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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Australian Open Day 7 Picks 2013 (January 20th)

Finally the Australian Open is up and running with close matches and shocks the order of the day yesterday as the Third Round matches were completed.

The biggest casualty has to Juan Martin Del Potro, an exit that surely makes life a lot easier for Andy Murray in that section of the draw. Murray himself won comfortably enough, although the level of performance was far below the first two rounds that he has come through, but I doubt the British player is worried at all.

Next he faces Gilles Simon, who came through an epic with Gael Monfils, and will then meet the winner of the Jeremy Chardy-Andreas Seppi match, hardly the most taxing way to get through to a Grand Slam Semi Final when putting the entire run together.

There, I still fancy Roger Federer to be his opponent although there has been one aspect of his game that has worried me a little- some people will think I am nit-picking, but it is something that could see him fail to reach the Final here.

That issue is the number of break points he is squandering and the poor conversion rate- he hasn't played those points particularly well and even against someone one like Milos Raonic that could be costly, let alone if he gets through to a Semi Final with Andy Murray. This was a slight problem for Federer around two years ago, during this same time no less, and I would be slightly concerned if I was on him to win outright. Other than that, Federer has looked majestic at times in this tournament and has played very effectively in the first three matches he has gotten through.

We almost saw a huge upset in the Women's draw when a one armed Jamie Hampton almost beat Victoria Azarenka as she led by a break of serve in the decider. However, Azarenka proved too strong and all of the big guns are still involved in the Women's Tournament this season.

Kei Nishikori + 6.5 games v David Ferrer: Anyone who has followed my pre-tournament picks will know we have Kei Nishikori to win the Second Quarter and that was with full knowledge that he would have to beat the top seed in the section in the Fourth Round.

I would never disrespect David Ferrer as I am a huge admirer of his work ethic and respect the way he has maximised his potential in a world where so many fail to deliver on their promise. The Spaniard is a tough out for any player on the Tour, but I think he is facing a player in Nishikori that has the wheels and stamina to keep up with him.

That has been shown in each of their three previous meetings which have been close affairs and Nishikori has ended on the winning side twice in those previous matches. Nishikori has also shown plenty of ability in this tournament so far and the games being offered on his side do look a lot considering that this could easily need 4 or 5 sets either way for someone to progress.

After watching Ferrer dismantle Marcos Baghdatis, I think there is a real chance that the Number 4 seed will have a little too much in this one, but I'll take the games with a close encounter expected.

Nicolas Almagro - 1.5 games v Janko Tipsarevic: I wasn't sure how Nicolas Alamgro would recover from his Davis Cup Final exploits last season when he lost Spain the title in a match against Radek Stepanek when he would have been heavily favoured to win.

Almagro has surprised me as he has quietly gone about his business in this tournament since he required 5 sets to knock off Stevie Johnson in the First Round. He has won the last two matches without dropping a set and I think he can be a little too good for Janko Tipsarevic for the third time in a row.

There has to be some tiredness that can be exploited as Tipsarevic has been forced into 5 set contests twice in a row. Almagro has enough in his own serve to keep the pressure on the Serb in this one and I wouldn't at all be surprised if the Spaniard can win this one in 4 sets, something that should see him cover this spread.

Tomas Berdych win 3-1 v Kevin Anderson: If you like a lot of big serving and quick points being played, I imagine this will be the match for you on this Fourth Round day.

Both Tomas Berdych and Kevin Anderson will very much rely on their serve and groundstrokes to control the match, but there is little doubt in my mind that it is Berdych that is the more consistent.

However, I think there is every chance that Berdych drops his first set of this tournament as Anderson is capable, as proven when he took the Czech player to 5 sets at the French Open last season. Granted, Berdych won all 4 matches between the pair in 2012, including in straight sets here in Australia, but he did drop at least one set in the last two matches.

With tie-breaks likely to play a part, a small interest in Berdych needing 4 sets to complete the job has to be taken.

Angelique Kerber - 4.5 games v Ekaterina Makarova: Angelique Kerber has been going about her business in this tournament and I think she continues her 2012 domination of Ekaterina Makarova in this Fourth Round match to open the days play.

Kerber won all 3 matches against Makarova last season and she didn't drop a set in any of those while also being able to cover this number in all of those matches.

I feel she has much more consistency and is the better defender of the two players, although Makarova's movement against Marion Bartoli was probably as good as I have ever seen it. I am a little interested in noting this is the second year in a row that Makarova has performed well at Melbourne Park so you have to keep that in mind- there are players that seem to perform at certain tournaments far better than they do for the majority of the season and that may be the case for Makarova.

However, I do think Kerber is just a little too solid all around and I wouldn't be surprised if she can record a 6-4, 6-3 win in this one to move through to the Quarter Finals

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori + 6.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Nicolas Almagro - 1.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych win 3-1 @ 4.00 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Angelique Kerber - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 12-14, - 0.86 Units (47 Units Staked, 0.02% Yield)

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