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Saturday, 6 July 2019

Wimbledon Tennis Day 6 Picks 2019 (July 6th)

It might not have been the kind of day I would have wanted on Day 5 at Wimbledon, but it could have been much worse so I am happy to get through with the selections as they did.

The Third Round is completed on Saturday and below you can see my Tennis Picks for the day as well as the updated record from the tournament.

Roger Federer - 6.5 games v Lucas Pouille: After a surprise return to the clay courts which ended with a run to the French Open Semi Final has seen Roger Federer head into his favourite grass court season with plenty of confidence. Yet another title was won in Halle to keep the positive vibes going and barring a blip in the opening match against Lloyd Harris, Roger Federer has been very strong through the first couple of Rounds at the tournament.

The standard of opponent definitely takes a big step up for Federer in the Third Round after wins over Harris and Jay Clarke. Now he has to take on Frenchman Lucas Pouille who has beaten Rafael Nadal at a Grand Slam in the past, although beating Federer here would surpass that victory in terms of the best Pouille has had in his career.

So far it has been very good for Pouille in SW19 with comfortable wins over both Richard Gasquet and Gregoire Berrere. The key for Pouille to come through his matches as well as he has is because of the strong returning that he has produced in the two Rounds at Wimbledon, but this is a level that you have to think will be hard for Pouille to maintain considering his history on the grass courts.

Even in the lead up to Wimbledon Lucas Pouille had been struggling on the return aspect of his game and now he has to face a dominant server in Roger Federer. While I have mentioned the Federer return game is declining, his numbers are still significantly better than Pouille's and Federer has looked strong all around in the two wins produced here.

If Pouille serves as well as he can then this could be a difficult match for Federer, but I can't ignore the fact that the Frenchman's numbers take a steep decline whenever he faces top 20 Ranked players. Mentally he can be tough and fight through even when not having his way in those matches, but Pouille has held in 75% of his service games played on the grass against the top players on the Tour.

Their sole previous meeting on the Tour came on the very quick courts of the Paris Masters back in 2014. That is largely irrelevant towards this match, but I do think Pouille will struggle to get much joy out of the Federer serve as he failed to do back in October 2014.

This is a big number for Roger Federer to cover, but he looks in confident mood and I would expect him to have the majority of break points in the match. If Lucas Pouille brings his A plus game it will be tough for Federer to cover, but I think the eight time Wimbledon Champion will win one set with a couple of breaks of serve which should set him up for the cover.

Matteo Berrettini - 4.5 games v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman: In previous years the small grass court portion of the Tour was not a time that Diego Sebastian Schwartzman really appreciated. His poor record on the surface might have had something to do with the mindset, but he is one match away from making the second week at Wimbledon this year and he has surpassed his previous best of a Second Round run at SW19.

He has produced two relatively straight-forward wins to reach the Third Round and they have both looked pretty impressive on paper. Matthew Ebden has enjoyed playing on the grass throughout his career, while Dominik Koepfer has had a good run on the surface in 2019, but neither threatened Schwartzman who has dropped just a single set so far in the tournament.

However the Argentinian is now going up against Matteo Berrettini who continues to enjoy a stellar year on the Tour which has moved him up to 20th in the World Rankings. Improved results have seen the confidence flowing from Berrettini and he headed into Wimbledon having won the title in Stuttgart and reached the Semi Final in Halle on the grass over the last month.

The numbers have really been eye-opening from the Italian who held 98% of his service games played on the grass in 2019 before arriving at Wimbledon. Even here Berrettini has only been broken three times and his strong serving is opening up the rest of his game as he has also dropped just a single set in the first two Rounds.

That side of Berrettini's game is going to be tested by Schwartzman who has a very good return and also a huge game around that which can put opponents under pressure. In the lead up events Schwartzman had broken in 25% of return games played and he has continued to put players under pressure at Wimbledon and this is going to be a key to the match.

If Berrettini is able to keep a leash on Schwartzman by banging down the big serves and getting away some first strike tennis, I think he will be very difficult to beat. The Schwartzman serve has been working well so far in 2019 on his worst surface, but I think it is a vulnerable shot that Berrettini will be able to attack with success if his own serve is working to the level it has been.

It may take four sets, but I think Berrettini is still going to have enough to cover this mark with my feeling that his serve is the difference maker on the day. Diego Sebastian Schwartzman is someone I have a lot of respect for considering how much he extracts from himself, but I think this surface should favour Berrettini and the Italian is playing at a pretty high level going into the match.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Rafael Nadal over 36.5 games: There was already some frustration with the Wimbledon Seeding system felt by Rafael Nadal when he was knocked down to the Number 3 Seed despite being the World Number 2. That frustration would have only been doubled down after the Spaniard saw the draw in front of him and there is little doubt this feels like arguably the toughest first week Nadal would have had at a Grand Slam since reaching the top 10 of the World Rankings.

A First Round win over Yuichi Sugita was against an opponent who has had some strong successes on the grass and who had come through three Qualifiers to build confidence. In the Second Round Rafael Nadal had to overcome Nick Kyrgios who has a huge game tailor made for the grass courts and also was a match that came with a lot of interest for off court issues the two players have had with each other.

You have to credit Nadal for getting out of those two matches with the single set dropped, but things continue to be difficult for him. In order to reach the second week at Wimbledon, Nadal will now have to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, another player that is further down the World Rankings than he should be and one who is very, very comfortable on the grass courts.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has made light work of his first two opponents at Wimbledon and that is going to be a boost for the Frenchman's current World Number 72 spot in the Rankings. He will certainly want more and a player who has come from 2-0 down to beat Roger Federer in five sets on Centre Court before can't be underestimated, even if the feeling is that Rafael Nadal will have a little too much energy for him.

Much is going to depend on how well Tsonga is able to serve- we saw in the last Round that Nick Kyrgios was able to keep Nadal at bay with a huge serving day, although like the Australian, I do think the Tsonga return is going to be the weakness that ultimately prevents him earning the upset.

Their sole grass court meeting came in 2011 and it was Tsonga who came from a set behind to beat Nadal at Queens Club in London. In general the Frenchman has perhaps not been able to get enough out of his serve with less than 80% of service games being held against Nadal in their eleven previous matches on the Tour, although Tsonga has won four of those eleven matches which is not a bad record against someone as good as Nadal.

Rafael Nadal has been serving very well on the grass courts which does restrict the chance of seeing an upset in this one as far as I am concerned. However I do think Jo-Wilfried Tsonga can be competitive through the first couple of sets and he can serve well enough to perhaps even steal a set like Kyrgios did in the last Round.

With that in mind my selection here is backing at least thirty-seven games needing to be played. The Frenchman did take a set off of Roger Federer in Halle and I think I will look for the total games line to be beaten.

Kei Nishikori - 5.5 games v Steve Johnson: In the early Rounds of a Grand Slam you really want to make as serene progress as possible so you are not expending too much energy before the really big matches arrive in the second week of the tournament. Over the years Kei Nishikori has perhaps been guilty of being dragged into tougher matches than he should have been which has prevented him having enough to challenge the top names later in the Slams, but so far this week the Japanese star has been very comfortable.

Straight sets wins over Thiago Monteiro and Cameron Norrie are exactly what Nishikori would have wanted and he has yet to be truly pushed in SW19. It will perhaps make Nishikori feel a little more comfortable on the grass courts considering his worst Slam results have been at Wimbledon with only a single Quarter Final appearance to his name.

I would have to think Nishikori is feeling good about his chances of progressing to the Fourth Round when he faces American Steve Johnson who has lost all four previous matches against the World Number 7. After coming through the First Round in straight sets, Steve Johnson needed five sets to overcome Alex De Minaur in the Second Round and it has to be said that he was a fortunate winner on the day.

Johnson has to make use of that, but this is a tough match up for him as he has managed to hold 74% of his service games against Kei Nishikori, but the latter is holding 95% of his own service games. That is a huge difference that has led to Nishikori winning those matches relatively comfortably, although they are meeting for the first time in well over three years.

The Steve Johnson serve is still a very big weapon for him on the grass courts which may give him a chance in this one. When the American serves well he can be very difficult to hold back, but I do think it will be difficult for Johnson if he is showing off too many second serves or not able to win his points within the first three or four shots.

With the way Nishikori has been serving so far over the last few days and his previous performances against Johnson I do think he is going to have too much for him. I don't think the sets will be uncompetitive considering how well Steve Johnson can serve when at his best, but I do worry for the American that he could perhaps fall away if he is a couple of sets behind. With the potential fatigue building up as rallies go long, I will look for Nishikori to eventually do enough to cover what is a big looking number on paper.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 6.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Matteo Berrettini - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Rafael Nadal Over 36.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Joao Sousa-Dan Evans Over 38.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Belinda Bencic - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Qiang Wang @ 2.37 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 35-27, + 10.54 Units (124 Units Staked, + 8.5% Yield)

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