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United Corner- Manchester United, New Season, Increased Expectations (August 11th)

United Corner- Manchester United, New Season, Increased Expectations (August 11th 2017) If you were going to grade the 2016/17 season...

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (June 15th)

The change in surface does mean there is the real potential for a number of upsets early on in these events. The move from the clay to the grass is considered the most difficult of all the switches over the course of the Tour and that has shown up at times over the years.

Roger Federer wasn't helped by being a little undercooked in terms of competitive matches, but he will still feel he should have beaten Tommy Haas having missed his chances in the final two sets after dominating the first.

I don't think there should be a real concern about Federer who will be back in action in Halle next week. He has been stunned early in the draw in Dubai earlier in 2017, but Federer has shown he can bounce back from that by winning the Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami following that loss to Evgeny Donskoy.

Halle is a big tournament for Federer though as he will want to put some matches under his belt ahead of the start in Wimbledon and no longer be the 'World Practice Champion' as he described himself this week.


It was on the way to a very strong day for the tennis picks on Wednesday, but some late losses prevented the kick on that I would have wanted. At least it was a day when there was another tick upwards for the totals for the week, although I would have hoped for more.

There were a number of matches that I liked on Wednesday, but Thursday looks a little tighter to call and so I have half of the number of picks from the day before.


Benoit Paire - 1.5 games v Peter Gojowczyk: Backing Benoit Paire to win any tennis match is always a decision that could send someone through the wringer, although it's easier when you know you're not actually going to watch the match as live.

There is no doubt that Paire can play some flashy tennis, but he is also highly frustrating when he loses his cool and starts producing error after error. He can also be someone who collapses mentally which can result in some really poor sets of tennis and the potential to give up his position and tank on the match.

With that in mind, I still want to back Paire in this Second Round match against Peter Gojowczyk who simply doesn't play at this level too often. Winning three matches through the Qualifiers and First Round may give the German the confidence to try and pull off the upset, and Gojowczyk has had a stronger grass court pedigree than Paire which will give him further belief.

Paire didn't have a bad performance in his First Round win over another erratic player on the Tour, Victor Troicki, and a similar level should be good enough here. He actually served effectively enough and Paire's return game was also solid and he should be too good for an opponent who is generally used to playing at the Challenger level.

The odds are given for the fact that Paire and Gojowczyk have had differing results on the grass courts in the past, but I like the Frenchman to battle through with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win.


Evgeniya Rodina - 3.5 games v Antonia Lottner: The First Round win over Dominika Cibulkova is the biggest of Antonia Lottner's young career, but backing that up may be a difficult task. Coming through the Qualifiers before beating Cibulkova is impressive from a player who has not had a lot of grass court experience but Evgeniya Rodina is very capable on this surface.

The emotion of battling her way through three sets is going to take a physical and mental toll on Lottner and I think that is going to be a factor in this match.

Rodina had some solid wins in Surbiton last week before crushing Miyu Kato in the First Round here and she has the big hitting that can be very dangerous on the grass courts. She did reach the Quarter Final here in Hertogenbosch in 2016 and Rodina also won a tournament at the lower level on the surface last year and I think she will have a little too much for Lottner.

The Rodina serve is a decent enough weapon, although Lottner will have her chances to break the serve, while I think Rodina has hit out on this surface to really pressure opponents in her return games.

After a couple of tight sets, I am expecting Rodina to progress to the Quarter Final on Friday with a 6-4, 6-4 win.


Ana Konjuh - 2.5 games v Richel Hogenkamp: There are a number of young players on the WTA Tour who look like they are close to making the breakthrough that Jelena Ostapenko made at the French Open. While all of these players will still be big prices to win Grand Slam titles at this time, Ostapenko's success will have inspired many of those players going forward.

One of those that has been tipped for the top is Ana Konjuh who has won a title on the grass courts before and who produced a solid win in the First Round. Konjuh has also reached the Third Round at Wimbledon before and I think she will be too good for Richel Hogenkamp despite having a difficult 2016 on the surface.

Hogenkamp has to be respected after putting together a number of wins on the clay courts, albeit the majority of those coming at the levels below the main Tour. The consistency of those wins have not come on the grass courts over the years and I do think Hogenkamp will struggle with the power that Konjuh can produce.

I also believe the younger player will have the superior serve on the day and that is a huge benefit on the grass courts and I do think Konjuh will work her past Hogenkamp. Ultimately I think Konjuh will earn a break of serve more than her opponent in the two sets they compete in and I will back her to cover this number of games.


Yanina Wickmayer + 4.5 games v Johanna Konta: The feeling for the casual fan may be that Johanna Konta is going to bounce back from her clay court struggles with some big runs on the grass courts over the next month. Some will even feel she should be one of the favourites to win the title at Wimbledon, but I think Konta's game is not completely suited to this surface.

I believe Konta likes her rhythm off the ground, but the potentially low bounces can ruin that for her and the Brit doesn't have as strong a record on the grass as some would imagine.

She has played well in Eastbourne where she has reached one Quarter Final and one Semi Final in the last two years there. However at the same time Konta has only reached one other Quarter Final in six grass court tournaments she has played since 2015 and I think she could be a vulnerable favourite.

Yanina Wickmayer has a solid grass court pedigree, but the Belgian is coming through a difficult 2017 which will have sapped confidence. She has tended to be a solid player on the grass courts and was only narrowly beaten by the likes of Kristina Mladenovic and Karolina Pliskova last year.

One player she did beat was Konta though and this does look a lot of games for the British player to cover even in a winning effort. Konta is the better player, but I will look for Wickmayer to keep this one competitive enough to stay within these games.


Lucie Safarova - 3.5 games v Su-Wei Hsieh: The last couple of years have been difficult for Lucie Safarova who has seen injury affect her confidence on the Singles circuit. Her Doubles successes have continued, but Safarova is still a very dangerous player on the grass courts and I think that will give her the edge in this one.

The lefty serve is very dangerous on the grass courts, especially with the power that Safarova can generate and I expect her to put Su-Wei Hsieh under pressure.

Hsieh is a crafty veteran who will look to bamboozle Safarova with unorthodox shots from both wings, but I can see the latter having control of the rallies to prevent getting involved in too many of the longer rallies in which Hsieh will thrive.

The Hsieh serve is one that Safarova should be able to attack with some joy and I think she will use that to have a little too much for the former. I will be looking for Safarova to come through with a 6-4, 6-4 win for a place in the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Benoit Paire - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Evgeniya Rodina - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ana Konjuh - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Yanina Wickmayer + 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 10-8, + 2.24 Units (36 Units Staked, + 6.22% Yield)

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