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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Australian Open Day 3 Picks

So the picks went 1-1 yesterday as Sam Stosur not only failed to cover the spread, but LOST outright in the biggest surprise of the tournament so far in either the Men's or Women's draws.

Fortunately, Jelena Dokic proved my thinking correct that she was wrongly set as the underdog as she demolished Anna Chakvetadze 6-1, 6-2 for an easy passage through to the next Round.

In other news, both Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic moved through in easy fashion, keeping all 6 of my outright selections alive going into Round 2 that starts today.

The Australian Open has been a tournament usually full of surprises in recent years as players are coming in off of long lay-offs so you have to tread carefully throughout this fortnight.

Tomas Berdych - 8.5 games vs Olivier Rochus: This is perhaps a little risky considering the large spread of games, but the best of 5 sets that the Men have to complete gives Berdych a chance of covering in my opinion despite the Czech player dropping a set in his opening game of the tournament.

Berdych should not be surprised by the way Rochus plays considering they have met 9 times in the past, with the Czech player winning 6 of those clashes.

It is telling that he has won the last 5 meetings between the players after really struggling against Rochus in the early days, and he has completed a bagel in 3 of the last 4 clashes against the Belgian player.

Berdych has won 11 of the last 12 sets contested between the players, and all of those winning sets have been 6-3 or better except one that he won 6-4.

The problem for Rochus is that he is likely having to work much harder to retain serve and that can be tough to do for a couple of hours in the heat that has been affecting Melbourne in the last couple of days. If Berdych can perform as he has against Rochus in recent clashes, I think he will be too big and powerful for him again here.

Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 games vs Flavio Cipolla: I like the Spaniard to beat Cipolla here who is coming off a big surprise win over Nikolay Davydenko, although the latter is not the player of old.

Lopez should keep plenty of pressure on Cipolla by holding serve a little more effectively, while the Italian has not really brought his form from Challenger events onto the main tour. Lopez also had one of his better seasons on the tour last year and will see this as a chance to build some more Ranking points by going at least one stage further than at the same tournament in 2011.

I expect Lopez should get through in straight sets in this contest, and that should enable him to cover this spread.

Donald Young - 1.5 sets vs Lukas Lacko: I am going back to the well by opposing Lukas Lacko in this Round after he stumped me on Day 1 with a comeback win over Ivan Ljubicic despite being 2 sets and a break down.

Donald Young looked like he was cruising into this Round when he won the first 2 sets against Peter Gojokcyyk for the loss of just 3 games, but he kind of took his foot off the pedal before wrapping up the win with a 6-2 final set win.

Young is an enigma, but has begun to show more flashes of actually matching the potential he had as a young teenager. He had a breakout tournament at the US Open, where he beat Lacko in straight sets, and actually had more wins on the main tour than he had in the previous 3 seasons combined.

Lacko did very well in fighting back to beat Ivan Ljubicic in the last Round, but I have a feeling he may have had to use more energy than Young did in his 5 set win, and this could be a hurdle too far if he falls behind.

The Slovakian made a lot of unforced errors in his loss to Young at the US Open, and he will have to be much more solid in this match if he wants to get through. However, I still Young may be a little too good for him just now and will take my chances that the American gets through with room to spare.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 8.5 games @ 2.05 188Bet (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 5.5 games @ 1.90 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Donald Young - 1.5 sets @ 2.50 Unibet (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 3-2, + 2.42 Units

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