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Sunday, 31 July 2011

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)

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