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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

French Open Tennis Day 11 Picks 2017 (June 7th)

The rain that has been expected in Paris over the last week finally arrived in a big way on Day 10 at the French Open.

It meant the two men's Quarter Finals scheduled for Tuesday didn't make it onto the court, and that means Day 11 is going to be a great day for the fans who have purchased tickets for the two main courts.

We will have all four men's Quarter Finals played on Wednesday, when the weather looks almost perfect for tennis, and we will also see the remaining two women's Quarter Finals to be played.

With the shorter than expected Day 10, you can read my views for the two men's Quarter Finals that were originally scheduled for Tuesday here.

The picks may have gone 1-1 on Tuesday, but there was actually some profit added to the tournament totals thanks to Jelena Ostapenko coming back from a set down to beat Caroline Wozniacki as the underdog.

With six matches scheduled for Wednesday, I am hoping to add to those totals and make sure this tournament ends with a very positive number behind it.

Andy Murray - 5.5 games v Kei Nishikori: I've been considering how I think this match up will go ever since Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori completed their Fourth Round wins to earn a place in the last eight at Roland Garros. The layers have made Murray a considerable favourite and I think that has a lot to do with the fact Nishikori still doesn't look to be at 100% while the World Number 1 has shown improvement in each passing Round in Paris.

I have ended up leaning that way with questions about the performances of Nishikori in his wins over Hyeon Chung and Fernando Verdasco despite being given a bagal in each match. The serve is going to be needing to be at its very best for Nishikori to win this one, but I am not sure that is going to give him a lot of free points on the clay courts against a returner of the quality of Murray.

The rallies could end up being real battles and I do wonder if Nishikori is not having some problems with his wrist which has bothered him for the last couple of months.

In saying that, I do have to respect the fact that Nishikori has tended to give Murray fit in these best of five matches. They met twice in best of five matches in 2016, both on the hard courts, and both Murray and Nishikori won one match apiece although they needed five sets both times.

Needing five sets is not going to be good enough for Murray to cover this number, at least you would think it won't be good enough, but I have doubts about Nishikori which is determining the way I think.

Murray has been returning so well in the tournament that he has won at least 40% of the return points in each match and he should have plenty of chance to get into the rally against this Nishikori serve. Verdasco won 45% of the return points two days ago and I expect Murray is going to have plenty of chances to break serve.

His own serve has looked to be in better nick in the last three Rounds after struggles with an elbow issue and that could be a key factor in this match. Most will appreciate that Nishikori has a decent return himself and will cause problems for Murray, but I can see the World Number 1 breaking down his opponent and wearing him down.

Nishikori has proven he can fight his corner and he may take a set, but I can see Murray winning one set by a wide enough margin to help cover the game handicap with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.

Stan Wawrinka-Marin Cilic over 39.5 total games: If there is one player that won't mind flying under the radar as we reach the business end of a Grand Slam, Stan Wawrinka might be that player. He has shown he can peak to win these big events over the last three years and Wawrinka is a former winner here in Paris.

The 2015 Champion has yet to drop a set in the French Open draw although I am not sure how that is the case when you think of how tight some of the sets have been. Wawrinka has won all twelve sets he has competed in in the main draw, but half of those sets have ended either 7-5 or 7-6.

He has saved a number of set points in his straight sets wins over Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils in the last Round, but now he is facing an opponent in Marin Cilic who has been returning very well throughout the event. Cilic has won at least 40% of return points in each of his four matches at Roland Garros, while the Croatian has won at least 56% of return points in the last two Rounds.

Those numbers means you shouldn't be surprised that Cilic has won every set he has played in the draw, but none of his opponents have won more than three games in a set. That will give a former Grand Slam Champion plenty of confidence to take the game to Wawrinka and I expect Cilic's aggressiveness to give Wawrinka some problems in this one.

There will be some mental obstacles for Cilic to overcome having a 2-11 head to head against Wawrinka which includes losing the last seven matches in a row. Stan Wawrinka has also won all five of their previous matches on the clay courts and he has won eleven of twelve sets in those matches on this surface.

You can see those being an issue in this match as Cilic will have some tough moments mentally with that poor record against Wawrinka in the mind. However he might be playing well enough to challenge Wawrinka more than he has been able to in recent matches and that is by forcing at least a set from the Swiss star.

Matches between them may have landed in favour of Wawrinka, but last year they met twice and three of the four sets played needed a tie-breaker to decide them. With Cilic playing as well as he has been on the return side of things, he may be able to take the break points that are earned more efficiently than Gael Monfils was able to in the last Round against Wawrinka.

It feels like a match that could have some long sets involved and so I am leaning towards the total games to be surpassed. It will need four sets, at least, to get over the number set and I do think both players have played well enough over the last ten days to think they can get to four sets.

With the way recent matches between Wawrinka and Cilic have gone as well as the way Wawrinka matches have developed this week, I can see something like a 7-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 result for one of the players and this total to be surpassed.

Karolina Pliskova - 2.5 games v Caroline Garcia: I was really happy to see Caroline Garcia beat Alize Cornet on Monday, and not solely because I had backed her to do that. I think Garcia has not been treated well by her fellow French tennis players so it felt like justice to see her beat Cornet on the court and Garcia is now the last French player at Roland Garros in the 2017 tournament.

That is down to Kristina Mladenovic exiting the women's tournament in her Quarter Final on Tuesday so the fans should be fully behind Garcia as she bids to upset Karolina Pliskova.

There is a lot to like about Garcia's game which has a decent serve attached to some quality groundstrokes, but she can be a little up and down emotionally within a match. You have to also consider the emotions Garcia showed at the end of the win over Cornet which underlined the importance she had attached to making sure she produced her best tennis in the Fourth Round.

My fear for Garcia is that she has peaked too early in this tournament and investing as much as she did in that Fourth Round win over Cornet could mean the Frenchwoman has just left something out on the court two days ago.

That would be a real problem against Karolina Pliskova even if the Czech player is not at her best on the clay courts. Pliskova still has a big serve that can get her out of trouble and Garcia is not exactly someone who has thrived on the clay courts in the past. The Pliskova win over Timea Bacsinszky in Rome looks a very impressive one now and she may enjoy the big hitting kind of match that this is going to develop into as it could help with the rhythm.

If Garcia has put the win over Cornet aside, I think she would have a real chance to earn the upset. However my pick is based on the fact that I think Garcia has spent a lot of emotional energy which might not have had the time to be replenished, and is now facing an opponent in Pliskova who can hit through this court when feeling at her best.

After a battle through the first set, Garcia may lose some confidence if she drops that set and Pliskova can move into another Grand Slam Semi Final with a 7-6, 6-3 win.

Elina Svitolina + 4.5 games v Simona Halep: The most impressive performance from any of the women's players left in the draw might have been the Simona Halep destruction of Carla Suarez Navarro for the loss of just two games. It erased all doubts about her fitness and Halep even suggested it was the best performance she has produced in 2017 as she continues on the road to breaking her Grand Slam duck.

That performance has been factored into the price for this match, but I also think Elina Svitolina's back issue that flared up before her Fourth Round win over Petra Martic has played a price. However Svitolina has admitted she has been feeling much better and that it may have been a freak occurrence and that is enough for me to think this is too many games being given to the Rome Champion.

No one will be surprised by the numbers Halep has produced on the return with at least 48% of points won against the serve in each of her four matches in Paris. That has set her up for the dominant wins she has produced in the last two Rounds, but I still can't ignore the history of Halep throwing in a really poor performance under the huge expectation of going on to win a Grand Slam title.

She is also facing the best server she has seen this week as Svitolina is more than capable of backing up her service games with heavy groundstrokes. When the Ukrainian starts feeling her tennis, she can produce a level that very few players can come close to matching on the WTA Tour and will become a real threat to Halep.

Svitolina doesn't have the same sort of return statistics as Halep, but the players she has played have heavier serves than the ones Halep has beaten. I also think the Halep serve is one that can be vulnerable and Svitolina is a player that can punish her on that side which makes this number of games appealing.

I won't read too much into the result between these players in the Final in Rome which saw Halep roll her ankle in the first set of what ended up being a three set defeat. However it did show that Svitolina is able to find a level which can hurt Halep and I am going to take the games here to at least cover in this Quarter Final even if she is not able to go on and win the match.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka-Marin Cilic Over 39.5 Total Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Elina Svitolina + 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Sporting Bet (2 Units)


French Open Update: 53-35, + 30.64 Units (175 Units Staked, + 17.51% Yield)

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