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Monday, 15 April 2013

Tennis Picks Monte Carlo 2013 (April 15th)

I know someone out there is probably wondering why I didn't make any outright picks from the first Masters event to be played on the clay courts in 2013 and it simply came down to the fact that there are too many uncertainties for my liking.

Rafael Nadal should be the favourite, but he looks plenty short considering he could face a very tough Second Round match against Fernando Verdasco, while he is also in the same half of the draw as Andy Murray.

Obviously there are also injury concerns about Novak Djokovic who is the top seed for the tournament. The Serb rolled his ankle in a Davis Cup match against Sam Querrey, and he could be a little tentative despite receiving positive news that it wouldn't be an ankle injury that will force Djokovic out of the European clay court swing.

Roger Federer and David Ferrer are players not here and it all led to me giving the tournament a watching brief when it comes to outright picks this week.

Last week didn't end on the best notes as the three outright picks all failed to get the business done in Casablanca or Houston. Nicolas Almagro lost in the Final in the latter, but the closest bit of success could have been the each way pick on Martin Klizan in Morocco at 20-1.

Klizan reached the Semi Final and took the first set against Kevin Anderson before losing a close second set and then falling apart in the third. Just reaching the Final would have made it yet another positive week, but thankfully the daily picks meant it was only a small loss on Sunday to deal with.

However, the season has been very successful so far and I do enjoy the clay court swing in Europe heading towards the French Open so hopefully the results will continue to improve.

Day two here in Monte Carlo is when a fair few of the First Round matches are completed, although Tuesday will be the much busier day, and these are the picks I will make to open my week here.

Nikolay Davydenko - 2.5 games v Daniel Brands: Daniel Brands has qualified for this tournament so will be very comfortable in the surroundings here in Monte Carlo, but I still think Nikolay Davydenko has enough in his tank to beat him on the slower surfaces.

Brands has a big serve and a fearsome forehand, but he is also erratic and that is likely going to lead to his downfall on the slower surfaces when players will force him to hit one extra shot. That also brings in a different mentality of trying to hit closer and closer to the lines and it will be tough for Brands to do that to someone who can be as consistent as Davydenko.

There is no doubting that Davydenko is not the player of old, but he has shown signs of some real form so far in 2013, and the clay courts will suit his game as he has time to hit his groundies and will have time to find his rhythm in this one.

The Russian remains frustratingly inconsistent and is never far away from throwing in an absolute stinker of a match, but I do think he is still going to be too good for Brands and I like him to win this one in two sets.

Andreas Seppi - 2.5 games v Fabio Fognini: These two Italians will know one another's game backwards and it could be fascinating viewing- they have met 7 times in professional tennis and it is Andreas Seppi that leads 5-2, although losing the last 2 against Fabio Fognini.

All but one of their matches have come on clay courts, although only one of their matches has been played since 2010 and both have significantly improved since then.

Both players will have to work hard on serve as neither has a potent one that will offer too many cheap points and I am guessing there will be a lot of breaks in the match. So what do I think will be the difference? I think Andreas Seppi is more consistent, less likely to have a mental breakdown, and has shown a little more fight in matches than Fabio Fognini has.

If I am honest, I think Fognini is the more talented and has the flashier shots, but he can be wild at times and I think Seppi reaching the Fourth Round at the French Open last May has certainly seen an upturn in his career. He has a new confidence in his own play and I think Seppi finds a way to get this done and cover the spread.

Robin Haase v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Robin Haase reached the Quarter Final in Casablanca last week and once again showed that he is at his most comfortable on a clay court and I think he will be able to add Edouard Roger-Vasselin to recent players he has beaten on the surface.

Haase won an ATP title on the clay courts last season and was also a Quarter Finalist here in Monte Carlo before losing to Novak Djokovic. While the Dutchman has shown some ability on this surface, the same can't be said of Roger-Vasselin, even though he has won a couple of matches to qualify for the main draw this week.

However, I just think the confidence picked up by Haase last week with a couple of wins picked up in Morocco added to the fact that he has won all 3 previous meetings against Roger-Vasselin makes me think he can win this one too. He is another one of these erratic players though so don't be surprised if it needs three sets to get the job done, but I do think Haase does get the job done.

Mikhail Youzhny v Daniel Gimeno-Traver: There is no doubt that Mikhail Youzhny doesn't have the consistency that had him reach the World Number 8 Ranking, but I still think he is going to be too strong for Daniel Gimeno-Traver and am a little surprised the layers are taking such a chance with the price.

One thing you have to respect Youzhny for is simply that he will not give in without a fight and he does at least try and give all he can on the court. Granted it is unlikely that I will see Youzhny knock off one of the top players these days, but he still finds enough in the tank to see off those he should beat, for the most part, and I think Gimeno-Traver comes into that category.

Gimeno-Traver is no mug on the clay courts and regularly picks up Challenger titles, but he hasn't really been able to transfer that form onto the Main Tour, even though he reached a career high Ranking last month at Number 48.

The Spaniard hasn't had an impact during the South American clay court swing earlier this season, and he has a 12-27 record on the clay courts at this level over the last three years. There will likely be breaks of serve in this match, but it is one that I think Mikhail Youzhny can come out on the right side and I like his chances of making it into the Second Round.

MY PICKS: Nikolay Davydenko - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Robin Haase @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mikhail Youzhny @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Daily Picks3-1, + 2.25 Units (4 Units Staked, + 56.25% Yield)
Outright Picks: 0-3, - 4 Units (4 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 46.82 Units (453 Units Staked, + 10.34% Yield)

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

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