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Friday, 1 March 2013

Tennis Picks (March 1st)

It is Semi Final time at most of the tournaments taking place this week and these will be the picks I am going with on this day.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: I wouldn't normally start a pick with this sentence but Juan Martin Del Potro would absolutely cover this spread if he was serving to the peak of his power.

When Del Potro is on fire with his serve, it can be very difficult for opponent's to break, especially in a case like this when they may have to break serve three times to cover the spread if Del Potro is serving first.

However, I do feel there have been signs this week that all is not well with the Argentinian and he has had to fight his way through a couple of really tough occasions, most notably against Marcos Baghdatis in the First Round. Now he faces Novak Djokovic, the best returner in the Men's game at this moment in time, and I think Del Potro could be forced under pressure in the match.

That has been the case in their three most recent meetings since the Olympics as Djokovic has made enough effective returns to force Del Potro to beat him in rallies and the World Number 1 has been a little too good for him. The added issue of a slight wrist injury for Del Potro makes his task that much harder and I think Djokovic will be able to come through with a 7-5, 6-3 win.

Roger Federer to win 2-1 v Tomas Berdych: It is funny to think that Tomas Berdych has a 4-3 head to head lead over Roger Federer in the last 7 matches they have played and I don't think too many people would know that as these two meet for the first time since the US Open Quarter Final won by Berdych last season.

Berdych is certainly playing well enough to beat Federer again, especially as I am not 100% convinced with the way the latter has been playing, but it is a big task in Dubai which is essentially Federer's second home. However, the Czech player certainly has the power and consistency to trouble Federer big time in this one.

I very much did consider a small interest in Berdych, but Federer's record in Dubai is tough to ignore and I can see him just about getting through. However, it is unlikely to be in straight sets as Berdych has only been beaten in straights by Federer in 1 of their previous 8 matches and that was on an indoor hard court in Paris, probably Federer's favourite conditions these days.

This match is outdoor and I do think Berdych is capable of taking at least a set, but I do think Federer will ultimately prevail in what should be a fascinating second Semi Final.

Ernests Gulbis - 4.5 games v Daniel Munoz-De La Nava: Both of these players have had to come through the qualifiers and have done very well to reach the Quarter Finals.

Ernests Gulbis has knocked off two Americans on his way and he certainly looks capable of big things this week, as I mentioned in my outright picks earlier this week. He is a former winner at Delray Beach and I think he will be a little too good for Daniel Munoz-De La Nava in this one.

My biggest issue with Gulbis this week is his service, which hasn't been as effective as it was in the last couple of weeks on the indoor hard courts in Europe. That means he will give Munoz-De La Nava a chance. The Spaniard already has a couple of very good looking wins from his time this week, but he generally plays the majority of his tennis on the Challenger Tour.

I expect Gulbis to have chances and he has a good chance of recording a 6-3, 6-4 win as long as he can get his serve firing a little better.

Tommy Haas - 3.5 games v Ivan Dodig: Tommy Haas played some very good tennis in his win over Denis Istomin and I think he will be following that up with another in this match against Ivan Dodig.

I was impressed that Haas was so comfortable on serve and also the amount of chances he created on the Istomin serve. The German should be able to do the same against Ivan Dodig, a player that is very capable behind serve but is also guilty of throwing in a bad couple of games in each set.

The spread looked a little low to me and does take into account that Dodig has had a couple of days rest between matches as Haas' match was delayed due to the rain.

Yesterday, Haas missed a lot of break point chances and I don't think he can afford to do that again. However, the North American hard courts suit Haas just fine and I think he'll be able to grab a break of serve more than Dodig in each set and come through with 6-4, 6-4 win.

David Ferrer - 6.5 games v Fabio Fognini: This is a very high spread for a player to cover, but David Ferrer has the warrior's mentality of fighting for every ball which will make life very tough for Fabio Fognini.

The Italian is a hard player to get a read on as he can suddenly start popping winners all over the place and playing some real consistent tennis, but too often he can also 'tank' away a set when he thinks he is reserving energy.

It is the latter issue that should cost him the cover in this one as David Ferrer has every chance of recording a 6-1 or 6-2 set and that should set him on the way. They actually met last week in Buenos Aires in what was a comfortable win for Ferrer.

This should be closer, but I still think Ferrer will wear down Fognini mentally and force the Italian to go for too much and end up a 6-2, 6-3 winner.

Nicolas Almagro + 4.5 games v Rafael Nadal: Rafael Nadal has proclaimed that he is getting 'better and better' with each passing match here in Acapulco and that the last three wins he has had here are the best he has felt and played since returning from injury.

That doesn't bode well for Nicolas Almagro who has lost all 8 matches on the professional Tour against Nadal including 6 on clay. However, this is the best chance he'll have to reverse that form and pull out the surprise win, although I am keeping the games on my side in this one.

Almagro has been serving well this week and that is what may just keep him in the match and possibly spring the surprise. While Nadal has won comfortably this week, he is still not at 100% so there should be chances for Almagro on his serve too and I do think this will be much closer than the layers clearly do.

Generally, Nadal has dismissed the Almagro challenge on the clay courts with no problem, but I do think this will be close and perhaps similar to their French Open meeting in 2010 which finished 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 to Nadal.

Sara Errani - 5.5 games v Alize Cornet: Sara Errani is the defending Champion here in Acapulco and I think she is going to be able to take advantage of Alize Cornet who needed over 3 and a half hours to get through her Quarter Final match. That match finished late into the Acapulco night and I think Cornet could suffer a bit of hangover in this one.

The fact is that Errani is consistent enough to take Cornet into the deep water in this one and the variation used by the Italian can also be mentally draining at times. When your legs are feeling heavy, the last thing a player needs is to face someone that will stay out there all day long and that is the big problem for Cornet in this one.

Errani beat Cornet 6-3, 6-2 on a hard court last season and won 61% of the points against the Cornet serve. With all the physical and mental effort put into the Quarter Final, I think Errani will come close to matching that score.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roger Federer to win 2-1 in sets @ 4.33 William Hill (1 Unit)
Ernests Gulbis - 4.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tommy Haas - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 6.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Nicolas Almagro + 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sara Errani - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-7-1, - 0.06 Units (29 Units Staked, 0% Yield)

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