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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Tennis Picks May 9th (Madrid)

So the latest player to come out and complain about the blue clay courts in Madrid is Novak Djokovic who was surprisingly taken to three sets in his win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver... Djokovic claims that the surface does not allow players to glide as they can across the red clay courts, but instead makes you slip and doesn't help with the balance needed to play shots.

It does seem almost no one, apart from the organisers of the event, has had anything good to say about the courts and that does not bode well for the future of this tournament if they cannot take the criticisms on board. I understand it is still a Masters event and the ruling is players are fined and banned from a subsequent event if they pull out without a legitimate reason, but I can see the top players at least taking some of that hit.

I would not be that surprised if they ended up pulling out for the most minor of injuries that they would usually play through in the future and no tournament of this magnitude can survive if the best players are constantly missing it off their calender. The crowds have not been great in the early part of the week and it just seems like the whole event is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the best players.

Tomorrow we have Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal playing their first match on the surface and I am looking forward to how they react, especially as both have awkward opponents in Milos Raonic and Nikolay Davydenko to contend with.

The picks went 2-2 on the first day I made them, but it should have been so much better as Richard Gasquet missed three match points when serving at 5-3 in the final set... That was disappointing as he had dominated the match after the first set and had a number of chances to break the Thomaz Bellucci serve, but hopefully we can have a cleaner week from here on out.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games v Ryan Harrison: I don't think either of these guys is ever going to pull out some big trees on a clay court, but I do think the Frenchman has the edge when they play one another.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has a big game that should be magnified in Madrid where the altitude will help the ball fly behind his power on serve and his groundstrokes. A concern will be the condition of the court as Tsonga does like making his way to the net and I am hoping it won't be so slippery that it affects him in that area.

Ryan Harrison is still learning the game at the professional level but does have the advantage of already winning one match here in Madrid. However, he hasn't shown a lot of clay court pedigree in his young career and a loss to Joao Souza in Belgrade on this surface last week is hard to ignore.

Tsonga also handed out a 7-5, 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 win on the clay courts in a Davis Cup tie against Harrison earlier this season and I expect he will be a little too strong again.

Agnieska Radwanska - 4.5 games v Sara Errani: It is not always the best idea to oppose a player who is clearly in as much form as Sara Errani recently- the Italian has won tournaments in Barcelona and Budapest on the clay courts heading into this one so confidence should be very high.

Errani also won the event in Acapulco earlier this season and has a 17-1 record on the clay courts in 2012, but this is clearly a different level of opponent than she would have faced in any of those previous events.

She is having a good season all around, but Agnieska Radwanska is one of the few players on the Tour that can say she has won more matches in the calender year and she is also a player that has had little trouble against anyone not called Victoria Azarenka (Azarenka is the only player that has beaten Radwanska on a tennis court this season).

The Pole has surprisingly not been as successful on clay courts in the last couple of seasons as would be expected considering her defensive abilities, but I think she can have a much bigger impact this year with her higher seeding.

Her 3-1 head to head record against Errani will also stand her in good stead and I would expect her to come through in straight sets with at least one of those sets seeing a double break of serve, something that should enable the cover.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Agnieska Radwanska - 4.5 games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-2, - 0.20 Units (8 Units Staked)

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