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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 13th)

It was a disappointing start to the week with Fabio Fognini blowing a winning position and Jelena Jankovic just not turning up her match with Monica Niculescu. However, it wasn't all bad with Juan Martin Del Potro dismissing the challenge of Gael Monfils to keep the outright picks intact, although Fernando Verdasco will be involved in the late match in San Jose.

Roger Federer - 5.5 games v Grega Zemlja: It is always difficult to know how exactly the top players will begin tournaments as this is the time when they are all about moving through to the event and picking up form as they go along.

However, I like Roger Federer in this one to cover the fairly big spread because Grega Zemlja has not been in great form and was comfortably seen off by Marin Cilic last week in Zagreb. Zemlja had some sort of illness to start the 2013 season and he was comfortably beaten by Lukasz Kubot in a Davis Cup tie on these courts and then won just 5 games against Cilic last week.

I don't want to under-estimate Zemjla as he did reach the Final in Vienna on an indoor hard court before finding Juan Martin Del Potro too good for him, but I am not sure he is at peak fitness and that may lead to his downfall in this one.

Federer remains one of the better indoor hard court players in the World and I think he will make a better start to the Rotterdam tournament than he did last season in a tough straight sets win over Nicolas Mahut.

Lucie Safarova v Christine McHale: This has been virtually set as a pick 'em contest and I just believe that Lucie Safarova, despite being a total head case at times, is in the better form on the tennis court than Christine McHale at this moment.

McHale and Safarova both reached the Quarter Final at this tournament last season, but McHale has been on a long run where she has barely won a match since the US Open back in September.

While the American has snapped that poor sequence of results with 2 wins from her last 3 matches, I think Safarova can put some pressure on her and only want a small interest in the Czech player as I don't completely trust her against an opponent that beat her comfortably in their one single professional match.

Petra Kvitova v Ekaterina Makarova: Petra Kvitova has really stumbled since winning Wimbledon in 2011, but I am surprised she is only considered a pick 'em to beat Ekaterina Makarova even if they do have a 1-1 head to head record.

Makarova was a solid hard court player last season and she did reach the Quarter Final at the Australian Open this season, but I am still not convinced she has the consistency to beat someone like Kvitova.

It has been a tough opening to 2013 for Kvitova, I will concede that, but she won a couple of Davis Cup matches last week, including against Sam Stosur and that may give the Czech player enough belief to knock off Makarova here.

There is every chance this one could go three tough sets, but I believe Kvitova will turn her form around in the coming weeks and will win this match.

Jeremy Chardy - 4.5 games v Martin Alund: Martin Alund has got into this tournament as a 'lucky loser' and he did win his first ever match in an ATP main tour tournament when taking over Ricardo Mello in the First Round.

However, that could be as far as it goes for a player that favours the clay courts but has spent his career on the Challenger circuit. He now also faces a player in Jeremy Chardy who has opened 2013 in good form and also one that has won the most of his matches over the last couple of seasons on the clay courts.

Chardy reached the Quarter Final last week in Chile and he should be a little too strong in most aspects of the match to come through with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Ivo Karlovic v Steve Johnson: I don't like under-estimating players who are playing in their home country as Steve Johnson is doing in San Jose, but I am expecting Ivo Karlovic to have a little too much pressure on his with his serve and knock him off here.

Karlovic has not had the best start to 2013 but showed some signs in Zagreb of recovery, and he is facing an opponent that has really struggled to turn his form from Challengers onto the Main Tour.

Johnson is probably best known for pushing Nicolas Almagro to five sets at the Australian Open and he did also reach the Third Round at the US Open last season, but Steve Darcis beat him in two tie-breaks here last season and the likes of Bobby Reynolds have knocked him off in the last couple of weeks on this surface.

It will need tie-breaks, but the Karlovic serve should be able to make the difference and bring in the win.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 5.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova @ 1.83 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Petra Kvitova @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 4.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 4 Units (8 Units Staked, - 50% Yield)

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