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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...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 25th)

It feels like the whole of Europe is having a downturn in weather at this moment in July, although the tournament in Atlanta was another affected by poor weather on Monday.

At least Hamburg has a roof on the main court there, but rain delays have to be expected in the days ahead and I think there is a big chance of seeing players have to complete two matches in a single day to get these events back on track.

There are plenty of tennis matches scheduled for Tuesday as the events play catch up with Monday being severely affected by the rain, but the forecast doesn't make for great reading on the day and it may be another delay-filled day.

While there may be a lot of matches scheduled, for the second day in a row I am making just one pick from the matches to be played, weather permitting.

Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 games v Pauline Parmentier: The clay courts may be the weakest of the surfaces as far as Caroline Wozniacki is concerned, but I think the Number 1 Seed in Bastad can get her event off to a solid start. This is a big number for Wozniacki to cover considering her clay court performances, but I think she has been able to produce enough solid tennis on the surface in 2017 to win this one.

Her opponent had a good run in Gstaad last week, but Pauline Parmentier has struggled when facing the better players on the Tour. The Frenchwoman is just 4-5 when facing top 100 players on the clay courts in 2017 and she was 5-4 last season and that is all the while Parmentier has only played five matches against players inside the top 50.

Parmentier is just 5-30 against top 20 players in her career and one of the poorer factors has been the return game which can be so important in women's tennis. She is 0-6 against top 20 players over the last two years on any surface and Parmentier has failed to get within this number of games four times in that time.

No one will confuse Wozniacki with someone who possesses a very strong serve, but the former World Number 1 is capable of looking after that enough to win this match. Her own return game is likely to put a lot of pressure on Parmentier and those numbers improve across the board when Wozniacki has taken on players Ranked outside the top 50 on the clay courts this season.

These two haven't met for a while, but Wozniacki recorded two big wins over Parmentier when they have played on the Tour and I will look for her to cover this number.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)

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

Monday, 24 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 24th)

Another week is in the books in the 2017 Tennis season and the final grass court event of the year came to an end in Rhode Island on Sunday.

This week there are five more tournaments being played with three of those on the clay courts and two on the hard courts. One of those takes place in Atlanta where the first of the North American hard court events that counts towards the US Series begins on Monday.

Next week will be an ATP 500 event in Washington before back to back Masters tournaments in Canada and Cincinnati as we will quickly move into the US Open. It will be interesting to see the kind of names that perhaps pull out of the US Open with doubts about both Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, while we will all wait to see when Maria Sharapova is going to be back in action who will be needing a Wild Card to enter the US Open main draw.

The news story run by the US Open itself suggests Sharapova will be welcomed into the Qualifiers, which she has the Ranking for, but I'd be surprised if she is given a Wild Card into the main draw. That's for another day though and the focus this week is on the tournaments being played in Atlanta, Bastad, Gstaad, Hamburg and Nanchang.

Last week was a decent one for the picks, although not a really strong one like I would have wanted. A winning week is a winning week, but I am looking to put some momentum behind the picks to head into the bigger tournaments ahead this summer before the US Open gets underway.

Facundo Bagnis v Yannick Hanfmann: Two really impressive wins in the Qualifiers from Yannick Hanfmann has helped him enter the main draw in Gstaad, but I am not sure why he is the favourite to win this match. He is playing a clay court specialist in Facundo Bagnis who is considerably higher up in the World Rankings, but the numbers seem to favour Bagnis too.

There has been a lack of tennis played by Hanfmann at the main ATP level but he has gone 3-2 in those matches this year, 2-1 on the clay courts. That's not bad, but you can't ignore the fact that Hanfmann doesn't play the better players on the Tour regularly, although he may feel this match against Bagnis is more in line with the type of competition he faces.

This year has not been a great one for Bagnis in terms of the results, but his numbers have generally been quite steady despite the wins not coming as frequently as they did in 2016. Hanfmann has been able to look after his serve effectively which makes him dangerous in this one, especially when you see how much the players at the Challenger Tour have had difficulties against him.

The return game hasn't been bad either, but I think Bagnis is more than capable of earning the 'upset' in a match where I may have slightly favoured him to be honest. It will likely be a close match and I do think Hanfmann is capable, but I just wouldn't have him as the favourite and I think Bagnis can do enough to make these odds against quotes count with a victory on Monday.

MY PICKS: Facundo Bagnis @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Season 2017- 32.36 Units (1460 Units Staked, - 2.22% 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, 22 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 22nd)

The five tournaments being played this week have moved into the Semi Final Round and it has been an inconsistent week for the Tennis Picks.

It can still be concluded as a winning week though, and that is the most important factor, as I try and get 2017 turned around after a miserable time between February and April.

The build up to the next Grand Slam at the US Open will begin next week with the first hard court event in North America being played in Atalanta, and I am looking for a strong six weeks to lead into the US Open and build some real momentum.

Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v David Ferrer: It is David Ferrer who has the lead in the head to head between these players, but this is the first time Ferrer will play Fernando Verdasco since May 2015. In that time there is no doubt that Ferrer has declined as a player while Verdasco is perhaps a little more steady with his play these days.

You can't completely ignore the head to head because Ferrer may feel he still owns the mental advantage between himself and Verdasco. That can be a tough obstacle for players to overcome, but Verdasco has beaten him seven times in the past so wins over Ferrer won't feel so alien to him to see Verdasco struggle to cope.

There definitely seems to be a real edge in the numbers Verdasco is producing compared with Ferrer who is struggling to hold serve as effectively. His return numbers used to be a strength for Ferrer, but he has had his difficulties when playing the better players on the Tour and I think the Verdasco serve has certainly been offering up the chance for Verdasco to dictate the points.

The Verdasco return has been a key part of his game in 2017 and I do think he can put Ferrer under pressure in this Semi Final. The latter Spaniard had a long match in his Quarter Final too and these factors can come together in what could be a surprisingly comfortable win for Verdasco.

I expect Verdasco to have the better of the break point chances and he can win this one 6-4, 6-4.

Added one pick from Umag below. Am out for the day so can't do a full breakdown of the pick.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Paolo Lorenzo - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 @BetFred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-6, + 1.18 Units (26 Units Staked, + 4.54% Yield)

Friday, 21 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 21st)

I've just had a few things to do on Thursday which means I am not able to produce the full breakdowns of the Tennis Picks from the Quarter Final matches that are scheduled for Friday.

For this thread I will simply put the picks down below and I should be back with a proper thread for the Semi Final matches as long as I have any picks from those matches.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Julia Goerges - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-4, + 1.72 Units (18 Units Staked, + 9.56% Yield)

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)