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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Australian Open Day 4 Picks

It was another productive day for the Picks as a third profitable day was secured... However, Lukas Lacko once again surprised me as he ousted Donald Young in 4 sets to move through to the 3rd Round- I am going out on a limb here and suggesting he might struggle to beat his next opponent, a certain Mr Rafael Nadal!!

The biggest surprise of the day was the exit of Mardy Fish from the Men's draw as he was beaten in straight sets by Alejandro Falla. That result has really opened up the draw for Juan Martin Del Potro to make it through to the Quarter Finals at least, although he has to improve his level by a couple of steps if he is going to make my outright prediction stand a chance.

Other than the actual tennis, the two most impressive feats on the court were probably the reactions of David Nalbandian and Marcos Baghdatis during their defeats to John Isner and Stanislas Wawrinka respectively.

Nalbandian had every right to be aggrieved (and I am not saying this because I have openly stated he is my favourite player of the last 10 years alongside Marat Safin)- at 8-8 with John Isner in the final set, the big American seemingly had his serve broken as his second serve was called out by the linesman. That was overturned by the umpire, who then refused to let Nalbandian challenge the call, a call that effectively cost him the match considering he was broken in the next game AND the ball WAS OUT on the Isner serve.

A shocking way to end the tournament and the Argentine was understandably upset, smashing his racquet at the end of the match. As I say in almost any sport, the referee/umpire should interject themselves into a game and actually decide the result and I truly hope some sort of punishment is handed out, either by the ITF or the ATP, because this kind of decision was remarkably out of sync with how challenges are used throughout the year.

Marcos Baghdatis destroying four racquets in a row

DAY 4 PICKS
Gilles Simon - 1.5 sets vs Julien Benneteau: The reason for this pick is actually fairly simple- I believe Gilles Simon is being under-rated because he was in a 5 set match in his opening game, while Julien Benneteau made serene progress in straight sets.

Simon has proven to be something of a match-up nightmare for Benneteau through the years, winning 4 of their 5 previous meetings, including the last 3 without losing a set.

We all know that Simon will look to fight for every ball and I still think he could be the slightly fresher player as Benneteau reached the delayed Final in Sydney last week which means he will be playing his 7 match in the last 11 days.

With all that being said, I am going to look for Simon to come through with a little room to spare.

Gael Monfils - 6 games vs Thomaz Bellucci: This looks like just about a small enough spread for me to bite on the talented Frenchman to go through to the 3rd Round in impressive fashion.

I have a feeling we may see Monfils make a real impact at the Australian Open this year and he will give the inconsistent Bellucci plenty of problems with his ability to return one more ball.

Much of Bellucci's best work has come on the clay courts and I think this is going to be a big ask for him to stay with Monfils, particularly in the latter continues mixing in the more aggressive shots to go with his general athletic ability.

Monfils has also won their only previous meeting, although that went the distance on a clay court before Monfils ran away with the match with a 6-1 final set score.

Sorana Cirstea - 3.5 games vs Urszula Radwanska: Now there is an element of doubt in my mind that we could possibly have an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' type of performance from Sorana Cirstea after she had the shock of the tournament so far by beating Sam Stosur in the 1st Round, but I think the match up means she is worth chancing.

Urszula Radwanska is the same age as Cirstea, but is fighting her own battle of trying to get out of older sister's shadow in the form of the successful Agnieska Radwanska. Urszula has really struggled on the main tour since turning professional, and last season even failed to qualify for the first 3 Grand Slams of the year.

Cirstea definitely seems to be in the better place in her career so far and also won the last time these two girls met in Hobart back in 2008- I think Cirstea is definitely the much more improved player and will look for her to get through in straight sets.

Andy Roddick to win 3-1 in sets vs Lleyton Hewitt: I am going to have a small interest in the American getting the better of 'Rusty' in front of his home support in an entertaining match, but it's only a small interest as I think the layers have underestimated the chances of Hewitt nicking a set on his way out of the tournament.

Roddick has won the last 6 matches between the two players so I do believe he has Hewitt's number now, especially considering the Australian was 5-1 in the 6 previous meetings.

Hewitt can still up his game enough to cause problems for Roddick as shown by the fact he has taken at least a set in 3 of their last 4 matches against one another since 2009. He also took Roddick to 5 sets at Wimbledon in a Quarter Final in 2009, the year Roddick got to the final only to fall to Roger Federer 16-14 in the 5th set.

With the home support, I think we will see Hewitt raise his game again to take a set off Roddick, but I fancy the American will once again prove a little too consistent and I'll take a small interest in the set betting here.


MY PICKS: Gilles Simon - 1.5 sets @ 2.25 Unibet (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 6 games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea - 3.5 games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Andy Roddick win 3-1 in sets @ 4.00 Stan James (1 Unit)


Australian Update: 5-3, + 4.32 Units

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