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Monday, 22 April 2013

Tennis Outright Picks 2013 (April 22-28)

The tournament in Monte Carlo is in the books and for the first time in over eight years, the engraver for the trophy will have to learn the spelling of a name other than Rafael Nadal.

It was a surprise that Novak Djokovic was able to knock off Nadal in the sense that his ankle had continued giving him trouble for much of the week, although he did say he was feeling better towards the back end of the week.

The win is a big statement ahead of the French Open, which will begin in a little over a month from now, and I think it is perfectly acceptable to declare Djokovic as the favourite for that title. He was close to winning at Roland Garros last season and I do think he is playing much more solid tennis at this moment in time, although the draw is going to be key with Rafael Nadal being a likely Number 5 seed at that tournament.

If Djokovic can avoid Nadal and be paired with David Ferrer in one half of the draw at the French Open, I would make him a big favourite to go all the way and complete the career Grand Slam. There are some dangerous players as lower seeds, like Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych, but Djokovic should be able to outlast them over a best of five set match and barring a surprise the World Number 1 would likely be in the Final.

Nadal has said at his press conference that he is not worried about this as it is just one loss, but Djokovic had begun to get the better of him in Masters tournaments on the clay ahead of the injury to Nadal last Summer. With the way things are going, I would make the Serb the favourite to take the title home at Roland Garros ahead of the draw.

The picks were not in great form last week and it has proved to be the worst week of the 2013 season so far as some luck was missing and there were just some simply bad picks. However, it remains a solid start to the season as the Tours move on to Barcelona, Bucharest, Stuttgart and Marrakesh.

This week I will only be making the one outright pick from the tournament at Stuttgart as I feel there are too many unanswered questions for me to take anyone else. The event in Barcelona is dominated at the head of the market by Rafael Nadal and I do think he will win that event without any of the top three players involved, while in Bucharest I have question marks around all of the top contenders for the title.

WTA Stuttgart
This is one of the Premier events on the WTA Tour so it is no surprise to see seven of the top ten in the World Rankings all taking part here. The Number 1 seed is Maria Sharapova, but I am still not convinced the Russian should be a short favourite on the clay courts despite her stellar season last year.

While she is in the top half of the draw, I am going to look at the bottom half for a potential winner and I look at Petra Kvitova as being someone who could possibly do that after reaching a Final on the surface already in 2013.

The one big roadblock to the Final is a potential Quarter Final against Na Li, a player that is a former winner at Roland Garros, although this is her first tournament on the clay courts this season. However, despite the successes that Li has had on the clay courts in the last few seasons, it is telling that she hasn't found her best form here in Stuttgart having been a loser in the Second Round twice and Quarter Final twice in the last four visits here.

With that in mind, it could open the door for Kvitova to move through the draw and I would favour her to beat Sara Errani or Samantha Stosur in a potential Semi Final meeting. My only real issue with Kvitova these days is she can be erratic and is vulnerable early in the draw, but she certainly looks an each-way interest at 12.00 being offered and does look a lively contender to take the title home.

MY PICKS: Petra Kvitova @ 12.00 Bet 365 (1 Unit E/W)

Daily Picks6-11, - 11.72 Units (34 Units Staked, - 34.47% Yield)

Season 2013+ 35.10 Units (487 Units Staked, + 7.21% Yield)

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

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