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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)

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