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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 6th)

The outright picks had one piece of good fortune during the week with Tomas Berdych pulling out of the tournament at Montpellier, although Richard Gasquet will still have to take out Gael Monfils in his first match to get himself going.

Other big news from the tennis world was the return of Rafael Nadal who played his first match back on Tour when he took part in a Doubles match with Juan Monaco, one the pair won comfortably. I haven't seen how he looked just yet, but won't have long to wait as his first Singles match is scheduled for today.

I am not expecting huge things from Nadal, but we don't have long to wait to see whether the Spaniard is going to be back fighting for the Grand Slams sooner, later or never at all.

Nikolay Davydenko - 3.5 games v Jarkko Nieminen: Tomas Berdych's pull out from the tournament in Montpellier meant Nikolay Davydenko was given a bye in the First Round, although he is playing against the same opponent he would have met in that Round.

Davydenko is not the same player of three years ago, but he did show some solid signs at Doha to open the season and a defeat to Roger Federer at the Australian Open is hardly something that should be seen as a negative. He seems to be a little happier with his own surroundings and meets a player in Jarkko Nieminen that he has dominated in recent meetings.

Since winning the first two matches between the players, Nieminen has now lost four in a row and won just one set in that run. The Finn is a solid player, but he doesn't have the same groundstrokes as Davydenko and I just feel the Russian will be too strong for him.

Kenny De Scheppers + 2.5 games v Michael Llodra: This has all the makings of a close match, although I am wary that Michael Llodra seems to save his best tennis for when he is playing in front of his home support.

Anyone who hasn't seen Kenny De Scheppers before will be surprised- he is a monster of a man that has a booming serve which should be very effective on the indoor hard courts. Facing Michael Llodra is a tough test as the Frenchman is also very effective on these courts, but the Belgian won a meeting on the indoor hard courts against Llodra last season.

I would not be surprised if we see at least two tie-breaks in this one and that may be enough to help De Scheppers cover the spread and that is why I am taking the games in this one. As long as De Scheppers hasn't left too much on the court when he was beaten in the final Qualifying Round, I think he can at least push Llodra in this one.

Ivan Dodig - 2.5 games v Benjamin Becker: Ivan Dodig comes back to Croatia having been involved in the Davis Cup team that were beaten by Italy, but he will feel he is in much more comfortable surroundings with the home support at an event that he won a couple of seasons ago.

He should have enough in his game to take care of Benjamin Becker who is a solid competitor that seems to throw in at least one bad service game per set which usually is the reason why he hasn't become a regular at the back end of tournaments.

It isn't a stretch to say Becker is more famous for being the player that ended Andre Agassi's professional career than for anything else and I think he may struggle against a player that can go through incredible hot streaks of hitting like Dodig can.

Both players have decent serves that should work well on the indoor hard court, but I think the Croatian will end up coming through 7-6, 6-4.

Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 games v Igor Sijsling: There is no doubt that Mikhail Youzhny is on the downward curve of his career, but I am expecting the defending Champion to be too strong for Igor Sijsling here in this one.

Sijsling is not going to be an easy opponent to knock off for Youzhny, but I do think the Russian is a little too solid, even at this stage of his career.

Neither has made waves to open up 2013, but I just feel Youzhny still takes care of those players he is expected to beat and I think it'll be more of the same in this one. One set is likely to be incredibly close, but I like Youzhny finding a way through and recording a 7-5, 6-4 win.

MY PICKS: Nikolay Davydenko - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Kenny De Scheppers + 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Ivan Dodig - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

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