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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 28th)

It has been a tough week so far with a lot of matches looking like they may go the way I expected before unexpectedly turning in another manner.

After the last three weeks, I can't really complain too much and just look to see how the week goes on.

Ivo Karlovic v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: This has been set as a pick 'em contest in Delray Beach, but I think the big-serving Croatian will be a little too solid for Edouard Roger-Vasselin and should be able to come through in two tough sets.

Ivo Karlovic isn't even the player of a couple of years ago let alone one at his peak, but his serve is still capable of putting the pressure on any opponent he faces, especially those ranked outside of the top 30 of the Men's game. That is the case in this one and there should also be no issues of fatigue for Karlovic as he was able to get through the First Round on a retirement.

It was only around 4-5 months ago that these players last met and Karlovic won through in straight sets, albeit on an indoor hard court, but he did enjoy a fair bit of success on the Roger-Vasselin serve to think he can make hay in this one too.

Tie-breaks will likely be the order of the day, but a 7-6, 7-5 win for Karlovic looks the call.

Tommy Haas - 1.5 games v Denis Istomin: I think the extra day of rest my just favour the veteran Tommy Haas in this one and give him the chance to progress to another Quarter Final here and for the first time since winning this tournament in 2006.

Last week it was an illness that forced Haas out of Memphis and he should be fully fit now. He is also facing Denis Istomin, a tough competitor but one that has played a lot of tennis over the last three weeks.

Istomin did win the only previous match between these players, but I think Haas can get a measure of revenge as he seems to have been on the ball with the way his tennis was going. Haas has always enjoyed playing on the hard courts of North America too and I think he'll just be too good for Istomin in this one.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Nikolay Davydenko: I don't know what exactly is up with Roger Federer, but he hasn't looked like he has been enjoying much of his tennis in the last couple of tournaments and I am beginning to wonder if he is carrying a slight niggle that he doesn't want to reveal.

This tournament and the one in Indian Wells will be the last we see of Federer for around six weeks as he is going to get ready for the clay court season and perhaps adding to his one French Open trophy. This match will also give us a lot more answers as to how the former World Number 1 is really feeling...

Federer has dominated Nikolay Davydenko throughout their career meetings and he was also a comfortable winner at the Australian Open against the Russian. While Davydenko is certainly playing as well as at any time over the last three years, he can still throw in the odd really poor match and he is also susceptible to being broken by an aggressive player like Federer who can expose Davydenko's defence.

I definitely think Federer will get chances to break serve and as long as he doesn't throw away his own games as he did against Julien Benneteau in Rotterdam recently, I do think Federer is capable of recording a straight-forward 6-3, 6-4 win with a break in each set.

Rafael Nadal - 6.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: It does look a lot of games to be giving away again, but Rafael Nadal is still a level above the likes of Leonardo Mayer who could easily be intimidated in facing one of the best clay court players of all time.

Winning the event in Brazil a couple of weeks ago will have given Nadal some of the aura back that was lost in his injury absence, especially to the players like Mayer that are much more accustomed to playing on the Challenger Tour.

Mayer hasn't played much tennis this season and so he doesn't seem battle-hardened to take on a Nadal, while the ease in which Filippo Volandri dismissed him has to be a big concern.

I expect Nadal will create a lot of pressure on the Argentinian in this one and it is tough to see him winning many more games than his compatriot Martin Alund who took just 4 off Nadal yesterday.

As long as the knee hasn't had an adverse reaction overnight, Nadal to match his 6-2, 6-2 win over Mayer from the Miami Masters last year looks the call.

MY PICKS: Ivo Karlovic @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tommy Haas - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-6-1, - 3.36 Units (21 Units Staked, - 16% Yield)

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