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Thursday, 16 February 2012

Tennis Picks February 16th

It has been a better couple of days, although the curse of the capitulation is still hovering over my head as David Nalbandian lost 8 of 9 games at one point of his match with Benoit Paire and still managed to just miss the cover by half a game.

It was disappointing as he was 5-1 0-40 on the Paire serve, but failed to win the set and then went on to lose 5 games in a row.

Still, I won't complain too much as I had winners with Robby Ginepri, Marcos Baghdatis and Potito Starace to at least recover the bad start to the week.

We still have Nicolas Almagro and Tomas Berdych going in the outright markets, although the latter has taken a hit with the news that Roger Federer has received a bye through to the Quarter Finals as Mikhail Youzhny pulled out of the tournament. That means the former World Number 1 should be very fresh while Berdych still has to negotiate Juan Martin Del Potro if he is to even reach the Final.

Almagro is yet to make his first appearance at the tournament in Brazil, but should be in action tomorrow.

As I have done all week, I am going to make my picks for the day in different periods as the tournaments in the Americas have their markets put up a little later, while the same can be said of Doha which has a full schedule tomorrow.

You can follow me on Twitter where I always post a link to this thread when new picks are made.

Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games v Alex Bogomolov Jr: Now I know Richard Gasquet made tougher work of his 1st Round opponent than he needed to, but this is a match he should be winning with a bit to spare as long as he can serve effectively.

That was Gasquet's problem against Flavio Cipolla in the last Round as he struggled with the serve and winning enough points behind it, but he managed to steel himself on the Italian's serve to earn enough break points to win the match.

Alex Bogomolov had a career season last year, but his a player that can fall apart in matches as we have seen in recent losses to Jurgen Melzer and Lukas Lacko and I think Gasquet can put enough pressure on him to secure a couple of breaks in a set and that should be good enough to cover this spread.

Hopefully Gasquet won't have a loss of concentration as he did in the 1st Round and, in that case, come through 6-3, 6-3.

Marcos Baghdatis + 1.5 sets v Tomas Berdych: I have picked Berdych in the outright market to win the tournament here in Rotterdam, but I think he may have to go the distance to beat Marcos Baghdatis in what looks like being the match of the day in Holland and perhaps in any tournament being played today.

Baghdatis was a solid winner in the 1st Round and has the game to cause anyone problems, even someone in very strong form as Berdych is. If the Cypriot can serve well, I can see him exerting enough pressure to create chances against the Czech's service games and at least push him the whole way.

They have met 5 times previously with Berdych winning 3 of those meetings... Only one, the last, has actually seen both Men win a set, although Baghdatis could be inspired by the fact he has won 3 of the last 5 sets that they have competed.

The players are 2-2 on hard courts against one another, but I just think that at odds against, Baghdatis is perhaps being a little under-rated and is worth chancing to take at least a set.

Yanina Wickmayer - 4.5 games v Ksenia Pervak: Now I am hoping I am not catching Pervak in a breakout week after attempting to fade her in the 1st Round here, but I do believe Yanina Wickmayer has the skills to see off her young challenger here in Doha.

Pervak is coming up against a player that has shown plenty of decent form in recent weeks, while the young Kazakhstan player has usually come up short when playing the better players on the WTA Tour. Whether Wickmayer can be considered in that category may be up for debate, as she has not really pushed on as expected, but a Semi Final run in Paris last week has indicated that she is finding some good tennis.

I can't escape the fact that Pervak had lost her last 4 matches before winning two in a row here this week and feel this could be a hurdle too far. As long as Wickmayer is not in the 'mindless ball-bashing' mode she can sometimes resort to, I think she should be too strong, pulling away in the second set after a tight first.

Albert Ramos - 3 games v Igor Andreev: Igor Andreev had so much potential, but I fear he has missed the boat and it is funny to see him languishing outside of the top 100 now. He beat Fernando Gonzalez in straight sets in the 1st Round here, but this is sure to be a much tougher test for a player that has the tendency to collapse under sustained pressure.

Albert Ramos was predominantly a clay court player in his early career, which is no surprise seeing as he is from Spain, but he seems to have taken the policy to follow the Main Tour a little more closely this season and this is his first clay court tournament of 2012. He had an impressive win over Santiago Giraldo in the last Round as the underdog and has the game that could wear down Andreev here.

I expect Ramos will try and use consistency in his play and hope Andreev loses patience and perhaps becomes a little erratic in his play. The Russian has also failed to progress beyond the 2nd Round at a tournament since before the US Open in 2011 and was heavily beaten by Juan Monaco in Chile a couple of weeks ago at this stage.

Ramos will also feel confidence from having beaten Andreev on a clay court in their only previous meeting and I will look for him to do so again today.

Jeremy Chardy - 2 games v Leonardo Mayer: I am a little unsure as to why, but Jeremy Chardy continues to be underestimated by the layers despite enjoying a decent couple of tournaments on the clay courts of South America and I think he has been overlooked in this market.

Chardy was a Semi Finalist in Chile a couple of weeks ago before being beaten in straight sets by the eventual winner of the tournament in Juan Monaco, and he has already won three matches here as he was forced to come through the Qualifying section. His career had hit the buffers last season after a couple of decent years on the tour, but there are signs that he is getting his act together.

The Frenchman will surely fancy his chances against Leonardo Mayer having beaten the Argentinian a couple of weeks ago in Chile 7-5, 6-2. Mayer enjoys playing on the clay courts, but the majority of his success has come in qualifying campaigns or on the Challenger Tour and I think his win over Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 1st Round is being given a little too much credit considering the Spaniard had travelled over from Europe where he had been having a couple of fitness issues in the Davis Cup.

Chardy has a decent serve and I think that should enable him to win more 'cheap' points and also allow him to pressure the Mayer serve. Chardy won 47% of the points off the Mayer serve and I think he should be a fairly comfortable winner if he can get his own first serve percentage up to around the 60% mark.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis + 1.5 sets @ 2.10 188Bet (2 Units)
Yanina Wickmayer - 4.5 games @ 1.95 188Bet (2 Units)
Albert Ramos - 3 games @ 2.25 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 2 games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-6, - 0.26 Units (24 Units Staked)

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