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Friday, 18 January 2013

Australian Open Day 6 Picks 2013 (January 19th)

We are now getting to the meat of the Australian Open tournament and this where we are likely to see more evenly matched contests and some real classic matches.

I think the tournament has been lacking any real quality matches and even the potential one between Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova ended up being a damp squib as the Russian demolished the former World Number 1.

I don't think I was the only one thinking, while Venus walked up to shake Sharapova's hand, that there is going to be a real comeuppance for the latter if she gets through to the Final to face Serena. There is clearly no love lost between the Williams sister and Sharapova and you just know those celebrations will be used as an additional motivating tool for Serena to get through to the Final in a weeks time.

Don't get me wrong, it was a dominating performance from Sharapova this morning, but facing Serena is far more difficult prospect than Venus these days. And I just feel the Russian's reaction may just come back to bite her as this tournament develops.

Other than that, the main players that are expected to be involved in the latter stages of the tournament are all still involved, which is another reason I am expecting the quality of matches to improve and much more even contests to develop.

The picks at least took a turn for the better yesterday with 3 wins from 4 picks and hopefully that will be something that continues as we conclude the Third Round action.

Andy Murray - 8.5 games v Richard Berankis: Andy Murray has looked like a player that believes he has the beating of any player he faces on the Tour at the moment and the Brit looks set to continue that here against Richard Berankis.

I don't want to be responsible for underestimating Berankis considering he hasn't dropped a set in the first two rounds and the fact that he came through qualifying while reaching the Third Round in Australia in two of his three visits.

However, he was heavily beaten by David Ferrer at this stage a couple of seasons ago and the way Murray has been playing, I think there is a chance that he could take a bit of a beating in this one too.

Murray has won his first two matches by 11 games and 10 games and I do think he is more than capable of matching those numbers in this one and I would expect a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 win.

Milos Raonic - 2.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: Philipp Kohlschreiber is one tough competitor when his confidence is high, but that has rarely been the case for the German in recent matches against top 20 opponents and I think we could see more of the same in this one.

My biggest concern is that Milos Raonic has still not quite got his return game to a point where he can make leaps into the higher echelons of the Men's game and that could also force him to miss the cover despite it not looking like a lot of games in a best of five set.

However, I am going to back the big-serving Canadian to do just enough in a four set win to see this come in- I feel his serving will keep the pressure on Kohlschreiber, a player that has a decent serve but one who can throw in a poor game on that from time to time.

It wouldn't surprise me if it takes a couple of tie-breaks to finish the German's resistance in a 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 win for Raonic.

Maria Kirilenko - 2.5 games v Yanina Wickmayer: This could be a very interesting match, although I am favouring Maria Kirilenko to be that little bit more consistent and mentally tough to gut out a win against the talented Yanina Wickmayer.

Despite her talents, I would say that Wickmayer has underachieved so far in her career and she did struggle through in the Second Round while Kirilenko was coming through a much more routine win.

There are only 9 places between the players in the World Rankings, but I do think Kirilenko has the ability and the stuff between the ears to win this match and it could follow a similar pattern to her victory in the Second Round with one tight set followed by an 'easier' second set. I'd look for Kirilenko to win this 7-6, 6-3.

Laura Robson + 3.5 games v Sloane Stephens: I am usually not a fan of picking a player after they have recorded a win as a fairly big underdog, as Laura Robson did against Petra Kvitova, but I do think the youngster is good enough to back that up with a big performance at least.

I have said for the best part of nine months that I believe Robson has all the tools to become a top player on the WTA Tour and I think she is finally getting the hang of the tactical side of the game to make her more consistent. There are still teething troubles, but we saw Robson back up big win after big win at the US Open a few months ago so I think she can keep her composure in this one.

That isn't to say this will be easy as Sloane Stephens is one of the other up and coming young players that looks certain to have a big impact on the Woman's game. Stephens has started the season in better form than Robson with the likes of Serena Williams and an in-form Elena Vesnina being the players to stop her early runs.

Included was a straight sets win over Robson in a very tight encounter that could have gone the other way if key points had fallen that way. That does lead me to believe this could be another tight match with every chance of being decided in three sets- as long as Robson has recovered from the long match on Thursday, and the extra time before her match on Saturday does help, should help the Brit keep this close enough to cover.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 8.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Milos Raonic - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Kirilenko - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Laura Robson + 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 10-12, - 0.56 Units (39 Units Staked, - 0.01% Yield)

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