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Sunday, 15 January 2012

Australian Open Day 1 Picks

The tournament starts in a few hours and I have been studying the matches all day, although a lot of the markets have not been available for us until a little later.

The first day of the Grand Slams is not usually my favourite time to make too many plays as the layers have had enough time to destroy any value that was in the market- that usually changes as games come quick and fast once a tournament gets underway.

Sergey Stakhovsky - 4.5 games vs Iliya Marchenko: Now I know Stakhovsky had a let down of a season last year, but I think he is being under-rated against a player that he has dealt with in all 3 meetings previously.

Stakhovsky has won the last 5 sets when they have met and has enough consistency in his play to disrupt Marchenko, a player always liable to throwing in a cheap service game in a set.

Stakhovsky has lost both his opening games this season, but he will have the mentality that this is a winnable contest and he had not been in great form when reaching the 3rd Round here last year.

The biggest thing that concerns me is that he has won all of the previous meetings on an indoor hard court, but I still think Stakhovsky should be too good and could still cover even if he drops a set.

Ivan Ljubicic - 1.5 Sets vs Lukas Lacko: As I said in my outright preview, Ivan Ljubicic is coming towards the end of his career, but I still see this as a contest he can win with a little bit of room to spare.

This will be the big Croatian's first appearance of the new season, and he does face someone who has come through the 3 Qualifying Rounds, but I still think Ljubicic is ahead of the curve that Lukas Lacko finds himself on.

Lacko has to overcome the fact that he was beaten in the 1st Round in 3 of the 4 Grand Slams last season, failing to even Qualify for the French Open, and I think the experience will be the key to Ljubicic moving forwards, although he may drop a set in the process.

Roger Federer - 9.5 games vs Alexander Kudryavtsev: I think Federer may make a big statement to open up his Australian Open campaign as he wants to put aside fears about his back, plus he has to be mad after hearing comments attributed to Rafael Nadal about only caring for himself.

The former World Number 1 could not really ask for a better 1st Round clash against a player that has 12 matches on the main tour in the last 4 seasons.

I will be honest that I don't know an awful lot about Kudryatsev, but he is surely going to be a little overawed at playing one of the best players of all time. Federer crushed Lukas Lacko in this Round last year and I have a feeling he may hand out another lesson to have people talking about his tennis again.

MY PICKS: Sergiy Stakhovsky - 4.5 games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ivan Ljubicic - 1.5 sets @ 2.38 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 9.5 games @ 1.83 Stan James (2 Units)

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