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Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Wimbledon Tennis Day 10 Picks 2018 (July 12th)

The England World Cup Semi Final is being played on Wednesday evening which means I am covering the Women's Semi Finals at Wimbledon merely hours after the Semi Final line up was completed.

I think it looks a fascinating day for the ladies who will be playing on Centre Court and I think there will be some fun tennis for the fans to enjoy as the nation wakes up from either seeing England reach their first World Cup Final in 52 years or recovering from another Semi Final disappointment.

Football fever has no doubt reached the players at Wimbledon this year too, but the focus of the four ladies playing on Thursday will be in making sure they are playing again this Saturday.

Angelique Kerber - 2.5 games v Jelena Ostapenko: A lot of people have been criticising the women's tournament at Wimbledon this summer after all of the top ten Seeds were beaten before the Quarter Finals. Yet here we have a Semi Final featuring two players who have won Grand Slam titles before albeit still looking for the first Wimbledon crown.

Jelena Ostapenko continues her rise in the women's game having won the French Open in 2017 and followed that up with her first Wimbledon Quarter Final twelve months ago. A dominant win over Dominika Cibulkova has helped her surpass that achievement to make the Semi Final here and there is a lot to admire about her game.

The Latvian is capable of getting very hot on a tennis court which means hitting winner after winner and even a defensive master like Angelique Kerber would struggle to keep Ostapenko at bay if the latter is feeling her game. She can crack winners straight off the return of serve and is able to hit down the line and cross-court without losing any pace on the ball.

Ostapenko is yet to drop a set at Wimbledon and she has an underrated serve when she is getting the first serve rhythm down. That makes her a massive danger to anyone she plays on any given day, but the all or nothing approach can also see Ostapenko produce a tonne of unforced errors.

Unforced errors is not the business in which Angelique Kerber operates and she has the experience of being a multiple time Slam winner as well as a former Wimbledon Finalist. There were still nerves towards the end of the Quarter Final win over Daria Kasatkina as Kerber has had a difficult eighteen months or so during which time she has struggled to always find her best tennis after a career best 2016.

However Kerber has been approaching her best for a number of months and coming out of a clay court season that doesn't suit her should have given the German confidence. The way she has handled her nerves towards the end of the last two matches will also stand her in good stead and I think Kerber's superior grass court tennis history will help her in those difficult moments against a free hitting spirit like Ostapenko.

This match is going to be close and much will depend on the racquet of the Latvian which makes it tough to go against her. The recent loss to Agnieszka Radwanska on the grass courts has to be the blueprint for Kerber to follow as Ostapenko struggled to get enough out of her serve to challenge the former top ten player.

My feeling is that Kerber's defensive skills will do enough to frustrate Ostapenko into going for a little more and that should see her unforced errors creep upwards. We did see how Ostapenko was tough to stop at the French Open in 2017 when she got hot like she is looking at Wimbledon, but the grass courts should give Kerber the edge and I like the German to extract enough errors to win this match and cover the number.

Serena Williams - 4.5 games v Julie Goerges: After all the questions about Serena Williams should have been Seeded or not at the Wimbledon tournament, some have now wondered why she wasn't Seeded much higher than her current 25 number.

Once again Serena Williams looks to be the player to beat on the grass of SW19 after coming through some difficult moments against Camila Giorgi in the Quarter Final. She will be facing another big hitting player on Thursday in the Semi Final, but Giorgi really is someone who is one of a kind and Serena Williams has been serving very well for the majority of the last ten days.

That makes it a big ask for Julia Goerges to find a way to get closer to her having lost all three previous matches against Serena Williams including on the clay courts of the French Open six weeks ago. On that day Goerges did break the Williams serve for the first time, but her limited returning game on the grass courts doesn't offer a lot of encouragement for me in this one.

Goerges has also spent a lot more time on the court than Serena Williams at Wimbledon having needed eighteen games in a deciding set to see off Barbora Strycova and then needing three sets to beat Kiki Bertens in the Quarter Final. That is a big emotional effort for a player who had a surprisingly poor record at Wimbledon and on the grass in general before this run.

With a big serve and heavy forehand you would have thought Goerges would be happy on this surface, but that has not been the case for the majority of her career. Early losses at Wimbledon became the norm for her and I think the first Grand Slam Semi Final is also going to be playing on the nerves and that is before she thinks of the opponent she is up against.

If Goerges is able to serve up to the standards she has set she will be dangerous, but I have a feeling she is going to be a little tight especially if Williams is able to get a couple of big hits off early. Serena's return game has not been up to the level she would have liked, but she is serving so well that players are going to feel the pressure to stay with her and I think that will contribute to Goerges cracking here.

The German has not had the best returning numbers on the grass courts in her career and now faces the best serve in the women's game. I think that builds the scoreboard pressure and Serena Williams will be able to find a similar win to the one she produced against Goerges at the French Open and that will be good enough to cover this number for the American.

MY PICKS: Angelique Kerber - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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