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Boxing Picks 2021- Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders (May 8th)

There have been some solid cards over the last several months, but the largely absent fans has been a big miss for Boxing as much as other s...

Sunday, 31 July 2011

A few changes...

Just a really quick post before I look to put my tennis picks up for tomorrow to let you guys know I will be making a couple of changes around here. Now I will also use the blog to put up my picks from other sports that I cover on www.goonersguide.com so that everything is in the same place.

I will continue to write full previews over there, but I will also add links to them here as well as putting my UNITS down for each pick.

That way it makes it clearer what how I am breaking down my picks and will hopefully show a profit as the season goes on.

I will also be making all MLB, NFL and NBA picks on here as well as for football (soccer) so at least you can now see how I am breaking down my picks.

Over the next week, I will put up my ante-post picks from the Football League that kicks off on Friday and I will also try and put a few more 'comment' posts up rather than just picks.

Hopefully you guys will enjoy the changes and lets hope for another great season.

Tennis Outright Picks August 1st-7th

The US Open series continues this week with the ATP 500 Event in Washington and the WTA Tour moves to San Diego, while over in Europe the last of the clay events following Wimbledon begins in Austria.

We still await the big players on the ATP tour to make their first appearances in the Summer, but with the Montreal Masters beginning next week, we can be sure their preparations are going strong.

ATP Washington
With most of the top 10 MIA for this tournament, it leaves it wide open for a few players to make a run at a tournament worth quite a few ranking points. The favourite for the tournament is unsurprisingly Mardy Fish, a player that has recently won in Atlanta and is in the Final in Los Angeles tonight.

I won't be backing the Number 1 American this week simply because of the amount of tennis he has played this week and I am not sure if he will even travel the length on the country with bigger fish (pardon the pun) to fry in the next few weeks.

Still, just because I won't be backing Fish this week does not mean I will be finding someone in his section to back instead. The likes of Fernando Verdasco, Nikolay Davydenko and Jarkko Nieminen are all seeded in this section and make their hard court debuts this Summer yet none of those can be trusted on recent form.

One player who may make the most of the Fish half of the draw is the Number 7 seeded Marcos Baghdatis although he is yet another player that has a few question marks surrounding him. Baghdatis was knocked out in his first match last week in LA to Yen-Hsun Lu and has been an early loser in previous matches in the States this season at Miami and Indian Wells. 

Baghdatis has course form here in Washington as he finished Runner Up last season and he might be able to make hay if he can get through a potential 2nd Round meeting with Somdev Devvarman, a player that beat Baghdatis in straight sets at Indian Wells.

The route through to the Semi Final would see him face Thomaz Bellucci in the 3rd Round and a potential Quarter Final with either Xavier Malisse or Jurgen Melzer.

On the other half of the draw, there doesn't seem like a lot of choices to be had with the best players all seeming to have been placed in the bottom section.

There we have John Isner, another former player that has reached the Final here in Washington before although he does have a tough looking draw in the early Rounds.

Isner is seeded to avoid Round 1, and then faces a very winnable match. The 3rd Round is where the potential problems arise as he is down to meet either last years Champion, David Nalbandian, or the in-form James Blake. The former will present more problems for Isner with his superior returning game, but has not played any tennis since Wimbledon, while Blake and Isner had a tight match in Atlanta recently that was won by Isner in 3 sets.

It is slightly concerning that Isner had a few issues with his shoulder in Atlanta, but he has had a few days off and will have a couple more before his 2nd Round match.

Overall, this looks like a tough tournament to pick outright, but I will back those two players I have mentioned and hope one of those can give us a run.

WTA San Diego
This is quite a solid field this week fresh off Stanford and there are a number of players that will feel they can have a big week.

The market is being dominated by a few single priced favourites and I am going to pick one of those as an each way shout.

My pick is in what I consider to be the weaker 2nd half of the draw and is going to be Agnieska Radwanska, last years beaten Finalist.

Radwanska is the Number 3 seed here this week and was a Quarter Finalist in Stanford last week before being beaten by Sabine Lisicki in 3 sets.

The Polish player should be able to negotiate the 2nd and 3rd Rounds of the tournament without too many issues before a potential Quarter Final with Daniela Hantuchova- again Radwanska should have the edge over a player she has beaten 3 of the last 4 times they have met and she also holds a win over Hantuchova from this tournament last year.

The potential Semi Final opponent is less clear as that is a tough section to pick from, and whoever she meets could have had to play a lot of tennis up to that point in hot weather.

The other side of the draw provides some big threats in the forms of Vera Zvonareva, a recent winner in Baku, Sabine Lisicki, a Semi Finalist last week in Stanford, and Dominika Cibulkova. All 3 of those players are in a section meaning only 1 will make the Semi Final and it looks like a tough section to predict again.

In saying that, the odds on Zvonareva and Lisicki look plenty short considering their opposition and I would rather be on Radwanska at the same odds in what looks like a clearer path through.

MY OUTRIGHT PICKS: Marcos Baghdatis @ 19.00 Bet365 (1 Unit E/W)
John Isner @ 10.00 Stan James (1 Unit E/W)
Agnieska Radwanska @ 9.00 Stan James (1 Unit E/W)

Tennis Profit/Loss Update July 26th-31st

It was a tough week all round when looking back, but I have come out the other side in a much better position than I feared I might be after some horrendous results.

I was a little unlucky to miss out on Juan Carlos Ferrero reaching the Final in Umag when he ran into Alexandr Dolgopolov playing some of the best tennis he can. Dolgopolov has a game where the everything is on his racquet and he was just not making any mistakes yesterday while hitting winners from all over the place.

Victoria Azarenka and Dmitry Tursunov were early losers in their respective tournaments while Juan Martin Del Potro was shocked in the Quarter Final by Ernests Gulbis, with the latter taking his place in the Final later.

The overall profit for the season is still in a very healthy position as we come closer to the 2 big Masters tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati. And then, at the end of the month, the final Grand Slam of the season will begin at Flushing Meadows.

DAILY PICKS: + 1.06 Units


OVERALL WEEK JULY 26th-31st: - 8.94 Units


Saturday, 30 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 30th

I am going to put all my picks from the tournaments running in this one thread today but I will update the weekly totals separately as I have been doing all week.

It was a disappointing evening as both Maria Sharapova and Juan Martin Del Potro exited the tournaments. The latter is more disappointing as my biggest outright back of the week and it sounds like he was just not at the races.

Players like Ernests Gulbis can be very dangerous when they get hot, the problem for him is consistency to play like that against the lesser players.

Juan Carlos Ferrero is now the last man standing in terms of outright picks, but he would cover the entire outlay of the week if he can go on and retain his title in Umag- I just hope he can do it without the breakdown he had yesterday against Carlos Berlocq when losing 5 games in a row in the 2nd set and seeing his 5-1 lead disappear. The Spaniard did come through in straight sets, but it would have been nice if he had got off court a little earlier as he should have done.

Now on to the Picks:

Nicolas Almagro - 3.5 games vs Fernando Verdasco: This is a repeat of the Semi Final from last week in Hamburg and I would not be surprised if we get a similar result (last week Almagro won 6-1, 6-4).

Almagro has been solid all week behind his serve and even doing double duty yesterday did not slow him down when beating Jarkko Nieminen and Feliciano Lopez. If he continues to serve like that, he will put a lot of pressure on his compatriot today.

Fernando Verdasco did not play that well for 2 sets yesterday against Julien Benneteau and I just feel he is not quite at the races mentally this season. He seems to get through against the lesser players but struggles when faced against someone who is playing well.

The court has played fairly quickly all week and I feel that will give Almagro the edge too so I will back him to come through with a bit to spare.

Juan Carlos Ferrero - 2 games vs Alexandr Dolgopolov: If anyone followed the outright picks at the start of the week, we have already got Juan Carlos Ferrero at 4.00 to win this match and get through to the Final so they may not want to put a bit more on him here.

However, I do want to back him again as I feel the match up is more in Ferrero's favour than the layers think it is. He is fairly consistent from the back of the court and could grind down Dolgopolov here, although I would like to see the Spaniard take care of his serve a little more.

Dolgopolov has not been getting enough first serves in and that could give him more problems here against a player like Ferrero who has the big groundstrokes. A lot of second serves will allow Ferrero to dictate more points and that could be the edge to this match.

They also met here last year in the Quarter Final and Dolgopolov was beaten heavily and won just 3 games in the 2 sets they competed.

I dont think it will be a blowout like that, but I do think Ferrero will come through and reach his 3rd consecutive Final here.

Mardy Fish - 4.5 games vs Ryan Harrison: This is a repeat of the Semi Final from Atlanta last week and I dont see any reason to change my mind but to predict Mardy Fish to come through in 2 sets again.

Harrison has had the 2 most productive weeks of his short career so far and has showed the heart and belief to come through some tight spots, particularly in the 2nd set against Yen-Hsun Lu yesterday, but this is a huge step up from the quality of opponents he has played so far this week and I struggle to see how he can do enough to affect the Fish game.

The one thing in Harrison's favour is the amount of tennis Mardy Fish has played recently and whether that catches up with him here. However, Fish has been taking his fitness as seriously as he ever has and I am not sure if his losing energy is just clutching at straws.

I just think the Fish game is too big at this moment in time for the improving Harrison and I think a similar scoreline to last weeks 6-2, 6-4 could be in the offing.

Ernests Gulbis - 3 games vs Alex Bogomolov: This could be the case of 'after the Lord Mayor's show' for Ernests Gulbis following his impressive straight sets win over Juan Martin Del Potro, but I am of the feeling that the Latvian is a momentum player that could be tough to stop this week.

He has played some decent tennis this week to get this far and was more than a little unfortunate to lose to James Blake in the 1st Round in Atlanta last week and Gulbis' better performances have generally come on the hard courts in recent seasons.

Gulbis has all the attributes in his game to be a good hard court player, but sometimes it is the thing between his ears that lets him down. The confidence from the win over Del Potro should give him the boost to reach the Final this week.

Alex Bogomolov is a journeyman player having his best year on the main tour so will not be easy pickings. He has reached the Quarter Finals in 3 of the last 5 tournaments he has played and also made it through to the 3rd Round at Wimbledon in that time so is in decent form.

However, I think it could be telling that he has had a few problems with the bigger hitters on the tour and Gulbis will fit into that category. Bogomolov has lost to John Isner, Gilles Muller and Tomas Berdych in recent weeks and I think the pressure of trying to hold serve could be too much for him today.

Gulbis is not the best person to trust, but I think he should be too strong for the American tonight.

MY PICKS: Nicolas Almagro - 3.5 games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Juan Carlos Ferrero - 2 games @ 1.91 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mardy Fish - 4.5 games @ 1.91 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Ernests Gulbis - 3 games @ 1.83 10Bet (2 Units)



Friday, 29 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 29th Stanford and LA

Please dont ask me what went wrong with Alejandro Falla last night because I was left scratching my head at his performance and am not sure whether it was down to Falla being terrible or Thomaz Bellucci playing well.

That means I will be taking a watching brief when Bellucci takes on Alex Bogomolov tonight to see where the Brazilian, who has struggled on the hard courts over the last 18 months, is with his game.

It was more doom and gloom for me when Victoria Azarenka lost from a set up in her 2nd Round match with Marina Erakovic- Azarenka took to her twitter page to say that she doesn't know what went wrong with her game.

Now on to the Picks:

Maria Sharapova vs Serena Williams: I have picked the form player here as she is the underdog and I am not quite sure if Serena Williams is back to her best after being taken to 3 sets yesterday by Maria Kirilenko.

Serena has played in Stanford twice before and it is telling that she is yet to go beyond the Semi Final so the tournament is clearly used to perhaps fine tune her game a little before the US Open at the end of next month.

On the other hand, Maria Sharapova was the Runner Up here last year and has played plenty more tennis than Williams in the last 12 months while reaching the Semi Final at the French Open and finishing as Runner Up at Wimbledon in the last 3 months.

The head to head is clearly in favour of Serena Williams, but I just think the lack of tennis and the fact Sharapova has been playing well makes it hard for me to see the Russian as the underdog here.

Ryan Harrison vs Yen-Hsun Lu: I am going to take the American youngster who is playing the best tennis of his career so far to come through and reach another Semi Final on the ATP tour following his efforts in Atlanta last week.

I think the prices are a little closer than they may have been because of Yen-Hsun Lu's impressive win over Marcos Baghdatis, but you could excuse Baghdatis for a lack of tennis and already having a tough time on the hard courts this season. The fact Lu had played in Atlanta last week was also an advantage.

Harrison has looked good this week, and showed glimpses of some real talent last week while I havent quite shaken the belief that Lu is on the other side of the hill and coming down the rankings.

MY PICKS: Maria Sharapova @ 2.35 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ryan Harrison @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Tennis Picks July 29th Umag and Gstaad

This has to be a fairly quick post although there is time to get on the picks. Due to the late arrival of markets from the bookmakers, I don't have time to put all my analysis down, but take my word that I have been studying the form last night.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games vs Julien Benneteau

Mikhail Youzhny - 4.5 games vs Andreas Haider-Maurer

Juan Carlos Ferrero - 4.5 games vs Carlos Berlocq

Double; Marin Cilic vs Andreas Seppi and Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Albert Ramos

MY PICKS: Double; Nicolas Almagro and Feliciano Lopez @ 1.96 Still Running from yesterday
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mikhail Youzhny - 4.5 games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Juan Carlos Ferrero - 4.5 games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Double; Marin Cilic and Alexandr Dolgopolov @ 2.36 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 28th Stanford and LA

It was a much better day yesterday all round from the West Coast of America as the picks went 3-1 and Juan Martin Del Potro moved through to the Quarter Finals without too many problems.

Del Potro will face Ernests Gulbis in the next Round and holds a 3-0 head to head record against him and looks good to reach the Final and keep the outright pick from this tournament intact.

It looks like a much tougher day to predict today and I will only go with the one pick:

Alejandro Falla vs Thomaz Bellucci: It seems strange to pick a player who is just ranked in the top 100 to beat another who is just outside the top 30, but that is the one and only pick from these two tournaments today.

Alejandro Falla has not been in great form recently but already has one hard court match under his belt this week and that could stand him in good stead. The Colombian also reached the Quarter Final at Delray Beach earlier this season before running into Mardy Fish and did start the hard court Summer swing in good fashion last year when reaching the Quarter Final of this tournament.

That achievement also came after a bad run of form when he had lost 4 matches in a row and included a decent win over Ernests Gulbis.

Thomaz Bellucci's success comes on the clay courts and his game has not transferred to the faster courts as well as it perhaps should have. He has a decent serve and being left handed should have given him an edge, but he seems to struggle for consistency and judging the speed of the ball.

He lost early in Miami and Indian Wells this season and has a 4-4 record on the hard courts.

The Brazilian Number 1 was just 2-4 during the hard court Summer swing last season and I just think he could have a tough time again tonight in his first match since winning his Davis Cup tie the week after Wimbledon.

The players have a 1-1 head to head record, with Falla's victory coming in Indianapolis in 2008 during the US Open Series.

MY PICKS: Alejandro Falla @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Tennis Picks July 28th Umag and Gstaad

It was a good day without picks in Umag for followers of the blog as Juan Carlos Ferrero moved through the the Quarter Finals after coming from a set behind to beat Ivan Ljubicic. That puts him through to a meeting with Carlos Berlocq in the next Round and I think Ferrero will be considered the favourite to get through to the Final from the position he is in.

I was a little surprised at the start of the week when I noticed the Racing Post had highlighted Tommy Robredo as a good e/w shot at 12-1. Robredo has been suffering with a number of injuries and is clearly not the player of old and I would not have recommended him at 3 times the price.

Unsurprisingly, Robredo pulled out of this tournament, as he had last week in Hamburg, and this was all without hitting a ball in the 2nd Round.

Now on to the Picks:

Julien Benneteau vs Matthias Bachinger: Now before I say anything else, I know Julien Benneteau has been in bade form, but I am still surprised that he is considered the underdog in this match.

The Frenchman has struggled on the main tour in clay events this season, but it has been a different story in the level below that and he is now facing a player that is more used to playing Challenger and qualifying events.

Bachinger has only played 5 matches on clay all season, and really took advantage of Pablo Andujar who has been playing quite a bit of tennis of late. Bachinger has struggled on clay for the last couple of seasons and I am not ready to see him as the favourite in this match.

Double; Nicolas Almagro vs Jarkko Nieminen and Feliciano Lopez vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver: I have a couple of doubts over both of these favourites but I do think both are capable of coming through their tests.

Nicolas Almagro has reached the Semi Final in Bastad and the Final in Hamburg over the last couple of weeks and must feel happy he has had days off since Sunday to recover his fitness. However, the rain has affected play in Gstaad and he will have to win 4 matches in 4 days if he wants to take home the trophy.

However, Almagro has a 3-1 head to head record over Jarkko Nieminen and is the better clay court player. He has won their last 3 meetings, winning 7 sets to 1, and I expect he will be good enough to come through.

Feliciano Lopez followed helping Spain win their Davis Cup tie against the USA by winning a Challenger event on the clay in Colombia and he will feel he can go deep in this tournament. His compatriot has struggled all season and only just scraped through against Steve Darcis in the last Round in a match he should have lost.

I have a couple of concerns that Lopez could be tired from all the travelling of late, but he does have the game to beat Gimeno-Traver and I hope he will show that here.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games vs Frederico Gil: Fernando Verdasco has been out of form for much of the season, but he showed he might just be turning around a corner when reaching the Semi Final in Hamburg last week and he faces a player that has won just 3 of his last 12 matches.

Verdasco is a little more effective in everything he does and already holds a comfortable 2 set win over Gil from earlier this year when he beat him in Portugal on a clay court. If Verdasco is motivated, he should come through with few problems.

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games vs Robin Haase: Marin Cilic was my outright pick last week and he was definitely showing signs of improvement after a few months of sub-standard performances and results.

Cilic will be backed by the home crowd in this match and also holds a 2-0 head to head record against Robin Haase although they last played in 2008.

I cant help oppose Haase here as he has been inconsistent of late while struggling with a knee problem- his 6-2, 6-2 loss to Carlos Berlocq last week is troubling and he had a few problems against Simone Vagnozzi in the 1st Round.

I expect Cilic will come through in straight sets after keeping the pressure on the Haase serve and being a little more consistent and getting the Dutchman moving around the court.

MY PICKS: Julien Benneteau @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Double; Nicolas Almagro and Feliciano Lopez @ 1.96 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 3.5 games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 27th Stanford and LA

Not a good start to the week in all honesty, with picks falling by the wayside and some results being disappointingly close to going my way and then falling apart.

I took the morning in Europe off as I didn't have any strong feelings from the matches at Gstaad, while I left Juan Carlos Ferrero alone in Umag in the hope my outright pick can win his match with Ivan Ljubicic and really open up the draw for a run to the Final for a 3rd consecutive year.

Hopefully the extra time to compose myself will make the next couple of picks from Stanford and LA end in a much more positive manner than they have been so far:

Double; Dominika Cibulkova vs Christina McHale and Maria Sharapova vs Daniela Hantuchova: Dominika Cibulkova is having a good season and could see herself making a real move up the rankings after a very disappointing Summer last season. She had a solid win over Kimiko Date-Krumm in the 1st Round and has the powerful game that should be well suited to the American hard courts.

Christina McHale is a tough proposition as she begins to improve her game but she has only won consecutive matches on the main tour on 2 occasions this season and was a 2nd Round loser here in Stanford last season.

Maria Sharapova has won 7 matches in a row against Daniela Hantuchova and has been one of the form players on the WTA Tour for around 3 months now. Hantuchova is no easy pass for the top players this season, but I expect Sharapova will eventually have too much for her counterpart and come through.

Double; Ryan Harrison vs Michael Russell and Ernests Gulbis vs Daniel Kosakowski: Ryan Harrison has been in fine form over the last 10 days, reaching the Final in Atlanta and coming from a set behind to beat Richard Berankis in the 1st Round here and is now becoming more comfortable in main tour matches.

Michael Russell is perhaps on the other side of the hill to Harrison now and has lost the last meeting with his young compratiot, a 3 set defeat on the hard courts in Hawaii. The match tonight may also go the distance but I will expect the younger man to get through.

Ernests Gulbis should have too much experience and talent for Daniel Kosakowski, a young UCLA attendee, although it can be risky backing the talented Latvian at a short price.

However, he should have the consistency to get through, most likely in straight sets.

Marcos Baghdatis - 2.5 games vs Yen-Hsun Lu: Marcos Baghdatis has not had the best time on the American hard courts so far this season with two 1st Round losses at Miami and Indian Wells, but last Summer was a different story as he got through to the Final in Washington and the Semi Final in Cincinnati.

He has the game very suited to the faster surfaces and he has played well in recent weeks. He should have too much for Yen-Hsun Lu, a player that has struggled a little bit this season.

Lu was destroyed by John Isner last week in Atlanta and, although having a good win over Robby Ginepri in the last Round, he has struggled for most of the season.

Baghdatis has won their only previous meeting in 2009, but I think Lu has slipped a little since then and the Cypriot should be good enough to come through.

James Blake-Juan Martin Del Potro Over 20.5 games: Juan Martin Del Potro is my outright pick of the week from this tournament but he wont have it easy against a rejuvenated James Blake that performed solidly in Atlanta last week following on from a Challenger tour win.

Blake and Del Potro also took part in a 5 set match in Australia last year and this is a pick that can be brought in with a straight sets win as long as the sets are tight.

They key to the pick may well be how James Blake serves- if he can perform as he has been, it is possible that we can see at least 1 tie break here and that may be just enough to ensure the over comes in.

MY PICKS: Dominika Cibulkova and Maria Sharapova @ 1.96 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ryan Harrison and Ernests Gulbis @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis - 2.5 games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
James Blake-Juan Martin Del Potro Over 20.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)



Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 26th Stanford and LA

Not a good start to the week as Somdev Devvarman somehow managed to lose in straight sets to Ryan Sweeting in perhaps the worst match I have seen since watching a couple of old guys go at it in the local park.

Neither player deserved to win the match and it was just a huge error-fest.

It didnt get much better as my first outright pick, albeit the one with the lowest stakes attached, went out last night as Dmitry Tursunov fell in 3 sets to Michael Russell.

Hopefully today will bring a brighter set of fortunes:

Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 games vs Ayumi Morita: Both of these ladies will be playing their first match since Wimbledon, but Ivanovic has to be favoured to come through the contest thanks to a much stronger hard court pedigree.

The former World Number 1 has reached the 4th Round in Miami this year as well as the Quarter Final in Indian Wells and her power game may just be too much for Morita here.

Morita has reached a Quarter Final on the hard courts this season, but was beaten comfortably here in Stanford last year by Victoria Azarenka and she has had early exits in the bigger events on the hard courts.

Ivanovic has thumped Morita in their only previous meeting and I think she will come through 6-2, 6-4 tonight.

Double; Tim Smyczek vs Daniel Kosakowski and James Blake vs Michael Berrer: This is a double from the LA Open and I think both favourites should be good enough to come through their matches.

Tim Smyczek faces a young prospect that currently attends UCLA that should get plenty of support from the locals in his first ever main ATP match. The experience of Smyczek should see him through the contest, especially considering he beat Kosakowski in a qualifying round at Indian Wells earlier this season.

James Blake has been playing well of late and was unfortunate to lose to John Isner in 3 tight sets last week in Atlanta. He faces Michael Berrer, a player with a decent serve but fairly limited otherwise and I would expect the American to move on to a big 2nd Round match with Juan Martin Del Potro.

MY PICKS: Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Double; Tim Smyczek and James Blake @ 1.89 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Tennis Picks July 26th Umag and Gstaad

I am going to do the same thing I did last week and separate my picks from the European tournaments and the ones in the United States. With both Stanford and Los Angeles being on the West Coast, it means the schedule is released too late for me to make them in the evening in Britain, instead I will put them up at some point on my lunch tomorrow and that still leaves plenty of time to read them and make your minds up if you want to follow.

I was also keep separate running totals from the two continents and then add them together at the end of the week when updating the overall profit/loss on Sunday.

So on to the European picks for July 26th:

Double; Filippo Volandri vs Mate Pavcic and Fabio Fognini vs Rui Machado: I am going for an Italian double from the tournament at Umag as both players should be too strong and experienced for their opponents.

Filippo Volandri has always saved his best tennis for the clay courts and won a tournament in Italy on the surface last week and plays an opponent who has only just turned 18 and has played 2 previous matches on the Challenger tour in his career. It will be hard for Mate Pavcic with his inexperience against someone who can play well on the surface, even though he should get plenty of home support.

Fabio Fognini is a former Semi Finalist here, but he is not the most trustworthy player on the tour. He faces Rui Machado who comes into the contest having won a Challenger on clay last week in Poland, but he has struggled on the Main Tour so far.

Fognini has beaten Machado on clay in their only previous meeting and I think he should be good enough to do so again.

Steve Darcis vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver: This has been priced up with Steve Darcis as the underdog but I think he has a real chance of getting through. He won a Challenger event on clay a couple of weeks ago in Holland and he also reached the 3rd Round at the French Open after qualifying for the event.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver has struggled for wins this season and it can be tough for players to get out of a funk and start winning matches, especially when matches get tight. He has won just 3 of his last 11 matches, 1 of those thanks to a Marcel Granollers retirement, and he is just 5-11 on the clay courts this season.

Darcis also holds a 2-0 head to head record against Gimeno-Traver, both of those wins coming on clay courts although they last met in 2007. Darcis is yet to lose a set in those matches against the Spaniard and he may just have the edge tomorrow.

Victor Hanescu vs Jarkko Nieminen: I thought these two would have been priced up as a pick 'em match but was a little surprised to see Victor Hanescu down as the underdog.

Hanescu's best performances have come on the clay courts in the past and he did reach the Final in Nice just before the French Open. Add to that a Semi Final appearance in Casablanca and a 3rd Round appearance in Barcelona and it is clear that Hanescu remains more than capable of winning on the clay.

Jarkko Nieminen has a winning record on the clay this season and was only narrowly beaten in the 3rd Round in Hamburg last week to the eventual winner Gilles Simon. That shows the Finn is in good form, but I still think this match is perhaps priced up the wrong way.

Hanescu is 1-2 down in the head to head and all the meetings have come on clay- however, it was Hanescu who won the last match last year in Casablanca.

The previous meeting between the two before that one was also in Casablanca but back in 2005 and I think Hanescu is capable of doing the same as last year and beating Nieminen on clay.

MY PICKS: Double; Filippo Volandri and Fabio Fognini @ 2.03 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Steve Darcis @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Victor Hanescu @ 2.20 William Hill (2 Units)

Monday, 25 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 25th

The first day of a new weeks tennis are always less busy, outside of the Masters and Grand Slam events, than the other days and today is going to be no different.

The matches being played today are fairly closely contested and the only pick I am going to make is below:

Somdev Devvarman vs Ryan Sweeting: These two players meet again for the 2nd week in a row and I am going to take the Indian player to confirm the form by beating Ryan Sweeting again. Somdev Devvarman has a 2-1 head to head record, winning the last 2 matches they have played.

Devvarman has a good record on hard courts, and has already performed well in North America in tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami. His played well in Atlanta last week when reaching the Quarter Final before losing to eventual winner Mardy Fish.

Ryan Sweeting played well at Delray Beach and in Miami earlier this year, but he has had early exits in other tournaments to leave him at 5-5 on the hard courts this season. He also reached the second Round here last season, but will need to serve better than when he was beaten by Devvarman last week.

It was a close match last week between the two players, with Devvarman winning just 4 points more in the 3 set win. The fact that Devvarman has won the last 2 matches may just give him the edge to get through another close contest here.

MY PICKS: Somdev Devvarman @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Tennis Outright Picks July 25th-31st

We have a number of tournaments running this week, with the final few clay court events in Europe until after the US Open and also the continuation of the hard court swing in Los Angeles.

The WTA Tour also has one of the most popular tournaments on their run up to the US Open starting this week in Stanford and there are a lot of big names involved there.

Hopefully I can identify some players that can enjoy strong weeks and build on the successes of last week.

ATP Umag
This tournament does not have the biggest names on the tour taking part and that is highlighted as the highest seeded player in the draw is ranked outside the top 20 in the World Rankings.

The top seed is Juan Ignacio Chela but the Argentine has not been in the best of form and was a surprise early loser in Hamburg last week. The top half is also looking like the tougher half of the draw and the favourite to come out of it is Marin Cilic.

Cilic was my outright pick last week in Hamburg and gave us a run for our money but I dont think it is correct that he is as short as 3.75 to win the tournament this week. He has been given a favourable draw this week and is unlikely to be pushed before the Semi Finals as well as receiving the support of the home crowd.

There were still some serious issues with the serve that need to be resolved last week and he was pushed to 3 sets by the likes of Bastian Knittel and Tobias Kamke so I dont think he should be as short as he is to win this tournament. Croatian players have also struggled in here recent seasons and Ivan Ljubicic's Quarter Final appearance last year is their best effort for some time.

Potito Starace could make his presence felt this week in the top half after reaching the Final here last season, while his fellow Italian Fabio Fognini may be able to take advantage of a kind looking draw.

However, I have too many question marks on players in the top half of the draw so instead will focus my attention on the bottom half.

The highest seeded players in this section are Ivan Ljubicic and Alexandr Dolgopolov, but I have reservations on both of them. As I mentioned before, Ljubicic and his Croatian contingent have not really enjoyed much success at this tournament, particularly when you compare it to Zagreb earlier in the year, while Dolgopolov has been struggling for form and clay is probably not the surface where he can do most damage.

The one player that really appeals to me in this section is Juan Carlos Ferrero- the Spaniard recently won the tournament in Stuttgart on clay and has an extremely strong record at this event, winning last season and finishing as Runner Up the year before that.

Spaniards have also had a good record here in the past, particularly Carlos Moya who seemed to win the tournament every season and the draw could really open up for Ferrero if he hits the ground running.

The biggest obstacle on a run to the Final looks to be a potential 2nd Round meeting with Ivan Ljubicic if Ferrero gets past Maximo Gonzalez in the 1st Round as I feel he should.

Ferrero is down 2-3 in the head to head with Ljubicic, but he did win their last meeting at the French Open in 2009 and their previous meeting before that was in 2005. Ljubicic has made a couple of good runs on the clay this season but has struggled in this tournament in the past and I think Ferrero can go all the way to the Final if he wins this match.

A Quarter Final match against Tommy Robredo or Carlos Berlocq will not hold much fear for Ferrero and a Semi Final against the seeded Dolgopolov would be a rematch of their meeting from this tournament last year that Ferrero won for the loss of just 3 games.

All in all, I will take Ferrero with the belief he can beat Ljubicic in Round 2 and go on to his 3rd consecutive Final at this event.

ATP Los Angeles
The US hard court swing rolls onto the West Coast and there are some decent players taking part this season as preparation for the US Open continues.

The Number 1 seed at the event is Mardy Fish, but I will be interested to see if he has much in the tank at the moment after winning the event in Atlanta last week and having played the Davis Cup the week before. He also faces a tough looking match with Gilles Muller in Round 2 so I would not be that surprised if he is not quite focused on this week.

There are other tough looking matches in this section for Fish to negotiate if he wants to reach another Final on this hard court swing and instead I will look at which players could take advantage of a Fish slip.

The person I feel could benefit the most is the Number 6 seed this week, Dmitry Tursunov- the Russian is a former winner in Los Angeles and has finally got back to form on the tour and has the perfect game for the hard courts of North America.

A real problem for Tursunov could be a Quarter Final with Marcos Baghdatis although he does have a winning record against him and could have the game to upset the somewhat inconsistent Cypriot. Baghdatis has lost early at Indian Wells and Miami this season while being beaten in the Quarter Final here last season.

While Tursunov has lost all 5 meetings with Fish, if the American goes out early, there is a chance that he can get through to another Final here.

So I am going to have a small interest in Tursunov here, but the main player of interest is the Number 2 seed Juan Martin Del Potro, a player that is definitely going the right way since a wrist injury destroyed his 2010 season.

Del Potro is arguably in the weaker section of the draw and has been given a bye to the 2nd Round, meaning he will have to win just 4 matches if he wants to win the title he took on his only other appearance in 2008.

The Argentine will face a tough looking 2nd Round match with James Blake and then could face Xavier Malisse in the Quarter Final. He is then seeded to meet Thomaz Bellucci in the Semi Final and that does not look the most daunting of tasks to reach the Final here.

As a former winner of the event, Del Potro looks set to catch another title as he looks to secure a better position at the US Open.

WTA Stanford
This is one of those tournaments on the WTA where the majority of the top players do come and take part in- this week has proven to be no different.

The current favourite for the event is Maria Sharapova, one of the form players on the WTA tour and one who is looking to make amends after just falling short in the last 2 Grand Slams. It is telling of Sharapova's form that her defeats have come to the winner at both the French Open and Wimbledon and it isn't much of a surprise that she is considered the favourite for this event.

However, the draw has been far from kind- she will likely face Daniela Hantuchova in the 2nd Round and that is no gimme with the way Hantuchova had been playing through to Wimbledon.

Furthermore, there are some real dangers waiting further down the line for Sharapova with Serena Williams looking like a potential Quarter Final opponent and Sam Stosur a potential Semi Final opponent.

All in all, whoever comes through the bottom half of the draw is likely going to have to do it the hard way so I will instead focus on the top half for my pick.

To that end, the Number 1 seed and defending Champion Victoria Azarenka looks like she will have a real chance of going all the way again. She has the perfect game for the hard courts and has previous form on this course.

The first real test Azarenka is likely to face is in the Quarter Final against Dominika Cibulkova, but she should feel confident as she has a 6-1 head to head record against the diminutive Slovakian and has won all 5 meetings on the hard courts.

A Semi Final with Marion Bartoli is most likely and that is another match that should not hold any fear for Azarenka considering she has won 6 of their 7 clashes too.

MY PICKS: Juan Carlos Ferrero @ 7.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit E/W)
Dmitry Tursunov @ 17.00 Ladbrokes (0.5 Units E/W)
Juan Martin Del Potro @ 2.50 William Hill (3 Units)
Victoria Azarenka @ 4.50 Stan James (2 Units E/W)

E/W are paid at half the price when a player reaches the Final

Tennis Profit/Loss Update July 18th-25th

It was a fine week last week, easily the best since the end of Wimbledon as Mardy Fish ensured plenty of profits by winning the tournament in Atlanta as well as the daily picks bringing in plenty of profit of their own.

I have had to endure a tough couple of weeks before this week when it felt like a little bit of luck had deserted me, but I have tried my best to not lose my head by chasing losses and have instead managed my picks to bring us back going in the right direction.

Hopefully the next week I can continue with the current form and continue building the bank before the big Masters events in Montreal and Cincinnati. With a little over a month to go before the US Open begins at Flushing Meadows, this is a key time to keep the bank ticking over- now the key is to not give it back to the enemy.

WEEKLY PROFIT/LOSS: + 24.30 Units (+ 17.04 Units Daily Picks; + 7.26 Units Outright Picks)


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Boxing Picks Recap (July 23rd)

It was an interesting night of boxing yesterday and a profitable one for followers of the blog as Tyson Fury managed to repel all of Dereck Chisora's attacks to win a unanimous decision on points. I was thinking the scorecards would read 116-112 in favour of the bigger man, but it was actually a couple of points wider on the night and it is Chisora who loses his unbeaten record.

I think a lot of people will have been disappointed with Chisora, especially as he came in at a career high weight, an issue that perhaps affected his stamina during the fight. It just goes to show how far he is from challenging the likes of the Klitschko brothers.

Fury himself should not actively seek a fight with the reigning Champions- I still think he is a little green and needs to keep working on his techniques and move up to European level after a couple more domestic fights.

It would be a mighty setback for his career if he goes in with Wladimir Klitschko next and takes an easy beating- right now I would not see that fight going any other way.

On the other side of the pond, Amir Khan confirmed he is the real deal and the best light-welterweight in the World. Some may still argue for Tim Bradley, but I dont believe the American will fight at 140 pounds again and he also turned down the chance to prove he is the Number 1 fighter in the Division when rejecting a 50-50 split offer of all revenue from Khan's team.

It looks like Khan's path to Floyd Mayweather has been set by his Golden Boy promoters and I will be interested to see who he next goes in with before moving up to 147 next year.

The rumours are that Erik Morales will be tempted into a fight in December, but there is still a chance a rematch with Marcos Maidana could be in the pipeline if the Argentinian fighter can defeat Robert Guerrero in their scheduled fight in August, otherwise it could be Guerrero who is brought in.

If Khan can continue on his winning ways, it is then expected he will come back to Britain for his first fight at 147 pounds in a big domestic showdown with Kell Brook. Now that is a fight I will very much be interested in viewing, and could happen if Brook can get a portion of the World title at that weight. The Sheffield fighter is unbeaten and looks a real prospect, so a fight with Khan would make all the sense in the World, especially considering the fighters seem to genuinely dislike one another if their Twitter war is to be believed.

I will be honest enough to say I wasn't sold on Khan, but his performance last night has got me leaning towards him. I would prefer if he didn't make so many comments in the press and just let his fists do the talking from now on.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Boxing Picks July 23rd- Amir Khan v Zab Judah

I haven't made any boxing picks since the Bernard Hopkins win over Jean Pascal as I haven't really found the value I have been looking for, but I feel tonight there may be a couple of plays to make.

In the UK, we have the big British dust-up between Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora, with the added incentive that the winner is likely to be propelled into a World Title fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

Later, we have the Light-Welterweight Unification bout between Amir Khan and Zab Judah out in Las Vegas in the early hours of the morning. This fight is being screened on pay-per-view by Primetime, a little known channel in the UK, after Sky showed little interest in the bout. I actually think that is a fallout from the previous Khan fight with Paul McCloskey which failed to sell enough pay-per-view packages on Sky Box Office that the Khan management decided to move to Primetime.

Both fights tonight are significant and I am hopeful both will be ones to rememeber.

Tyson Fury v Dereck Chisora
Both fighters have similar records coming- both are 14-0, Fury having 1 more knockout on his resume than Chisora.

Fury has wins over John McDermott (twice) while Chisora effectively ended Danny Williams career and beat Sam Sexton (twice).

Neither has been very active of late- Fury has fought just once in 2011 while Chisora has not fought since September last year as Wladimir Klitschko pulled out of two fights that had been scheduled through injury.

The key to the fight is how well Chisora can defend against the boxing ability of the much taller Fury. For his 6 foot 9 size, Fury is not really a concussive puncher and I actually believe Chisora is the bigger hitter in the contest.

It will also be interesting to note what kind of tactics the teams employ. Chisora has a low centre of gravity and I am sure he will look to get on the inside early and try and get the job done. A big concern must be the fact that Chisora has never gone beyond the 9th Round, and he reached that in his last fight with Sexton.

In saying that, Chisora did look a little knackered in that fight before finding a huge punch that was the beginning of the end for Sexton. It is interesting to note that Sexton's camp believed their man was just about to win if he could have taken it to one more round.

Neither man likes one another but that doesn't always lead to a dust-up and I have a feeling Tyson Fury will look to use his size effectively and keep Chisora off by throwing plenty of jabs and maybe trying to walk the smaller man onto a bigger punch.

I can see the early rounds maybe seeing a bit more action but then stamina issues effecting Chisora as he is dragged into rounds he is not used to competing in. Fury may just end this one late, but I would stick with my original thinking and pick Fury to take the win on points.

I'll look for the scorecards to read 116-112 in favour of the underdog.

Amir Khan v Zab Judah
Reading and listening to the British press and you could be forgiven for thinking this is a gimme fight for Amir Khan as he continues on his collision course with Floyd Mayweather next Summer.

But don't be fooled- Judah is a slick boxer with plenty of power and speed and even at 33 I expect him to cause problems. His southpaw stance only makes it possible for him to throw shots from angles that opponents dont see coming.

He was one of the brightest prospects in boxing in his early days and it looked like Zab Judah was going to follow his idol Mike Tyson by becoming the next truly big thing out of Brooklyn.

In 2001 he suffered a crushing defeat to Kostya Tszyu in the 2nd Round of a unification fight and that remains his sole defeat at Light-Welter.

Judah seems to always come up a little short in his biggest fights as defeats to the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Tszyu showed. However, he did record a huge win over Cory Spinks to become the undisputed Welterweight Champion of the World, albeit in 2005.

He has grown up and matured recently and now knows this is his final shot at the big time. Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whittaker was brought in as a trainer and Judah has looked decent in his last 2 fights and is definitely a live dog in this one.

Amir Khan reinvented himself after a crushing loss to Breidas Prescott and is now in line for the biggest year in his life if he can overcome Judah. Freddy Roach has worked wonders with Khan but there are still some unresolved issues that could lead to his downfall.

Khan has plenty of speed and power, but his footwork remains poor and his movement seems restricted to straight lines. That is bad news against a fighter that has the speed and power to hit from awkward angles and there is a real chance Khan is caught with a punch he doesnt even see coming.

The British fighter has not fought anyone of the speed and power combined that Judah brings to the ring and his victories since the Prescott defeat have come against fighters that are fairly one-dimensional.

The biggest win was last December when he just about beat Marcos Maidana, but there was a real stage in that fight where it looked like Khan was going to be stopped.

I just cant help thinking the British bookmakers have completely and utterly disregarded Judah at the  prices being offered. It is clear that Judah is not the same name as a Mayweather and Pacquaio in England, but anyone who follows boxing will know how dangerous he is and what he can do.

I may be holding out hope for Judah to land something a little special, but he has the speed to throw a punch from an awkward angle and hurt Khan with 'the one he doesnt see coming', the most dangerous punch in boxing.

I'm going to go for the upset in this one.

MY PICKS: Tyson Fury to win on points @ 5.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Zab Judah @ 5.00 BetFred (1 Unit)


Tennis Picks July 23rd Atlanta Semi Finals

I had a strong day in Atlanta yesterday as all 3 picks came in to push the profits up for the week.

Mardy Fish is now 1 win away from reaching the Final and bringing in part 1 of my outright picks. I had Fish e/w at the start of the week and he is now rightly the favourite to retain his title. Ryan Harrison is no pushover, but I expect the top ranked American to put the rising star in his place here and progress through to the Final.

The other Semi Final is more of a pick 'em than I think many feel it will be. John Isner destroyed Yen-Hsun Lu yesterday, but Gilles Muller is a different sort of threat and one that can surprise the American in front of his local support.

Now on to the Picks:

John Isner-Gilles Muller Over 22.5 games: As I said above, I actually think this is a tougher match for Isner than some may think and I do believe we will see a tight contest between the two. They actually met in the 2nd Round last year here in Atlanta which saw Isner come through in 3 sets (4-6, 7-6, 7-6).

The good thing about this total is the same as yesterdays match between Muller and Kevin Anderson- a 7-6, 6-4 scoreline will cover the spread.

Both men have been serving well and it would not surprise me if this actually goes the distance this afternoon.

Mardy Fish - 4.5 games vs Ryan Harrison: I expect Fish will have too much for Harrison in the course of this game and will be able to power through him after a tight first set.

This can be covered with an early break in both sets as long as Fish is serving first. However, I am picking it because I think Harrison does give up chances on the serve and I can see Fish winning one set with a double break and that should be good enough to see him through.

Fish's overall game should be good enough and he has plenty of motivation knowing he can keep his seeded position high at the US Open with a couple of good performances here in Atlanta and in Los Angeles next week.

MY PICKS: John Isner-Gilles Muller Over 22.5 games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Mardy Fish - 4.5 games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 13.38 Units (All picks updated)

Tennis Picks July 23rd Hamburg Semi Finals

A very good week was close to becoming an excellent week as it looked like my outright pick on Marin Cilic (33-1 before the tournament started) was going to reach the Semi Finals as he had 2 match points in his match with Mikhail Youzhny.

Alas, it was not to be as both were saved and then a very lucky net cord led to Youzhny taking the final set tiebreak 8-6.

I dont think I will be making many more picks from Hamburg this week as the matches are beginning to get very tight to call and I dont think its correct to risk making picks when I am not sure how the matches will develop.

The final pick from this tournament this week is:

Mikhail Youzhny vs Gilles Simon: Both players can be a little hit and miss and they never make matches easy for themselves, but I think the play has to be the outsider in this one.

Mikhail Youzhny is very much at home on the clay courts and has had a decent week so far with the possibility to reach his first Final this season. He was erratic in his win over Cilic in the last Round but Youzhny has the capability to play with plenty of variation, a key for his success on the clay courts.

Gilles Simon is also a solid clay court player and will look to defend well to keep himself in points and grind down his opponents. He has tried to play with a little more aggression this season and that does leave him prone to making a lot more unforced errors, an area where Youzhny could take advantage.

It is also interesting to note that Youzhny has a 7-1 head to head record against Simon, although the last match was the first time Simon had won a match against the Russian. None of the matches have taken place on clay, but the fact Simon has struggled against him on the other surfaces shows that Youzhny has the consistency to break down the Simon game.

It could be a close one, but I think Youzhny can come out on top and I was surprised to see him as the underdog.

MY PICK: Mikhail Youzhny @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 14.38 Units (All picks completed from July 22nd)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Tennis Picks 22nd July ATP Atlanta Quarter Finals

It was not a good day for the picks in Atlanta last night with both Lleyton Hewitt and Xavier Malisse losing matches they should not be. I did take a silver lining from that disappointment though as both of those players were in Mardy Fish's section, my outright pick of the week.

Fish now faces Somdev Devvarman and then the winner of the Ryan Harrison-Rajeev Ram match to reach the Final and I very much expect that to happen.

We have reached the Quarter Finals and it is here that you can really tell a stellar field did not get together as the likes of Yen-Hsun Lu are also still in the tournament.

Thunderstorms are expected today so there could be a couple of rain delays. The other point to mention here is that the matches start at noon local time rather than the 4pm starts they have been having all week.

Now on to the Picks:

Gilles Muller-Kevin Anderson Over 22.5 total games: Both of these guys are reliant on a big serve on which they can build the rest of their game. The best thing about the total games market is this can be covered even if one of the players was to win in straight sets by a scoreline of 7-6, 6-4.

I do expect at least one tie break to be played, as happened in their only previous meeting, and it is also possible that the match could go the distance.

Neither is a great returner, but Anderson has an edge in that department, so Gilles Muller must serve better than he did when defeating Robby Ginepri.

I expect a lot of short points between the two players and I do favour Anderson to eventually come out on top- I just hope its a tough match no matter who wins.

Mardy Fish - 4.5 games vs Somdev Devvarman: I had a couple of concerns about how Mardy Fish would rebound from losing 2 Davis Cup ties in 5 sets last week, but all that was put to rest as he completely dominated Nicolas Mahut last night and it is no surprise to see the American is the favourite to retain his title from last season.

Somdev Devvarman had a real tussle in Round 1 with Ryan Sweeting, but then had a comfortable win over Tatsuma Ito last night. However, this test is a significant raise in level for the Indian player and I feel his serve is too prone to breaking down to have a real impact.

Fish will create a lot of pressure on Devvarman with his strength of shot while the serve is more consistent and has a 2-0 head to head record against his opponent, winning both matches on grass and losing just 6 games in 4 sets.

I would expect the Number 1 seed to come through with a scoreline of 6-4, 6-2 or something similar.

John Isner - 3.5 games vs Yen-Hsun Lu: John Isner looked a little tired in his match with James Blake, something that has to be considered unusual considering he had at least 10 days off since his last match. It may also have been down to the mental pressure of having to hold serve in what was a tough encounter.

This time Isner should be able to see more chances against Yen-Hsun Lu, a player that has taken advantage of a soft section of the draw although has had a bit of trouble in doing so.

Lu is a tough question on his day, but has struggled for form on the main tour all season. He is a decent hard court player but he will be under immense pressure to hold serve if Isner is playing to form.

That could lead to the pressure points and I can see a break in each set for the big American to see him through to the Semi Finals.

MY PICKS: Gilles Muller-Kevin Anderson Over 22.5 total games @ 1.90 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Mardy Fish - 4.5 games @ 1.90 Bodog (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 9.88 Units (All picks in from 21st July)

Tennis Picks 22nd July ATP Hamburg Quarter Finals

It was another good day for the picks in Hamburg as we moved into the Quarter Final stage of the tournament.

Marin Cilic is still in business as our outright pick from this event, but he faces a tough match against Mikhail Youzhny, a player that has a 4-1 head to head record against him. Cilic has been effective in patches during the week, but that second serve remains a problem and his unforced error count could really work against him against a player with the ability Youzhny has.

The bookmakers seem to agree with the price shortening all the time for the Russian to come out on top. Personally I will be keeping my fingers crossed that Cilic can repeat his win from Marseille over Youzhny and still be involved in the tournament.

Others who may have backed Cilic at the start of the tournament do have the opportunity to lay him in the outright market at 10s on Betfair.

Overall, the Quarter Finals do not look that easy to predict as you can make a case for both sides in the first 3 matches to be played during the day. The Gael Monfils-Gilles Simon match looks very close to call although I do expect Monfils to eventually make his way into the Semi Final.

Youzhny is rightly the favourite on form in his match with Cilic but, as I have already mentioned, I am hopeful Cilic can spring a surprise.

The Florian Mayer-Nicolas Almagro match is an interesting one that the latter should win if he keeps serving the way he was today in his win over Phillip Kohlschreiber. However, Almagro lost his last match with Mayer and the German uses plenty of variation in his game that could cause Almagro problems if he is not quite up to par.

Now on to the Pick:

Jurgen Melzer vs Fernando Verdasco: Now I have backed Jurgen Melzer twice already this week and he has brought home the bacon both times, and now I feel I will be third time lucky too as I go back to the well with a player that had been struggling for form recently.

Melzer obviously must enjoy playing in Hamburg, reaching the Final last year and he has been fairly solid, if not spectacular, in his two matches this week.

He faces another lefty in the form of Fernando Verdasco- the Spaniard has really been struggling to put wins together although winning two matches already should give him confidence.

Out of the two players, I feel Verdasco's serve is a little more erratic, and I also think the Spaniard's groundstrokes have been inconsistent for much of the season. Obviously if he puts them together, he will give Melzer plenty of problems, but Verdasco has not done that too often.

Verdasco has only improved to 8-6 on the clay this season, another indicator of the struggles he has had considering he was 35-14 in his previous 2 seasons on the surface.

Fernando Verdasco leads the head to head 5-2, but it was Melzer who won their last meeting. That match took place on the clay courts of Madrid as Melzer came through in straight sets. The Austrian had also pushed Verdasco to 3 sets in Barcelona on clay so he can match up against him.

Melzer has been listed as the underdog in this match and I think that is a price worth taking as my only pick from Hamburg tomorrow.

MY PICK: Jurgen Melzer @ 2.30 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 14.88 Units (Not including picks from 21st July Atlanta which is currently in a rain delay at the time of writing)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 21st ATP Atlanta

It was another good day at Hamburg for the picks and all 3 came in during the afternoon session. That makes the picks 6 for 6 in the last 2 days at the German tournament, while the Atlanta picks have been bringing in a profit themselves.

John Isner won his match last night but he looked a little shaky and I am much happier being on Mardy Fish outright. In saying that, Fish faces arguably his biggest test before the Final when he meets Nicolas Mahut in the evening session. Lleyton Hewitt is still a danger, but I would expect Fish to deal with the veteran Australian too if they do meet later on in the week.

Now on to the Picks:

Xavier Malisse vs Ryan Harrison: I was going to give this match a miss at the start of the week, but the odds on Xavier Malisse have reached levels where they make an interest for me.

Ryan Harrison is the big hope of American tennis but he is still young and learning his craft. I have to say I have been very impressed with his tenacity, as shown in defeats to David Ferrer at Wimbledon and even in the manner of his defeat to Robin Soderling at the French Open.

He had a very good run at Indian Wells when reaching the 4th Round before falling to Roger Federer, but overall has not quite lived up to the expectation when playing on the main tour.

And he is not playing a nobody- Xavier Malisse is a solid pro who is very accustomed to playing on the faster surfaces. He had a strong American hard court Summer last year, reaching the Quarter Finals here in Atlanta and also the Semi Final in Washington.

I expected Malisse to go off at around 1.5, so the offer at Pinnacle looks too good to ignore.

Lleyton Hewitt - 4.5 games vs Rajeev Ram: A few years ago, I would have had full faith in Lleyton Hewitt to negate the big serving opponent and grind out a break in each set to win this match. However, injuries have taken their toll on the Aussie and he finds it a bit harder to play his game and has to give up on more points than he used to.

In saying that, I still expect him to expose this limited opponent today. Hewitt has not had a lot of tennis in the last few months, but there was plenty to like about his performance when losing to Robin Soderling at Wimbledon and he has always liked the American hard court swing.

Rajeev Ram was a surprise victor in the 1st Round over Grigor Dimitrov after qualifying for this event, but it was only last week that he was beaten handily by Dudi Sela in a Challenger event and I cant help but think Hewitt is a level above him even at this stage of his career.

Last season, Ram was beaten fairly easily by Andy Roddick in the 2nd Round and I think Hewitt can also progress here with a break in each set to cover the spread. I will be looking at a 6-4, 6-3 scoreline for Hewitt.

MY PICKS: Xavier Malisse @ 1.70 Pinnacle (3 Units)
Lleyton Hewitt - 4.5 games @ 2.25 10Bet (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 14.88 Units (Includes all pick results from July 21st at Hamburg)

Tennis Picks July 21st ATP Hamburg

It was a very good day for the picks I made yesterday as well as for the majority of the favourites that played in Germany yesterday. In fact only Nikolay Davydenko lost as a favourite, going down to Cedrik-Marcel Stebe for the 2nd week in succession.

My outright pick on Marin Cilic looked solid for his first 2 sets yesterday, but the serve once again lost its way and he was struggling to win anything on his 2nd serve in the final set. However, I was pleased to see him fight back from a break behind in that set to go on and win the match.

There are bigger and tougher tests waiting for Cilic if he wants to at least reach the Final, but the recovery he made in that final set yesterday may just give him a little bit more confidence after a poor season all round.

Good news also comes in the form of television pictures beginning from tomorrow. It is hard to understand why a tournament that is considered a 500 Event does not have TV coverage for the first 3 days of the event. This is even more baffling when considering the majority of 250 Events get some sort of coverage throughout and the fact Hamburg is a former Masters Event and should have no problem bringing in some sort of audience.

Least now I wont have to sit there with my phone checking the live scores during my breaks from working.

On to the Picks:

Marin Cilic vs Tobias Kamke: It seems the German players are really enjoying their time in the home tournaments and Tobias Kamke is just 1 of 5 players still involved in the singles tournament.

I have picked Cilic to win this match because I think he has been underestimated by the bookmakers following his final set struggles against Bastian Knittel. While Cilic clearly was having problems, it seems to be forgotten that he had dominated the first 2 sets and should have been home and dry earlier than he was.

Kamke had a huge win over Juan Ignacio Chela in the last Round, a real shock considering Kamke's general record on the clay. His 2 wins this week means he has improved his record to 3-4 on the season in main tour matches on the surface, but it is hard to ignore the likes of Jan Hayek, Joao Sousa and Guillermo Olaso have all recently beaten Kamke on clay courts.

There is no sign of anything hampering Cilic right now and I think the prices are far too high for him to move through this Round.

Fernando Verdasco - 4 games vs Cedrik-Marcel Stebe: Fernando Verdasco has really fallen off the level that gave him his career season in 2009 and he has been struggling to put together wins all season. However, he secured a good solid win over Pablo Andujar in his first match in the tournament and should have too much experience and nous for his young German opponent in this match.

Stebe has had another solid week on the main tour and recorded yet another win over Nikolay Davydenko. Last week he reached the Quarter Final before being handily beaten by Pablo Andujar and I expect we may see something similar in this match.

Verdasco's serve has not been that effective of late, but I expect him to do enough to come through this one in straight sets.

Jurgen Melzer - 3.5 games vs Fabio Fognini: Any follower of my blog for any length of time will know I am not the biggest fan of Fabio Fognini, even though he is ranked at Number 38 in the World.

The Italian is very erratic and can mix some sublime stuff in with some extreme garbage and his form is a little hard to judge considering the level of opponents he has met since the French Open. A defeat to Cedrik-Marcel Stebe last week does not exactly fill me with confidence.

Jurgen Melzer has not been in great form all season, but he did bring home the prize against Daniel Gimeno-Traver yesterday. The win was more impressive considering he lost the 2nd set before wrapping up the 3rd 6-1.

Melzer will need to serve a little better than today, but he does have the capabilities to do that here and secure a Quarter Final berth.

Melzer has a 1-0 head to head record over Fognini when he beat him in Auckland last season. I expect him to make it 2-0 after this match is completed.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4 games @ 2.00 10Bet (2 Units)
Jurgen Melzer - 3.5 games @ 1.95 (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 8.66 Units (Not including July 20th ATP Atlanta Picks)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 20th ATP Atlanta

As I mentioned in my Hamburg post, I have separated the Atlanta picks because the late released schedule and the bookmakers releasing prices later than usual.

Now on to the Picks:

Double; John Isner vs James Blake and Yen-Hsun Lu vs Marinko Matosevic: Both of these players are the favourites to come through their individual matches and should be able to do so.

John Isner will get a lot of support from the locals considering he was a University of Georgia student. He faces a tough match against James Blake, a player that has been playing better of late, but Isner will hold the edge if he can serve well.

That will put pressure on Blake's serve and we saw against Ernests Gulbis in the last Round that he can lose concentration on his own serve.

Isner has not had the best of seasons but will look to move forward during this hard court Summer swing and reached the Final here last year.

Yen-Hsun Lu is a decent hard court player although he has not had a very good season so far. He served well in his win in the 1st Round and a similar performance should be good enough to see off Marinko Matosevic.

Matosevic's win over Igor Kunitsyn in the last Round was his first on the main tour this season after losing 6 straight matches. He does play the majority of his matches on hard courts, but in the lower levels of the tour and could find himself slightly overmatched in this match.

Gilles Muller - 2 games vs Robby Ginepri: Gilles Muller served very well in the last Round when beating Alex Bogomolov and will feel confident he can overturn his 1-2 head to head record against Robby Ginepri, although their last match was in 2005.

Muller's game is perfectly suited to the faster surfaces and he has been playing well of late. The Luxembourg Number 1 is moving up the rankings and a win here could see him take another leap forward. The majority of his matches have been outside of the main tour events but he is 7-3 in main tour level matches this season.

Robby Ginepri has recently returned to competitive tennis and this will only be his 6th match since September 2010. He did beat Tommy Haas in the last Round, but that was a match between two players making comebacks and this is an altogether different test.

Muller should do enough to win this match and I expect to see him move on to the Quarter Finals.

MY PICKS: Double; John Isner and Yen-Hsun Lu @ 2.36 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Gilles Muller - 2 games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 1.26 Units (Last updated after all matches completed on 19th July)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 20th ATP Hamburg

I have decided to split my Hamburg picks and Atlanta picks into two separate posts as the schedule for tomorrow's tennis in the USA wont be released until much later, while the prices are only really available in the morning, albeit several hours before the first game is due to start.

I will continue to update the weekly picks on both threads, but I find it is the easiest way to make any picks assuming there are some from both tournaments.

Hamburg used to be one of the top Masters events on the clay courts and while it does not have the big names entering anymore considering its place on the schedule, a good field has still turned up this week.

Yesterday we had a couple of surprises as Juan Carlos Ferrero, Phillip Petzschner and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez all lost as short favourites.

The last of those results looks like being a bit of good news for my outright pick of the week- Marin Cilic is yet to play but has seen the likes of Garcia-Lopez and Juan Ignacio Chela fall out of the draw in his section and he looks like he has a decent look at getting to the Quarter Finals now.

I was hoping Carlos Berlocq would have put out Mikhail Youzhny too, but that would be getting greedy and I just hope Cilic can take advantage of the draw opening up for him. He has dropped 8 points at the bookmakers without hitting a ball, so lets just hope he has come to play this week.

Now on to the Picks:

Treble; Marin Cilic vs Bastian Knittel, Gael Monfils vs Albert Ramos and Nicolas Almagro vs Lukas Rosol: None of the three players I am picking are the most trustworthy when it comes to being priced as short priced favourites in their matches but all three should have enough of an edge over their opponents to get through.

Marin Cilic was my outright pick this week, but he has struggled for form this season with his serve being particularly erratic in recent weeks. However, he plays against a German qualifier that had not won a match on the main tour on a clay court in the last few seasons before he beat Ivan Dodig.

Bastian Knittel is only 14-14 on clay in Challenger events and qualifiers this season and should not really have the level to trouble Cilic.

Gael Monfils is underachieving in his professional career considering all the talent he has- he may be in the top 10, but has failed to win tournaments on a consistent basis and still loses far too many silly matches.

Monfils was a disappointing loser in Stuttgart last week to Victor Hanescu, but he is a decent clay court player and that loss could be put down to his exertions in the Davis Cup a few days prior.

He meets a player that must play around 99% of his matches on the clay courts and one that performs very well on the Challenger circuit and when qualifying for main tour events. However, Ramos has never really transferred that form to the main tour, and I feel Monfils will be too consistent for him if he plays like he can.

Nicolas Almagro is the favourite to win this tournament and is likely to be glad he is playing Lukas Rosol rather than Potito Starace. Almagro is a very strong clay court player and one that has a proven track record of winning tournaments on the surface. His overall game should be too strong for Rosol, although it could be a tight first set.

Double; Florian Mayer vs Marsel Ilhan and Juan Monaco vs Janko Tipsarevic: Both of these players are favourites to win and I believe they can both do so.

Florian Mayer has lost his last 2 matches, but has had probably a career year on the main ATP tour. Mayer has had a decent season on the clay courts this season, reaching the Final in Munich and the Quarter Final in Rome before helping Germany win in Dusseldorf.

Marsel Ilhan is beginning to make an impact on the Challenger tour but he has not quite transferred that form onto the main tour. Ilhan did reach a Final on the surface a couple of weeks ago in Holland, but this should represent a hurdle too far here in Hamburg.

Janko Tipsarevic has not played since Serbia won their Davis Cup tie with Sweden and, judging by his statements since, he has enjoyed partying it up with his friends to celebrate. Tipsarevic is usually a tougher opponent on the faster surfaces and last Summer decided to play in Atlanta rather than in the clay tournaments after Wimbledon.

Juan Monaco is a clay court expert and it seems he has got over the foot injury that saw him withdraw at Bastad last week. The Argentine holds a win over Tipsarevic on the clay courts from 2 years ago, and I think he may have a little more motivation for this match.

Jurgen Melzer - 3.5 games vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver: This is a rematch from Madrid, a match that Gimeno-Traver won in straight sets, but I really feel Melzer can turn the form around this time.

Melzer had won their 2 previous meetings before that match in Madrid, including once on clay, and had won all 4 sets they had competed in. The Austrian might be ranked Number 12 in the World, but he has been struggling for form in recent weeks.

However, he did reach the Final here in Hamburg last year and Gimeno-Traver has been struggling himself this season with only 6 wins from the 24 matches he played this year.

If Melzer can serve well, I think he can put another pressure on Gimeno-Traver to get a break in each set and cover this spread.

MY PICKS: Treble; Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils and Nicolas Almagro @ 2.26 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Double; Florian Mayer and Juan Monaco @ 2.39 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jurgen Melzer - 3.5 games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 1.26 Units

Tennis Picks July 19th

I was hoping all the picks had been decided before I made any more for Tuesday, but unfortunately the rain arrived in Atlanta to curtail James Blake's momentum and it may just reinvigorate Ernests Gulbis in the match.

It was a much better start to the week than I had last week as I look to get back to picking winners- it has been a tough couple of weeks for me, but hopefully this week represents a turning point.

If the James Blake match is anything to go by, I might just be getting some luck back that seemingly deserted me recently. Blake was a set down and Gulbis was serving for the match and only 2 points from victory when Blake fought back for the break.

He then found himself 0-4 down in the tie break and I had all but accepted that this pick was going to falter, but Blake once again fought through adversity and won the set.

As I said, I felt the luck that had not been with me recently may just have returned when Blake saved 4 break points in the early part of set 3 before going on to get the break and the lead. Hopefully he can come out of the rain delay and finish the game off and book a match with John Isner in the next couple of days.

Now on to the July 19th Picks:

Marcel Granollers vs Daniel Gimeno-Traver: Marcel Granollers is one of these players that seems to play a lot better when you have picked against him, yet plays like a club player when you pick him to win, but I still feel there may be a spot of value on picking him to win this match.

Granollers has not really set the world alight this season, but his best stuff is usually played on the clay courts. He has had some solid wins over the likes of Nikolay Davydenko and Victor Troicki on clay this season, although both of those players have their own issues.

Daniel Gimeno-Traver has struggled on the main tour this season, winning just 5 of his 23 matches, and he is surprisingly been struggling on the clay, a surprise because the Spanish are generally pretty good on the red dirt.

Gimeno-Traver has lost to some really average players on clay this season, and his 2-2 head to head record with Granollers is a little misleading as he has lost his last 2 matches, both on clay, without winning a set.

Victor Crivoi vs Fabio Fognini: I dont really have a lot to say about this match except I am making the pick because I want to oppose Fabio Fognini has a short priced favourite.

Fognini was surprisingly beaten by Cedrik-Marcel Stebe last week in Stuttgart and the Italian has been a little bit hit and miss all season on the clay. He had a good run at the French Open, but has also lost to the likes of Federico Del Bonis and the aforementioned Stebe.

Victor Crivoi was forced to qualify here and then beat Guillermo Olaso in the 1st Round to reach this stage. That was his 1 and only win on the main tour this season, but Crivoi does play the majority of his tennis on clay courts.

He also has a 1-0 head to head record over Fognini- he beat the Italian on clay in Italy in 2009.

As a bigger priced underdog, Crivoi could be worth small stakes.

Double; Pablo Andujar vs Julien Benneteau and Gilles Simon vs Sergiy Stakhovsky: Both of these players I have picked have a couple of issues surrounding them, but they are playing opponents that have been struggling.

My doubts about Pablo Andujar come from the fact that he reached the Final in Stuttgart on Sunday and I am a little concerned that he may be short of energy for this week. However, he plays Julien Benneteau who is struggling on all surfaces in recent weeks and someone who lost to Andujar on the clay courts of Nice a few months ago.

Gilles Simon blew a big chance to go deep in the draw at Stuttgart last week when losing in 3 sets to Albert Montanes, but he should still have too much for Sergiy Stakhovsky. The Ukranian player has been struggling for form and has not really been able to put too many back to back wins together in recent weeks.

Simon has also won both previous meetings with Stakhovsky and I think he will do so again this time.

MY PICKS: James Blake @ 1.83 (2 Units) Still in running at time of writing with Blake leading 5-7, 7-6, 3-2 *15-0
Marcel Granollers @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Victor Crivoi @ 2.70 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Double; Pablo Andujar and Gilles Simon @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

WEEKLY UPDATE: + 0.4 Units

Monday, 18 July 2011

Tennis Picks July 18th

After a very disappointing week all round last week, I am hoping for a little more luck and hope to get back into making profits.

Monday is usually the most quiet day of the week in these tournaments and this week is no difference. However that does not mean there are no picks to be made, so lets get on with the show:

Double; Potito Starace vs Lukas Rosol and Pere Riba vs Tobias Kamke: Lets get things clear straight away, neither one of the players I have backed in this double are exactly the most trustworthy players on the ATP.

In saying that, I do expect both will be good enough to come through the tests standing in their way on the opening day at Hamburg.

Lukas Rosol does the majority of his best work on the clay courts, but the majority of his success will be on the Challenger tour and when qualifying for events rather than in the main draw. Rosol did reach the 3rd Round of the French Open this year, and has won 2 Challenger tournaments on this surface this season.

The Czech player was beaten in the final round of qualifying here but got into the draw as a 'Lucky Loser' and these players can be dangerous.

Potito Starace should be good enough to come through this match as he is definitely the more experienced clay court player and had a couple of victories in Sweden last week before running into the hot Robin Soderling.

I actually thought Starace would be priced closer to 1.36 so the 1.5 available looks too good to pass up.

The 2nd part of the double is backing Pere Riba to beat Tobias Kamke. Riba is definitely the more comfortable on clay courts than his opponent and has beaten him on the clay earlier this season. While it is not a good idea to back a player like Riba at odds on, I really believe he will get the better of Kamke on this surface.

Riba has the stronger record on clay in both main tour events and on the Challenger tour and I expect he will come through here.

Gilles Muller vs Alex Bogomolov Jr: I was a little surprised to see Gilles Muller as the underdog in this match considering his serve and overall game is perfectly suited to playing on the hard courts and the faster surfaces in general.

Muller has probably underachieved in his career considering how big he hits the ball and the fact he is a lefty. However, I do like him in this match as he goes up against a player that has not really had the success on the hard courts over the last 3 seasons to justify him being odds on here.

I expect this match will go close to tie breaks in every set, and I just feel Muller's serve is a more reliable than Bogomolov's and that could provide the difference.

I would also not be surprised if this goes the distance, but I think Muller can come through with a win and reach the 2nd Round in Atlanta for the 2nd year in succession.

James Blake vs Ernests Gulbis: This has been priced up as a toss up between these two players, but I think James Blake may have been underestimated slightly.

I had made a decision to never back Blake again last Summer after watching him get dismantled by Denis Istomin, but I was much more impressed with his performance against Marcos Baghdatis at Wimbledon and he comes into this tournament off the back of a win in the Challenger event at Winnetka a couple of weeks ago.

Ernests Gulbis has completely wasted his potential so far in his career and he only seems to get up for the big matches these days. He has been criticised for a lack of effort in his training and 'tanking' away matches. Gulbis has also lost his last 4 matches and has not really played as well on the hard courts in recent seasons as his game should allow him.

I just feel Gulbis does not focus on his matches as much as others, and I think James Blake perhaps has more motivation and more recent form to come through.

MY PICKS: Double: Potito Starace and Pere Riba @ 2.48 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Gilles Muller @ 2.2 Pinnacle (2 Units)
James Blake @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)