Tuesday, June 05, 2012



Busy couple of days in prospect, today I will take a look at two football matches which include one "strong" selection, plus the French Open Tennis where we are in a fantastic position already.

Tomorrow, the email will look at the remaining quarter final matches from Roland Garros, the Adelante or Segunda Playoffs from Spain, where we had great success last year and I have another "strong" pick and also an Euro 2012 update and a look at one of the speciality markets.


This is the match that will decide the semi finalist from the top quarter, which was the only section where I put up an outright suggestion , writing the day before play started at Roland Garros ......
I think Victoria Azarenka is vunerable, she won a challenger on dirt seven years ago and Marbella in a very substandard field last year, that is it. She posted some impressive results at Madrid, but the surface was not like this and even there and in Stuttgart, she got a bit of a tanking from Serena and Masha. Sam Stosur is proven on the surface at Roland Garros, with two semis , including a final in the last three years, during which she has posted 45 wins on the surface and three masters finals. She also has the confidence of coming back as a grand slam winner, after taking the US Open last year, She has not looked back at RG since she learned to kick serve and that very impressive shot will take her a long way this year. If you can find circa 3.75 + for her to make the semis, then take it. Later update: Sam Stosur to win Quarter 1 is now available @ 4.0 in a couple of places.

Stosur has made it through to the quarters without dropping a set and served as well as anybody on tour here through her first three wins, putting up some incredible stats, especially with her second serve which I will not bore you with right now. Second serve is hugely important, it is the weakest and usually shortest short played during the course of a rally and the "must make" nature of the shot, immediately forces a lot of players into defensive positions, I do not want to go into too many details here, as this is something I want to really save for the grass court season, but it is not by chance that the top three players in the men's game are all ranked inside the top 5 for second serve points won and last year they were all ranked top 4. Novak Djokovic has three times been ranked inside the top 3, 2008, 2010 and 2011 the only three years in which he has won Grand Slam titles, he was a long way down the list in other seasons, which gives some idea of the value of a solid second serve, anyway, I am getting a little distracted, suffice to say that SS has the best in women's tennis on this surface, to go along with that huge forehand of hers.

Stosur admitted that she was caught off guard by Sloane Stephens in the 4th Round and she wasn't helped by the empty stadium and lack of atmosphere after the match was moved late in the day, to say nothing of the cooler temperatures and she will be much happier playing first on Court Philippe Chatrier this afternoon. Cibulkova was like a breath of fresh air against Azarenka and played with joy and a smile on her face, she made the semis here in 2009 and was a match point away from beating Maria Sharapova 6-0 6-0 in the quarters ! So, we cannot expect her to be nervous this afternoon. Either of these girls can win the tournament and I must be honest and say that I would prefer Stosur was playing any other player in the last eight to land our bet and that probably includes Sharapova, but what is for certain ,is that the Australian is far happier facing the Slovakian player than Azarenka, whom she has never won a set off in six previous meetings and only more than three games once ! Stosur admitted to a huge sense of relief that she has avoided her nemesis, I expect her to win today, but the odds look about right and all I suggest is we sit back ,enjoy and hope for an aussie win !


Not much luck in recent years for Del Potro at Roland Garros , he felt he was on top of Djokovic last year before bad light stopped the match and was all over Federer for three sets in the semis in 2009 after which he played virtually no tennis on clay for two years, coming back to win Estoril just before that loss to Novak in 2011.This year he again won Estoril and also played Madrid and Rome, so is much better prepared, he saw off Tomas Berdych who had taken the big three all close on the surface in recent weeks and was many peoples idea of a dark horse this fortnight, in Round 4 in four sets and looks in good shape, having seen off the also dangerous Marin Cilic in the previous round. The knee strapping is a concern, the Argentine player said after the match yesterday, that his knee was not 100% , but close. Federer has not been at his best so far at RG and was fortunate that his draw threw up an easy run to the quarters, Unqur, Mahut and Goffin all took a set and gave him problems of one kind of another. If he had faced Cilic or Berdych like his opponent today, the Swiss superstar might already be preparing for his grass court campaign. However, we have seen it all before and we might see FedEx up his game today, but I do smell an upset and I would be very keen on JMDP if we did not have the knee concerns.

Looking briefly at that previous meeting here in 2009, that was the year Rafa went out to Soderling in R4, it was Federer's chance of the one grand slam that had illuded him and he was going to win come hell or high water, nothing was going to stand in his way. Del Potro came closest to stopping him, he led 2-1 in sets, served 16 aces, despite not making a huge number of first serves ( if that makes sense), 58% was about the lowest he has managed againgst RF in previous meetings and had a lot of break points, he hit more winners than the Swiss champion and was very brave, also making a huge number of net approaches, he was pretty much the aggressor in that match. The surface here really lets him set up that huge forehand and I expect him to give Federer a lot of trouble today. I suggest the 3.50 for Del Potro on the betting exchanges will, at the very least, throw up some great trading opportunities.


Good Luck.

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