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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Tennis Outright Tournament Picks (February 20-26)

ATP Memphis
This is an ATP 500 event taking place on the indoor hard courts of North America and we have a decent field that has got together to compete.

The top seed here this week is John Isner and he is a player that I do want to get on my side as he has shown that 2012 could be a real breakout year for him, especially if his early season form is anything to go by.

While the American did reach the Third Round of the Australian Open, it was his win under pressure against Roger Federer in the Davis Cup in Switzerland on a clay court that really shows that he could be in line for a big season.

Isner has been given a kind draw, and he has enjoyed plenty of success on the North American continent in the last couple of seasons. He has beaten his First Round opponent Gilles Muller twice in their two previous meetings, but the biggest danger before the Semi Final could be Bernard Tomic after his impressive performances at the Australian Open.

However, Tomic is set to meet either Jurgen Melzer or Denis Istomin in the Second Round and there is every chance that Isner can avoid that tough match with the Australian and move through the draw.

The likes of Andy Roddick and Milos Raonic are both players that could present a challenge, but both are on the opposite side of the draw and have doubts about their own challenges in this tournament.

Andy Roddick was lucky to get as far as he did in San Jose last week, and he was comfortably beaten by Denis Istomin in that tournament and I think there is enough doubts about him at the moment for me to want a lot more than single figure quotes on him winning the event.

Milos Raonic is involved in the Final at San Jose at the time of writing, but he did reach back to back Finals at that event and here last season and is the obvious danger again. However, he does have a tough First Round meeting with the enigmatic Ernests Gulbis which could cause problems, although if the Canadian gets through that match, he could be very hard to stop here.

With that in mind, Raonic looks like a favourite worth opposing so John Isner will be the call here at 6.00.

ATP Marseille
The two favourites for this tournament are Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are scheduled to meet in the Semi Final of this event as both are given byes into the Second Round this week and I think the winner is very much going to be one of those players.

Del Potro reached the Final last week in Rotterdam and looked very good for that week until he met Roger Federer on Sunday. He could have a couple of tough matches before he gets to the Semi Final as his first match here could be against Nikolay Davydenko.

Davydenko was in very good form in Rotterdam and perhaps feels he should have beaten Federer when they met in the Semi Final. The Russian is not the same player of 2009 and early 2010, but he did show enough last week to suggest he could be a difficult test for Del Potro here if he gets through against Andreas Beck in the First Round.

Even if Del Potro was to get past Davydenko, he is then likely to run into Richard Gasquet who could potentially cause problems if he gets up ahead of steam in front of his home support. Those two matches alone pushes me towards backing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga instead.

Tsonga has a potentially awkward Second Round match against Nicolas Mahut, but will feel confident he can get through to the Semi Final if he can get through that match.

The Frenchman has really enjoyed himself on the indoor hard courts over the last 12 months, reaching the Final at Rotterdam, Paris and the end of year Championships in London last season, as well as winning events in Metz and Vienna on the surface.

Tsonga beat Del Potro in the Final at Vienna and I would favour him to do so again here considering the amount of tennis the Argentine has played in the last week and I would guess Tsonga could complete the win if he does get to play on Sunday next week.

I was intrigued by Janko Tipsarevic from the bottom half of the draw as he has been playing very well over the last 12 months, showing a lot more consistency than he has previously in his career. However, he has a tough route and I think his price is just a little short for me to get involved outside of Tsonga at 3.75.

MY PICKS: John Isner to win Memphis @ 6.00 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win Marseille @ 3.75 Bet365 (2 Units)

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