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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Tennis Picks April 17th (Monte Carlo)

The clay court season started last week and we have now got into the first Masters event on the surface, although it is not a compulsory event.

That does mean that Roger Federer is not here this week, while it is a smaller field than we are used to at these events, but the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are all here.

The injury concerns surrounding Rafael Nadal has to bother some people, so I am surprised to see that he has been set as the favourite to win this event, especially as he has said himself that he isn't sure if his knee has recovered from Miami, and I think it is down the fact that he has won here 7 times in a row while not losing a match since 2003.

With that in mind, I think backing the World Number 1 at 2.50 looks the call for the tournament as he has proven last season that he is comfortable on this surface and has beaten Nadal twice in a row on the clay courts.

Now on to the daily picks:

Albert Ramos-Vinolas v Kei Nishikori: I am going to take a small interest in the underdog who is a clay court specialist and is coming into the tournament having reached the Final in Casablanca lasr week.

He faces Kei Nishikori who will be playing his first match since Miami and someone who has not really found the right stride when playing on the clay courts. He did reach the Final in Houston last season, but he has had some difficult losses on the surface since then.

Albert Ramos has enjoyed the vast majority of his wins on the clay courts and has already reached one Final and one Semi Final and I think he deserves a small interest as the dog.

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games v Simone Bolelli: Marin Cilic is still on the comeback trail after injury, but I think there are real signs he is getting back to some of his better tennis and I think he should be too strong for the Italian in this one.

Simone Bolelli did well to qualify for the event here, but he has done his best work on the Challenger Tour and in qualifiers over the last few seasons and I think Cilic will be too much of a step up right now.

Cilic should also be confident from the fact he beat David Nalbandian on this surface a couple of weeks ago, in Argentina no less, and he is a solid clay court player. He also holds a 4-1 head to head record against Bolelli, which includes a win on a clay court last season as well as a win on the hard courts in a Challenger event in Dallas.

I expect the Croatian will be able to come through with a break in each set that should enable him to cover.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic to win outright @ 2.50 Stan James (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas @ 2.20 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Marin Cilic - 3.5 games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Season 2012: + 29.35 Units (298 Units Staked)
Season 2011: + 82.02 Units

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