Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 29th)

It was a mixed start to a new week of events with the two picks going 1-1 on Monday, although I was disappointed with Caroline Garcia who just didn't take the chances that were presented to her.

It could have been better, but it also could have been worse and there is plenty of tennis to come this week so hopefully there will be more positives than negatives. It begins early on Tuesday with the matches in Kitzbuhel and ends very late with the final matches from Stanford and I just hope the little bit of luck lands on my side this week.

Robin Haase - 3.5 games v Paolo Lorenzi: Robin Haase has certainly been one of the happiest men on the Tour to see the return of the ATP Kitzbuhel tournament to the calendar after a three year absence. Since the return, Haase has won this tournament twice and also reached the Semi Final here last season and clearly enjoys the surroundings and the conditions in this part of Austria.

Haase showed signs of form in Gstaad last week where he reached the Semi Final and he should bring in plenty of confidence to this First Round match, although he can't under-estimate Paolo Lorenzi who is very capable on the clay courts.

However, Lorenzi hasn't had a great season on the main Tour and might already be considering a move to the Challenger level where he continues to perform admirably.

Lorenzi can be an awkward opponent and Haase is a player that loses concentration dramatically at times which is a worry for this pick. However, I do believe Haase is very happy in Kitzbuhel and should be too good for Lorenzi in a 64, 64 win.

Juan Monaco - 3.5 games v Andrey Golubev: Last week, Juan Monaco reached the Final in Gstaad and was perhaps unfortunate not to at least push Pablo Andujar into a third set decider when going down in three sets.

Monaco did at least achieve his first aim and that was to move back inside the top 100 in the World Rankings and he will be looking for another strong showing in Kitzbuhel where he was a Finalist a yea ago and so has plenty of points to defend.

It has been a poor 2014 for Monaco, but winning matches should have given him a boost in confidence and I would expect he is too good for Andrey Golubev on a clay court in this First Round match. Golubev has a decent serve, but he struggles for consistency over the long rallies that you need on a clay court and will give his opponent's chances with some of his erratic play.

Unless the last week has taken its toll on Monaco, I expect he can travel to Austria with plenty of motivation to defend his points and should come through 64, 64.

Yen-Hsun Lu - 2.5 games v Lukas Lacko: It was no surprise that Yen-Hsun Lu suffered an early exit in Atlanta after the exploits of winning a Challenger the week before, but this is a time of the year when Lu does produce positive results.

He clearly is a player that enjoys the hard courts and plays at a fairly consistent level, although his serve can be vulnerable as he doesn't win as many cheap points from that shot as some of the other players on the Tour. Lu can't really match the best from the back of the court, but playing someone as erratic as Lukas Lacko could see Lu produce enough consistent tennis to come through.

A couple of years ago, Lacko looked to be a player that could make a real impact on the Tour, but he has struggled for consistency and his own serve isn't the biggest.

Lacko goes through periods of making mistakes and I can see that being the difference in a 63, 76 win for Lu.

Bernard Tomic - 2.5 games v Denis Istomin: After winning the title in Bogota, Bernard Tomic at least moved back inside the top 100 in the World Rankings and has had ten days to get ready for this tournament in Washington.

Winning a title should have given Tomic a boost in confidence after a difficult 2014 so far, but he has virtually nothing to defend over the remaining months of the season and should be able to make significant leaps upwards in the Rankings.

Tomic has a decent serve, but he sometimes can get unbalanced between defence and attack on the court which allows opponents to get into matches, but he is going up against Denis Istomin who is extremely inconsistent, although someone who has had success on the hard courts.

The problem for Istomin is that he has lost all three previous matches against Tomic and that is a mental burden that is likely to play against him in this one. With the recent success in Bogota behind him and a First Round win here, I like Tomic to come through 76, 64.

Benjamin Becker v Blaz Kavcic: Benjamin Becker reached the Semi Final in Atlanta last week, but he will need to be at his best to see of Blaz Kavcic who has had an extremely productive summer, albeit at the Challenger level.

While most players moved onto the grass courts following the French Open, Kavcic has been playing hard court Challenger events and has won three titles, reached the Final of another event and the Semi Final last week. However, that means he has been doing a lot of travelling and has had to move from Kazakhstan to the United States' Capital city in the last few days.

Confidence plays such a huge part on the Tour, but Kavcic has yet to turn that into success onto the main Tour and now plays a player that is also comfortable on this surface.

The recent success Kavcic has had has swayed the layers with the prices, but Becker has the serve to keep himself in a good position in the court and I think his added success at this level plus the tiredness of recent weeks of tennis for Kavcic will lead to the German moving through.

Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 games v Tim Smyczek: Tim Smyczek has a win under his belt here in Washington and has played a lot more tennis than Jeremy Chardy in recent weeks and will look to use that to his advantage in this Second Round match.

However, the American has been vulnerable with his serve not being the biggest and I am a little surprised that Chardy is perhaps being under-estimated by the layers.

Granted, Chardy didn't look great when dismissed by Pablo Cuevas on the clay of Bastad in his last appearance, but Cuevas has shown his form by winning two clay court titles this summer so the defeat is not as bad as it first looked. Chardy is arguably better on the hard courts too with his decent serve and heavy groundstrokes, although he did struggle in this portion of the season in 2013.

As long as the lay off from the Tour hasn't made Chardy completely cold, I think he wins this 76, 63.

MY PICKS: Robin Haase - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Juan Monaco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Yen-Hsun Lu - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Benjamin Becker @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-1, - 0.10 Units (4 Units Staked, - 2.5% Yield)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 28th)

It wasn't the best of weeks for the picks last week, but the John Isner win in Atlanta at least reduced some of the losses... However, I much prefer when a little is put into the season totals not taking some out of those and I will be looking for improved results this week.

I didn't bother with the outright picks this week with both the ATP events looking far more open than I would like, while the WTA events are bringing together some of the best players on their Tour. However, a lot of those players haven't played much, or at all, since Wimbledon so it is better to take a watching brief for the tournaments as a whole.

Next week will be the first of the two Masters/Premier Events of the summer leading into US Open which is now only four weeks away. That means the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova all will be making their return to the Tour after a few weeks off and the events will certainly begin to feel more and more important.

Most people will have turned their attention to the hard court season already with events in Washington and Stanford this week, although some players are just trying to pick up a few more Ranking points by competing in the ATP event in Kitzbuhel, the final clay court event of the season.

I'll be hoping the new game this week brings in more success than last week.

Karolina Pliskova - 3.5 games v Kimiko Date-Krumm: This summer, we have seen a number of teenagers on the ATP Tour really begin to make an impact in main Tour events, but the WTA still has a 43 year old competing with all the younger players on their Tour.

Kimiko Date-Krumm has begun to slip down the Rankings and it is getting harder and harder for her to hold off the tide of younger players that are making an impact on the WTA Tour. It is tough to see how she will deal with Karolina Pliskova who is much improved from the player that was beaten in three sets by Date-Krumm two years ago in Dubai.

Pliskova can make a real move up the Rankings over the next few weeks with limited points to defend and she has been performing well on the hard courts this season. She also has more competitive tennis recently than Date-Krumm who hasn't played since Wimbledon and back to back Quarter Finals since the third Slam of the year should have given Pliskova confidence.

My only concern for her is that she can be a little erratic and doesn't change a losing game plan, but I do think she can find the win in this one, even if it takes three sets, and I like Pliskova winning 62, 46, 64.

Caroline Garcia v Varvara Lepchenko: I don't think I agree with Andy Murray in his forecast for Caroline Garcia to be a future World Number 1 on the WTA Tour, but she is certainly capable of moving far above her current Ranking of 44.

The Frenchwoman has shown some signs of being a top player on the Tour, but she is still lacking some consistency which shouldn't surprise considering she is still only 20 years old. She hasn't had the most success on the hard courts either, but I still believe Garcia can beat Varvara Lepchenko.

Lepchenko has struggled for the last eighteen months and it does seem her 2012 season might be a career-high. The worry for the American is the poor form on the hard courts, although Lepchenko did reach the Quarter Final in Stanford last season.

She has a powerful game, but inconsistencies have seen her throw in a lot of errors in matches and Garcia also holds a mental edge with two wins over Lepchenko on the main Tour. That includes last month at Wimbledon, and I think that edge may prove to be the difference in a three set win.

MY PICKS: Karolina Pliskova - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Final12-15, - 7.26 Units (54 Units Staked, - 13.44% Yield)
Weekly Outright1-1, + 4 Units (3 Units Staked, + 75% Yield)

Season 2014+ 48.58 Units (1185.5 Units Staked, + 4.10% 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, 26 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 26th)

It has been a pretty tough week for the picks, but I haven't been helped much with the little strokes of luck you need to get over the line and put some winners up. However, both Marin Cilic and John Isner have moved through to the Semi Finals of their respective tournaments in Umag and Atlanta and can hopefully ensure there isn't a significant hit to the season totals.

Of the two players, Marin Cilic has certainly looked the more comfortable on the court, although I have to say that a player like Lukas Rosol, who possesses a huge serve, shouldn't lose as many 6-0 sets as he does.

It was still an impressive win for Cilic who will feel he is the best player left in the draw in Umag, although he has to prove that against Tommy Robredo in the Semi Final.

Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v Pablo Andujar: If the long Friday has taken its toll on Fernando Verdasco, then it will be very difficult for him to get up for this Semi Final against his compatriot Pablo Andujar.

On Friday, Verdasco had to complete his Second Round win over Jan-Lennard Struff which had to be postponed a day earlier in the final set decider which was poised at 1-1 at close. Verdasco then needed a tie-break to win that match, but only expended more energy later in the day when he beat Victor Troicki in three sets after somehow blowing the second set in the tie-break.

He is also going against a tough opponent in Andujar who has been in decent form over the last three weeks and who will believe he can level the head to head with his compatriot.

Verdasco certainly has the power on his side of the court, but it is all about harnessing that properly and recovering from Friday's exploits. He did mention how good he felt for the majority of his Quarter Final win over Troicki and I like Verdasco to find a 63, 46, 64 win in this one.

John Isner - 2.5 games v Jack Sock: There were more negative signs at the beginning of John Isner's Quarter Final win over Marinko Matosevic with another early break of serve given away, but he fought back and got through in two tough sets.

That should have given him a shot in the arm, especially as the serve improved as the match went on, very much in the same manner as in his Second Round win over Robby Ginepri. However, his opponent Jack Sock will also feel confident he can reach the Final here having beaten Isner in Newport in two sets to snap his three match losing run to the highest Ranked American.

After winning the Doubles event at Wimbledon, Sock would love to get to his first main Tour Final by winning this match, but that would put some pressure on him too. He knows what is at stake and I think Isner can use that to his advantage in this Semi Final.

A couple of years ago, Isner beat Sock 76, 64 in the Quarter Final here and I do think he is capable of at least replicating that score.

Benjamin Becker - 1.5 games v Dudi Sela: It is Dudi Sela 3, me 0 this week, but his win over Vasek Pospisil last night was the most disappointing for the picks considering the latter won 8 of 9 games and was a break up in the final set before inexplicably falling apart.

Sela reached his first Semi Final on the main Tour for two years but he now faces Benjamin Becker who has won all four previous matches between the players. Becker has taken advantage of what has been a kind draw to this point, beating the likes of Yen-Hsun Lu (coming off a long week where he won a Challenger title) and Thiemo de Bakker (who had surprised Kevin Anderson).

As well as Sela has played at times to this point, he still gives up chances to break his serve and Becker himself has a decent serve that can set up the easy points.

With the head to head as it is and Sela perhaps riding his luck to this point of the tournament, I will back Becker to reach the Final with a three set win.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
John Isner - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Benjamin Becker - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 11-13, - 5.36 Units (48 Units Staked, - 11.17% Yield)

Friday, 25 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 25th)

A tough week shows little sign of recovery as we reach the Quarter Final stage of the various tournaments taking place, but hopefully the outright picks can remain active and get into the winning enclosure this week.

I've not quite got the right grip on the week, but the last few days can still end the week on a high.

Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 games v Robin Haase: Robin Haase needed three sets to see off the first two opponents he has played this week and that could have built some confidence in a tournament he has enjoyed playing in the past.

However, I think he is still having too many lapses in concentration that will give Mikhail Youzhny a chance to win the match and get back to winning ways against the Dutchman. Youzhny had won five in a row against Haase, but it was the latter that won their sole meeting earlier this season, also on the clay.

They met in the Final here twelve months ago which ended with a straight sets win for Youzhny and I do believe the Russian still plays at a more consistent level than Haase. The latter can certainly raise his level at times and that might be enough to see off Youzhny, but I don't think he has been playing well enough to find that in this Quarter Final.

Both players will be desperate to advance with the points to defend from last season, but I believe it will be Youzhny who manages to do that with a 64, 64 win.

Pablo Andujar v Marcel Granollers: This is essentially a pick 'em contest in the Quarter Final, but I think Pablo Andujar should have been a strong favourite to win the match.

2014 has been a tough season for Marcel Granollers who has suffered a number of early losses and may also be concerning himself about defending his title in Kitzbuhel next week.

He has also lost three of the last four matches against his compatriot on the clay and Pablo Andujar should have a lot of confidence from reaching the Quarter Final in Hamburg last week. Andujar is also in line to have his most wins on the Tour since 2011 and may just win the big points in this one to lead to the win.

I wouldn't be surprised to see these two needing three sets to decide the winner, but I believe Pablo Andujar comes through for a place in the Semi Final.

Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 games v Teimuraz Gabashvili: In his current form, Pablo Cuevas is making leaps in the World Rankings which will help him gain automatic entrance into ATP 250 draws and not have to go through the qualifiers as he did this week.

Following his title win in Bastad, Cuevas has been dominant on the clay through the week, bar the First Round match, and he crushed Andreas Seppi in the Second Round to reach this Quarter Final.

He should be presented with more of a challenge from Teimuraz Gabashvili who has a couple of decent wins under his belt this week too, although that also saw him snap a run of three consecutive defeats. Gabashvili hasn't had a lot of success on the clay in the past, especially not on the main Tour, but he pushed Rafael Nadal and beat David Ferrer earlier this season which must have upped the belief.

However, Cuevas is playing so well at the moment that it is hard to see his run come to an end here and I believe the Uruguayan wins 64, 64.

Tommy Robredo - 3.5 games v Pablo Carreno-Busta: It hasn't been a great 2014 on the clay for Tommy Robredo as he is barely over 50% in winning percentage on the surface and his biggest problems have usually come in the 'lesser' tournaments.

However, he picked up a decent win against Albert Ramos in the Second Round and now plays another compatriot in Pablo Carreno-Busta who was the beneficiary of a Carlos Berlocq withdrawal.

This will be the third meeting between the players this season, all on clay courts, and Robredo has won the previous two in straight sets and I think he is more than capable of doing the same again in this Quarter Final.

Carreno-Busta will have to serve better than he did in his First Round match to give himself a chance, but I expect Robredo to grind him down and take a 64, 64 win through to the Semi Final.

Fabio Fognini - 4.5 games v Borna Coric: Borna Coric became the latest teenager to make an impact on the Tour this summer following the exploits of Alexander Zverev, but I think his run will be coming to an end against Fabio Fognini.

Of course the Italian is hardly the most trustworthy of players with his tendency to raise his game and also lower it depending on which side of the bed he got up. Fognini was a dominant winner over Albert Montanes after coming through a tight first set and he has the veteran experience and the defensive skills to frustrate Coric and eventually wear him down.

The next big Croatian tennis hope has had two impressive wins this week so can't be under-estimated in a sport where confidence plays a huge part in performances. He'll believe he can win this match and will be capable of doing so if 'bad Fognini' takes to the court.

The points that Fognini is defending this summer should focus him, in theory at least, and I do think he has the clay court nous to do enough to win this match. Fognini should prove a little too good in a 63, 64 win.

John Isner - 2.5 games v Marinko Matosevic: John Isner did not serve that well yesterday in his win over Robby Ginepri, but he did create plenty of break point chances in his three set win over his compatriot. Those sets should also have him plugged in to the tournament in Atlanta as he gets set to take on Marinko Matosevic.

Matosevic came through in straight sets yesterday, but he really didn't protect serve well with four breaks given up in the two sets. His erratic play can make him vulnerable, particularly as he gets into the net with his volleying still needing work.

This is all the case of whether Isner can get enough balls back into play and force a few errors from the Matosevic racquet- if he can do that, I would expect his serve to begin to frustrate the Australian and this to be a little more routine than his win over him on the clay of Madrid three months ago.

The serve will always be the key for Isner- if it is working from the beginning, I would expect him to come through 76, 64.

Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 games v Dudi Sela: I was a little surprised that these players are being considered as almost level pegging in the market, although Vasek Pospisil has struggled during 2014 in playing at the main Tour level regularly.

That will have taken away some of the confidence he built twelve months ago which saw him reach the Semi Final of the Montreal Masters and Pospisil could be taking a significant fall back down the Rankings with the Canadian Masters fast approaching.

It makes it important for him to start winning matches again and I do think the match up with Dudi Sela will suit him- while Sela is a decent returner, Pospisil has the serve to keep him on the back foot and will create chances to break serve.

They did play a titanic Davis Cup tie three years ago that was decided in a fifth set and it wouldn't surprise if there is a decider in this one, but Pospisil should have the bigger shots to come through 64, 36, 63.

MY PICKS: Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Andujar @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tommy Robredo - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
John Isner - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-10, - 7.10 Units (34 Units Staked, - 20.88% Yield)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 24th)

The tennis has been spread out over a number of hours through the three ATP events taking place this week and that also means the layers are taking a different amount of time in pricing up the full markets.

That has meant putting up the different picks at different times too with the ones from Gstaad and Umag coming out before the ones in Atlanta.

On Thursday we have reached the conclusion of the Second Round at the events to set up the business end of the events over the weekend. So far the outright picks are both still in their respective tournaments, although John Isner is making his first appearance in Atlanta on Thursday.

So far the picks have been a mixed bag through the week so I am looking for more positive momentum in the last few days.

Robin Haase - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: Growing up as a young Swiss tennis player can't have been easy for Henri Laaksonen in recent years with the standard being set by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Laaksonen hasn't been at his best in 2014 as he struggles to improve his Ranking, but he took advantage of the Wild Card into Gstaad by winning in the First Round.

The points earned are important to him, but it might be tough to back that up against Robin Haase, even if the Dutchman looks set for his worst season on the Tour since 2010. The next two weeks are vital for Haase to prevent his Ranking falling heavily as he reached the Final here last season and also the Semi Final in Kitzbuhel which takes place next week.

It has been a tough season for Haase who hasn't been beyond the Second Round of any event since Bucharest back in April and that was only the second time he had achieved that aim all season. Now he has the chance to get into the Quarter Final with the draw looking a good one, although mentally Haase can certainly lose his way.

However, I would think he has enough experience to know what he is dealing with in Laaksonen and Haase actually crushed him last season in a qualifier so won't be overly surprised by what the youngster brings to the court. I would expect Haase to find a 63, 64 win in this one.

Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v Jan-Lennard Struff: It has been a poor few weeks for Jan-Lennard Struff who only saw his losing run end at four matches when his First Round opponent had to retire with an injury.

The clay courts have been a surface that Struff has been accustomed to, but I think Fernando Verdasco will have a little too much for him, even if the Spaniard is coming off back to back disappointing losses.

Verdasco's best results have come on the clay over the last three years as his abilities as a Singles players have diminished. He could conceivably have his best Singles season since 2011, but Verdasco has become more like the player he was in his early part of his career as someone who drops silly sets and loses matches unexpectedly.

These players met last year in Bastad when Verdasco used his power to complete a comfortable straight sets win, but I expect this to be closer although one that the Spaniard wins 64, 64.

Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 games v Borna Coric: Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen one 17 year old make waves on the Tour and now Borna Coric looks to do the same as he was given a Wild Card into the event in Umag.

Coric came through his First Round match in surprisingly routine fashion against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but he now plays a clay court specialist in Horacio Zeballos. However, the latter is now outside the top 100 in the World Rankings and all the memories of his fabulous run at the beginning of last season that saw Zeballos win a title by beating Rafael Nadal on the surface have now faded for casual fans.

Even with that in mind, Zeballos has won three qualifiers here and beat Ante Pavic in the First Round so I would think his confidence is going to be in a very good place. Zeballos also beat Coric here in the First Round last season and I think he is perhaps being under-rated in this one.

While the match went three sets last season, Zeballos dominated the final set and I think he will prove a little too good in this one too in a 46, 63, 64 win.

Fabio Fognini - 3.5 games v Albert Montanes: Last summer was dominated by the performances of Fabio Fognini on the clay courts as he reached the Final of three consecutive events, winning two of them.

That was always going to be a tough feat to repeat for Fognini, but it has to be considered a disappointment that he has reached one Semi Final and one Second Round so far this time around. The Italian can be so frustrating to watch with his attitude not always the greatest, but he is only five wins short of matching his tally from 2013 on clay.

The match up with Albert Montanes is awkward with the Spaniard very comfortable on clay too, but Montanes hasn't been in the best of form despite a solid First Round win. Montanes had lost four in a row on clay before that win and I am beginning to feel that 2013 was an exception for a player in the last throes of his career.

Expect a few breaks of serve for both men on Thursday, but I think Fognini will eventually prevail 64, 64 as long as he keeps his mind focused in the match. Another early defeat is likely to see Fognini drop out of the World Top 20 in the Rankings, although that is a better reflection of where he stands in the men's game.

John Isner - 3.5 games v Robby Ginepri: John Isner gets his tournament in Atlanta underway on Thursday and I would think he is going to be too good for Robby Ginepri who has seen his best days on the Tour.

Ginepri has not been in great form in recent weeks and even the win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in the First Round could be put down to the fact that the latter won a Challenger title last week. There were some tiredness issues with Stakhovsky and I don't think Ginepri will benefit from that against Isner who is very comfortable here in Atlanta.

The defending Champion has a fair few points to defend before the US Open which may prevent Isner moving into the top 10 of the World Rankings, but the form has been pretty consistent through 2014 with some disappointing results too.

The serve gives Isner a real opportunity on the hard courts against anyone and that pressure may break Ginepri as it did when the latter lost to Ivo Karlovic in Newport. A 63, 76 win for Isner looks on the cards in this one.

Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 games v Tim Smyczek: He might not like the 'Mad Dog' tag that has been given to him, but Marinko Matosevic sometimes deserves the moniker with his attitude on the court. He plays an aggressive brand of tennis with his groundstrokes and the body language, but can quickly get down on himself if he starts making consistent errors.

He had an easy First Round win over Victor Estrella who perhaps was a little tired from reaching the Bogota Semi Final last week and I expect Tim Smyczek to give him more of an examination in this one.

Smyczek plays the majority of his tennis on the hard courts and has been competing a lot more than Matosevic in recent weeks with the latter making his first appearance since Wimbledon.

However, Smyczek has had a tough season to this point and I think Matosevic can bully his way through for a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Robin Haase - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-6, - 2.46 Units (22 Units Staked, - 11.18% Yield)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 23rd)

After the positive beginning for the week on Monday, Tuesday proved to be a lot more disappointing with both picks falling.

I didn't make a lot of picks on Tuesday simply because I wasn't that confident of the options that were available, but I expected better from the two picks I did make and will be looking to bounce back on Wednesday.

The Second Round action gets underway through the three men's tournaments on Wednesday and hopefully the following picks have a better time than the two made on Tuesday.

Federico Delbonis - 2.5 games v Thomaz Bellucci: Federico Delbonis won the first three matches these two players have competed against one another, but it was Thomaz Bellucci who won the most recent match in Munich.

On that occasion, the Brazilian took the chances that came his way and won the key points in a three set win, but I expect Delbonis to get the better of him for the fourth time in five matches in this Second Round clash.

Bellucci did well to win his First Round match here in Gstaad, but he hasn't been in the best form in recent weeks and I think that lack of confidence may prove to be the difference. There are times when Delbonis can be a frustrating player to back as he can make a number of mistakes that gift matches to his opponent, but he should be in a better place mentally of the two players.

I can see both players having their chances to break serve, but the confidence of winning more matches this year may help Delbonis find a 76, 64 win.

Pablo Andujar - 3.5 games v Blaz Rola: Another player that isn't the most fun to back, but one that I will be backing on Wednesday, is Pablo Andujar.

There is little doubt that the clay courts remain the Spaniard's favourite surface and he showed that with a decent run in Hamburg last week, although there is little doubt that Andujar isn't the most consistent player.

He is going up against Blaz Rola who has had a lot of success on the Challenger Tour on the surface, but he is yet to carry that form into the main Tour level and that is where I think Andujar's experience can make the difference.

Rola did crush Andujar at Wimbledon, but the grass will never sit well with the latter and I expect Andujar to get his revenge in a 64, 64 win.

Lukas Rosol - 3.5 games v Pere Riba: I was surprised by Pere Riba's win over Jiri Vesely in the First Round, but he is going to have to dig very deep to beat Lukas Rosol in the Second Round, even if the latter was pushed harder than he may have thought in the First Round.

It has been a good summer for Rosol so far and the next six weeks gives him a great opportunity to build Ranking points and he has every chance to surpass his career high ranking of 33 with some more wins. Last season saw him lose a lot of First Round matches, but he has had good runs in Stuttgart and Hamburg and would be expected to be too good for the Spaniard in this one.

Riba does love playing on the clay courts, but he could be under immense pressure by the Rosol serve, which may make his own vulnerable serve that much more in danger of being broken. He did give Vesely chances yesterday and I don't think Riba will have it as easy to create break point chances.

In their sole meeting at the French Open last year, Rosol won comfortably in three sets and I expect a 64, 64 win in this one.

Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Igor Sijsling: Marin Cilic has won all three previous matches with Igor Sijsling, but they have all been competitive- however, this is on the clay where Sijsling has struggled for much of the season and I think the Croatian can win this well in front of his own fans.

The one nagging doubt would be the lack of tennis Cilic has played since Wimbledon, but his last appearance at Umag came in 2012 a couple of weeks after coming off the grass and he adjusted very well.

Cilic's aggressive return of serve should put some pressure on Sijsling, particularly if the latter doesn't get at least 65% of first serves in play. That along with Cilic's own more aggressive attitude on serve plus the home support all should help Cilic come through this match.

There are times when Sijsling can throw in the towel and if that happens again, I can only see Cilic winning 75, 62.

Carlos Berlocq - 1.5 games v Pablo Carreno-Busta: With the way that Carlos Berlocq plays, there is always every chance that he will drop sets as his serve isn't the weapon that some players have on the Tour.

However, in this match, Berlocq is going against Pable Carreno-Busta whose own serve is also one that can be broken as shown in his First Round win over Paolo Lorenzi.

This is the first time that Carreno-Busta is taking on Berlocq and the veteran can be an awkward player that does get under the skin of his opponent. I can see Berlocq frustrating Carreno-Busta at times and that should give him the edge in the match.

I won't be surprised if it needs three sets though before Berlocq comes through 63, 36, 64.

Yen-Hsun Lu - 3.5 games v Alex Kuznetsov: Yen-Hsun Lu won a Challenger back home last week before travelling to Atlanta and he should have the confidence to beat Alex Kuznetsov.

The latter got into the draw as a Lucky Loser, although he is probably happiest on the hard courts, but that might not be enough against someone like Lu who is a regular at these kinds of events.

Lu also dismissed the Kuznetsov challenge earlier in the season on the indoor hard courts of Memphis and I think he has the serve to do enough damage against Kuznetsov to win this match.

It won't be as easy as Memphis simply because of the travel to Atlanta that Lu had to undertake, but I still believe he wins 76, 63.

Sam Querrey - 3.5 games v Dudi Sela: Sam Querrey was impressive in his win over Steve Johnson and perhaps should have won with a clearer margin than the 76, 75 suggested as he had the majority of the chances to break serve.

If he continues serving to the same standard he set in that match, he is going to be tough to beat in Atlanta and on the hard courts in general this next six weeks, while confidence looks to be improving after a disappointing first six months.

Like a lot of American players, the clay courts are always going to be a tough time for Querrey, but he had been performing far below the standard he wants before then. Now he is back on familiar terrain, I expect he can be too good for Dudi Sela.

Sela is a player that really plays a lot during this time between Wimbledon and the first of the hard court Masters tournaments and this is his third tournament since the third Grand Slam of the year came to a conclusion. He has surprised Querrey before so can't be under-estimated, but Sela also does give opponents chances to break serve and I can see the big American putting together a string of winners against Sela in each set to bring together a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Federico Delbonis - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Andujar - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Carlos Berlocq - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Yen-Hsun Lu - 3.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sam Querrey - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-3, - 2.40 Units (10 Units Staked, - 24% Yield)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 22nd)

Tuesday is the day that the tournaments really get underway as far as I am concerned and you still have time to read the outright picks from the week here.

With rain expected at all three men's tournaments to be played through the day, don't be surprised if there are delays within matches. Yesterday the picks went 2-1 as Donald Young fell apart in his loss to Dudi Sela and once again is on my unbackable list.

A positive result is still a positive start to the week and hopefully that can be built upon in the next few days.

Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Mate Delic: After winning the title in Bastad, confidence has certainly been flowing through Pablo Cuevas who has come through three qualifiers to reach the main draw here in Umag.

It might be a little more difficult to see of Mate Delic than in a normal occasion considering he will be vocally backed by the home crowd, while the Croatian has also played well in the level below the main Tour.

He qualified for tournaments in Stuttgart and Hamburg before being beaten in the First Round and he has reached a Semi Final and a Final on the Challenger Tour on this surface. That will have given Delic the belief he can spring a surprise, but Cuevas has been performing better at a higher level.

The first set might be a tough one to separate these players, but if Cuevas can come through that, I expect him to record a 75, 63 win.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Pere Riba: Jiri Vesely has lost three matches in a row coming into this one, but I think he has every chance to win this match against Pere Riba who does look overmatched on the main Tour.

Riba is very comfortable on the clay, but he doesn't have a lot of power and his serve is vulnerable which makes him a player that is a good match up for many at this level. Even in his sole match against Vesely, Riba was crushed 64, 61 last season and I think it is asking a lot from him to keep ahead in this match.

I do expect Vesely to earn a few breaks of serve, and he should be a fairly comfortable winner as long as he can serve semi-effectively. A 64, 63 win should be on the cards at the least for Vesely in this First Round match.

MY PICKS: Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-1, + 1.60 Units (6 Units Staked, + 26.67% Yield)