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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tennis Outright Picks Miami 2013 (March 19-31)

The first Masters tournament of the season has really got the appetite going for more as far as I am concerned because we have finally seen Juan Martin Del Potro return to something like the form that took him to the US Open title back in 2009 and also reach the Final of the End of Year Championship in the same season.

It is nice to see someone outside of the top four reach the Final here, particularly as he beat Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic along the way, the current two best players in the Men's game.

Coming up a little short against Rafael Nadal was no surprise considering the effort that Del Potro had to put in to reach the Final, but the Spaniard's return was a real surprise- after all the complaints surrounding his issues with hard courts, I didn't expect Nadal to run through the draw as he did, even if he didn't face the real challengers in Murray and Djokovic.

Nadal played well and is certainly going to get back to his position in the World Rankings, but I am not yet convinced that he is ready to beat the likes of Murray and Djokovic, even though we are next going to see him on his beloved clay courts. It is no real surprise that Nadal has chosen to miss the event in Miami to give him suitable rest before the clay court season begins in mid-April.

Another issue that seemed to be at the forefront on people's minds was the continued absence of the Williams sisters at Indian Wells- personally, I think the tournament needs them more than they need this event and I don't think they should turn up if they say what happened back in 2001 was true. No one has disputed those events and I think both Venus and Serena have every right to miss the tournament here.

The picks were mixed from Indian Wells with a lot of profit from the daily picks being taken away by the outright picks. However, at least it was another profitable tournament and keeps the season ticking over nicely.

At the end of the day, I am not silly enough to think that every tournament is going to bring in huge yields, but I do think every profitable tournament will contribute to another successful season. The last two seasons have proved that to be the case, despite some less than stellar weeks, so I am happy with the event at Indian Wells and hope Miami can continue the upward trend that followed an average Australian Open.

WTA Miami
The Women's event is loaded with every big name you can think of and I am not surprised that it is Serena Williams that leads the outright markets.

In a weird twist, last season was the first time Serena had played in Miami since 2009 and she was beaten in the Quarter Final by Caroline Wozniacki. However, this has been an event that Williams has found very much to her liking in the past, especially with her outside interests in Miami, and I can see her returning to the winners' roll in this one. Before last season, Serena had reach the Final in 6 of her previous 7 appearances in Miami and had won the tournament 5 times, although the last of those was back in 2008.

I don't see too many problems for Serena early in the draw, when she is perhaps most vulnerable, and I would expect her to overturn the result from twelve months ago if she met Caroline Wozniacki in the Quarter Final again.

The likes of Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska and her Australian Open conqueror Sloane Stephens are potential Semi Final threats to Serena, but I would expect the World Number 1 to be battle hardened by then and would favour her to beat all of those players.

The other half of the draw is headed by Victoria Azarenka, but there are serious doubts as to whether the current Australian Open Champion will take part having withdrawn with an ankle issue from the tournament last week at Indian Wells.

Instead, it would probably make more sense to keep Maria Sharapova in the staking plan as she has reached the Final here in Miami in each of the last two seasons. Some may be wary as Sharapova won in Indian Wells last week, but she will have a few days to rest and also reached back to back Finals (without winning either) last season.

Looking through this half of the draw, the names don't exactly stand out as being capable of beating the Russian, especially if Azarenka is not taking part. I expect Sharapova will be able to deal with Maria Kirilenko again and I don't like Sara Errani's match up against her.

Others like Angelique Kerber always seem to threaten to show and then collapse in the most obscure way so I'll be very boring and keep the big two in the market together.

ATP Miami
With both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal missing the tournament here in Miami, it is no real surprise to see the World Number 1 and 3 time winner of the event here, Novak Djokovic, being priced as the short favourite to win the title again.

The last two seasons has seen Djokovic win the tournament and when you look at his half of the draw, it is tough to imagine him being defeated before the Final.

Juan Martin Del Potro is the potential Semi Final opponent for a second Masters in a row, but it is hard to gauge how the big man is feeling following the taxing exploits of last week. While the early Rounds are not expected to cause too many problems, a potential Quarter Final against David Ferrer would be an altogether more difficult task and I think Del Potro is plenty short at 9.00 in the outright market.

Some may wonder if the Spaniard Ferrer will make it to the Semi Final after being defeated early in Indian Wells, but that has been something of a routine for him. However, he has twice reached the Semi Final here in the past and also reached the Quarter Final last season, beating Del Potro on the way, before falling to Djokovic.

Ferrer is likely to have a much more winnable match to start his tournament here this week rather than facing a big serving machine like Kevin Anderson and I think he can build ahead of steam to reach the Semi Final where Djokovic is expected to be too strong again.

While it is no surprise to see Djokovic as a short favourite without Nadal and Federer, it is also no surprise that Andy Murray is the second favourite in the market. However, I can't back the British Number 1 here with what looks a tough draw to negotiate right from the off.

Facing the likes of Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov will be tough for Murray and it doesn't get much easier for him. In a normal one-off match, I would favour Murray to get through his section of the draw 7 or 8 out of 10 attempts, but those little doubts has me looking to see if I can oppose him with anyone.

One man who had a good tournament last week, but fell a little short, was Tomas Berdych and I think it could be worth backing the big man to at least reach the Final.

I look at his section and I don't see too many problems for Berdych ahead of the potential Semi Final with Murray, although Milos Raonic could be the biggest threat.

The likes of Nicolas Almagro and Fernando Verdasco are not in great form, while Berdych disposed of Richard Gasquet fairly comfortably at Indian Wells last week. However, Berdych was beaten by Raonic in their sole meeting and I think the 100-1 on the Canadian is a huge price.

At the moment, I am not convinced that Raonic has added enough to his game outside of the big serve, but he is capable of runs in North America and has been placed in a section where he could beat Berdych in the Fourth Round and really open up the whole draw for himself. That would be the case if Murray goes out early so I think a small each-way interest in both Berdych and Raonic have to be taken.

MY PICKS: Serena Williams @ 2.10 Boyle Sports (3 Units)
Maria Sharapova @ 4.50 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Novak Djokovic @ 1.83 Bet Victor (6 Units)
Tomas Berdych @ 17.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit E/W)
Milos Raonic @ 101.00 Paddy Power (0.5 Units E/W)

Daily Picks: 21-11, + 19.92 Units (63 Units Staked, + 31.62% Yield)
Outright Picks: 0-5, - 13 Units (13 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 42.99 Units (370 Units Staked, + 11.62% Yield)

Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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