one.

It has been an up and down season for Albert Ramos-Vinolas who perhaps underachieved on the clay as far as he has been concerned. However he has shown he is now comfortable enough to beat those players outside of the top 50 on the clay courts and much of that is down to strong returning.

The serve can be vulnerable, but Ramos-Vinolas looks after that against the lesser players on the Tour and Monteiro's return game is one that has much room for improvement. The win in the First Round came through a retirement so we can't read too much into that one, but Monteiro is someone who has shown he can struggle when playing the better players on the Tour.

Ramos-Vinolas is 27-6 on the clay against players Ranked outside the top 50 over the last two seasons and his return numbers have been impressive in that time. I will be looking for him to find a way to put pressure on Monteiro in this one with that return game working out effectively. 

It feels like Monteiro will find lesser chances to break serve compared with Ramos-Vinolas and I think the Spaniard can get through his opening match in Bastad with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-3, + 1.52 Units (14 Units Staked, + 10.86% Yield)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 19th)

There does feel like there is a distinct lack of quality out on the Tour this week which isn't a surprise days after Wimbledon came to a close. While some decent players are in action, the bigger matches are unlikely to be seen until the end of the week when those players are matched up against one another.

The Second Round matches might be better than we saw earlier in the week, but there are still enough mismatches to have some very short priced favourites on Wednesday when the first half of those Second Round matches are played at the five main Tour events.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 games v Renzo Olivo: I don't think I will ever forget the way the match went the last time Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Renzo Olivo met on the Tour. That came earlier in 2017 and Schwartzman somehow failed to cover this number of games despite producing 21 break points compared with just the 9 for Olivo, but the higher Ranked Argentinian could not find the breaks easy to come by.

That does mean Schwartzman has created 37 break points in the last two matches between these players, but his conversion rate has not been anything to write home about. That is a concern because maybe Olivo has some mental strength which enables him to get out of tough spots, but I am more encouraged by Schwartzman's return numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50.

Those numbers on the clay suggest Schwartzman won't be as generous at letting his break points slip away, while his service numbers have also been more productive. Of course this is a vulnerable serve, but Olivo has struggled when playing the top players on the clay as his recent 1-5 record against top 50 players highlights.

Olivo may also have the edge of being over in Bastad over the last two weeks and so accustomed to the conditions, but I think it is Schwartzman who will have the majority of the play.

I do expect breaks of serve for both players, but Schwartzman has the numbers which point to a 7-5, 6-3 kind of win for him in this one.

Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: A knee injury ruled Pablo Cuevas out of Wimbledon the year after he had reached the Final in Nottingham on the grass. The absence from the Tour with an issue that has blighted him before is an obvious concern, but I also know that some players have previously skipped the grass in order to keep their knees from wearing down, particularly Rafael Nadal.

That is the biggest question mark about this match which should be one that Cuevas is very comfortable in. While he is one of the better clay court players on the Tour, Cuevas faces Henri Laaksonen who is still finding his feet at the highest level of the Tour.

There have been six occasions Laaksonen has played a top 50 Ranked player on the clay and he has lost all six of those matches. He was narrowly beaten by Andreas Seppi in a Davis Cup tie, but the other five losses have come in one sided fashion and his struggles on the return are likely to be a big issue here.

Cuevas has loved playing those further down the World Rankings where he is able to generate plenty of success on the return of serve. That could be a big issue for Laaksonen in this one if Cuevas is feeling good and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to put his opponent under pressure.

The biggest question remains the Cuevas health, but if he feels ready to go in this one, I think he can come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Radu Albot: Jiri Vesely got it done when picking him in the First Round and I do think he can cover this number against Radu Albot too.

The numbers against players Ranked outside the top 100 on the clay continue to impress from Vesely who has improved to 7-1 in that spot in 2017 to add to the 9-1 record he had in 2016. The serve becomes a big weapon for Vesely at this level, but the key is the way he has been able to get his teeth into the return games which was highlighted in his impressive First Round win over Norbert Gombos.

I will be looking for that dominance to show up at some point in this match too against Radu Albot who is coming off a decent grass court showing. However he is 0-4 when facing top 50 Ranked players on the clay courts and Albot's issues begin with what is a vulnerable serve, one that I would expect Vesely to exploit in this Second Round match.

He hasn't returned well enough against the top players, while Albot's overall return numbers on the clay makes it difficult to believe he will be capable of sticking with his opponent in this match.

I would expect Vesely to be in a position to break serve three or four times in this match and a decent day behind serve should see him come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-2, + 0 Units (8 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 18th)

There were quite a few matches scheduled for Monday at the five tournaments being played this week, but I didn't really find anything but the one angle with the Carla Suarez Navarro pick.

Thankfully that was an angle that provided a winner.

On Tuesday I do have a few more matches that have interested me with plenty of First Round matches remaining at the various tournaments. Hopefully it can be a day when I build off the success of Monday and get this week into a really positive position before we reach the halfway mark.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Norbert Gombos: He can be a hard player to trust having not quite reached the level expected of him, but Jiri Vesely is comfortable on the clay courts and shouldn't be intimidated by the level of competition he will face in Umag. It has been clear from his numbers that Vesely is considerably stronger when playing at the Challenger level compared with the full ATP during his career on this surface, but this tournament is not considerably stronger than a Challenger event.

The First Round match for Vesely against Norbert Gombos is certainly more in line with the level of opponent he would meet in a Challenger and I think the Czech player is going to be too good for Gombos. You have to respect the fact that Gombos has some solid numbers on the clay, but those have come against players Ranked far below Vesely and I do think that is a difference maker on the day.

The service points won and return points won numbers come down considerably for Gombos when he has taken on top 50 Ranked opponents during his career. Life has been much tougher when it comes to trying to hold onto his serve and this could be a big problem against Vesely.

That comes down to the fact that Vesely has served and returned much better when facing the weaker level of competition in the Challengers that he seems to dominate. Vesely's serve is a weapon on either Tour, but it is the return numbers which are significantly stronger and I expect he is going to be able to make that show up on Tuesday.

These two players haven't met since 2014, but I still think Vesely's 5-1 head to head lead, 4-1 on the clay is still relevant. While Gombos hasn't made a significant move onto the main Tour, Vesely has and has also continued to prove too strong when he drops his level of competition and I like the Czech player to earn a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: It is never an easy decision to back a player who is coming off a long week where they have either reached the Final or won a tournament. Usually it will mean shortened travel time to the next tournament and can be difficult for a player, but Dusan Lajovic won't have the same excuses having won a Challenger event in Bastad a few days ago.

Now Lajovic enters the main tournament draw in Bastad looking to back up the success of last week and being accustomed to the conditions has to help. His best work has tended to come on the clay courts and he is favoured to beat Thiago Monteiro whose best clay court work has come in South America.

However Monteiro has to be respected having spent his life playing on clay and so feeling very good on the surface. The Brazilian hasn't been in the best of form of late though and I do worry that Monteiro doesn't play the return points well enough on the clay to be a threat to significantly improve his World Ranking.

That isn't to say Lajovic is the best returner out there, but he does tend to improve when playing the Challenger kind of level and his opponent is someone he would potentially see in those tournaments. The return numbers also improve when facing players Ranked outside the top 50 and I think that is important for Lajovic who can protect his serve a little better than Monteiro in this one.

Facing a lefty could present some early problems for Lajovic, and fatigue could be another potential issue for him. However I do think Monteiro's poor returning numbers could prove to be a difference in the match as Lajovic is able to work his way to a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Elias Ymer: His best days are behind him, but Fernando Verdasco should still have enough in the locker to beat home hope Elias Ymer who has yet to make the breakthrough at the highest level in his career. Ymer did reach the Quarter Final of the Bastad Challenger last week, but this is a significant step up in class for him even if Verdasco is not the player he once was.

The serve is not working as it did, but Verdasco has been returning as well as ever in his career in 2017 and I do think he is used to playing opponents who are stronger than the one he will face in the First Round here. You can see the decline in the service numbers, but Verdasco's returning ability should keep him in a strong position in this match.

The Spaniard will certainly feel that will be the case against a limited returner like Ymer, especially when he plays at the highest level of the ATP. And it is Verdasco's returning numbers that are likely to keep the young Swedish player under immense pressure for much of this match that is the reason I am going to look for Verdasco to cover this number.

Those return numbers become much stronger when facing players Ranked outside the top 100, although Verdasco was beaten by one such player in Budapest earlier in 2017. It will take a huge upset for Ymer to be able to follow that up with his own upset considering he is 1-11 against top 50 Ranked players in his career and is likely to be in tough spots throughout this match.

As long as Verdasco is focused, it feels like he is going to be too strong and is able to battle past Ymer with a 6-4, 6-2 kind of win.

Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 games v Ana Bogdan: Two Romanian players meet in the First Round at the WTA Bucharest and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to make it through to the next Round. That player is Sorana Cirstea who has used her success at a lower level in 2016 to help propel her back up the World Rankings in 2017 as she is back on the regular WTA Tour.

Cirstea faces her compatriot Ana Bogdan who has yet to earn the consistent results to be playing on the WTA Tour on a regular basis. The best results tend to come on the clay though and that makes Bogdan a dangerous opponent for Cirstea having also beaten her last year at the US Open.

The return game is where Bogdan has struggled to make her impact and she is going to be faced with a decent Cirstea serve. It has also meant Bogdan is perhaps under a bit more pressure to protect her own serve when making less of an impact on return as she would have liked, and I am very much expecting Cirstea to have success in those games too.

The fear when backing Cirstea is her own inconsistencies which can see her drop a set by a wide margin of games which will make covering this number almost impossible. However, Cirstea has a solid 10-3 record on the clay when facing players Ranked outside the top 100 while being Ranked inside the top 100 herself, and Cirstea would have covered this margin of games eight times in those ten wins.

It feels like Bogdan may just struggle to stay with Cirstea over the course of the match and I am looking for the latter to fight her way to a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-0, + 2 Units (2 Units Staked, + 100% Yield)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 17th)

2017 in general feels like it is has been rushing through and that is underlined by the Tennis Tour which has taken in three of the four Grand Slams.

Wimbledon 2017 came to a close on Sunday and I have to say it was not really a stand out tournament, although it will be a memorable one from a historical point of view. Roger Federer winning his eighth Wimbledon title, the first male player to do that in the history of the tournament, will be replayed for many years although it was the second of two disappointing Singles Finals we saw this weekend.

Garbine Muguruza was the other winner, but it may be a case of what may have been for Venus Williams who was leading 5-4 and earned two set points on the Spaniard's serve. Not for the first time over the last two weeks, Muguruza saved those to come out of the game and she went on to win the final NINE games of the Final to pick up a second Grand Slam crown.

I will admit the last time she won a Slam at the French Open last year, I thought Muguruza had all the tools to be a leading contender for every Slam following, but she didn't cope with the new expectations. With more experience we may see Muguruza kick on from the Wimbledon title, although the US Open looks to be another wide open draw on the women's side of the tournament.

It will be Roger Federer who goes into New York City as the favourite for the men's title with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both dealing with injuries which may leave them undercooked for a tilt at the title. Rafael Nadal is playing well enough to be a threat, but it does have to be said that the court conditions we usually see at Flushing Meadows will favour Federer more than the Spaniard and he will be the man to beat in that draw.

There are six weeks before the US Open begins on Monday 28th August and the Tour doesn't stop to gather a breath after the exertions of Wimbledon. While the big hard court events in North America will be played in August, preparation for the US Open will begin later this month in Atlanta and Washington.

This week it is a chance for the clay court loving players to enjoy some final tournaments on their favourite surface. The events in Bastad, Bucharest, Gstaad and Umag are clay events on the ATP and WTA side of the Tour, while the men will have a final grass court event which is held in Newport.

Wimbledon did prove to be a tough tournament for the tennis picks with that generally being the worst of my Grand Slam picks. The outright picks did at least bring in a profit, but the daily picks struggled and the grass court season in general was a poor one for my picks.

A bit better luck may have turned things in my favour, but I just have to take it for what it is and look for better over the remainder of the month to perhaps get into a stronger position.

Picks this week may come out a little inconsistently with the tournaments being played not exactly the strongest, but if anything does take my fancy I will be sure to put those picks down.

On Monday I have only had my eye on one pick coming from the WTA Bucharest First Round.

Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 games v Annika Beck: It can be difficult to trust Carla Suarez Navarro when asking the Spaniard to cover big numbers simply because her serve is one that can be attacked by opponents. The return game is where Annika Beck's strength is too, which makes this a difficult match for Suarez Navarro, although I do give the latter a big enough edge on the clay courts to be able to come through with a healthy margin of victory.

While you would say that Suarez Navarro has had a difficult time on the grass, she has at least been putting matches into the legs compared with Beck who has played just twice in the last eight weeks. Both of those matches ended in one-sided defeats for the German and Beck has lost six of her last seven matches on the Tour to slip down the World Rankings.

Suarez Navarro has had some solid runs on the clay courts, which is no surprise considering how much she enjoys the surface, but some defeats will have raised eyebrows over the clay season in 2017. Defeats to Lauren Davis and Coco Vandeweghe as a favourite were a surprise, but you can't ignore how well Suarez Navarro tends to play against players Ranked outside the top 50 when it comes to meeting them on the clay.

The Spaniard is 27-2 in that spot on the clay, and eighteen of those wins would have come by a margin to cover this number of games. The serve can be an issue for Suarez Navarro, but she has returned really effectively when facing the lower Ranked players on the Tour and I will be looking for that to show up in this match with Beck, whose own serve is very vulnerable.

Beck's own numbers do not look great when facing players inside the top 50 of the World Rankings and on the clay courts. I do think she will have her chances to break serve, but I am not sure she will do that enough to stay with Suarez Navarro who should earn at least four or five breaks in this one.

It is a big number, but I am looking for Suarez Navarro to perhaps move into the Second Round behind a 6-3, 6-2 kind of score.

MY PICKS: Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Season 2017- 33.74 Units (1430 Units Staked, - 2.36% Yield)
Season 2016- 5.64 Units (2013 Units Staked, - 0.00% 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

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 12 Picks 2017- Ladies Final (July 15th)

The Ladies Final at Wimbledon 2017 will involve a Williams again, but it is 37 year old Venus Williams who has come into the tournament that her younger sister Serena could not defend due to pregnancy.

For a long time it was Venus who was the dominant Williams sister on the famous lawns in SW19, but now she will be looking to pull to within one of Serena by taking the title home on Saturday.

That won't be easy against Garbine Muguruza who has played in two previous Grand Slam Finals, both times against Serena Williams. She won the last one of those at the French Open in 2016, but it was Serena Williams who beat Muguruza here at Wimbledon in the 2015 Final.

The Spaniard plays with plenty of power and comes into the Final as the favourite, but Venus Williams has the experience and arguably is playing on her most natural surface.

Venus Williams v Garbine Muguruza: I picked Venus Williams as the winner of this tournament at the start of the event and she has already provided a big return having reached the Final. That means those who followed the outright picks are now sitting on a big priced winner in what has been set as an almost pick 'em Final, but I think it may be worth letting things play out with my feeling being Venus Williams can go on and win the title here for the sixth time.

Both players have only dropped one set in the tournament so far and while Garbine Muguruza had the more straight-forward Semi Final win, I do think Venus Williams has improved in each passing match through the tournament. The serve has been a huge weapon for Venus Williams and it was that delivery which kept Johanna Konta in awkward positions in their Semi Final.

The serve working as well as it has been also means Venus Williams has been able to play with some freedom on the return games and that has seen her put some real pressure on opponents. As well as Garbine Muguruza has served at times, the raw numbers suggest she has been put under some pressure but has managed to play the key points at 30-30, deuce or break point down very effectively.

Some of the players Muguruza have played will be kicking themselves they didn't play those points a little better, but Williams has shown some strength at the key moments in her recent matches. That has been most evident on the serve where Venus Williams has been broken just twice in four matches having dropped serve four times in her first two matches, but it also has seen Venus convert a few more break point opportunities at a better percentage than she was earlier in the tournament.

The Spaniard has not been broken in her last two matches which will certainly give her some confidence, but I don't think Venus Williams will be as loose with her play as Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdalena Rybarikova were. It won't be easy to get into the Muguruza games if she continues to hit as big as she has been, but I am not sure she has been playing as well as the straight sets victories in her last two matches suggest.

Kuznetsova certainly had her chances in their Quarter Final where there were not many points between them, and I think Venus Williams' comfort on the grass means she may be a little more confident when the chances do come her way. Venus Williams has been very strong when facing those players outside the top ten in the World Rankings on the grass and I think the performances so far this week makes me believe the wrong player is favoured in this one.

If Muguruza continues to play way above average on the big points, then of course she is a big threat, but Venus Williams has been close to her best and I like the veteran American to keep the Williams name on the Wimbledon Champion board.

MY PICKS: Venus Williams @ 2.10 Paddy Power (0 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 44-48, - 6.58 Units (179 Units Staked, - 3.68% Yield)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 11 Picks 2017 (July 14th)

At one point in this tournament, it looked like the men's Semi Finals were going to be epic, but I think some of the air has been taken out of the excitement since Manic Monday.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have all been exited the tournament since then and now it feels like Roger Federer is going to be very difficult to stop.

I know in my mind what the 'best' Final would be, but the Semi Final matches will determine who actually has a chance to play for the title on Sunday and they are at least a little fascinating if not the ideal matches for the fans who may have had big expectations on Monday morning.

I went into the Ladies' Semi Finals in a difficult position as to whether I should lay off the Venus Williams price from the outright picks or not. Ultimately I decided to let things ride and it paid off as the American reached the Final on Saturday.

I will take a lot at the Ladies' Final on Friday and see what do to with what will be a big priced winner if Venus can go on and win the title as I am expecting in the immediate aftermath of the Semi Final matches.

For now I will concentrate on the men's event.

Sam Querrey-Marin Cilic over 41.5 games: There have been factors around both wins, but Sam Querrey has beaten the defending Wimbledon Champion in 2016 and 2017. Last year there was no immediate emotional come down from the American after beating Novak Djokovic, but there are more factors at play in this Semi Final match against Marin Cilic.

The win over Novak Djokovic came in four sets and it was in the Third Round, but this time Querrey is into a maiden Semi Final at the Grand Slam level which is clearly going to play some part in the mindset. This year Querrey has also had to win three matches in a row in five sets which means there could be a touch of fatigue for a player who also has played some Doubles.

Now he faces an opponent he has never beaten before which includes three losses on the grass and two of those coming at Wimbledon. Marin Cilic also had to go through five sets to get by Gilles Muller, who had surprised Rafael Nadal, and I think the Croatian will have been disappointed with his returning for large parts of his Quarter Final.

Overall Cilic has been very good on the return of serve in this tournament, although facing the big Sam Querrey delivery is going to be as frustrating as it was facing Muller's. There will be times when Querrey has four big serves and the game will be over, but Cilic will feel he can get the better of the American over the distance as some tiredness perhaps sets in.

The Querrey return game is still not one that should worry Cilic a lot, but the latter has thrown in a couple of really sloppy games throughout the tournament matches which may give his opponent a chance. I still don't think it will be enough to win the match but Querrey will be feeling some confidence which may help him take a set in this one at the least.

The two previous matches between these two at Wimbledon have both gone deep into a fifth set and I am not anticipating a lot of breaks of serve in this one either. I do think Cilic will have the edge in the contest with the way he can return, but his generally poor tie-breaker record in 2017 means Querrey should have his chances if he is not fatiguing and able to keep serving as well as he can.

It does feel the layers are perhaps underestimating the chance of Querrey taking a set in this one with the line they have released for the total games. If this was to go into a fourth set as I am expecting, I do think it will be very tough for the match to finish under the total with the way both Querrey and Cilic are able to serve and I will back the games to be surpassed in this one.

Roger Federer-Tomas Berdych over 3.5 sets: I will be the first to admit that when Novak Djokovic first pulled out of his Quarter Final with Tomas Berdych my initial reaction was that Roger Federer was going to be far too good for the Czech player. It will take a brave person to oppose Federer when it comes to winning the tournament, but Berdych is playing well enough to have something to say in this one.

It will take a big effort from Berdych whose returning numbers have declined this season to the point that you have to feel that his days as a mainstay in the top 10 of the World Rankings may be behind him. The run at Wimbledon may have given Berdych a boost having matched his run to the Semi Final in 2016, but he was beaten easily enough in 2016 by Andy Murray and has to show better on the return to challenge Roger Federer.

The one bonus for Berdych is how well he has been serving, but he is facing Federer who just saw off Milos Raonic in straight sets and managed to get the Canadian into tough spots behind serve. With Roger Federer serving as well as he has been this past ten days, it is going to be very difficult for Berdych to get his teeth into this match and I do worry for him.

It is also Roger Federer who has won the last seven matches between these players and he has just dropped two sets in that time while also beating Berdych in straight sets at the Australian Open in January. Those wins will give Federer confidence, but Berdych may take something away from his narrow loss to Federer in Miami when Berdych actually won more points in the match despite the defeat.

The last time they met at Wimbledon it was Berdych who got the better of Federer in four sets, but it doesn't feel like he is returning well enough to do that this time. However I do think Berdych is serving well enough to take a set in this one and backing the match to need at least four sets looks the call.

I was tempted to pick Federer to win this one in four sets, but I think simply looking for this match to be a little more competitive than most think is the way the second Semi Final could go. While Berdych may struggle to get his teeth into the Federer service games with any consistency, I do think he is playing well enough to serve his way to a set and that is the main reason I am backing this to go into a fourth set.

It would be a huge surprise to me if Berdych was able to win this in straight sets, but I do think he can give Federer something to think about in the match and at least push the former World Number 1 into a competitive contest.

MY PICKS: Sam Querrey-Marin Cilic Over 41.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Roger Federer-Tomas Berdych Over 3.5 Sets @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 43-47, - 6.24 Units (175 Units Staked, - 3.57% Yield)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 10 Picks 2017 (July 13th)

This feels like a tournament that is going to be one which has come really close to some strong numbers, but one that ultimately comes close, but not close enough.

Seeing Simona Halep fall as an 8-1 pick to win the Fourth Quarter in the Ladies draw was a disappointment considering how close she came to beating Johanna Konta. That coupled with both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic failing to win their Quarter of the draw despite being big favourites in their Quarter Final matches makes it tough, and even more difficult to take when you see injury cost both Murray and Djokovic.

With Angelique Kerber also out, it was down to Marin Cilic and Venus Williams to keep the outright picks alive and both still have a chance to produce some strong numbers for me. Cilic is already a winner in the Second Quarter having come in as a 4-1 shot prior to the tournament, while Venus Williams was a big price to win the tournament and has reached the Semi Final.

It won't be easy for Venus Williams when she faces home hope Johanna Konta, while Magdalena Rybarikova takes on Garbine Muguruza in the other Semi Final. Rybarikova came into the tournament way outside the top 100 in the World Rankings and is on the brink of making the Saturday Final in what has been a fairytale run and the two Semi Final matches both look decent on Thursday.

Magdalena Rybarikova + 3.5 games v Garbine Muguruza: There is no doubt that Magdalena Rybarikova is going to feel the nerves of playing in a Grand Slam Semi Final, even though the Slovakian has shown real grit throughout this fortnight. Confidence is clearly soaring for Rybarikova who has had a tremendous grass court season, although it is not a surprise that she has been set as the underdog in this one.

She had never been beyond the Third Round at any of the Grand Slams, but you would never have guessed it with the way Rybarikova has played at key moments throughout Wimbledon. The win over Karolina Pliskova shows that Rybarikova is not afraid to take on the big names either and I do think she can give Muguruza plenty to think about.

The numbers back that up with Rybarikova returning as well as anyone left in the draw and she has dealt with the big serves of Pliskova and Coco Vandeweghe well enough to believe she can have success against the powerful Muguruza delivery. Rybarikova has won 40% of the return points against Pliskova and 46% against Vandeweghe, while backing that up with strong serving of her own.

Muguruza is very capable of blowing players away on the grass as a former Wimbledon Finalist, but I am not sure the Spaniard hasn't been riding her luck at times. The win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Quarter Final looks like a routine one, but it would have been a different story if the latter had been as clinical with her chances as Muguruza was on the day.

The flashier shots are likely to come off the Muguruza racquet with the big hitting winners very impressive and the more memorable shots you will see. However she has been under the cosh in her last two matches and Rybarikova has shown she can take the chances when they come her way throughout the grass court season which could see her surprise by reaching the Final.

The last two matches for Muguruza can be summed up by her going 6/11 on break points converted compared with her opponents going 3/13 and I do think Rybarikova is playing well enough to keep this one close at the least. Generally Rybarikova has served very well during this tournament and that backs up her performances in pre-Wimbledon grass court events too.

With that in mind I do think Rybarikova can take a set in this one which will give her every chance of covering with the games she is being given. It will be an upset, but I think Rybarikova can beat Muguruza on Thursday in what looks a very close Semi Final as long as the Slovakian can keep her nerves under control.

Venus Williams v Johanna Konta: Anyone who has been on the outright picks that I put up prior to the tournament beginning may want to lay off some of the Venus Williams price ahead of this Semi Final. Others may just want to let the pick ride and that is going to be a decision that each individual has to make for themselves.

This might not be the ultimate test at Wimbledon it once was, but beating Venus Williams on the famous green lawns in SW19 has remained one of the toughest matches anyone can play. That is what is in front of Johanna Konta on Thursday and I have to admit I am a little surprised that the British player is favoured to win the match.

She might be a lot younger than Venus Williams, but Konta has played three really tough matches at Wimbledon already and I have to think that accumulated fatigue is going to play a part at some point. I can't see Konta continuing to win the big points as she has done with the numbers both have produced so far this fortnight and that is a key reason I believe Venus Williams will get the better of her.

Konta did beat Williams at the Miami Masters on her way to the biggest title of her career, but Williams did snap a run of three consecutive losses to Konta when beating her in the Rome Masters. Playing on the grass is also a surface on which Williams has thrived much more than Konta and I do think the American former World Number 1 has been serving at a pretty high level which gives her every chance of earning the 'upset' in this one.

As well as Konta has done to get through the draw, she has been relying on the serve to be firing and I think that is going to be tested by Venus Williams. The latter has been returning effectively throughout the tournament and nullified some of the big hitters she has faced with her strength on the grass courts and the ability Williams has shown on the return.

The Konta serve has been a serious weapon for her and she has beaten Williams enough times to believe she can do it again. Wins over the American at the Australian Open and in Miami will give her confidence, but I think Konta is perhaps not as strong on the return as Williams and accumulated fatigue as well as the build up of pressure may just be the telling factors in this one.

While the media will be dreaming of a Konta Wimbledon win forty years after Virginia Wade, I think Venus Williams will get the better of her in this Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Magdalena Rybarikova + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Venus Williams @ 2.05 Bet Victor (0 Units)*

*Having picked Venus Williams each-way in the outright picks, I do think Venus Williams is still capable of winning this match on the numbers. However I won't be putting any units on it having Williams in the outright picks.

Wimbledon Update: 43-46 (6 Voids), - 4.24 Units (173 Units Staked, - 2.45% Yield)

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 9 Picks 2017 (July 12th)

It sounds like a lot of the top women's players were really unhappy with the scheduling for their matches on 'Manic Monday' with some of the very best players on the WTA Tour being pushed out from the top two show courts at Wimbledon.

That has led to criticism for the organisers who have used the two men, one ladies formula for Centre and Court One for as long as I can remember.

I can understand the criticism because I thought there were some terrific ladies Fourth Round matches on Manic Monday, but I think the matter comes down to a very simple reason from the organisers. If you're paying for a ticket on Centre Court then you absolutely want to see the 'big four' men's players who have been the leading lights of the tennis world for some time and so it is hard to shift one of those players for another ladies match.

Value for money is so important when you're actually paying money to go and see these events and I've been to the last two Manic Monday's on Centre Court and would have been disappointed if I hadn't seen Andy Murray, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic on those days. Of course I was delighted to have Serena Williams on court too, but I would not have been happy if only getting to see one of those three men's players mentioned.

Being a best of five in the men's also means I do get to see quite a bit of tennis for my money and ultimately the best of three format could fly by very quickly. That's not to say I don't see one-sided men's matches, but it feels you are getting the value for money with a day of tennis rather than the potential for seeing two matches whizz by.

Maybe it is time for the Wimbledon organisers to break with tradition and introduce an evening session for the two main show courts like the US Open and Australian Open. Or they can put on a fourth match on the main show courts by getting an earlier start than the 1pm which has been the opening time of the big two courts which is an hour and half later than the other courts begin.

It sounds like there is some planning going on behind the scenes which may come into affect in the next couple of years once the roof on Court One has also been completed, but there are options for Wimbledon going forward.

And while you hear about equal prize money, equal standing, you never hear about equal playing time unless it is about the men going down to a best of three set format for the Slams, which would be a terrible move in my mind.

On Wednesday there looks to be an improvement in the weather conditions which should mean that all of the matches are going to be played outdoors as intended at the tournament. The men's Quarter Finals take the limelight on Wednesday and it looks a decent day of tennis, although perhaps not as strong a line up as it could have been.

I've got two full picks and the other two added to the list below.

Andy Murray - 5.5 games v Sam Querrey: Expect to hear that Sam Querrey beat Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon in 2016 at least fifty times during the transmission of this Quarter Final match between the big serving American and home favourite Andy Murray. It's the kind of statement that will make the casual fans think this is a real test for Murray, but the other factors going into the match are probably not going to be mentioned as much.

The nature of Sam Querrey matches means they are never going to be the long, drawn out physical battles, but the emotion of winning back to back five set matches is certainly going to take have emptied some of the tank. The other factor is that Querrey has a poor 4-27 record when playing top five players and that becomes 1-7 in Grand Slam matches.

The win over Djokovic may just have been the perfect time for Querrey with the former World Number 1 coming off the French Open success at Roland Garros prior to that Wimbledon. It has also been the start of Djokovic's decline from the standard he was setting on the Tour and Querrey just might have been in the right place at the right time on that occasion.

Generally he has struggled against the top players because Querrey's serve can be blunted at points and he is not likely to out-rally many of the best with a limited backhand. It's all about the first two or three shots for Querrey and after that I think he becomes a significant underdog to win the point.

Someone like Murray will feel he can get enough balls back in play even if Querrey is serving close to his best on the court. Some games will get away from the World Number 1 with Querrey capable of dishing out some huge serves, but Murray's return game is good enough to put the American under immense pressure through the course of this match.

Murray has a 10-0 record against tall players at Wimbledon (those over 6 foot 4) and he has broken plenty of times in those matches with his returning stats highlighting that. With Querrey's numbers against top five players in Grand Slam events, you do have to favour Murray to win and win well.

Opposing the Querrey serve can be dangerous if the American finds his rhythm, but Murray has beaten twice before without dropping a set and I think he is capable of doing the same here. I will back Murray to cover the games in case a tie-breaker goes against him, but I think he will get through 6-3, 7-6, 6-4.

Marin Cilic - 4.5 games v Gilles Muller: Monday may have been the best moment in the career of Gilles Muller after outlasting Rafael Nadal in an epic five set match at Wimbledon. This is just the second time he has reached the Quarter Final of a Grand Slam event and the first since 2008 at the US Open, while Muller had never previously been beyond the Third Round here at Wimbledon.

Having a day off between matches will help, but Muller has to have left something on the court after that win over Nadal. It is the second time he has had to go five sets in The Championships, and both times he has needed at least sixteen games before working his way through to the next Round.

The nature of the match against Nadal meant points were not really, really long, but anyone who has spent almost five hours on the court is going to feel some fatigue. Adding that to the five setter earlier in the tournament and Muller is going to be feeling it, although the big lefty serve gives him a chance to ease through some games.

I say some games because his opponent Marin Cilic is returning very effectively at the moment and has the levers to make returns from awkward spots around the court. The serve-volley isn't a bad play against the Croatian, but Cilic's aggressiveness on the return has been well backed by really strong serving which is going to put a lot of pressure on Muller in this Quarter Final.

We saw how well Cilic can return against Muller at Queens when he won 36% of the points against the serve and created 13 break points. Converting only 2 is a concern for Cilic backers, but I think the latter is playing really well at the moment and he does play well when facing the taller players on Tour.

The return of the two players should ultimately be the key. I would have favoured Cilic over a fresh Muller, but the additional factor of the fatigue is in play and I like Cilic to win this one with relative comfort. He could potentially drop a tie-breaker if Muller still has some energy left, but at the end of it I would think Cilic can earn three or four breaks of serve to help him move into the Semi Final with a 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 8 Picks 2017 (July 11th)

They call it 'Manic Monday' at Wimbledon and it certainly was a fascinating day with a number of the matches needing a deciding set to work out the winner and it was all rounded off by the incredible match between Gilles Muller and Rafael Nadal which was won by the man from Luxembourg 15-13 in the fifth set.

That means one of the 'big four' is finally out of the Wimbledon draw and it was the one I opposed with Marin Cilic the pick to win the Second Quarter and now a clear favourite to do that.

Angelique Kerber did go down to a three set loss to Garbine Muguruza though to prevent what was an otherwise successful day all around.

Anyone who has picked Andy Murray to win the First Quarter now has a short priced favourite at odds on to do that. Simona Halep was 8-1 to win the Fourth Quarter of the Ladies' event and is a pick 'em against Johanna Konta so anyone who followed me there has a chance to split the winnings in half to ensure a profit from that match.

With Venus Williams, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic still running, this does feel like a week in which there could be plenty of positive returns at the end of it.

Speaking about Djokovic, he is the only player who is yet to have played his Fourth Round match when Wimbledon inexplicably decided not to move his match with Adrian Mannarino to a vacant Centre Court.

The reasons given are not the best and ultimately Djokovic and Mannarino can feel hard done by knowing they won't have a day of rest between their Fourth Round match and the Quarter Final as the other men have had. They do go out on Centre Court first on Tuesday though and the weather in the area means there could be some additional rest now that at least two of the Ladies' Quarter Finals will likely have to be played on Wednesday.

I would expect all three Centre Court matches to be played under the roof on Tuesday with the rain expected in the area and that will likely mean both Court One scheduled matches are likely to be held over until Wednesday.

Svetlana Kuznetsova + 2.5 games v Garbine Muguruza: An impressive come from behind win over the World Number 1 and a strong head to head against Svetlana Kuznetsova has to have been factored into the price for Garbine Muguruza in this Quarter Final. She has beaten the veteran Russian the last three times they have met and Muguruza is also a former Finalist at Wimbledon facing Kuznetsova who has matched her best result at Wimbledon by reaching the Quarter Final.

However, I think Kuznetsova is playing the kind of tennis that could see her upset Muguruza here and I am going to take the games with the Russian.

The serve has been dominant for the most part, but it is the really effective returning which will have impressed so many. Kuznetsova's movement on the grass is arguably as good as it ever has been and she will come forward and look to play the aggressive tennis that will really put some pressure on Muguruza.

The Kuznetsova numbers on the grass are actually better than what Muguruza has been able to produce in their respective careers and I do think the latter is perhaps a little over-rated having reached the Final here before. The power Muguruza possesses is eye catching, but she can't make the same amount of unforced errors as she did in the Fourth Round as Kuznetsova is playing well enough to take advantage where Kerber just failed to.

Kuznetsova snapped her run of being 0-5 when facing a top 20 Ranked player at Wimbledon with her win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the Fourth Round on Monday. While Muguruza is 3-1 against top ten players at Wimbledon, she has only covered in this number of games in one of those matches and I do think Kuznetsova's numbers have looked much superior than Muguruza's so far.

Taking the games looks like it has every chance of paying off with Kuznetsova capable of earning the upset in this one and I will back the veteran Russian to potentially set a new career best record at Wimbledon.

Venus Williams - 1.5 games v Jelena Ostapenko: All credit has to be given to Jelena Ostapenko for the way she has performed at Wimbledon after the success she had at Roland Garros. While other first time Slam winners have struggled with the new expectations on their shoulders, that has not been the case for Ostapenko who exudes the confidence of believing she should be amongst the elite on the WTA Tour.

It is still only the very best players who have been able to produce the French Open-Wimbledon Double and I still feel this is a long shot for Ostapenko. As well as she has played, she has been in close matches and at some point she is going to be on the wrong end of one of those matches.

Facing a player like Venus Williams who is so confident on the grass and who has been playing some strong tennis in her first four wins might be the player that can get the better of Ostapenko. It should be noted that recent matches at Wimbledon against the top 20 Ranked players have not worked out very well for Venus Williams, but I think her numbers over the last eight days have been more impressive than Ostapenko's.

There will be times when Ostapenko is able to take a few swings of the racquet and punish the Venus Williams second serve, but I do think the first serve could be a real deciding factor in this one. It is a reason she has won so many points behind serve and that has allowed Venus Williams to attack the serves she has faced.

I think that will be an issue for Ostapenko because her serve is one that is still a little vulnerable to first strike tennis. Venus Williams is capable of playing in an aggressive manner on the grass and I think she will be able to pressure Ostapenko into the errors.

Ostapenko winning close matches is a testimony to the confidence she is playing with, but I think she may just come up short as Venus Williams moves through to another Semi Final at Wimbledon.

Coco Vandeweghe - 2.5 games v Magdalena Rybarikova: You won't find many people who would have picked this as a Quarter Final and it does present a big chance for both Coco Vandeweghe and Magdalena Rybarikova to earn a spot in the final four of a Grand Slam tournament. Vandeweghe did reach the Semi Final at the Australian Open and the grass is her favoured surface which will have a few people wondering if she can keep the big hitting going all the way to the title on Saturday.

The Rybarikova run to the Quarter Final has really come from left field considering she has only recently returned from an injury that has dropped her to well outside the top 300 of the World Rankings. She had never been beyond the Third Round in a Grand Slam prior to this tournament and Rybarikova may take some confidence from the fact she beat Coco Vandeweghe at the French Open in late May.

However having a winning record against the American did not help Caroline Wozniacki who could not handle the pace and power that Vandeweghe produces on the court. While Rybarikova has already taken care of one big serving player when beating Karolina Pliskova in the Second Round, Vandeweghe is arguably more comfortable on the grass than Pliskova and that may show up in this one.

The serve is a huge weapon for Vandeweghe and she has been able to punish opponents with a huge return off the serve too. That has seen Vandeweghe produce some top returning numbers and I think she can put Rybarikova under pressure having seen Petra Martic have success against her on Monday.

Rybarikova has been returning effectively too, but this might be the toughest opponent she has faced when it comes to trying to find consistent breaks of serve. It has to be said that Rybarikova has not been as dominant behind serve and I think ultimately that is shown up on the scoreboard as Vandeweghe makes a second Grand Slam Semi Final in 2017 behind a 7-5, 6-4 win.

Johanna Konta-Simona Halep three sets: Anyone who has backed the outright picks that I put up at the start of the tournament will be sitting on a huge price for Simona Halep. Some will decide to lay off here, while others my think Halep can earn the win against Johanna Konta on her least favoured surface.

Both Johanna Konta and Simona Halep will understand there are some big obstacles in the way if they do want to take home the Wimbledon title, but there are other mental issues in this one. For Konta it is the pressure of the nation who will be expectant of the current favourite to win the title here, while for Halep the chance to reach World Number 1 may be on the mind as a win will secure that spot at the least.

Separating the two isn't easy because Halep seems to have the better return game and you would think she is going to be good enough when the rallies develop. However it is Konta who looks to have the superior serve which can offer up some cheap points and get her out of a jam as it has done over the course of this tournament.

Overall Halep has the better grass numbers even though Konta is perhaps considered the better player on the surface. Konta also has been able to really play well when facing the top ten Ranked players which is actually an area in which Halep has struggled in recent years.

The top results for Konta have not really come in the Grand Slams though and I can see both players have their moment and also their struggles during this match. Halep might be the fresher of the two having made much more serene progress through the draw compared with Konta, while Konta has won their two Tour matches compared to Halep who holds two wins over the Brit in Fed Cup action.

Everything is pointing to another close match between these two and I won't be surprised if a decider is needed to separate them. I am leaning towards Halep perhaps doing enough with her return to break down Konta in that decider, but ultimately I won't be surprised if this is another Konta match that goes into a final set decider.

MY PICKS: Svetlana Kuznetsova + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Coco Vandeweghe - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Johanna Konta-Simona Halep Three Sets @ 2.38 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 40-41-5, - 0.52 Units (157 Units Staked, - 0% Yield)

Monday, 10 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 7 Picks 2017 (July 10th)

The biggest difference between Wimbledon and the rest of the Grand Slams on the Tennis Tour is clearly 'Middle Sunday' which has been left as a 'rest day' traditionally.

It also means the best day on the Tennis calendar is played on Monday when the entire Fourth Round of Wimbledon is played which means we have sixteen top matches on the same day. That is great for those at the grounds with big time matches going on around the various courts and the improvement in television coverage means the fans at home get to enjoy a number of quality matches going on at the same time.

Having cameras on all the courts means people at home can pick and choose the matches with some of the more competitive ones being played away from the show courts.

It is a great day having attended the last two years in a row and one I would highly recommend for tennis fans everywhere.

The first week of the Grand Slam is in the books and it is good news that all of my outright picks have managed to negotiate the first three Rounds at Wimbledon. This is when the challenges get much greater though and I just have to hope that those I have picked are ready to peak in the second week.

With the players remaining in the Fourth Round, Wimbledon has every chance of ending on a high with some huge matches potentially in front of us.

The weather has certainly been pretty incredible over the first week, but Monday and early in the second week it looks like it could be wetter. Hopefully the forecast has got that wrong and we can get through the Fourth Round on Monday in what looks a great day of tennis.

While the French Open Picks proved to be a big one for the season totals, the first week at Wimbledon has been a little up and down and I have been a touch unfortunate at times. Players losing deciding sets or seeing opponents retire when in a really strong position has been the reason I am slightly down on where I would have wanted to be.

Hopefully I will begin the second week with a lot more positive results and get this tournament back on track.

Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: This is perhaps not the Fourth Round match that most would have expected, but Roberto Bautista Agut was able to upset Kei Nishikori on Friday to earn his place in the second week at Wimbledon again. It was a surprise to see the Spaniard play the big points as well as he did considering his poor record against top ten opponents, but now Bautista Agut has to face another one.

While there are some questions for Nishikori on the grass which perhaps showed up in his loss in the Third Round, Marin Cilic is someone who has shown he loves playing on the grass. The return games that Cilic has played in the last week highlights a real danger in the draw and I am not at all surprised he is the fifth favourite to win the title behind the 'Big Four' although none of those players will take a win over the Croatian for granted.

Playing as a top ten player has clearly given Cilic confidence in the Grand Slam events and he has a strong 22-3 record in Grand Slam matches when ranked amongst the best and facing those players outside of the top ten. That records become 7-0 at Wimbledon having won his three matches this week and the fact Cilic has won at least at least 42% of return points in each of those wins shows a dangerous player for Bautista Agut to face.

The Cilic serve has been a very big weapon for him, although he will want to avoid continuing to give up the gift break of serve as he has done in the last two matches. This is arguably the best returner Cilic has faced, but Bautista Agut does struggle when facing the best players, while his own serve is one that can be attacked by someone as aggressive and confident as Cilic seems to be.

Bautista Agut does not have great numbers when facing up to top ten Ranked opponents in the Grand Slams and I think he will have a much greater test than when he faced Nishikori. He has beaten Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in 2016 which will give him confidence, but Cilic is a much tougher proposition on the grass and I think he will prove to be a solid 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 kind of winner in this one.

Sam Querrey-Kevin Anderson over 44.5 games: The layers are finding it hard to separate these two players who could be in line to face home favourite Andy Murray in the Quarter Final at Wimbledon. This time last year, Sam Querrey would have been coming in off a win over Novak Djokovic and he did go on to reach the Quarter Final, but the American is going to be facing another big server in Kevin Anderson who had a 2-0 lead in sets against Djokovic here a couple of years ago in a Fourth Round loss.

Both players have a chance to reach just their second Grand Slam Quarter Final and that should mean there is some tension in the air. Of course it is much easier to deal with that by laying down a huge serve and I think breaks of serve will be at a premium when they play on Monday.

With the heat in London, both Querrey and Anderson should be able to punish the other with the serves producing cheap points. Both have strong numbers behind serve through the first week with Kevin Anderson's numbers being particularly impressive having lost just under 19% of points behind his serve.

Querrey hasn't been returning badly, but he is someone who will be heavily reliant on his own serve too and this feels like it could be a long match. Overall I am giving the edge to the underdog Querrey who might just be the slightly superior grass court player, but Anderson is not going to give this one up easily.

I would be surprised if either player is able to win this one in straight sets with the way the other has been playing over the first week at Wimbledon. The layers aren't giving much away there, but I do think this is match will surpass the total games number if it does go into a fourth set.

With the serving numbers both have produced and the relatively limited returning stats, I can't see too many breaks of serve. A couple of tie-breakers could take a chunk out of the numbers and this match going into a fourth set should see this number surpassed with a chance of an even longer outing that goes deep into the fifth set not being ruled out.

Andy Murray - 6.5 games v Benoit Paire: The Third Round win over Fabio Fognini was a solid one for Andy Murray and it is the kind of match that will give the World Number 1 some confidence to take into the second week. Having the weekend off will be good for Murray to just get some rest into what was considered to be a troubling hip prior to the tournament, while the draw does look like it has opened up for the defending Champion.

Some will say the talent of Benoit Paire is another step up in class for Murray to deal with, especially with the three solid wins the Frenchman has had this week. However he is someone who has struggled on the grass courts throughout his career and playing the elite players on the Tour has been a tough task for him too.

Where Paire could be a threat is the way he has been returning over the last month on the grass, far better than he has in his career having show clear disdain for the surface. The last two matches have been against some decent servers too so Paire has to be respected, although the fact he is 3-14 in matches against top five players has to be a concern.

There have been good signs from Murray in his own returning games and I am not sure Paire is serving as well as the raw numbers considering his last two opponents returning issues. That is highlighted by more difficulties in the First Round and Paire is someone who will look to use the drop shot and other dubious shot selections which won't get it done against the top players on the Tour.

Losing heart could be a real problem for Paire in this one and I think that may be the reason Murray is able to pull away and cover in this one. Murray has an impressive 41-0 record against opponents Ranked outside the top 20 at Wimbledon and he is able to find the effective returning which can see him crack those players both emotionally and on the scoreboard.

In this one I am looking for Murray to ease to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 kind of win to move through to yet another Wimbledon Quarter Final.

Tomas Berdych v Dominic Thiem: This is one of those Fourth Round matches where you are likely to hear an almost 50-50 split in which of the players people will be backing to progress. The layers are no different with this match being set as a pick 'em in a number of places and I can understand the argument for both.

This might not be Dominic Thiem's favourite surface as he continues to learn about the timing of the ball, but I do think the hot weather has helped. Now the courts have been playing more like a hard court, Thiem becomes more dangerous, but he will still need to show improvement in his return game, especially converting break points when they come his way.

He can't expect to have the host of chances like Thiem managed to create against Vasek Pospisil and Gilles Simon because Tomas Berdych has been serving at a very high level this past week. While the serve has not been unbreakable, the numbers have very much favoured him and I am not surprised he has made his way through the draw in the fashion he has.

This isn't the Berdych of old though with his own return numbers not as strong as he would like, while the Czech player is a player with a losing record against top ten Ranked players at Wimbledon. However he will feel his serve will give him every chance to keep Thiem under pressure in this one as Jiri Vesely did when beating the Austrian last year at Wimbledon.

Berdych's return game is a worry, but I think he still has enough to win a match like this on this surface. His best days may be behind him and there is a decline in the performances that is evident to most, but Thiem has yet to conquer the grass and he hasn't played too many of the big names on this surface.

The Austrian is just 4-3 when playing top 50 Ranked opponents on this surface which becomes 1-1 when playing the top 20. The win did come against Roger Federer in Stuttgart last year, but I think Thiem is still not comfortable enough to beat someone like Berdych over a best of five sets on the grass courts of SW19.

Milos Raonic - 1.5 games v Alexander Zverev: I am a fan of Alexander Zverev and you can see the improvements he is making in his game on a week by week basis. In my mind there is little doubt that this is a future Grand Slam Winner, but the future is unlikely to begin at Wimbledon this week.

As well as Zverev is playing in 2017, this is the first time he will be playing in a Grand Slam going into the second week of the tournament. That inexperience could be a factor in this match, while the other factor has to be the losing record the young German has against the top ten players in the World Rankings over the last eighteen months.

In Rome there were clear sings that Zverev is getting used to playing and beating the biggest names on the Tour, but doing that over a best of five set match is still the next step needed in his development. Zverev is 0-3 against top ten players at the Grand Slams and he has just had some issues in both the serve and return department that he has not shown against players in general tournaments.

Now facing Raonic is a big challenge considering the Canadian is a former Semi Finalist and Finalist at Wimbledon. The Raonic return game has been working pretty well at Wimbledon so far, although he will be the first to admit that he has to be a little more clinical when the break points come.

They won't come easy in this one against the Zverev serve, but I do think the German can play one or two really poor service games which may prove to be very costly in this one. I think Raonic will just have the edge at the key moments of a fascinating match and he might just have enough veteran know-how to manage his way through in four sets.

I can see Zverev just offering up a couple of breaks of serve which may be the key factor in a 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win for Milos Raonic.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v Gilles Muller: It won't be considered as big an upset by the oddsmakers as in 2005 when Gilles Muller was able to beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, but on current form the general public may not see it that way. All of the focus will be on Nadal who looks to be playing the best tennis of his impressive career, but the casual fan may not realise how well Muller has been playing on the grass.

The big serving Muller is not purely about the speed of his serve, but the placement he has been getting has been fantastic and put plenty of pressure on his opponents. The numbers have remained strong over the past week at Wimbledon, but Muller will be hoping the two day rest this weekend has been enough to refill what has to be an energy tank that has been depleted.

It will certainly be tested by Nadal in the Fourth Round with the Spaniard being in fine form when it comes to his return and that has sparked the strong tennis he has shown. You can't ignore that this is the best server that Nadal would have faced at Wimbledon, but the Spaniard was impressive against Karen Khachanov and will believe that he can get the better of the rallies if he is able to make enough returns.

Playing a left hander at a Grand Slam won't bother Nadal who has gone 25-1 against them in the Slams since his loss to Muller at Wimbledon in 2005. That includes beating Muller twice including once at Wimbledon, and he has not dropped a set in either of those wins against the veteran.

Muller has lost his last four matches against left handers in the Grand Slams and this feels like a match in which he will be worn down by the clear quality Nadal has been playing with. While I do think Muller can run through some games simply with the way he can serve, I do think Nadal is going to pick up a read on the serve at some point and start to pile up the pressure on his opponent.

The Spaniard has been starting matches very quickly but he may have to wait a little longer as he breaks down Muller 7-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Novak Djokovic - 7.5 games v Adrian Mannarino: Playing back to back five set matches in a Grand Slam is a tough ask for any player, but a daunting one for a player who is facing Novak Djokovic in his next match. If the match had been on Friday for Adrian Mannarino, maybe he would have had enough time to recover physically, but this is the normal rest time between matches at a Slam for the Frenchman.

This is a surface on which Mannarino would feel he can give Djokovic problems as he did when they played in the First Round at Wimbledon in 2016. However the accumulated fatigue is likely to be an issue at some point and Djokovic has played well through the first week of the tournament to suggest he is on the right road back after what has been a torrid twelve months relative to the standards he has set for himself.

Djokovic has been returning as well as at any point in 2017 although his supporters will know there are going to be some big challenges ahead for him in the second week at Wimbledon. He played well when winning the title in Eastbourne and Djokovic's numbers have been even better in his two completed matches at Wimbledon.

He has also been serving very well which is going to make it tough for Mannarino to find the physical energy and the emotional intensity to stay with the former World Number 1. It is Djokovic who has won six in a row against left-handed players at Wimbledon and he has produced some really good numbers in those matches, while he has won ten in a row against left-handers in Grand Slam tournaments.

At some point the time spent on court is going to catch up with Mannarino and I can see him being worn down by Djokovic in this one. Perhaps the rain can come and give the Frenchman more time to recover from the exertions of the last two Rounds, but I still think Djokovic will work his way through to a 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 win as he shows he is rounding into form going into the business end of the tournament.

Roger Federer - 5.5 games v Grigor Dimitrov: The television companies and those on Centre Court will be very pleased with the match up they will have in the Fourth Round as Roger Federer takes on Grigor Dimitrov. While there will be hope for a really competitive match, I think Dimitrov has to really produce some of his best tennis to have a chance against Roger Federer who has eased through the first week.

Give the Bulgarian some credit though, he has been playing spectacularly through the first week at Wimbledon. A former Semi Finalist makes Dimitrov a threat, but his numbers have looked strong against overmatched opponents and that has not been the case when having to step up to take on the best on the Tour.

The numbers Dimitrov has produced in his three matches this week have been similar to his career numbers when facing the lower Ranked players on the grass. Dimitrov is 1-1 against top five players on the grass of Wimbledon, but that was in 2014 when surprising Andy Murray before being beaten by Novak Djokovic, while Dimitrov is now 1-5 against top five Ranked players at the Grand Slams.

Dimitrov just simply doesn't return as well as he would like against the top players when he does run into them at the Grand Slams. That has contributed to his overall 9-26 record when facing the top five players on the Tour and he may have some difficulty in getting after the Roger Federer serve consistently enough to be able to shock the favourite.

It is Federer who has won all five previous matches against Dimitrov which includes a four set win over him at the Australian Open where he would have covered this number. The Federer serve has been very strong this week in his two wins and that has allowed him to take a few swings at the return and get into a position to break opponents and come through fairly comfortably.

Federer does tend to handle those who are outside of the top ten in the Rankings when facing them at Wimbledon and he does return well against those players. I think he will be able to get into the Dimitrov service games at key times in the sets which should see Federer come through with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win.

Svetlana Kuznetsova - 2.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: In their careers, Agnieszka Radwanksa has been more comfortable on the grass courts than Svetlana Kuznetsova and their overall body language will tell you that. It is the tournament in which Kuznetsova has had her fewest Grand Slam wins and Radwanska has had her most, but this might be the right time for the Russian to make another Quarter Final in SW19.

This week the two players have progressed through the draw in contrasting fashion and the Kuznetsova performances have been so strong that it feels like should be able to get the better of Radwanska. The returning numbers have been very strong from the Russian who has been serving pretty well too.

In contrast it has been a battle for Radwanska to come through the last couple of Rounds where she has had to come through a third set decider to progress. She has managed to ease through the decider to be fair to her, but Radwanska has to feel the amount of tennis she has had to play and her serve is one that Kuznetsova should be able to attack with confidence.

These two players are 1-1 when they have met on the grass and you have to take note of the fact that Kuznetsova has never beaten a top ten player on the grass in six previous attempts. However those have come when Kuznetsova has really struggled with her return but I am not sure Radwanska is playing well enough on her serve to keep the Russian at bay in this one.

The declining numbers of Radwanska in 2017 should come home to roost in this one and I think Kuznetsova is able to come through with a 7-5, 6-4 win.

Elina Svitolina v Jelena Ostapenko: There is much to admire about the French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko, but backing that success up with a win at Wimbledon would arguably be an even bigger surprise than her win in Paris. This is one of the more difficult doubles to pull off in Tennis in either the men's or women's game, but Ostapenko has come through a couple of sticky moments to reach the Fourth Round.

No one can doubt her ability to play on the grass considering Ostapenko is a former Junior Champion at Wimbledon. She is playing with confidence and abandon and that makes Ostapenko very dangerous for any opponent she has left to play at this tournament.

The match with Elina Svitolina is one that Ostapenko will believe she can win simply because the former hasn't shown a lot of positive form on the grass courts in her career. The run to the Fourth Round might have changed Svitolina's feeling on the grass though as she has produced three very strong performances and her more steady game might be enough to weather the storm against her opponent on Monday.

Svitolina has been serving effectively, but the key to her wins has been the aggressive returning which has put her in a position to reach her second Grand Slam Quarter Final in a row. This is already the best performance Svitolina has produced at Wimbledon and I think the numbers means she has every chance of winning a close one against Ostapenko.

As well as Ostapenko has returned, her serve can be attacked and that is where Svitolina's returning could be a deciding factor. I can see Ostapenko earning her break points, but Svitolina can serve well enough to put Ostapenko in a difficult position in rallies which can see Svitolina come through in a tight match.

Venus Williams - 3.5 games v Ana Konjuh: It has been a good week for Venus Williams in that she has made the second week at Wimbledon yet again and it looks like a fatal car crash that she was involved in will not be blamed on her. While she may still feel the pain of being involved in an incident like that, the fact the police look to be moving away from blaming her thanks footage released has to be a huge weight off of the shoulders of the American.

She will be looking for another Quarter Final at a tournament Venus has been playing in since before Ana Konjuh was even born. That is an amazing testimony to how long Venus Williams has been able to stay at the top of her game and her performances this week suggest she can go deeper into the tournament.

I do think Venus will want to make life easier for herself by returning better earlier in matches which has been the only negative about her wins so far. Overall she has been the dominant player with the serve being very effective and her returning numbers solid enough, although this will be a test for her.

There is a lot of talent in the Ana Konjuh racquet and the question is whether she can cope with the occasion having only once made it through to the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam event. That did come last year at the US Open and Konjuh was an eventual Quarter Finalist there, but I think there is a gap to bridge here with her own service numbers not as strong as what Venus Williams has been able to produce.

The strong returning has helped Konjuh come through her matches with the last two needing a deciding set to get the job done. That could mean there is a touch of fatigue with emotional and physical tanks lacking a little bit of energy Konjuh may have had. If she continues to just have a few issues on the serve, Venus Williams should be able to take advantage and I will look for her to cover in a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Johanna Konta - 3.5 games v Caroline Garcia: The bookmakers have installed Johanna Konta as the favourite to win Wimbledon in the light of both Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova exiting the tournament before the Third Round. While some players could have been affected by that, Konta showed she can put that to the back of the mind after dominating her Third Round match.

This is a bigger test for Konta against Caroline Garcia who was playing wonderfully in Paris at the last Grand Slam. She has backed that up with some solid wins in her first three matches here, but I think there are a couple of areas where she has struggled that could be highlighted in this match.

Both Konta and Garcia are very reliant on the serve with both producing solid numbers behind that shot. However it is the British player who has shown a little more consistency when it comes to the return game and I think that proves to be the key factor in deciding who moves on to the Quarter Final.

To be fair to Garcia, she hasn't returned badly this week, but her opponents have not been of the quality of Konta. Her returning numbers when facing players Ranked in the top ten have not been that good and that is the reason she has lost ten of her last eleven matches in that situation.

Garcia is just 1-4 against top 20 Ranked players on the grass courts and you can see her serve is one that those players have found a way to attack. It has been all the tougher for the Frenchwoman to retrieve the breaks on this surface and I think Konta is able to come through with a 6-4, 6-4 win if she can control the nerves of going into the second week of Wimbledon as the favourite.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Sam Querrey-Kevin Anderson Over 44.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Milos Raonic - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 7.5 Games @ 1.80 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Elina Svitolina @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 33-37-5, - 5.86 Units (135 Units Staked, - 4.34% Yield)