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Friday, 15 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 15th)

It is Quarter Final time at all the tournaments being played this week in what has been a disappointing one on a personal level.

There haven't really been any big stories from the week so far, although there are some very interesting matches in prospect, particularly in the WTA event being held in Doha.

Hopefully the final couple of days will turn out a little more productive than the first few days have been.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 3.5 games v Caroline Wozniacki: I saw some of the highlights from Caroline Wozniacki's win over Mona Barthel yesterday, but I am not convinced that the Dane is ready to take out a player with as much consistency as Agnieszka Radwanska.

Wozniacki does have the 5-3 head to head record lead, but I am not that bothered by that considering Radwanska has won their two most recent matches, both of those wins coming on hard courts.

The Wozniacki serve remains a big weakness and we are going to see some long rallies and long games and it will come down to whether Radwanska can convert all the big points she plays- to cover this spread, I'll need her to win 60% of the break points whether she is serving or returning. That rate should enable the Pole not to drop a set and possibly come through with a similar scoreline to the one in Tokyo at the back end of last season which saw Radwanska win 6-3, 6-4.

Players like Wozniacki are generally effected by the big hitters and that won't be the case in this one- however, I still like Radwanska's consistency to be a little too good for the former World Number 1.

Grigor Dimitrov v Marcos Baghdatis: Yesterday I picked Marcos Baghdatis to keep things close against Richard Gasquet but also admitted that I couldn't trust the Cypriot to complete the job in their Second Round match. However, Gasquet seemed almost disinterested, likely the result of mental tiredness, and Baghdatis finished a comfortable winner.

Now he meets Grigor Dimitrov, a player that has already handed Baghdatis a defeat earlier this season and I think the talented Bulgarian can back that up with another win over his more experienced opponent.

I believe Dimitrov will be get a higher first serve percentage in play and that could make all the difference with a few more cheap points ending his way. Marcos Baghdatis is also known for throwing in a number of second serves and that is an area where Dimitrov may end up making hay in this match.

They are closely matched, there is no doubt about that, but I just feel Dimitrov is on the up this season and will be able to book his place in another Semi Final in 2013.

Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 games v Jarkko Nieminen: Juan Martin Del Potro had a solid win over Ernests Gulbis to book this Quarter Final match with Jarkko Nieminen and I expect Del Potro will be able to extend his 4-0 head to head record against the Finn in this one.

The problem for Nieminen is that he is likely going to be under pressure in a bunch of games in this one and is likely to be on the back foot, defending the big shots that Del Potro will be throwing at him.

While the Argentine can rely on his big first serve to set his attack up, Nieminen doesn't have a serve that will win a lot of free points, and his second serve is going to give Del Potro the chance to attack first in a lot of those rallies.

It doesn't surprise me at all that Del Potro has generally won their matches comfortably and I wouldn't be at all surprised if this turns out to be a fairly routine win for him again.

Milos Raonic - 3.5 games v Denis Istomin: At the start of the week, I mentioned that Milos Raonic seems very comfortable in the San Jose surroundings and he has made his way into the Quarter Final thanks to a comfortable win over Michael Russell last night.

Now he meets Denis Istomin, the player he beat in the Final last season and I think Raonic will be a little too strong in this one too.

In all honesty, Istomin is one of the hardest players to get a read on as sometimes I have seen him play and thought there is a lot of talent there, other times he looks a little better than a decent club player. The problem is that he is going to have a hard time getting involved in the Raonic serve and that will only mean more pressure on his own serve and having to keep holding.

That mental toll saw him collapse in the second set they played in the Final last season and I think something similar will happen in this one, although we may not even see a tie-break. I like the Canadian to come through 7-5, 6-4

MY PICKS: Agnieszka Radwanska - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Milos Raonic - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-7, - 5.36 Units (21 Units Staked, - 25.52% Yield)

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