AFTER tipping up a Nadal defeat on Thursday, Mark Stinchcombe (@markstinchcombe) returns with more SW19 picks for Friday.
Marcos Baghdatis v David Goffin | Friday 12:15 | BBC
These two have met three times before and former semi and quarter-finalist Marcos Baghdatis has won every one, including twice this year dismantling Goffin with sets including 6-2, 6-1 and 6-0.
Baghdatis has been in good grass court form winning eight of his 11 matches, making the semi-final of Nottingham last week beating David Ferrer along the way.
Goffin has had decent success too winning five of his seven and making the final of Hertogenbosch but I wouldn’t have him as big as favourite as he is. Baghdatis beat him at odds of 8/13 in Dubai and 2/1 at the Australian Open, and with Goffin never making it past the 3rd round here, odds of 7/4 look value.
Sloane Stephens v Lucie Safarova | Friday 14:45 | BBC
I make last year’s semi-finalist Lucie Safarova a level above Sloane Stephens. Possibly not in pure ability, but definitely mentally, with Sloane capable of switching off during matches for a period of time. For those of you who watch her on tour you’ll regularly see coach Nick Saviano coming on to ‘gee her up’ at a change of ends.
To quantify their levels this year, Lucie has won in Doha (beating some very good players, impressively dropping just one set) and obviously made the French Open final last month. Sloane’s best result however, is the semi’s of Eastbourne and Miami suffering seven exits at the 2nd round or earlier of tournaments.
After coming into the tournament with just one grass court match under her belt it looked like Safarova struggled to find her range, albeit against a capable grass courter in Alison Riske. Lucie prevailed in three but hit eight double faults, won just 38% of points on her 2nd serve and conceded 14 break points to which Riske took advantage on five occasions.
She tidied that up in round two hitting a positive 24-16 winners-unforced errors (UE), served just two doubles, winning 85% of points on her 1st serve, raising her 2nd serve points won to a much healthier 69% and gave away no break point opportunities.
Sloane is just breaking even on the winners-UEs and her 2nd serve looks to be attackable winning less than 50% of her points on it. Tennis is a game of fine margins and Lucie looks to have the upperhand. These two have met just once before in Dubai last year with Safarova coming through in straights.
Novak Djokovic v Bernard Tomic | Friday 15:30 | BBC
I attempted to get Novak to drop a set to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the opening round and despite the German getting to *4-5 in every set, he ultimately choked when it mattered. I didn’t expect Jarkko Niemenen to cause him any trouble but there’s a chance Bernard Tomic can.
Tomic is a decent grass court player and this is one of his better surfaces. He’s made the quarters here before and his last two years have been halted by Tomas Berdych both times although taking a set on both occasions.
These two have met five times before and Novak only holds a narrow 3-2 lead. Djokovic dropped sets to Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Radek Stepanek here last year and when Novak was arguably in the grass court form of his life in 2011 Tomic took the 2nd set 6-3 in the quarter-final with Novak winning in four.
Marcos Baghdatis v David Goffin – Baghdatis to win (7/4 Boylesports)
Sloane Stephens v Lucie Safarova – Safarova to win (4/5 Boylesports)
Novak Djokovic v Bernard Tomic – Djokovic to win and both players to win a set (100/30 William Hill)
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