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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 26th)

The Monday of a new tournament week is always a tough one to find a number of selections because there really isn't a lot of First Round matches going on with qualifiers to be completed in some cases.

The picks went 1-1 yesterday and the luck pretty much evened itself out over the course of both matches. Roger Federer could easily have failed to cover after losing the first set, but a bagel in the second helped him on the way.

On the other hand, Alejandro Falla missed a lot of break points and couldn't save any in his defeat to Xavier Malisse which was much closer than the 6-3, 6-3 score indicated.

Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 games v Marcos Baghdatis: I really had to think about this match- I might give Juan Martin Del Potro the definite edge, but Marcos Baghdatis is certainly a very capable player on his day and can cause plenty of problems for anybody when he feels he is on his game.

I just feel that Del Potro has enough in the groundstoke battle to think he will earn some chances on the Baghdatis serve, especially considering that the Cypriot usually gets a low percentage of his first serves in play.

With a look at a lot of second serves, I am of the belief that Del Potro will be able to get involved in rallies and I think he combination of consistency and big hitting from the back of the court will give him the edge in this one.

With Del Potro having had a week to rest following his win in Rotterdam, I think the Argentine can come out and put together a solid performance that should lead to a 6-4, 6-3 win in this one.

Michael Llodra + 3.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: It is going to be interesting to see how Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is feeling after taking part in a tough Final in Marseille on Sunday night as he had to come from a set behind to beat Tomas Berdych.

This is an important tournament for the players so I don't think motivation will be a problem for Tsonga as he takes on his compatriot. However, Michael Llodra does have the game that can be awkward for opponents if they are feeling a little mentally fatigued as Llodra will continue charging the net and force his opponent to hit passing shot after passing shot.

It can be a little mentally draining having to do that for an hour and a half and it may be tough for Tsonga to get through this match easily, although I was hoping the layers would have given one more game in favour of Llodra in this one.

Tsonga did beat Llodra fairly comfortably at the Australian Open earlier this season, but the other 2 completed matches were both tight affairs, while they have played once in Dubai when the first set went to a tie-break before Llodra had to retire.

Hopefully we will see a good serving day for Llodra and it is possible he loses in two tight sets, but manages to cover the spread.

Denis Istomin - 3 games v Benjamin Becker: The spread on this match looks a little low to me and that could be down to the fact that Denis Istomin was a Semi Finalist in Memphis last week and may be a little fatigued for this match.

However, I think Istomin has been playing well enough to pick up his second win over Benjamin Becker this season and I do believe he can put enough pressure on the German to see him crack at least a couple of times on serve.

I will admit that Istomin isn't the most consistent player on the Tour, but I do think he has the more upside between these two players and I can see him coming through with a 6-3, 7-6 win or perhaps even slightly easier than that. I thought he would be a 4.5 game favourite, so getting Istomin to cover 3 games should be within his capabilities.

Tommy Haas - 3.5 games v Igor Sijsling: Tommy Haas had to retire from Memphis last week, but it seems that could have been down to fatigue as he cited an illness and I expect him to be something like what he produced at San Jose when he reached the Final.

Haas is a veteran of the Tour and would have had an even more successful career if it wasn't for injuries plaguing him. However, his motivation remains high as he said he wants his kids to see him play and remember him as a tennis player and the German is certainly still very capable on his day against any opponent.

I expect Haas will be too strong for Igor Sijsling even though the Dutchman showed some good temperament in a close loss against Marin Cilic last week. However, that was a standout performance in what has been a disappointing season for Sijsling so far and I do think he will find it tough against Haas. They have already met once this season in what was a routine win for Haas on the hard courts in New Zealand and I expect he will frank that form with another win as long as he is fully recovered from his San Jose exploits.

Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Fabio Fognini: Stanislas Wawrinka is coming off an impressive showing in Buenos Aires last week where he was a little unfortunate to lose in three sets in the Final against David Ferrer and I think he will be ready for this week.

Last season he managed back to back Semi Finals in Buenos Aires and Acapulco so I am not expecting fatigue to be an issue. I also like the match up for Wawrinka here as he faces Fabio Fognini, a player that can use plenty of variation but one who has to work for every point he wins.

The Italian just doesn't have the serve that can cause a lot of damage and that means opponents do force a number of break points against him and I expect Wawrinka to be able to create opportunities in this one.

Current form is also on the Swiss side of the court in this one and I do think Wawrinka can record a 6-4, 6-3 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Juan Martin Del Potro - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Michael Llodra + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Denis Istomin - 3 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tommy Haas - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-1, + 0 Units (4 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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