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Monday, 28 May 2012

French Open Day 2 Picks (May 28th)

It was one of those days when things were so close, yet so far when it came to the picks. Fernando Verdasco actually served for the match at a point when he would have covered the spread, while Igor Sijsling was leading 1-0 and 2-1 in sets before suffering an injury and losing in five sets.

The Andy Roddick pick was horrible as he was beaten in four sets and I think he is now very close to falling onto my 'black list', although I am interested to see how he will do on the grass courts which he favours much more than the clay courts.

On to the picks from Day 2:

Tommy Haas to win 3-1 in sets v Filippo Volandri: Tommy Haas looked imperious while coming through the qualifiers to reach the First Round of the tournament and I think his familiarity with the conditions this season will give him the edge over a gritty veteran in Filippo Volandri.

Volandri plays his best stuff on the clay courts, but he has been beaten by the likes of Steve Darcis, Mikhail Kukushkin and Matthias Bachinger in recent weeks on the surface and I believe Haas, even at this stage of his career, is a better player than those on this surface.

Haas has also been playing well in the last couple of tournaments and should not have exerted too much energy in the qualifiers as he came through fairly comfortably.

The problem Haas has these days is maintaining his concentration for long periods, something he will have to do on the clay courts in a best of five set match, and I can see him dropping one set on his way through to the next Round.

Alexandr Dolgopolov win 3-1 in sets v Sergey Stakhovsky: Alexandr Dolgopolov had to retire from his match in Rome with a stomach complaint and I expect he will be in better shape as he takes to the court here in Paris for his First Round match.

Both of these men come from the Ukraine so I have to assume they know all about how the other wants to play the game. Dolgopolov is rightly the favourite as Sergey Stakhovsky is a solid, yet unconvincing performer on the clay courts as far as I am concerned.

I expect Stakhovsky will be able to push Dolgopolov at times, and the younger man is also capable of throwing in poor sets of tennis as he struggles with consistency, but I do expect Dolgopolov to progress through to the next Round after dropping one set on the way.

Na Li - 5.5 games v Sorana Cirstea: The defending Champion will start her defence on Monday and I do like Na Li to come through the contest with a little room to spare, although her young Romanian opponent should not be under-estimated.

Li has started to look really tough again in recent weeks and her run to the Rome Final in her last event will only inspire her confidence further. She also has the ability to blow through sets when she gets going and can really overpower an opponent when she finds her range and that could be the difference in this one.

Cirstea has caused a surprise in a Grand Slam event already this season when she beat Sam Stosur at the Australian Open in the First Round, but she hasn't shown great form on the clay courts so far this season and Li will be focused knowing what Cirstea did earlier in the season.

They have met once before- that match was at this event last year with Li winning 2 and 2.

Ekaterina Makarova - 4.5 games v Sloane Stephens: Ekaterina Makarova has not really played that well since falling in Miami a couple of months ago an the clay courts are not really receptive to what she wants to do on the court. However, the conditions here in Paris are likely to be a big help for her and I expect she will be too strong for Sloane Stephens.

Stephens comes into the event having played a lot of tennis recently while reaching the Semi Final in Strasbourg last week, but the better players she has faced on the clay courts generally take care of her fairly comfortably.

Francesca Schiavone, Flavia Pennetta and Kaia Kanepi have all handed heavy losses to Stephens this year, while she was comfortably handled by Elena Baltacha last year at this same stage of the tournament.

Makarova hasn't had great success herself on the clay courts, but did reach the Fourth Round here in 2011 and I expect she will be too strong for Stephens on this day.

Nadia Petrova - 3.5 games v Iveta Benesova: Nadia Petrova is very inconsistent in her game and that is a real worry, but I do believe she will be far too strong for Iveta Benesova in the First Round and come through.

Petrova seems to win well when she does, however she can have the tendency to fall away if she gets behind on the scoreboard. The Russian has enjoyed favourable results on the clay courts for the most part down the years and it has taken better players than Benesova to put her away so far this season.

She does need to get the mental demons exorcised following a First Round loss here last season, but an opponent that may not be at 100% is a great way to do so.

Benesova has struggled to a 3-11 record on the clay courts since January 2011, and she has struggled to make the matches competitive when facing players that can blow you off court as shown by comfortable defeats to Na Li, Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli this season, while Sam Stosur lost just 5 games on the way to beating Benesova in the First Round last year.

If Petrova can put in a similar effort to the one she had when only just failing to beat Serena Williams recently, I think she can come through with the minimum of fuss in this one.

MY PICKS: Tommy Haas win 3-1 in sets @ 4.00 Stan James (1 Unit)
Alexandr Dolgopolov win 3-1 in sets @ 3.75 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
Na Li - 5.5 games @ 1.83 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Ekaterina Makarova - 4.5 games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Nadia Petrova - 3.5 games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

French Open Update: 1-3, - 3.16 Units (7 Units Staked)

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