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Wimbledon Preview and Outright Picks 2017 (July 3-16)

The third Grand Slam of the season comes hot on the heels of the second Slam and this time the men's tournament will have all of the top...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 20th)

It was a decent, if unspectacular, Wednesday with two of the three picks returning a winner.

Thursday is a day reserved for the second half of the Second Round matches to be played at the various tournaments outside of ATP Newport which has reached its Quarter Final Round although they do spread those four matches over two days.

No one can deny there are plenty of matches to get through on Thursday, but I will be honest and say only two of those have intrigued me enough to add to the picks for this week.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Facundo Bagnis: Some may have been moved away from this pick after seeing the struggles Fernando Verdasco had initially in his win over Elias Ymer in the First Round. The veteran may not have covered that day, but he played well enough to have a chance to do that and I think he can beat Facundo Bagnis for a second year in a row in Bastad.

Last year Verdasco lost just three games to Bagnis in a comfortable win here and he is still returning well enough to give the Argentinian troubles in those games. Bagnis did beat another veteran in the First Round when coming from a set down to beat Tommy Haas, but the challenge is much different when facing an opponent who is still inside the top 50 compared with one who is calling time on a long career.

There have been improvements in the Bagnis game when coming up to the higher level which may make him more competitive in this match with Verdasco who is also a year older. However Bagnis has not played well against the top 50 when his serve has proven to be one that can be attacked, while his return game is still not as strong as it should be to make an impact at that level.

That is not so much a concern for Verdasco who should be able to serve and return with effective enough ability to put himself in a strong position in the match. Nowadays Verdasco is more likely to throw in a stinker of a set, like he did in the First Round, but the numbers backed up the superior player.

With a slightly better returning day, as he has shown when players lower down the Ranking table, Verdasco should be able to come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: There are a couple of factors that may put some off from this pick and the most notable is the way that Thiago Monteiro has played against fellow left handed players on the clay courts. He has won all previous matches against fellow lefty's on this surface, but I think the defending Champion can break down the South American in this one.

It has been an up and down season for Albert Ramos-Vinolas who perhaps underachieved on the clay as far as he has been concerned. However he has shown he is now comfortable enough to beat those players outside of the top 50 on the clay courts and much of that is down to strong returning.

The serve can be vulnerable, but Ramos-Vinolas looks after that against the lesser players on the Tour and Monteiro's return game is one that has much room for improvement. The win in the First Round came through a retirement so we can't read too much into that one, but Monteiro is someone who has shown he can struggle when playing the better players on the Tour.

Ramos-Vinolas is 27-6 on the clay against players Ranked outside the top 50 over the last two seasons and his return numbers have been impressive in that time. I will be looking for him to find a way to put pressure on Monteiro in this one with that return game working out effectively. 

It feels like Monteiro will find lesser chances to break serve compared with Ramos-Vinolas and I think the Spaniard can get through his opening match in Bastad with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-3, + 1.52 Units (14 Units Staked, + 10.86% Yield)

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 19th)

There does feel like there is a distinct lack of quality out on the Tour this week which isn't a surprise days after Wimbledon came to a close. While some decent players are in action, the bigger matches are unlikely to be seen until the end of the week when those players are matched up against one another.

The Second Round matches might be better than we saw earlier in the week, but there are still enough mismatches to have some very short priced favourites on Wednesday when the first half of those Second Round matches are played at the five main Tour events.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 games v Renzo Olivo: I don't think I will ever forget the way the match went the last time Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Renzo Olivo met on the Tour. That came earlier in 2017 and Schwartzman somehow failed to cover this number of games despite producing 21 break points compared with just the 9 for Olivo, but the higher Ranked Argentinian could not find the breaks easy to come by.

That does mean Schwartzman has created 37 break points in the last two matches between these players, but his conversion rate has not been anything to write home about. That is a concern because maybe Olivo has some mental strength which enables him to get out of tough spots, but I am more encouraged by Schwartzman's return numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50.

Those numbers on the clay suggest Schwartzman won't be as generous at letting his break points slip away, while his service numbers have also been more productive. Of course this is a vulnerable serve, but Olivo has struggled when playing the top players on the clay as his recent 1-5 record against top 50 players highlights.

Olivo may also have the edge of being over in Bastad over the last two weeks and so accustomed to the conditions, but I think it is Schwartzman who will have the majority of the play.

I do expect breaks of serve for both players, but Schwartzman has the numbers which point to a 7-5, 6-3 kind of win for him in this one.

Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: A knee injury ruled Pablo Cuevas out of Wimbledon the year after he had reached the Final in Nottingham on the grass. The absence from the Tour with an issue that has blighted him before is an obvious concern, but I also know that some players have previously skipped the grass in order to keep their knees from wearing down, particularly Rafael Nadal.

That is the biggest question mark about this match which should be one that Cuevas is very comfortable in. While he is one of the better clay court players on the Tour, Cuevas faces Henri Laaksonen who is still finding his feet at the highest level of the Tour.

There have been six occasions Laaksonen has played a top 50 Ranked player on the clay and he has lost all six of those matches. He was narrowly beaten by Andreas Seppi in a Davis Cup tie, but the other five losses have come in one sided fashion and his struggles on the return are likely to be a big issue here.

Cuevas has loved playing those further down the World Rankings where he is able to generate plenty of success on the return of serve. That could be a big issue for Laaksonen in this one if Cuevas is feeling good and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to put his opponent under pressure.

The biggest question remains the Cuevas health, but if he feels ready to go in this one, I think he can come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Radu Albot: Jiri Vesely got it done when picking him in the First Round and I do think he can cover this number against Radu Albot too.

The numbers against players Ranked outside the top 100 on the clay continue to impress from Vesely who has improved to 7-1 in that spot in 2017 to add to the 9-1 record he had in 2016. The serve becomes a big weapon for Vesely at this level, but the key is the way he has been able to get his teeth into the return games which was highlighted in his impressive First Round win over Norbert Gombos.

I will be looking for that dominance to show up at some point in this match too against Radu Albot who is coming off a decent grass court showing. However he is 0-4 when facing top 50 Ranked players on the clay courts and Albot's issues begin with what is a vulnerable serve, one that I would expect Vesely to exploit in this Second Round match.

He hasn't returned well enough against the top players, while Albot's overall return numbers on the clay makes it difficult to believe he will be capable of sticking with his opponent in this match.

I would expect Vesely to be in a position to break serve three or four times in this match and a decent day behind serve should see him come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-2, + 0 Units (8 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 18th)

There were quite a few matches scheduled for Monday at the five tournaments being played this week, but I didn't really find anything but the one angle with the Carla Suarez Navarro pick.

Thankfully that was an angle that provided a winner.

On Tuesday I do have a few more matches that have interested me with plenty of First Round matches remaining at the various tournaments. Hopefully it can be a day when I build off the success of Monday and get this week into a really positive position before we reach the halfway mark.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Norbert Gombos: He can be a hard player to trust having not quite reached the level expected of him, but Jiri Vesely is comfortable on the clay courts and shouldn't be intimidated by the level of competition he will face in Umag. It has been clear from his numbers that Vesely is considerably stronger when playing at the Challenger level compared with the full ATP during his career on this surface, but this tournament is not considerably stronger than a Challenger event.

The First Round match for Vesely against Norbert Gombos is certainly more in line with the level of opponent he would meet in a Challenger and I think the Czech player is going to be too good for Gombos. You have to respect the fact that Gombos has some solid numbers on the clay, but those have come against players Ranked far below Vesely and I do think that is a difference maker on the day.

The service points won and return points won numbers come down considerably for Gombos when he has taken on top 50 Ranked opponents during his career. Life has been much tougher when it comes to trying to hold onto his serve and this could be a big problem against Vesely.

That comes down to the fact that Vesely has served and returned much better when facing the weaker level of competition in the Challengers that he seems to dominate. Vesely's serve is a weapon on either Tour, but it is the return numbers which are significantly stronger and I expect he is going to be able to make that show up on Tuesday.

These two players haven't met since 2014, but I still think Vesely's 5-1 head to head lead, 4-1 on the clay is still relevant. While Gombos hasn't made a significant move onto the main Tour, Vesely has and has also continued to prove too strong when he drops his level of competition and I like the Czech player to earn a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 games v Thiago Monteiro: It is never an easy decision to back a player who is coming off a long week where they have either reached the Final or won a tournament. Usually it will mean shortened travel time to the next tournament and can be difficult for a player, but Dusan Lajovic won't have the same excuses having won a Challenger event in Bastad a few days ago.

Now Lajovic enters the main tournament draw in Bastad looking to back up the success of last week and being accustomed to the conditions has to help. His best work has tended to come on the clay courts and he is favoured to beat Thiago Monteiro whose best clay court work has come in South America.

However Monteiro has to be respected having spent his life playing on clay and so feeling very good on the surface. The Brazilian hasn't been in the best of form of late though and I do worry that Monteiro doesn't play the return points well enough on the clay to be a threat to significantly improve his World Ranking.

That isn't to say Lajovic is the best returner out there, but he does tend to improve when playing the Challenger kind of level and his opponent is someone he would potentially see in those tournaments. The return numbers also improve when facing players Ranked outside the top 50 and I think that is important for Lajovic who can protect his serve a little better than Monteiro in this one.

Facing a lefty could present some early problems for Lajovic, and fatigue could be another potential issue for him. However I do think Monteiro's poor returning numbers could prove to be a difference in the match as Lajovic is able to work his way to a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Elias Ymer: His best days are behind him, but Fernando Verdasco should still have enough in the locker to beat home hope Elias Ymer who has yet to make the breakthrough at the highest level in his career. Ymer did reach the Quarter Final of the Bastad Challenger last week, but this is a significant step up in class for him even if Verdasco is not the player he once was.

The serve is not working as it did, but Verdasco has been returning as well as ever in his career in 2017 and I do think he is used to playing opponents who are stronger than the one he will face in the First Round here. You can see the decline in the service numbers, but Verdasco's returning ability should keep him in a strong position in this match.

The Spaniard will certainly feel that will be the case against a limited returner like Ymer, especially when he plays at the highest level of the ATP. And it is Verdasco's returning numbers that are likely to keep the young Swedish player under immense pressure for much of this match that is the reason I am going to look for Verdasco to cover this number.

Those return numbers become much stronger when facing players Ranked outside the top 100, although Verdasco was beaten by one such player in Budapest earlier in 2017. It will take a huge upset for Ymer to be able to follow that up with his own upset considering he is 1-11 against top 50 Ranked players in his career and is likely to be in tough spots throughout this match.

As long as Verdasco is focused, it feels like he is going to be too strong and is able to battle past Ymer with a 6-4, 6-2 kind of win.

Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 games v Ana Bogdan: Two Romanian players meet in the First Round at the WTA Bucharest and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to make it through to the next Round. That player is Sorana Cirstea who has used her success at a lower level in 2016 to help propel her back up the World Rankings in 2017 as she is back on the regular WTA Tour.

Cirstea faces her compatriot Ana Bogdan who has yet to earn the consistent results to be playing on the WTA Tour on a regular basis. The best results tend to come on the clay though and that makes Bogdan a dangerous opponent for Cirstea having also beaten her last year at the US Open.

The return game is where Bogdan has struggled to make her impact and she is going to be faced with a decent Cirstea serve. It has also meant Bogdan is perhaps under a bit more pressure to protect her own serve when making less of an impact on return as she would have liked, and I am very much expecting Cirstea to have success in those games too.

The fear when backing Cirstea is her own inconsistencies which can see her drop a set by a wide margin of games which will make covering this number almost impossible. However, Cirstea has a solid 10-3 record on the clay when facing players Ranked outside the top 100 while being Ranked inside the top 100 herself, and Cirstea would have covered this margin of games eight times in those ten wins.

It feels like Bogdan may just struggle to stay with Cirstea over the course of the match and I am looking for the latter to fight her way to a 6-4, 6-3 win.

MY PICKS: Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-0, + 2 Units (2 Units Staked, + 100% Yield)

Monday, 17 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 17th)

2017 in general feels like it is has been rushing through and that is underlined by the Tennis Tour which has taken in three of the four Grand Slams.

Wimbledon 2017 came to a close on Sunday and I have to say it was not really a stand out tournament, although it will be a memorable one from a historical point of view. Roger Federer winning his eighth Wimbledon title, the first male player to do that in the history of the tournament, will be replayed for many years although it was the second of two disappointing Singles Finals we saw this weekend.

Garbine Muguruza was the other winner, but it may be a case of what may have been for Venus Williams who was leading 5-4 and earned two set points on the Spaniard's serve. Not for the first time over the last two weeks, Muguruza saved those to come out of the game and she went on to win the final NINE games of the Final to pick up a second Grand Slam crown.

I will admit the last time she won a Slam at the French Open last year, I thought Muguruza had all the tools to be a leading contender for every Slam following, but she didn't cope with the new expectations. With more experience we may see Muguruza kick on from the Wimbledon title, although the US Open looks to be another wide open draw on the women's side of the tournament.

It will be Roger Federer who goes into New York City as the favourite for the men's title with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both dealing with injuries which may leave them undercooked for a tilt at the title. Rafael Nadal is playing well enough to be a threat, but it does have to be said that the court conditions we usually see at Flushing Meadows will favour Federer more than the Spaniard and he will be the man to beat in that draw.

There are six weeks before the US Open begins on Monday 28th August and the Tour doesn't stop to gather a breath after the exertions of Wimbledon. While the big hard court events in North America will be played in August, preparation for the US Open will begin later this month in Atlanta and Washington.

This week it is a chance for the clay court loving players to enjoy some final tournaments on their favourite surface. The events in Bastad, Bucharest, Gstaad and Umag are clay events on the ATP and WTA side of the Tour, while the men will have a final grass court event which is held in Newport.

Wimbledon did prove to be a tough tournament for the tennis picks with that generally being the worst of my Grand Slam picks. The outright picks did at least bring in a profit, but the daily picks struggled and the grass court season in general was a poor one for my picks.

A bit better luck may have turned things in my favour, but I just have to take it for what it is and look for better over the remainder of the month to perhaps get into a stronger position.

Picks this week may come out a little inconsistently with the tournaments being played not exactly the strongest, but if anything does take my fancy I will be sure to put those picks down.

On Monday I have only had my eye on one pick coming from the WTA Bucharest First Round.

Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 games v Annika Beck: It can be difficult to trust Carla Suarez Navarro when asking the Spaniard to cover big numbers simply because her serve is one that can be attacked by opponents. The return game is where Annika Beck's strength is too, which makes this a difficult match for Suarez Navarro, although I do give the latter a big enough edge on the clay courts to be able to come through with a healthy margin of victory.

While you would say that Suarez Navarro has had a difficult time on the grass, she has at least been putting matches into the legs compared with Beck who has played just twice in the last eight weeks. Both of those matches ended in one-sided defeats for the German and Beck has lost six of her last seven matches on the Tour to slip down the World Rankings.

Suarez Navarro has had some solid runs on the clay courts, which is no surprise considering how much she enjoys the surface, but some defeats will have raised eyebrows over the clay season in 2017. Defeats to Lauren Davis and Coco Vandeweghe as a favourite were a surprise, but you can't ignore how well Suarez Navarro tends to play against players Ranked outside the top 50 when it comes to meeting them on the clay.

The Spaniard is 27-2 in that spot on the clay, and eighteen of those wins would have come by a margin to cover this number of games. The serve can be an issue for Suarez Navarro, but she has returned really effectively when facing the lower Ranked players on the Tour and I will be looking for that to show up in this match with Beck, whose own serve is very vulnerable.

Beck's own numbers do not look great when facing players inside the top 50 of the World Rankings and on the clay courts. I do think she will have her chances to break serve, but I am not sure she will do that enough to stay with Suarez Navarro who should earn at least four or five breaks in this one.

It is a big number, but I am looking for Suarez Navarro to perhaps move into the Second Round behind a 6-3, 6-2 kind of score.

MY PICKS: Carla Suarez Navarro - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Season 2017- 33.74 Units (1430 Units Staked, - 2.36% Yield)
Season 2016- 5.64 Units (2013 Units Staked, - 0.00% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 12 Picks 2017- Ladies Final (July 15th)

The Ladies Final at Wimbledon 2017 will involve a Williams again, but it is 37 year old Venus Williams who has come into the tournament that her younger sister Serena could not defend due to pregnancy.

For a long time it was Venus who was the dominant Williams sister on the famous lawns in SW19, but now she will be looking to pull to within one of Serena by taking the title home on Saturday.

That won't be easy against Garbine Muguruza who has played in two previous Grand Slam Finals, both times against Serena Williams. She won the last one of those at the French Open in 2016, but it was Serena Williams who beat Muguruza here at Wimbledon in the 2015 Final.

The Spaniard plays with plenty of power and comes into the Final as the favourite, but Venus Williams has the experience and arguably is playing on her most natural surface.

Venus Williams v Garbine Muguruza: I picked Venus Williams as the winner of this tournament at the start of the event and she has already provided a big return having reached the Final. That means those who followed the outright picks are now sitting on a big priced winner in what has been set as an almost pick 'em Final, but I think it may be worth letting things play out with my feeling being Venus Williams can go on and win the title here for the sixth time.

Both players have only dropped one set in the tournament so far and while Garbine Muguruza had the more straight-forward Semi Final win, I do think Venus Williams has improved in each passing match through the tournament. The serve has been a huge weapon for Venus Williams and it was that delivery which kept Johanna Konta in awkward positions in their Semi Final.

The serve working as well as it has been also means Venus Williams has been able to play with some freedom on the return games and that has seen her put some real pressure on opponents. As well as Garbine Muguruza has served at times, the raw numbers suggest she has been put under some pressure but has managed to play the key points at 30-30, deuce or break point down very effectively.

Some of the players Muguruza have played will be kicking themselves they didn't play those points a little better, but Williams has shown some strength at the key moments in her recent matches. That has been most evident on the serve where Venus Williams has been broken just twice in four matches having dropped serve four times in her first two matches, but it also has seen Venus convert a few more break point opportunities at a better percentage than she was earlier in the tournament.

The Spaniard has not been broken in her last two matches which will certainly give her some confidence, but I don't think Venus Williams will be as loose with her play as Svetlana Kuznetsova and Magdalena Rybarikova were. It won't be easy to get into the Muguruza games if she continues to hit as big as she has been, but I am not sure she has been playing as well as the straight sets victories in her last two matches suggest.

Kuznetsova certainly had her chances in their Quarter Final where there were not many points between them, and I think Venus Williams' comfort on the grass means she may be a little more confident when the chances do come her way. Venus Williams has been very strong when facing those players outside the top ten in the World Rankings on the grass and I think the performances so far this week makes me believe the wrong player is favoured in this one.

If Muguruza continues to play way above average on the big points, then of course she is a big threat, but Venus Williams has been close to her best and I like the veteran American to keep the Williams name on the Wimbledon Champion board.

MY PICKS: Venus Williams @ 2.10 Paddy Power (0 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 44-48, - 6.58 Units (179 Units Staked, - 3.68% Yield)

Friday, 14 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 11 Picks 2017 (July 14th)

At one point in this tournament, it looked like the men's Semi Finals were going to be epic, but I think some of the air has been taken out of the excitement since Manic Monday.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have all been exited the tournament since then and now it feels like Roger Federer is going to be very difficult to stop.

I know in my mind what the 'best' Final would be, but the Semi Final matches will determine who actually has a chance to play for the title on Sunday and they are at least a little fascinating if not the ideal matches for the fans who may have had big expectations on Monday morning.

I went into the Ladies' Semi Finals in a difficult position as to whether I should lay off the Venus Williams price from the outright picks or not. Ultimately I decided to let things ride and it paid off as the American reached the Final on Saturday.

I will take a lot at the Ladies' Final on Friday and see what do to with what will be a big priced winner if Venus can go on and win the title as I am expecting in the immediate aftermath of the Semi Final matches.

For now I will concentrate on the men's event.

Sam Querrey-Marin Cilic over 41.5 games: There have been factors around both wins, but Sam Querrey has beaten the defending Wimbledon Champion in 2016 and 2017. Last year there was no immediate emotional come down from the American after beating Novak Djokovic, but there are more factors at play in this Semi Final match against Marin Cilic.

The win over Novak Djokovic came in four sets and it was in the Third Round, but this time Querrey is into a maiden Semi Final at the Grand Slam level which is clearly going to play some part in the mindset. This year Querrey has also had to win three matches in a row in five sets which means there could be a touch of fatigue for a player who also has played some Doubles.

Now he faces an opponent he has never beaten before which includes three losses on the grass and two of those coming at Wimbledon. Marin Cilic also had to go through five sets to get by Gilles Muller, who had surprised Rafael Nadal, and I think the Croatian will have been disappointed with his returning for large parts of his Quarter Final.

Overall Cilic has been very good on the return of serve in this tournament, although facing the big Sam Querrey delivery is going to be as frustrating as it was facing Muller's. There will be times when Querrey has four big serves and the game will be over, but Cilic will feel he can get the better of the American over the distance as some tiredness perhaps sets in.

The Querrey return game is still not one that should worry Cilic a lot, but the latter has thrown in a couple of really sloppy games throughout the tournament matches which may give his opponent a chance. I still don't think it will be enough to win the match but Querrey will be feeling some confidence which may help him take a set in this one at the least.

The two previous matches between these two at Wimbledon have both gone deep into a fifth set and I am not anticipating a lot of breaks of serve in this one either. I do think Cilic will have the edge in the contest with the way he can return, but his generally poor tie-breaker record in 2017 means Querrey should have his chances if he is not fatiguing and able to keep serving as well as he can.

It does feel the layers are perhaps underestimating the chance of Querrey taking a set in this one with the line they have released for the total games. If this was to go into a fourth set as I am expecting, I do think it will be very tough for the match to finish under the total with the way both Querrey and Cilic are able to serve and I will back the games to be surpassed in this one.

Roger Federer-Tomas Berdych over 3.5 sets: I will be the first to admit that when Novak Djokovic first pulled out of his Quarter Final with Tomas Berdych my initial reaction was that Roger Federer was going to be far too good for the Czech player. It will take a brave person to oppose Federer when it comes to winning the tournament, but Berdych is playing well enough to have something to say in this one.

It will take a big effort from Berdych whose returning numbers have declined this season to the point that you have to feel that his days as a mainstay in the top 10 of the World Rankings may be behind him. The run at Wimbledon may have given Berdych a boost having matched his run to the Semi Final in 2016, but he was beaten easily enough in 2016 by Andy Murray and has to show better on the return to challenge Roger Federer.

The one bonus for Berdych is how well he has been serving, but he is facing Federer who just saw off Milos Raonic in straight sets and managed to get the Canadian into tough spots behind serve. With Roger Federer serving as well as he has been this past ten days, it is going to be very difficult for Berdych to get his teeth into this match and I do worry for him.

It is also Roger Federer who has won the last seven matches between these players and he has just dropped two sets in that time while also beating Berdych in straight sets at the Australian Open in January. Those wins will give Federer confidence, but Berdych may take something away from his narrow loss to Federer in Miami when Berdych actually won more points in the match despite the defeat.

The last time they met at Wimbledon it was Berdych who got the better of Federer in four sets, but it doesn't feel like he is returning well enough to do that this time. However I do think Berdych is serving well enough to take a set in this one and backing the match to need at least four sets looks the call.

I was tempted to pick Federer to win this one in four sets, but I think simply looking for this match to be a little more competitive than most think is the way the second Semi Final could go. While Berdych may struggle to get his teeth into the Federer service games with any consistency, I do think he is playing well enough to serve his way to a set and that is the main reason I am backing this to go into a fourth set.

It would be a huge surprise to me if Berdych was able to win this in straight sets, but I do think he can give Federer something to think about in the match and at least push the former World Number 1 into a competitive contest.

MY PICKS: Sam Querrey-Marin Cilic Over 41.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Roger Federer-Tomas Berdych Over 3.5 Sets @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Wimbledon Update: 43-47, - 6.24 Units (175 Units Staked, - 3.57% Yield)

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Wimbledon Tennis Day 10 Picks 2017 (July 13th)

This feels like a tournament that is going to be one which has come really close to some strong numbers, but one that ultimately comes close, but not close enough.

Seeing Simona Halep fall as an 8-1 pick to win the Fourth Quarter in the Ladies draw was a disappointment considering how close she came to beating Johanna Konta. That coupled with both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic failing to win their Quarter of the draw despite being big favourites in their Quarter Final matches makes it tough, and even more difficult to take when you see injury cost both Murray and Djokovic.

With Angelique Kerber also out, it was down to Marin Cilic and Venus Williams to keep the outright picks alive and both still have a chance to produce some strong numbers for me. Cilic is already a winner in the Second Quarter having come in as a 4-1 shot prior to the tournament, while Venus Williams was a big price to win the tournament and has reached the Semi Final.

It won't be easy for Venus Williams when she faces home hope Johanna Konta, while Magdalena Rybarikova takes on Garbine Muguruza in the other Semi Final. Rybarikova came into the tournament way outside the top 100 in the World Rankings and is on the brink of making the Saturday Final in what has been a fairytale run and the two Semi Final matches both look decent on Thursday.

Magdalena Rybarikova + 3.5 games v Garbine Muguruza: There is no doubt that Magdalena Rybarikova is going to feel the nerves of playing in a Grand Slam Semi Final, even though the Slovakian has shown real grit throughout this fortnight. Confidence is clearly soaring for Rybarikova who has had a tremendous grass court season, although it is not a surprise that she has been set as the underdog in this one.

She had never been beyond the Third Round at any of the Grand Slams, but you would never have guessed it with the way Rybarikova has played at key moments throughout Wimbledon. The win over Karolina Pliskova shows that Rybarikova is not afraid to take on the big names either and I do think she can give Muguruza plenty to think about.

The numbers back that up with Rybarikova returning as well as anyone left in the draw and she has dealt with the big serves of Pliskova and Coco Vandeweghe well enough to believe she can have success against the powerful Muguruza delivery. Rybarikova has won 40% of the return points against Pliskova and 46% against Vandeweghe, while backing that up with strong serving of her own.

Muguruza is very capable of blowing players away on the grass as a former Wimbledon Finalist, but I am not sure the Spaniard hasn't been riding her luck at times. The win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Quarter Final looks like a routine one, but it would have been a different story if the latter had been as clinical with her chances as Muguruza was on the day.

The flashier shots are likely to come off the Muguruza racquet with the big hitting winners very impressive and the more memorable shots you will see. However she has been under the cosh in her last two matches and Rybarikova has shown she can take the chances when they come her way throughout the grass court season which could see her surprise by reaching the Final.

The last two matches for Muguruza can be summed up by her going 6/11 on break points converted compared with her opponents going 3/13 and I do think Rybarikova is playing well enough to keep this one close at the least. Generally Rybarikova has served very well during this tournament and that backs up her performances in pre-Wimbledon grass court events too.

With that in mind I do think Rybarikova can take a set in this one which will give her every chance of covering with the games she is being given. It will be an upset, but I think Rybarikova can beat Muguruza on Thursday in what looks a very close Semi Final as long as the Slovakian can keep her nerves under control.

Venus Williams v Johanna Konta: Anyone who has been on the outright picks that I put up prior to the tournament beginning may want to lay off some of the Venus Williams price ahead of this Semi Final. Others may just want to let the pick ride and that is going to be a decision that each individual has to make for themselves.

This might not be the ultimate test at Wimbledon it once was, but beating Venus Williams on the famous green lawns in SW19 has remained one of the toughest matches anyone can play. That is what is in front of Johanna Konta on Thursday and I have to admit I am a little surprised that the British player is favoured to win the match.

She might be a lot younger than Venus Williams, but Konta has played three really tough matches at Wimbledon already and I have to think that accumulated fatigue is going to play a part at some point. I can't see Konta continuing to win the big points as she has done with the numbers both have produced so far this fortnight and that is a key reason I believe Venus Williams will get the better of her.

Konta did beat Williams at the Miami Masters on her way to the biggest title of her career, but Williams did snap a run of three consecutive losses to Konta when beating her in the Rome Masters. Playing on the grass is also a surface on which Williams has thrived much more than Konta and I do think the American former World Number 1 has been serving at a pretty high level which gives her every chance of earning the 'upset' in this one.

As well as Konta has done to get through the draw, she has been relying on the serve to be firing and I think that is going to be tested by Venus Williams. The latter has been returning effectively throughout the tournament and nullified some of the big hitters she has faced with her strength on the grass courts and the ability Williams has shown on the return.

The Konta serve has been a serious weapon for her and she has beaten Williams enough times to believe she can do it again. Wins over the American at the Australian Open and in Miami will give her confidence, but I think Konta is perhaps not as strong on the return as Williams and accumulated fatigue as well as the build up of pressure may just be the telling factors in this one.

While the media will be dreaming of a Konta Wimbledon win forty years after Virginia Wade, I think Venus Williams will get the better of her in this Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Magdalena Rybarikova + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Venus Williams @ 2.05 Bet Victor (0 Units)*

*Having picked Venus Williams each-way in the outright picks, I do think Venus Williams is still capable of winning this match on the numbers. However I won't be putting any units on it having Williams in the outright picks.

Wimbledon Update: 43-46 (6 Voids), - 4.24 Units (173 Units Staked, - 2.45% Yield)