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Monday, 18 February 2013

Tennis Outright Picks (February 18-24)

It was another positive week for the tennis picks made as both the daily picks and the outright picks came back in the black.

Juan Martin Del Potro may just have got his 2013 season up and running with his win in Rotterdam, although I am sure the shock exit of Roger Federer in the Quarter Final stage and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga going out in the Second Round just made life that much easier for Del Potro.

In all honesty, he didn't really face anyone of note apart from Gael Monfils in the First Round and Del Potro was a comfortable winner.

Rafael Nadal also won his first tournament since the French Open last June by beating David Nalbandian in two fairly straight-forward sets. Nadal has done a lot of moaning this week with various issues he has raised and I think this win in Brazil will at least settle him down somewhat has he moves on to Argentina and then Mexico before the first Masters events in the United States.

There is still a question mark on whether Nadal will actually go to Indian Wells and Miami or whether he will rest up for the European clay court season. I think it would be a little silly of Nadal to miss the Masters events, even if he doesn't feel ready to get back on the hard courts as he just needs to get back to a real level of competition in my opinion, but I guess his physical fitness will decide matters in the coming two weeks.

Other big news was Victoria Azarenka beating Serena Williams in Doha to retain her title from last season- Azarenka may have lost her World Number 1 position, but that win was huge for her mentality after losing so many matches against Serena. It was was even more impressive considering she lost the second set 6-2 and then was 0-30 to open the third set but managed to hold serve, break Williams' serve, and then serve out the set for the match.

This week we have another five tournaments across the board with some of the bigger names in both Men's and Women's Tours playing. Below are my semi-previews of those events and my outright picks.

ATP Marseille
There are some big names heading to the tournament in Marseille this week and it looks to be a tough one to get a good read on.

The likes of Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro are the leading contenders to pick up this title and I can't see beyond those four names when picking a winner.

However, of the four, I like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to perform better in front of his own fans than he did last week in Rotterdam. Tsonga won this tournament in 2009 and was a  Semi Finalist last season before being beaten by Juan Martin Del Potro who went on to win the event.

Of all the leading players at this tournament, I do feel that Tsonga has the clearest run after being given a bye in the First Round and I have a few doubts about the other top players here.

Del Potro won in Rotterdam last week, but he could face a really tough challenge in the Second Round where he could face Michael Llodra, the player he beat in the Final last season and one who has won this event previously too.

Richard Gasquet could have to beat Gael Monfils and Janko Tipsarevic to reach the Semi Final, while Tomas Berdych has a potentially awkward first match here against Ernests Gulbis.

With the doubts on the other contenders and the paths they have to take, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga looks the call here.

ATP Memphis
This tournament is actually a ATP 500 event so it is very important for those players wanting to improve their Rankings by picking up big points. The player who looks like he can finally win the event here is Milos Raonic, who has reached the Final two years in a row before falling just a little short.

Raonic is competing in the Final at San Jose as I write this, but that has been his normal route on the Main Tour over the last couple of seasons and hasn't prevented him reaching the Final here. He is playing Tommy Haas in the San Jose Final and could face the veteran German again here in the Quarter Final, while another obvious danger is John Isner.

However, Isner hasn't been in great form to open 2013 and he has a couple of really tough matches to get through if he is going to face Raonic in the Semi Final here and the big-serving Canadian does look the pick of the bottom half.

The second favourite at the event is Marin Cilic, but he could face the defending Champion, Jurgen Melzer, in the Second Round as he makes his debut in Memphis.

With the likes of Sam Querrey and Alexandr Dolgopolov also in the top half of the draw, it might not be plain sailing for Cilic and so I'll have a small interest in Milos Raonic taking home the title after coming so close in the last two seasons.

ATP Buenos Aires
Rafael Nadal is not playing in Argentina this week having won his first title on his return in Brazil on Sunday and that means David Ferrer is the number 1 seed here and also the clear favourite to win the title, something I can't find a reason to disagree with.

Ferrer will potentially have a huge Second Round clash with either David Nalbandian or Carlos Berlocq, but he should be too consistent for both of those players at this stage of their careers and I like the Spaniard to go all the way and defend his title from a season ago.

There are potential dangers in Thomaz Bellucci and Horacio Zeballos in the top half of the draw, but I would like David Ferrer's chances against either of those players and he does look the best player in the draw.

Who Ferrer could play in the Final is a little more unclear but I wouldn't be surprised if we see a repeat Semi Final from twelve months ago when Nicolas Almagro and Stanislas Wawrinka met. Both of those players could meet again this year, although picking a winner is a little more difficult from that match up and so I'll stick with Ferrer to win this event.

I am not making any outright picks from the WTA events being held in Memphis and Dubai this week- the tournament in Memphis looks fairly open, while the top two seeds in Dubai, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, are clearly the leading contenders to win that tournament. However, you just don't know how they are feeling after a tough Final they contested against one another in Doha and so I would want a watching brief.

Therefore, the three outright picks from each of the ATP events taking place this week are my only outright picks.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga @ 5.50 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Milos Raonic @ 4.33 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
David Ferrer @ 2.10 Bet 365 (2 Units)

Daily Picks: 11-9, + 5.58 Units (38 Units Staked, + 14.68% Yield)
Outright Picks: 1-1, + 4 Units (4 Units Staked, + 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 16.93 Units (196 Units Staked, + 8.64% Yield)

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

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