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Thursday, 3 January 2013

Tennis Picks (January 4th)

It was another decent day for the tennis picks yesterday, but I'll be the first to admit that I didn't see Gael Monfils' performance coming in his defeat against Daniel Brands. I've only seen highlights of that match and it has seemed that Brands has played better than I thought he would, while Monfils was a little too passive against a player he should be dominating.

Overall, it hasn't been a bad week for Monfils and I think he will take the positives ahead of the first Grand Slam of the season.

On another note, Andy Murray made hard work of his first match of the 2013 season, but was eventually too strong for John Millman. Murray admitted that Ivan Lendl would have been a little annoyed if he had lost that match and I think it is clear that he has been sent to Brisbane in a bid to retain his title from a season ago.

There aren't too many obstacles here that should worry the World Number 3, and the same could be said of David Ferrer in Doha where he does look head and shoulders the best player in the tournament.

Today, we will also see the first real marquee match of the new season as Serena Williams takes on Victoria Azarenka in the Semi Final at Brisbane and the winner will be the big favourite to lift their first title of 2013.


Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Jurgen Melzer: Yesterday I said that I do believe Jurgen Melzer will be going down the Rankings this season, but that I still favoured to beat his young opponent David Goffin... This time I think he is playing someone who should make a significant move up the Rankings this season and a player that is ready to beat him.

Grigor Dimitrov has had a lot of hype surrounding him for a few seasons, especially so since he won the Junior Wimbledon title in 2008 and comparisons to Roger Federer have been rife in the media.

I'm not sure he will ever reach those very high heights that Federer has in his career, but I think he has the nous in this one to make life difficult for Melzer and follow up his win over the Austrian that he achieved on an indoor hard court at the back end of last season.

Melzer is not as effective on an outdoor hard court and I'll look for Dimitrov to record a 6-3, 7-6 win.


Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Denis Istomin: Andy Murray had a scare in his first official match of the new season and I expect him to be much more focused on this one and he should be able to give Denis Istomin plenty of problems.

I don't want people to under-estimate Istomin as he does have a decent game, one that he can sometimes exploit to a higher level where he hits winner after winner. My issue for the Uzbek is that he should find himself under pressure on his own serve against one of the best returners in the game and that should lead to a fairly routine win for Murray.

Istomin has certainly pushed some of the better opponents he faced in 2012, but he didn't play too many players like Murray who are capable of making players play an extra ball in rallies and the one time he did face someone like that was Rafael Nadal in a match where he won 4 games in 3 sets, albeit on Nadal's favourite clay surface.

Murray should be too strong and win fairly routinely, 6-3, 6-4.


Serena Williams - 3.5 games v Victoria Azarenka: The US Open was as close as Victoria Azarenka has got over the last 18 months to knocking off Serena Williams, but she fell a little short and has now lost 9 times in a row to the American.

Azarenka has been playing the more solid tennis of the two this week, but Serena raises her game for the competition she faces and has hardly been troubled herself. When the serve is working, Serena can put a lot of pressure on opponents and I think she will see this as a chance to lay down a marker for the 2013 season, in particular for the Australian Open.

I love Azarenka's passion, but opposing her against Williams has been the call and most of the times she has been beaten fairly comfortably. The spread needs Williams to win a much tighter one this time and I have to back it until Victoria Azarenka proves she is over the mental hurdle of playing the 'real' World Number 1.

A 6-4, 6-4 win, the same at the End of Year Championships in Istanbul, shouldn't be far off the mark.


Janko Tipsarevic - 5.5 games v Go Soeda: This is a rematch from a year ago and I believe we are going to see a similar scoreline to the 6-1, 6-4 win recorded by Janko Tipsarevic in the Semi Final of this tournament against Go Soeda.

This time they meet in the Quarter Final and I just think Tipsarevic is too consistent in almost all facets of the game and should be able to take care of this opponent.

Soeda has not played anyone close to the level Tipsarevic is at in the first two rounds here and he just doesn't trouble the best players on the ATP Tour. Tipsarevic should be too good for him from the start and while Soeda may get an extra game on the board, I think the Serb will be able to cover this spread at very reasonable odds.


Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Daniel Brands: I am hoping that I haven't begun laying a player that is going to have a break out tournament, but I do like Richard Gasquet to perform stronger than Gael Monfils and win this match.

It has already been a long week for Daniel Brands who had to come through three qualifying rounds to get through to this Semi Final and I think that is going to catch up on him at some point. Richard Gasquet will also know Brands' game having played him three seasons ago and I think he can up the ante on the German in a way that Monfils was unable to do yesterday.

Hopefully Gasquet doesn't make the slow start that affected his compatriot yesterday and I think he can win with a break in each set, or at least a break more in each set that Brands can manage.


David Ferrer - 4 games v Nikolay Davydenko: A couple of seasons ago, this would have been a really tough match to predict as Nikolay Davydenko had the shot making and consistency to trouble even a player like David Ferrer that loves making opponents play one more shot.

However, I think at this stage of their careers, Ferrer is far too consistent for Davydenko and will exert enough pressure to win this Semi Final with a little room to spare.

Ferrer beat Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 when they last met around 14 months ago and I can see a similar scoreline in this one.


MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Janko Tipsarevic - 5.5 Games @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Pinnacle (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 4 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)


Weekly Update7-3, + 7.17 Units (17 Units Staked, + 42.2% Yield)

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