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Friday, 8 February 2013

Tennis Picks (February 8th)

We have reached the Quarter Final stage at the tournaments being played this week and the following are my picks from the Friday action.

Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Julien Benneteau: There is no doubt that Julien Benneteau is a player that can cause Richard Gasquet plenty of problems in a match, but I would definitely favour the higher ranked Frenchman to have just a little too much for him in a straight sets win.

Gasquet beat Gael Monfils yesterday to get into this Quarter Final and has to be the favourite to come through the 'easier' half of the draw. He played well against Monfils and created plenty of chances to break serve and should have won even easier than the final set score indicated.

My issue is that Benneteau has always been an effective indoor hard court player, but I think Gasquet has opened 2013 in a good place mentally and that is what will see him over the hump.

Over the last couple of seasons, Gasquet has also seemed very confident against players ranked below him and I think that is another edge for him in this match, while beating Benneteau in their only 2 professional matches without dropping a set will just build the belief.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a 6-3, 6-4 win for Gasquet and I had thought this match would have a 4.5 game spread so taking the 3.5 game spread at odds against is the pick.

Jurgen Melzer v Lukas Rosol: Jurgen Melzer let me down yesterday having dropped the opening set 6-1 to Somdev Devvarman before winning the match, but I am still not sure why this has been set as a 'pick em' match.

Lukas Rosol will always be remembered for a fantastic performance to beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012, but he has shown little else to think he is going to make significant strides up the rankings from his current position of 70. He has also shown little for indoor hard court tennis in his career even if he did win a Challenger on the surface last season.

The Czech player hasn't faced stellar opposition so far this week in Zagreb either and while Jurgen Melzer is definitely on a slide down the rankings, the Austrian remains significantly tough to beat on these types of courts.

I am going to back Melzer with the belief that his performance yesterday in the first set could be down to the change in surface from the Davis Cup tie in Kazakhstan and that a player that won an ATP Tour title on the indoor hard courts last season is still good enough to beat Rosol.

Mikhail Youzhny - 2.5 games v Ivan Dodig: I just feel Ivan Dodig might be rated a tad too highly for this match and that Mikhail Youzhny has the craftiness to keep alive his defence of his title from a year ago.

Actually, both of these players are former winners of the event and Dodig has actually been playing well this week in his wins over Benjamin Becker and Ivo Karlovic. While the indoor hard courts certainly suit Dodig's game to the ground, I just feel he will have to hit a lot of flashy shots to knock off Youzhny who can still play very solid tennis.

The problem for Youzhny is that he can throw in a couple of shocking performances which does temper my enthusiasm for this pick. However, I do feel the Russian can create chances and it will come down to being a little more efficient than he was when beating Igor Sijsling in the Second Round.

If Youzhny is a little more clinical, he should be able to knock Dodig off in a tight two setter.

Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Blaz Kavcic: The first issue for Blaz Kavcic to overcome is putting the win over Marcos Baghdatis to the back of his mind. The second will be facing a partisan crowd that will be cheering on their Croatian star. The third is facing the Number 1 seeded Marin Cilic who is 14-1 at this event and looking to win it for a third time.

It all bodes for a tough day for Kavcic, especially as Cilic is one of the most improved return of servers that I have seen on the Tour over the last year. He seems to be playing with a lot more aggression on the return and it will be tough for Kavcic to hold him off in this one as far as I am concerned.

I also think Kavcic has come up short when playing some of the really good players on the Tour and while the win over Baghdatis is impressive, playing someone like Cilic is a step up in class even compared with the enigmatic Cypriot.

I just believe that Cilic will create a lot of chances on the Kavcic serve and, if he is serving as effectively as he was in his Second Round match, I think Cilic should be able to hang on enough service games to cover this spread.

Jerzy Janowicz disposed of Kavcic fairly comfortably on an indoor hard court in a Davis Cup tie last weekend and I wouldn't be surprised if Cilic gets through with a 6-3, 6-3 win or perhaps the same scoreline he beat Grega Zemlja (6-2, 6-3) in the Second Round.

Albert Ramos - 1.5 games v Horacio Zaballos: I had factored Albert Ramos to be a 3.5 game favourite in this one and am a little surprised that the layers think the match will be a lot closer than I do.

Horacio Zaballos should be very confident having won a Challenger tournament to open the 2013 season while finishing 2012 on back to back tournament wins in Challenger tournaments that were played on the clay courts. However, he hasn't really transferred that form to the main ATP events and even the two matches he has won this week have been against players that are not as good as the one he plays today.

While Albert Ramos isn't much higher in the rankings, he has the better wins this week in my opinion and he has also been mixing at the higher level than Challenger events that Zaballos has been taking part in.

This could be close, but I think Ramos shows a little more composure at the key time and will come through 7-6, 6-4.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 2.07 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jurgen Melzer @ 1.94 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mikhail Youzhny - 2.5 Games @ 1.96 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-3, - 0.68 Units (9 Units Staked, - 7.56% Yield)

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