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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (June 25th)

We have reached the Final of the four events that began last Monday and there looks to be some quality matches on show throughout the day.

At the same time we will get to see the beginning of the tournaments that are played next week which begin earlier than usual so they can complete it in time for Wimbledon which is now only eight days away from beginning.

The Saturday results were a mixed bag for the tennis picks with the frustration of seeing Lucie Safarova pull out of her Semi Final when a set and a break down to Petra Kvitova.

The week has been a mixed one in general, but one that could have been a lot worse.

All will be decided on Sunday as I look to secure a winning week before heading into the final grass court events prior to Wimbledon beginning. The picks next week might not be as frequent as I am not a big fan of the tournaments in the week immediately before a Grand Slam, although I am sure some decent picks will present themselves at the strong WTA event in Eastbourne this week.

Alexander Zverev + 2.5 games v Roger Federer: This doesn't feel like a lot of games to oppose one of the best grass court players of all time with, especially not one who has won all of the big tournaments he has entered in 2017. However I am very behind Alexander Zverev being ready to make the kind of impact on the Tour that so many have expected of him and one of the dark horses for the Wimbledon title will have his odds slashed if he can win the title here in Halle.

Beating Federer in Halle won't be something new for Zverev who managed to do that in the Semi Final last year and my only real concern in backing him is that he has reached the Final of the Doubles here this year too. That means he has been playing a lot of tennis and Zverev has been pushed into a third set in his last two Singles matches here which might also have sapped some energy.

He is young enough to recover that though and Zverev has been producing some monster serving which was again on display when seeing off Richard Gasquet in the Semi Final. Once again Zverev came from a set behind to win a match, the second time in a row he has done that, but the numbers have to be offering him some encouragement.

The German has been returning effectively and protecting the serve with some heavy groundstrokes behind a big first serve and that should see him pressure Federer. The latter has played well on the grass as usual but Karen Khachanov showed what can happen when a young player comes out and looks to overpower Federer by having enough success to give Zverev confidence.

Like 2016, I can see this match heading into a third set to decide it and that is where these games could be very valuable. I think Zverev has every chance of winning the match, but I will look for the young German to keep this one competitive at the very least and will take the games behind a player who has been serving as well as Zverev has this week.

Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: In Halle we have one Finalist who has reached the Final of the Doubles as well as the Singles, and Sunday is going to be a busy day for Marin Cilic at Queens. He plays the Singles Final before having to compete his Doubles Semi Final and potentially playing the Doubles Final all in the same day.

Getting that much grass court tennis under the legs is going to give Cilic perfect preparation for Wimbledon where he will be a potential dark horse winner of his second career Grand Slam title. Cilic has been serving so well this week and his aggressiveness on the return of serve has given him the platform for a strong run in the draw.

He will be tested by Feliciano Lopez who has been serving wonderfully himself and both men come into the Final having allowed just one break of serve all week.

Where do I think the difference can be made? I think Cilic is some way stronger on the return of serve than Lopez, although the Spaniard can surprise people with the sliced return which can extract mistakes. However generally Cilic has shown he has been the more effective returner while beating and breaking the likes of John Isner and Gilles Muller.

Seeing Muller in the Semi Final was huge for Cilic as this will be the second big serving lefty he would have seen at Queens. That should mean Cilic is prepared for the different spins that comes from the lefty server and I think it will stand the Croatian in good stead. They've met here twice before and both matches have headed into the decider, which wouldn't be a big surprise in this one, but I think Cilic will find the breaks of serve to cover this number.

Alison Riske - 3.5 games v Alize Cornet: The final pick from the Sunday tennis matches will actually come from the First Round at Eastbourne where their WTA event will have a few First Round matches scheduled for today. I will be looking for the American Alison Riske to have too much for Alize Cornet who has struggled for consistency on the grass courts over the last couple of years.

While Cornet has some solid wins at Wimbledon, she has been terrible in grass court events outside of Wimbledon. The Frenchwoman is 2-11 in grass court matches outside of the Grand Slam event at SW19 and was beaten by Naomi Broady last week and now faces an opponent in Riske who is comfortable on the grass courts.

Riske has also matched up well with Cornet having beaten her three times and won each of the six sets they have competed. That includes a crushing win over Cornet in Eastbourne in 2015 and I think Riske is going to be too good for her again.

It hasn't been a great grass court season for Riske so far with a couple of early exits behind her, but the draws haven't been too kind to her either. In 2016 Riske had a lot more success on the grass courts than she has had in 2017, but I like her serving ability on this surface and Riske will also be able to put Cornet under pressure on the return of serve.

I can see Riske continuing her run of successes against Cornet with a 6-4, 6-3 win in the First Round in Eastbourne.

MY PICKS: Alexander Zverev + 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Alison Riske - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 17-16, + 0.12 Units (66 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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