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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 1 Picks 2017 (July 3rd)

The third Grand Slam of the season gets underway on the beautiful lawns of the All-England Club.

I love the Slams and Wimbledon is no different, although I will say that I am not one of those who will listen too much to the commentators that are provided for us at this time of the year. The BBC have a habit of picking people who've either never seen a tennis match in their life, or simply don't know enough about the sport and so you will be peddled a lot of nonsense that appeals to casual fans.

Those casual fans are probably really upset about Marcus Willis' failure to reach the main draw again this year, but I am sure there will be another Brit outside of the usual Andy Murray that will appeal to those who will be thinking that this time year that player will be challenging for a top ten place in the World Rankings.

With Wimbledon beginning on Monday, you can read my outright preview and picks from the tournament here.

Daily Picks will be made from the tournament on the threads that will come out, and here's hoping for a record that can match the one produced at the French Open in May.

Andy Murray - 8.5 games v Alexander Bublik: There have been some question marks around the Andy Murray fitness ahead of the start of Wimbledon this year, but the defending Champion will take his place in the draw. He has the honour of opening Centre Court on Monday at the Championships and Murray looks to have been given a decent draw at the tournament as you can read in my outright preview.

The experience he has on the grass will make it tough for most players in the early Rounds to challenge Murray over the best of five set format if he is close to 100%. He is a big name player too and his First Round opponent at Wimbledon spoke of his excitement of playing Murray on Centre Court already.

I think the hip may give Murray a few problems early in this one, but Alexander Bublik may not be able to take full advantage. His wins in the Qualifiers will give Bublik some confidence and he does have a decent first serve which should be solid on the grass, but Murray's returns can give him problems and the youngster may struggle to stay in this one mentally.

Getting into the main draw as a 'Lucky Loser' doesn't really matter, but the losses Bublik has suffered over the last month suggests this is a big gap to bridge. Even a slow starting Murray should have too much for Bublik whose return game on the grass is below par.

Bublik could have some success against the Murray serve if the latter is perhaps not putting in full power on the first serve, but I would expect the World Number 1 to outplay him. That should see him come through with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 kind of win and comfortable passage into the Second Round.

Dustin Brown - 1.5 sets v Joao Sousa: There have been a couple of really good runs by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon which makes him something of a cult favourite of the locals. However those have generally come after picking up momentum through the Qualifiers, whereas this year he will go straight into the main draw.

This should be one of the better surfaces for his serve-volley game, but usually that means he is a touch over-rated by some. It may look like this is the kind of match where that is the case, but Brown has more grass court pedigree than Joao Sousa and one of the key reasons I am backing him is the way he has been playing in recent weeks.

That might not have always seen Brown produce the results he wants, but he has been returning effectively on the grass courts and that could be huge for him. The high percentage of points won against the serve was particularly in evidence in Halle where Brown was beaten in the Second Round and he should have his chances against Sousa.

Sousa's serve can be attacked and Brown could be in a position to force break points a number of times during the course of this match. Of course Sousa will feel he can out-rally Brown when he gets into the longer rallies, but the German will be looking to close the net wherever possible and has been swinging his racquet effectively enough from the back of the court.

The Brown serve has not been as dominant as he would like, but I think he has an edge on the numbers, particularly the return numbers, and can get this done in three or four sets.

Benoit Paire - 6.5 games v Rogerio Dutra Silva: I've made it clear that it can be a chore backing Benoit Paire to win any match comfortably, but there has been enough decent tennis from him on the grass to think this is one of those occasions. The Frenchman might not have a huge appetite for grass court tennis, but it is a lot more than Rogerio Dutra Silva who must see this part of the season as a chore before getting back on the clay.

Dutra Silva has lost every main draw match he has played on the grass, although at least he bothered to attend a warm up event ahead of Wimbledon this year.

In 2016 Dutra Silva did push Nicolas Almagro all the way to a fifth set, but he will have to beat the numbers to do the same this year to Benoit Paire. In those four main draw losses he has had on the grass, the Brazilian has struggled with the return aspect of his game, while his serve is not one that can't be attacked and that is where I would think Paire can have success.

Paire's returning numbers have been solid on the grass courts over the last month and I would expect he can get plenty of pressure on the Dutra Silva serve during the course of this match. His serving has also been effective and I think that can put Dutra Silva under the cosh during this First Round clash.

When you put that together, I am expecting Paire to get this done in straight sets and I think he might even be able to win a set with a couple of breaks of serve. He can be a frustrating player to back at times, but I am looking for this to not be one of those days as he moves through with a relatively straight-forward 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 win.

Denis Shapovalov-Jerzy Janowicz over 42.5 games: There was a lot to like about Denis Shapovalov when watching him attempt to get through the draw at Queens recently and he has been rewarded with a Wild Card into Wimbledon. This is the first Grand Slam Shapovalov will be playing in his professional career, but he will have good memories of Wimbledon having won the Junior title in 2016.

It is a big test to open up for the young Canadian as he faces Jerzy Janowicz, a former Wimbledon Semi Finalist who is trying to make a full time return to the Tour after an injury hit time in his career.

The grass courts haven't brought a lot of relief for Janowicz who is stranded at 165 in the World Rankings, but a good run in Wimbledon would soon change that. You have to imagine Shapovalov will be thinking the same as he looks to crack into the top 100 of the World Rankings by the end of the season and I have a feeling this could be a very tight and competitive match.

That has a lot to do with the fact that neither player has thrived returning the ball and both have a decent serve which they have protected. There are times when Janowicz and Shapovalov can produce some poor games where they will give the other a chance to break, but I think there may be a couple of tie-breakers in this one and I would be stunned if either player is able to win in straight sets.

It all points to a match with a lot of games as I think there will be at least four sets played and am looking for a couple of breakers as well as a set by a one break margin. That should put us right up on the brink of surpassing this number of games and I will look for that to happen as the two players struggle on the return of serve in a close First Round match.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 7.5 games v Cameron Norrie: On initial glance at this number of games, I thought it would be asking too much of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to cover considering he has a fairly limited return game. However the numbers show he has been winning plenty of points against the serve in recent months and Tsonga also has a decent set of returning statistics on the grass which does make him a danger in the draw.

An early loss at Queens would have been a disappointment for Tsonga, especially after being upset in the First Round at the French Open. He can bounce back though as 2017 has been a solid season for him for the most part and Tsonga has also played well against left-handed players which is important for him.

Cameron Norrie is making his debut at a Grand Slam here at Wimbledon and he has showed some solid tennis over the course of the grass court season. However he has found the top players on the Tour far too good for him and the numbers have backed that up both behind the serve and on the return over the last month.

While the excitement of being at Wimbledon could potentially see him start off better than expected, Norrie will be put under pressure by Tsonga's return and I am not sure he will see too many opportunities to break the Frenchman. Norrie has been beaten fairly easily by both Sam Querrey and Gael Monfils on the grass over the last couple of weeks and Tsonga is more suited to this surface than both of those players.

If Tsonga is serving big, I think he will put Norrie under immense pressure to stay with him and I am looking for the Frenchman to come through with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 win.

Thomas Fabbiano-Sam Querrey over 3.5 sets: Most people in the United Kingdom who will be watching Wimbledon this year will remember Sam Querrey as the man who stunned Novak Djokovic here in 2016. The big serving American should enjoy playing on the grass courts and I am not surprised he is such a big favourite to see off Thomas Fabbiano.

Fabbiano is an Italian who is Ranked outside of the top 100 and you may be forgiven for thinking he probably doesn't have a lot of time for the grass courts. However that has been anything but the case in 2017 and Fabbiano enters the main draw at Wimbledon for the first time in his career having fallen in the Third Qualifying Round in 2016.

This year Fabbiano has reached the Final of a Challenger event on the grass and last week in Eastbourne he reached the Second Round and gave Steve Johnson plenty to think about. The Italian has served well so far on the grass courts with a really nice number when it comes to the holds, but the more impressive number may be the percentage of return points he has been winning.

He has maintained those in the two losses he has suffered on the grass courts over the last few weeks, and I think Fabbiano is very capable of giving Sam Querrey a real test in the First Round. Querrey has the big serve which can be tough to break, and he has been returning well himself, but I do think there is a space there for Fabbiano to take at least one set in this one.

With the Querrey game as it is, I do think he will have his successes too and so I won't be surprised to see this one featuring at least four sets. It feels like the layers are thinking this will be a relatively straight-forward match for Querrey, but I think Fabbiano can play a part and take at least one of the sets played, while the potential upset is on in this one too.

Stan Wawrinka win 3-1 v Daniil Medvedev: Having won the three other Grand Slam events that are played, Stan Wawrinka begins Wimbledon in a bid to become a rare player to have won all four Grand Slams in their career. It will take something special for Wawrinka to do that considering Wimbledon has been the poorest of the Slams for him in his career and he is yet to go beyond the Quarter Final here.

In fact Wawrinka has been knocked out in the First or Second Round in five of his last seven appearances in SW19 and he would certainly have been hoping for an easier match than facing an in-form Daniil Medvedev.

The young Russian has reached the Quarter Final or better in three grass court events played over the last month and Medvedev has beaten some solid grass court players in that time. Pushing Novak Djokovic in a Semi Final loss in Eastbourne and taking Grigor Dimitrov to three sets at Queens only adds to the Medvedev belief and he will certainly pose a threat to Wawrinka.

Medvedev has been returning effectively enough to think he can put Wawrinka in some difficult positions and I really believe he will be good enough to take a set from a player who will need to time to adjust to the grass courts. You can't ignore how Wawrinka has played at Wimbledon and he does seem to produce a sloppy service game or two which is much harder to retrieve on the grass.

My only reason that I don't think Medvedev is capable of more and potentially even upsetting Wawrinka is that his own serve has been attacked by opponents. The youngster is still learning his trade and Wawrinka could perhaps play enough veteran smart tennis to break him down at key moments, although I am looking for Medvedev to take a set as he continues to impress and highlight the potential he has.

Rafael Nadal - 8.5 games v John Millman: The dominant form Rafael Nadal showed all the way through the clay court season which culminated with another French Open title means the Spaniard comes into Wimbledon as the second favourite for the title here. It's hard to really be confident in his chances when you think of how Nadal has played here since reaching the Final in 2011, but the numbers over the course of the 2017 season shows the kind of confidence Nadal is playing with.

He has come in with confidence before so that isn't the only reason Nadal hasn't performed as well as he would have liked at Wimbledon. The losses have all been big time upsets early in the tournament and perhaps the best chance to get Nadal will be early again before he can build the momentum when the Spaniard will be much harder to beat.

Most wouldn't have expected the likes of Steve Darcis and Dustin Brown would be able to beat Nadal here in a best of five set match so ruling out John Millman is hazardous. However I think the Australian's game is one that Nadal will appreciate as he doesn't have the really big weapon to push the Spaniard behind the baseline and I think the returning of Nadal is going to be a huge key to this match.

A first match on the grass courts could give Nadal some issues too, but Millman is someone who doesn't dominate behind serve. Nadal's return stats are better than when he reached the Final in 2011 and he has been able to crush through sets at times which is something that could potentially happen here after a slower than expected start.

Millman actually has a decent return game and I think he will be able to break the Nadal serve, but I think it will still be a day where Nadal is able to come through 7-5, 6-4, 6-1 as he goes through the gears against an awkward First Round opponent.

Martin Fucsovics + 2.5 sets v Gilles Muller: I am guessing there will be plenty of people who will put Gilles Muller in their accumulators after what has been a strong grass court set of results for the big serving lefty. However those same people may be surprised that Muller has not been past the Second Round at Wimbledon in the last four appearances here and he is facing a dangerous First Round opponent.

For all the success Muller has had on the grass courts over the last month, he has been able to ride his luck at times. The numbers have shown that Muller perhaps should have been beaten in a couple of matches he was able to come through and that might make him a little over-rated for this First Round match.

Martin Fucsovics is a former Junior Wimbledon Champion which shows that he is capable of playing on the grass courts, although he has yet to really produce his best on the senior Tour. He did recently win a Challenger on the grass, which will give him confidence, and Fucsovics has been returning very well in those matches.

Of course this is a different level of test for Fucsovics, but his serve has been decent enough too and he could put Muller, a limited returner for the most part, under some pressure. If he can get a read on the serve, which is a huge test, Fucsovics could put himself in a position to earn an upset in this one as far as I am concerned.

Confidence and Muller's poor record at Wimbledon could see Fucsovics surprise the Seeded player, although I think it is more likely he is capable of winning at least a set. He could force a tie-breaker at some point where he can find Muller making the mistakes to let him in, while Fucsovics overall return numbers in grass matches recently suggests he might be able to get something out of Muller here.

Florian Mayer - 1.5 games v Victor Troicki: Over the years Florian Mayer has shown that he can play his best tennis on the grass and that includes at Wimbledon where he has reached the Quarter Final twice before. Since his last appearance in the last eight, Mayer has been beaten in the First Round twice, but I think the veteran German can have a little too much for Victor Troicki.

The latter has had a tough time on the grass courts over the last month and the numbers don't make for great reading for him. Troicki was favoured to win the three matches he has lost on the surface and the Serb has not been serving as well as he would have liked which is going to be put under pressure by Mayer who has been solid on the return.

Mayer also has looked decent enough behind the serve, although Troicki can still find the heavy shots on the return to put himself in a position to break serve. However he hasn't been able to protect the serve with the way he has built pressure on the return and Mayer is playing well enough to take advantage.

He might not have had much success at Wimbledon of late, but Mayer has had tough draws and this time he may have more belief than when facing the likes of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem. Mayer beat Troicki on the grass in Stuttgart last year when Troicki struggled to get enough going with the return.

This isn't a lot of games to cover which shows the layers think this will be close, but I think Troicki could be a touch over-rated and Mayer can do enough to win this one in likely four sets. If he does that, I would expect Mayer to cover this number.

Irina-Camelia Begu - 2.5 games v Naomi Broady: The first thing I want to say is that Irina-Camelia Begu has really slipped off the standards she was producing a few months ago, but a strong run in an ITF event on the grass may give her the confidence to win a match like this one.

She won't have things all her own way against Naomi Broady who should receive plenty of support from the crowd, but Broady has not exactly piled up the wins on the grass courts. Losses to Petra Kvitova and the like won't be a real issue for Broady, but she has had some disappointing defeats on the grass courts and had to take advantage of a Wild Card that was awarded to her to get into the main draw.

The key to this match is going to be which of the players is able to produce the better returns on the day with similar numbers between them. Begu's serve may have lost some of the pop it once had, but it is the problems protecting the second serve that both Begu and Broady will be challenged by in this one.

However I do think Begu has the edge when it comes to the returning statistics and that can be a difference maker in a close match. If Begu begins getting a read on the Broady serve, I do think Begu will have the better of the break point chances over the course of the match and she can win this one.

Broady will have her moments, but I think Begu wins a tight one 6-4, 7-6 to move through to the Second Round.

Venus Williams - 3.5 games v Elise Mertens: After being involved in a fatal car crash which is going to produce lawsuits against her, Venus Williams has to find a way to focus on her tennis as she goes for another Wimbledon title. Without those issues that have come out between the French Open and Wimbledon, Venus Williams may have been one of the leading contenders to win the title here in an open draw.

I still think the American could be the player to beat over the next two weeks and take the title her sister will not be defending here this year. She should certainly be able to get through this First Round match against Elise Mertens as they meet for the second Slam in a row having played in Paris on the clay.

On that day Williams proved far too good for Mertens and it will be interesting to see what the latter has learned from that experience, although now she takes on a player who is very comfortable on this surface. In Paris Mertens struggled to deal with the Venus Williams serve with any consistency, and even recent performances on the grass may not prepare her fully for the power coming at her in this one.

It is the Venus Williams returning ability that is particularly dangerous for Mertens having produced some very strong numbers on that side of the court throughout 2017. That should show up here too and I think that helps Venus Williams win with a decent margin of games between them.

The off court issues could potentially derail Venus Williams, but I think she will have headed to London looking to put that behind her if possible. I think she can make a strong start by wearing down Mertens in the second set and coming through with a 7-6, 6-2 win.

Caroline Garcia - 3.5 games v Jana Cepelova: This is actually quite a good looking First Round match in the Ladies' draw at Wimbledon, but I think Caroline Garcia will back up her win over Jana Cepelova from when they played in Mallorca last month. That came on the grass courts of course, and Garcia showed enough to think she can frank that form.

I don't know where I stand with Garcia as there are times I think she looks like a top ten player in the making, and others when I am doubting she has the potential that so many do for her. The serve should be a big weapon for her, but Garcia can struggle to back it up effectively as she is always in danger of hitting a streak of unforced errors.

That is what Cepelova will be looking to exploit, while Cepelova has a very strong set of returning numbers which will make her dangerous. However she couldn't take the break point chances that came her way against Garcia when they played in Mallorca and that may just play on the mind when the big moments come in this First Round match.

Frustration can set in for Garcia when things go against her, but she has shown solid returning numbers on the grass courts. Garcia's service numbers are strong too and I think she will just get the better of a player whose serve can be attacked.

It took three sets in Mallorca, but I will look for Garcia to get this one done in two sets and cover this number in the process.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 8.5 Games @ 1.83 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Dustin Brown - 1.5 Sets @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Benoit Paire - 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Denis Shapovalov-Jerzy Janowicz Over 42.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 7.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Thomas Fabbiano-Sam Querrey Over 3.5 Sets @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka Win 3-1 @ 3.80 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Rafael Nadal - 8.5 Games @ 2.05 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Martin Fucsovics + 2.5 Sets @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Florian Mayer - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Irina-Camelia Begu - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

1 comment:

  1. fantastic write up dav, as usual. Good luck this tourney