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Friday, 8 July 2011

Davis Cup Quarter Final Picks- July 8th 2011

It wasn't a great day for me yesterday with both picks failing to deliver. Juan Monaco dominated his match against Andrey Golubev and was never in any real danger of dropping a set, while Edouard Roger-Vasselin lost after winning the first set of his match with Tobias Kamke.

However, both picks were with minimum stakes as I was not overly confident in either and I hope to have a better day as the 3 other Davis Cup Quarter Final ties begin.

So without further ado, it is on to the Picks:

Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games vs Florian Mayer: This match is the opening Rubber of the Germany-France match and will be played on clay courts, but I am still a little surprised that Gasquet is being considered a tight favourite to win the match.

As I have mentioned before on the blog, Florian Mayer can be an awkward player to get used to as he has a very unique style of playing and serving. The German has had a good season so far, but I think his World Number 20 Ranking is a little bit too kind to his ability.

Mayer's serve is a weakness and that is an area Gasquet will look to expose. He is also only 4-4 in Davis Cup matches in the past, although Mayer does hold a 4-1 record on matches played on clay. Generally his best results to come on clay.

Gasquet, on the other hand, is once again establishing himself as one of the better players on the ATP Tour and is now just outside the top 10. He has performed admirably on the clay this season, and it has taken the likes of Rafael Nadal (twice) and Novak Djokovic to prevent him having more success.

The French Number 2 will be making his first Davis Cup singles appearance since 2008 and will hope he can improve his 5-5 record (1-2 on clay).

The head to head is 1-1, with Gasquet winning the most recent meeting in 2007.

Gasquet should have the edge in the match in terms of serve and overall groundstrokes. If he can ignore the vocal home support Mayer will receive, I think he can get through in 3 or 4 sets. Mayer is also capable of going walkabouts in sets as can be seen in recent defeats to Alejandro Falla and Xavier Malisse, so Gasquet could cover the spread thanks to a 6-2/6-1 set.

Mardy Fish - 1.5 sets vs Feliciano Lopez: This is also the opening Rubber of the Quarter Final between the USA and Spain and could set the tempo for the entire tie.

Mardy Fish is the top rated American coming into this tie and pulled out of the tournament at Newport where he was the defending Champion so he could take part here. Fish is having a very good season and has all the tools to be very effective in what is being described as a much faster hard court than many of the players will be used to.

That wont bother Feliciano Lopez too much if that is the case, especially as it could make his serve even more effective. Lopez got the nod to represent Spain ahead of good friend Fernando Verdasco after reaching the Quarter Finals at Wimbledon.

Lopez will make life difficult with his serve, especially if he gets it firing early in the match, but I just feel Fish moves better and is perhaps the more consistent player of the two, especially when it comes to the crunch.

Fish may also hold the mental edge as he has won the last 3 meetings between the two players, one of those on the hard courts of Miami, after losing the first 2 meetings. In fact, Fish has won the last 6 sets between the players.

We could see a couple of tie breakers here to separate the players, but I feel it will be Fish who is too consistent and may just 'batter' Lopez in 4 sets.

Potito Starace - 5.5 games vs Blaz Kavcic: The Italians meet the Slovenians at home on the comfort on the clay courts and that should give Potito Starace a big advantage in this matchup. I know Starace is a player that predominantly does his best work when on the red dirt underneath his feet and he will have the full support of the crowd behind him, a crowd that should have been warmed up with this the 2nd of the Rubbers to be played tomorrow.

Blaz Kavcic is more than capable of playing on clay courts, but could be feeling additional pressure if Slovenia are already 1-0 down in the tie.

Starace also holds a straights sets win over Kavcic on the clay courts from last season and I think he is more than capable of winning this one in straight sets and covering the spread in the process.

Gael Monfils win 3-1 in sets vs Phillip Kohlschreiber: This is a tough match for Gael Monfils who likes to entertain the crowds, but will not be receiving much support in this tie. He meets a player in Phillip Kohlschreiber that he has enjoyed considerable success against in the past, although their last meeting was won by the German in straight sets(also played in Germany).

However, Monfils seems to raise his game when playing for his country and I expect him to be focused on this match. His retrieving skills can make it tough for Kohlschreiber to break him down and I feel the clay courts will aid Monfils in frustrating the crowd and his opponent.

Monfils holds a Davis Cup win over Kohlschreiber, beating the German in straight sets last season, but this is a tougher prospect and I definitely see Kohlschreiber getting at least one set on the board.

I just feel Monfils is too strong a player for him, and he will come through in 4 sets to put France in a commanding position on Day 1.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Mardy Fish - 1.5 sets @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Potito Starace - 5.5 games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils win 3-1 in sets @ 3.75 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)


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