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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Australian Open Day 5 Picks

Well it was a day when my picks sucked as 2 out 3 fell down the drain.

I was a little happy seeing Gilles Simon get knocked out after he had missed plenty of chances to win both of the first two sets, only to fight back to 2-2 for the loss of 4 games in Sets 3 and 4. I would have been disappointed if he had won 3-2 after I had predicted him to cover the set handicap, especially in the manner he had choked the first two sets.

Gael Monfils made his cover all the more difficult when he lost the first set 6-2, but Sorana Cirstea could not recover from a 1-6 first set loss despite coming back and winning the match, so it ended up being a day where some of the profit from the early part of the week was stripped away.

John Isner - 1.5 sets vs Feliciano Lopez: I know Isner got a lucky call in his last game with David Nalbandian to move through to this Round, and I am also aware he was forced into a tough 5 setter, but I think he has the beating of the inconsistent Lopez.

Isner will have an easier time holding serve in this match, in my opinion, as Lopez is not exactly the best returner of serve on the planet, unlike Nalbandian who has always excelled at that aspect of the game.

There are likely to be a couple of tie breakers, and I think Isner has always proved himself up to that challenge mentally, as he showed when beating Rafael Nadal in 2 tie-breakers at the French Open in a 5 set loss to the Spaniard last year.

Isner won their only previous meeting on a fast indoor court in Paris at the back end of last season, a surface that Lopez is usually a tough test for any player. Isner won that match 6-4, 6-2, and while I don't think it will be that easy, I think the American gets through without the match going the distance.

Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Bernard Tomic: Now if you follow my Twitter account, you will know what I think of the Ukranian player- a truly talented one, but infuriating who too often loses sets in the most ridiculous of fashion and one I would not want to back at any time... Until now.

Regular followers of the blog may actually remember the last time I picked Dolgopolov to win a match- it was back in Shanghai when he faced the save opponent he is meeting today.

At the time, I believe my records indicate that Dolgopolov when off as the slight favourite, yet he is now an underdog, most likely because he has been pushed in both his matches here in Melbourne and is also facing a talented Tomic in front of his own supporters.

However, Dolgopolov has the unique shot making that has given Tomic plenty of problems in the past, winning all 3 of their meetings, mostly in dominating fasihion. Dolgopolov also beat Tomic twice in Australia in those matches and beat him twice last season and I think he could cause a surprise here.

Tomic is definitely one for the future, but I think his tournament could be coming to an end in the night session.

Julia Goerges - 3.5 games vs Romina Oprandi: I like Goerges' chances to progress through to the next Round against an opponent that has just recorded a huge win against a former Grand Slam winner.

Oprandi's win over Francesca Schiavone in the last Round was a big deal as both girls are Italian and it has to be one of the biggest win of Oprandi's career, especially at Grand Slam level.

It might be hard for her to get up to compete with another talented player on the WTA Tour, one who has come off the boil a little after a big couple of months around the French Open last year. Goerges has not exactly been in super form to start the season, but she will be well rested having been on the right end of a retirement in the last Round.

Goerges has all the shot-making ability to make this a tough day for Oprandi, and beat the Italian in their only meeting at the US Open in 2010.

Jelena Jankovic - 4.5 games vs Christina McHale: Jelena Jankovic has not sustained the consistency that took her to the World Number 1 position, and her window for winning a maiden Grand Slam also looks to have closed as she is not able to really match up with the very best players in the World down to a lack of power in her groundstrokes.

However, Jankovic is still able to dominate some of the lesser players on the tour, and I think Christina McHale still falls into that category despite big improvements to her game in the last year.

McHale is a little fortunate to even still be in the tournament, but has been outclassed when she comes up against the very best players and I think Jankovic's style of play is going to cause her plenty of problems and expose any inconsistency in the McHale game.

Jankovic beat McHale comfortably in their only previous meeting, albeit on a clay court last year, but I still think she should be able to cover the spread on offer.

MY PICKS: John Isner - 1.5 sets @ 2.38 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Alexandr Dolgopolov @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Julia Goerges - 3.5 games @ 2.05 Victor Chandler (2 Units)
Jelena Jankovic - 4.5 games @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 6-5, + 2.52 Units

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