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Sunday, 10 February 2013

Tennis Outright Picks (February 11-17)

After the Australian Open, there are always the two weeks where the ATP Tour shuts down allowing for Davis Cup action, while the WTA Tour closes down for Fed Cup action.

That does mean the first couple of weeks in February can be 'quieter' times of the season and a lot of the main players on both Tours are out of action.

It won't be the case this week as the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro are taking part in events across the World on the Men's Tour, while the event in Doha has captured 18 of the top 19 Women's players.

Last week, the big story was the aforementioned Rafael Nadal who made his long-awaited return to the Tour and is currently playing in the Final of the Singles event as I am writing this. It wasn't the toughest field that Nadal was up against, especially when Juan Monaco was beaten early, but it is clear that his aura still affects his opponents and I am expecting the Spaniard to have a couple more good weeks on the clay courts.

However, I am not convinced he will be a big player at either Indian Wells or Miami in the first Masters tournaments which begin in March.

The week in general was very good for the blog as both outright picks ended up winning their tournaments in Montpellier and Zagreb respectively. With the daily picks also showing a profit, it turns the seasons results back into black ahead of this week.

ATP Rotterdam
Surprisingly, Roger Federer has decided to return to Rotterdam to defend the title he won last season- I am surprised simply because Federer took part last season with the goal of getting back to Number 1 in the World Rankings and that is clearly not his main ambition going forward, or so I thought at least.

Federer is the short priced favourite to win the tournament, but he looks a little too short for me considering he has the tougher half of the draw with a potential Semi Final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the agenda.

We all saw Tsonga push Federer in the Australian Open Quarter Final and the indoor hard courts should help the Frenchman, although I still have Federer as the Number 1 player on these types of courts if I am honest. I would expect the Swiss man to get through, but it's not an easy run like the prices suggest it will be for him to retain his title here.

One man from the other half of the draw that could certainly get the better of Federer in the Final is Juan Martin Del Potro- the Argentine has beaten Federer the last two times they have played, both of those wins coming on the indoor hard courts in Basel and London.

Del Potro hasn't had the best start to his 2013 campaign, especially not with the surprise loss to Jeremy Chardy at the Australian Open, but he could go one better than last season and win this tournament this year if he can take care of a tough First Round opponent in Gael Monfils.

There are some potential dangers in the forms of Andreas Seppi and Richard Gasquet, but I have reasons to oppose both (injury and playing a full week last week respectively), while Del Potro has strong head to head records against both and would be favoured in my opinion.

ATP San Jose
I have mentioned on more than one occasion since beginning the tennis picks on the blog over the last couple of seasons that sometimes the 'horses for courses' term applies to tennis players at particularly events.

Milos Raonic has won back to back titles here in San Jose and he will feel confident he can add to that haul considering the faster indoor hard courts should suit his game down to the ground. The big serving Canadian hasn't had a great start to the 2013 season, but helping Canada to a Davis Cup win over Spain should have inspired him to come back and defend his title here and get the new season going in a positive direction.

It won't be an easy path through to the Final for Raonic as there are some potential dangers in the forms of Ryan Harrison and Sam Querrey with both of those players being a combined 3-1 against Raonic.

With those potential opponents in the way, I feel Raonic is far too short in the outright market and will instead focus on another former winner of this event who is in the bottom half of the draw.

Fernando Verdasco hasn't won a title since 2010 when he took the trophy home here in San Jose and also later in the year at Barcelona and he has been winning fewer and fewer matches over the last few years since his breakout year in 2009.

However, like Raonic, Verdasco seems to very comfortable in San Jose having won the event once and reached the Final in his only other appearance at the tournament. The Spaniard will have a tough Second Round test against likely Ivo Karlovic, while both Tommy Haas and John Isner will pose their own problems, but Verdasco looks a big price to go all the way at the tournament.

The indoor hard courts should still favour Verdasco's game despite a 3-3 record last season, and he has every chance of getting to the Final three straight times he has played here.

The tournaments in Sao Paulo and Doha haven't got prices that have appealed to me for different reasons- the first is that Rafael Nadal's appearance on the clay court swing in South America has meant layers are not offering each way prices and he does look the pick. Also, the bottom half of the draw in Brazil doesn't seem to have a clear cut option to reach the Final, although I would guess at the Number 2 seeded Nicolas Almagro to do so.

Doha is a major event on the WTA Tour as I mentioned that they have 18 of the top 19 players taking part at the tournament. However, there are no outright prices being offered on that one so I will stick with the two picks I have made from Rotterdam and San Jose this week.

MY PICKS: Juan Martin Del Potro @ 5.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit E/W)
Fernando Verdasco @ 11.00 Bet Fred (1 Unit E/W)

Daily Picks: 6-5, + 1.22 Units (19 Units Staked, + 6.42% Yield)
Outright Picks: 2-0, + 8.75 Units (2 Units Staked, + 437.5% Yield)

Season 2013+ 7.35 Units (154 Units Staked, + 4.77% Yield)

Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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