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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Australian Open Day 8 Picks 2013 (January 21st)

Finally, we have had a memorable match at the Australian Open and the one between Novak Djokovic and Stanislas Wawrinka was a real classic filled with crazy winners.

You know a tennis match has you drawn in when you are exclaiming loudly without realising you're doing it, and that was the way it went today- the point Wawrinka won to save match point and delay the end in the final set with a backhand winner was just ridiculous.

Maybe that will be the sign of a week of top quality tennis ahead of us, although most people will be wondering how Djokovic will recover from that epic match. I think he has shown in the past that he does have some real powers of recovery, for example at this event last year when he came through gruelling back to back matches against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal to win the tournament.

Novak will play Tomas Berdych in the next Round and that certainly isn't a gimme as Berdych is playing some sublime tennis this week and has barely been extended. Granted, Djokovic has dominated their head to head, including a crushing win here a couple of seasons ago, but that could be a lot of fun to watch.

It was a pretty horrendous day for my picks if I am honest, although there is nothing you can do about some of the bad luck I felt I also got. Kei Nishikori started brilliantly against David Ferrer, but was clearly hampered by a left knee issue, but decided to fight through that and finish the match, even though he was being pummelled.

On the other hand, Janko Tipsarevic felt his ego was too much to finish the match and called a retirement while being easily handled by Nicolas Almagro- so instead of having one winner and one loser, I have one void and one loser which is just unfortunate.

Ekaterina Makarova also comfortably beat Angelique Kerber, which was a bad pick on my part as I had mentioned Makarova maybe being in a 'horses for courses' situation at Melbourne Park.

Just to complete an ugly day, Kevin Anderson missed a number of chances to steal the third set against Tomas Berdych as he fell to a straight sets defeat.

Caroline Wozniacki - 2.5 games v Svetlana Kuznetsova: This is going to be a very close contest in my opinion, but I think Caroline Wozniacki turns around the result from last week in Sydney when she was beaten in three sets by Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Wozniacki has quietly been going about her business in the tournament and while I still don't think she is good enough to win the tournament, I think she can take care of Kuznetsova who struggled in the last Round.

The Dane also has a strong record against Kuznetsova, winning 4 in a row against her before the loss against Sydney. Coming back from a long injury lay off means all this playing time could catch up with Kuznetsova in my opinion and I just think Wozniacki will be a little too strong.

There is a chance of seeing three sets, but I can see Wozniacki coming through with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 win.

Maria Kirilenko + 7.5 games v Serena Williams: I must be crazy to go against Serena Williams on a tennis court, but I am only taking a small interest in this one as it does look like Maria Kirilenko is being given one too many games on the handicap in my opinion.

Serena has won all 5 of their previous matches on the Tour, although only 1 of those wins would have seen her cover this spread. They didn't play on the Tour last season, but I do think Kirilenko is an improved player, one that can at least hold her own for long enough to get the cover.

I also have to appreciate that Serena has played brilliantly so far this tournament, but I do believe Kirilenko has the angle in her shots and the movement to at least test the state of the Williams ankle that was rolled on the First Round.

Like I say, I am probably crazy for going against Serena, but a 6-3, 6-2 win wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 2.5 games v Richard Gasquet: There won't be any surprises for these players when they meet one another in their Fourth Round contest, but I am favouring Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to get the better of his compatriot, most likely in 4 good sets of tennis.

The big question is whether Tsonga's backhand can hold up against the pressure that Richard Gasquet will place on it, but I believe it will be Tsonga's mind that wins out in this contest.

Surprisingly, they haven't actually met on the Tour for almost two and a half years, although I actually caught them practising with one another at the O2 Arena at the End of Year Championships last November, so you have to think they know one another fairly well. Also, being in the same Davis Cup team means they will be more than a little familiar with one another.

I think this will be a fascinating contest, but Tsonga will be able to get a little more from his groundstrokes and serve and that will be the ultimate difference between them. Both have come through the opening rounds easily and both have opened 2013 in strong fashion so I don't think confidence will be a real issue.

However, Gasquet has regularly struggled to impose his game on those he feels are 'better' than him on Rankings and that mentality can be an issue. If he continues playing from ten feet behind the baseline, he will be giving Tsonga too much room to operate his big shots and control the match.

Tsonga beat Gasquet in 4 sets here at Melbourne Park back in 2008 on his way to the Final and I think he replicates that result here.

Roger Federer win 3-1 v Milos Raonic: There really isn't a lot to say for this pick except simply that I like the chances of seeing at least one, possibly two, tie-breaks in this match and there is every chance the big Canadian Milos Raonic is able to clinch one of those against Roger Federer.

There is no doubt the big man is hard to break with his monster of a serve, but Federer will draw on the fact that he beat him 3 times in 2012 and that he did end up finding a way of getting the job done against the serve.

However, he did drop a set in each of their matches last season, all best of three affairs, and I think there is a real chance he continues that trend in their first best of five.

As I have mentioned previously, Federer's break point conversion rate has been disappointing in the last two rounds of the tournament and that may make it tougher for him to close this one in straight sets, priced ridiculously low in my mind at odds on.

I think Federer is still too knowledgeable for Raonic in all aspects on the court which will lead to the win and I would be surprised if the match goes the distance so this looks the logical course of action for me.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki - 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Kirilenko + 7.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer win 3-1 @ 4.33 Stan James (1 Unit)

Australian Open Update: 12-17, - 5.86 Units (52 Units Staked, - 11.2% Yield)

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