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Boxing Picks 2021- Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders (May 8th)

There have been some solid cards over the last several months, but the largely absent fans has been a big miss for Boxing as much as other s...

Friday, 31 May 2013

French Open Day 7 Picks 2013 (June 1st)

It has been an incredibly long day today and one that will live for a long time in the memory- Roland Garros is a fantastic tournament and it was even more special being there, even if it is for just one of the 15 days the event runs.

I'll put in a full preview of matches, as is the norm, when I return home after tomorrow so for you I will just give you the picks I have for Day 7 of the tournament.

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jelena Jankovic @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Thursday, 30 May 2013

French Open Day 6 Picks 2013 (May 31st)

I have been looking forward to this Friday coming up for some time and tomorrow is the day that I will be getting along to Roland Garros. The heavy rain in Paris during Thursday meant that there are quite a few matches to enjoy tomorrow as some Second Round matches have had to be delayed.

I will have full thoughts of my experiences on Sunday as limited internet availability means the thread is going to be shorter than usual.

Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Victor Troicki: I am a big admirer of Marin Cilic and I do think he will be too strong for Victor Troicki who hasn't had a great season so far. I do believe that Cilic is the more solid behind serve and that should see him hold serve a little more comfortably than Troicki and he should be able to come through for the cover in this one.

Serena Williams - 7.5 games v Sorana Cirstea: The way Serena Williams is playing, she doesn't look like losing too many games and Sorana Cirstea may become the latest victim in the American's seemingly inevitable run to the Final here at Roland Garros.

These two actaully met on the hard courts last year and Williams lost just three games- there is every chance we could see the same again on Friday.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 7.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 Sets @ 2.40 Paddy Power (2 Units) Rain delayed from yesterday
Tommy Haas - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units) Rain delayed from yesterday

French Open Update: 7-5, + 3.22 Units (22 Units Staked, + 14.64% Yield)

French Open Day 5 Picks 2013 (May 30th)

The schedulers at the French Open would have been very happy to see the rain clouds disappear for one day as they managed to get the draw back up to the spot it should be, although this could be a small reprieve for them.

Thursday is supposed to be very wet throughout the day and I would be very surprised if the day is not broken up and that many matches are going to be pushed forward to Friday. Talking about Friday, I am flying to Paris tomorrow morning and will be attending Roland Garros for the first time on Friday and a part of me wouldn't be too bothered if Thursday is mostly a write off so there is plenty of action to enjoy when I do go.

The forecast for Friday is up and down at the moment, but there does seem to be a large enough window to think I will be able to enjoy enough tennis to make it worthwhile and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I will see some decent matches.

Early stages of a Grand Slam can sometimes be very predictable and can lack the drama that we will surely see later in the week, but there have been some impressive performances and the matches between Gael Monfils and Tomas Berdych/Ernests Gulbis were both fascinating and really good to watch.

Most of the big names, barring Berdych, have gone through fairly comfortably and that can only mean we will see some top matches as the tournament progresses.

The picks also took a turn for the better on Day 4, although I can't help but feel a little more luck and a break here and there (pardon the pun) would have had the picks in a much stronger shape at this stage of the tournament. Still, I am not going to be greedy and getting back into the black is a positive to take forward into Day 5.

Alize Cornet - 3.5 games v Silvia Soler-Espinosa: The home crowd should provide the support that will help Alize Cornet into the Third Round here at Roland Garros, although it will be tough against a clay court specialist like Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

After winning in Strasbourg last week, Cornet would have had plenty of confidence coming into this tournament, while her opponent had lost a lot of matches recently. Soler-Espinosa took care of a good First Round match for her, but the quality of opponent has certainly gone up in this one and it may be too much for the Spaniard to do.

If Cornet can get her nose in front, I would fancy her to win this one with a little room to spare and I think the Frenchwoman is going to come through 64 63.

Victor Hanescu - 2.5 games v Dmitry Tursunov: It has been a surprising season for Dmitry Tursunov, especially on the clay courts where he hasn't shown much form in his career prior to 2013. The Russian put together one of the bigger surprises in the First Round as he beat Alexandr Dolgopolov in straight sets, but he may not be able to get through this Second Round match.

Victor Hanescu was a comfortable winner in the First Round as his opponent was forced to retire, but the clay courts remain his best surface and I do think he will be confident of his chances of seeing of Tursunov.

The first set could be key as it is very likely to end up in a tie-break with both players relying on a decent serve compared to their return games. If Hanescu can take that and get in front, it will be a long road back for Tursunov and I like the Romanian to win this one in four sets.

Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 sets v Janko Tipsarevic: Fernando Verdasco is playing about as good as he has all season at the moment and I think he is going to be too strong for Janko Tipsarevic who has been struggling.

The clay courts should also be to the favour of the Spaniard in this one and I think he will be able to come through this test fairly comfortably if Verdasco does take the first set.

Both players will be under pressure on serve, especially early in the match, but Verdasco has shown a little more consistency on the court of late and I just have a feeling he is going to go fairly deep here at Roland Garros. There is every chance this could go four sets, but I would expect the Spaniard to come through with a little room to spare.

Tommy Haas - 7.5 games v Jack Sock: There are some big hopes in America that Jack Sock could make a real breakthrough on the ATP Tour, but the clay courts are always going to be his biggest weakness, one that I expect Tommy Haas to expose in this Second Round match.

Haas is comfortable on the slower courts and he showed he is still capable of dealing with his younger opponents when he brushed aside home hope Guillaumo Rufin in the First Round.

With the lack of experience that Sock has on the clay courts, I would think Haas can come through in straight sets and he should be able to put together a 64, 62, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Alize Cornet - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Victor Hanescu - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 Sets @ 2.40 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Tommy Haas - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 6-5, + 1.56 Units (20 Units Staked, + 7.8% Yield)

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

French Open Day 4 Picks 2013 (May 29th)

As I mentioned yesterday, the weather in Paris was supposed to take a turn for the worse and that was the situation for much of Tuesday. With a couple of lengthy delays. the schedule is already behind as there are still a number of First Round matches to be completed on Wednesday, while the forecast for Thursday suggests we will see limited action on that day too.

Most of the action that did take place on Tuesday saw the big names book their place in the Second Round and Tomas Berdych remains the biggest name to exit the tournament in either the Men's or Women's draw.

The picks went 1-0 yesterday as only Tommy Haas' match was completed, while Bernard Tomic's retirement while two sets and a break of serve behind meant that pick of Victor Hanescu covering the spread was void. Lucie Hradecka's match against Ashleigh Barty was one of the games that was cancelled thanks to the rain delays.

Ana Ivanovic - 6.5 games v Mathilde Johansson: Ana Ivanovic is one of those players that can be frustratingly inconsistent at times, but she has certainly been playing better tennis in 2013 than she has produced in the last couple of seasons.

Playing a home player will be tough, but Ivanovic is one of the faces of the WTA Tour so will surely get a lot of respect and backing herself. She can be a little erratic behind serve, which would be a real concern when trying to cover a spread such as this, but Ivanovic should also have plenty of opportunities to break serve herself.

I expect Ivanovic to find her success after what could be a tough opening set and she should be able to see off Mathilde Johansson with a 63 62 scoreline.

Roger Federer - 9.5 games v Somdev Devvarman: This is certainly a very big spread to cover and we have seen both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic fail to cover big spreads already in the tournament. However, Roger Federer is facing an opponent that has a lot of matches under his belt and is also someone who plays with a rhythm that will give the former World Number 1 chances to win a little easier than his two main rivals for the title.

Somdev Devvarman is still on the long road back after injuries saw him fall out of the top 100 in the World Rankings and he has worked hard to win three qualifying matches and then in the First Round here. That will help improve his Ranking, but Devvarman is not someone that looks like he has a lot of weapons to hurt Federer in this match.

The Indian player doesn't try and get out of his comfort zone to give himself a chance of winning against the players that may be higher than him in the Ranking and playing one way against Roger Federer will likely see him lose fairly comfortably.

If there is the threat of rain in the air, Federer could be looking for a fast start and there is every chance he wins this 61, 63, 64.

Angelique Kerber - 5.5 games v Jana Cepelova: The experience of Angelique Kerber should be enough for her to force Jana Cepelova into enough mistakes in this match to allow the German to move through fairly comfortably.

Kerber had an impressive win in the First Round against Mona Barthel and she is certainly capable of backing that up. Her defensive abilities should force Cepelova into one too many mistakes. However, it should be a competitive match for a while and I wouldn't be surprised if Kerber does have to win a couple of battles to ensure she gets over the line and cover this spread.

I can see the first set being a close 64 win for Kerber before the German is able to get away in the second for a 62 win and the cover.

MY PICKS: Ana Ivanovic - 6.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 9.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 5,5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Lucie Hradecka - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units) Advised Yesterday and delayed due to rain

French Open Update: 3-4, - 2.20 Units (14 Units Staked, - 15.71% Yield)

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

French Open Day 3 Picks 2013 (May 28th)

The weather in Paris is supposedly taking a turn for the worse as the week goes on so that will mean disruption in matches and a lot of delays if the forecasters have got things right. The temperature will remain at a decent level, but the showers and rain period will have the fans wishing they could have the roof over the main court sooner rather than later.

One player that won't be concerned about what happens with the weather is Tomas Berdych who became the biggest casualty of the First Round after being upset by Gael Monfils. The Frenchman was in inspired form as he really played a much more aggressive brand of tennis than fans will be used to and it goes back to the point people have made about the Monfils game for some time- he has a lot of talent, but had to get himself out of a position where his mentality was happy to let opponents dictate play and Monfils could just use his athletic ability to return as many balls as possible.

That tactic is never going to let Monfils move into the top ten, where his talent belongs, but the performance against Berdych was hopefully a sign of things to come. He will need to be on his game as he has set up an intriguing Second Round encounter against Ernests Gulbis, another player trying to reach his potential and one that could go very deep here at Roland Garros now the top seed is out of his section up to the Quarter Finals.

Another player who might be a touch disappointed with their result on Monday would be Laura Robson as she was comfortably brushed aside by former World Number 1 Caroline Wozniacki. This certainly looked like a match that Robson could win, but she has to work on her serve ahead of the grass court season as it remains too much of a liability when it should really be one of her strengths.

I have constantly said that Robson has the talent to really go far on the WTA Tour, but her results have failed to get up to a level expected on a consistent basis. She has recently split with her coach so I do hope she thinks long and hard about the next person she employs in that role as working on her serve and some tactics in matches will help Robson start moving up the Rankings.

Tommy Haas - 6.5 games v Guillaume Rufin: Tommy Haas had to withdraw from Dusseldorf last week as he has an illness, but he has had a few days to get ready for the French Open and I think he has a real chance to go deep at this years tournament.

Haas will first have to deal with one of the French players at Roland Garros, so I expect Guillaume Rufin to have the home support and really want to put on a show in front of those fans. I am also a little concerned with the fact that Haas can sometimes lose focus in matches and he may end up dropping a set, but the German also has the game to pressure Rufin on his own serve and find a way to grab a couple of breaks of serve in a single set.

The young Frenchman does have a decent game, but I have a feeling it will translate onto the faster courts a lot more effectively than it does on the clay courts, even taking into account his success at Challenger level on this surface. I think Haas is going to show his experience to come through with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 win.

Victor Hanescu - 4.5 games v Bernard Tomic: This is a simple pick for me based on the fact that Victor Hanescu seems to be the more solid player of the two on the clay courts, while Bernard Tomic may not be completely focused on this match.

I might be wrong, but the incident with Tomic's father and his training partner has to be playing on the mind of the young Australian and it does look a big ask for him to perform on his worst surface under those circumstances.

The fact that Tomic is up against Hanescu, a player that would consider the clay courts his most effective surface, also seems to be a reason to back the Romanian to come through fairly comfortably and that is what I will be expecting.

Lucie Hradecka - 3.5 games v Ashleigh Barty: Ashleigh Barty certainly has a lot of potential, but the youngster doesn't have a lot of experience playing Tour matches and could be exposed as she is facing Lucie Hradecka. The latter made it to the Final in Strasbourg last week and she is very comfortable on the clay courts and that may give her the edge.

I expect this will be close for a while and I expect Barty to put in a much closer match than when she played Petra Kvitova in the First Round last season, but Hradecka should be a little too tough when it is all said and done.

This match could easily just have Hradecka coming through with a break more in each set and recording her path into the Second Round with a 64 64 win.

MY PICKS: Tommy Haas - 6.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Victor Hanescu - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Lucie Hradecka - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)

French Open Update: 2-4, - 3.90 Units (12 Units Staked, - 32.5% Yield)

Monday, 27 May 2013

French Open Day 2 Picks 2013 (May 27th)

You can find my two outright picks from the Men's draw here

The first day of the French Open 2013 is in the books and it was a day of few surprises when analysing it. The biggest surprise of the day was the defeat for Venus Williams, the first time she has been beaten in the First Round at the French Open for over a decade.

In all honesty, it was probably less of a surprise than you would initially think as Venus is certainly on a downward curve in her career and she is not the force of old. The clay courts have also been her worst surface and I think the return to the grass courts will do her good in the coming weeks.

The most impressive performance of the day was from Lleyton Hewitt in his loss to Gilles Simon- Hewitt may have ultimately lost the match, but he played some stunning tennis early and then showed tremendous heart to come back from 5-0 down in the final set to level at 5-5. However, it was not to be for the Australian, although the performance here will at least give him confidence going into the grass court season where Hewitt will feel a lot more comfortable than on the clay courts.

Wins for the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams came easily enough and both of those players will at least be off until Wednesday now as they get involved in the Grand Slam tournament.

The picks on Day 1 went 1-1 with the Marcel Granollers-Feliciano Lopez match being delayed by darkness. That last match is tied at 2-2 in sets, although a win for Granollers would see him cover the spread.

Day 2 Picks are as follows:

Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Gael Monfils: Gael Monfils should have picked up some confidence from his win in the Challenger event at Bordeaux which he followed with a run to the Final in Nice last week, but he may also be a little fatigued at the start of this tournament.

Monfils needed a Wild Card to take his place in the French Open draw as injuries and a loss of form has seen his Ranking plummet to outside of the top 100. Now he faces Tomas Berdych, a man who has had plenty of good wins this week, although yet to turn that into a title success.

Talking about confidence, Berdych wouldn't have been able to get much more than from his win against Novak Djokovic during this clay court season and he is certainly one of the danger men in the draw, even if his actual path to the Final looks one with a number of tough hurdles to overcome.

The Czech player has dominated Gael Monfils when they have met in the past and has recorded wins in all 3 matches he has played against him. I would guess that he is capable of doing the same here and win this one in three, possibly four sets. I believe Berdych will win at least one set fairly comfortably, either 61 or 62 and that should give him a real chance to cover the spread.

John Isner v Carlos Berlocq: There is little doubt that Carlos Berlocq is the more accustomed clay court player of the two in this one, but John Isner is no mug on the surface and I think the American has every chance of coming through as the surprise winner in this one.

The Isner serve is still effective enough on the slower courts to think he will have an easier time holding serve than his opponent, while Berlocq can be erratic at times and makes quite a few errors. The Argentinian's serve is not the best either and I think Isner will get chances to break serve and perhaps surprise Berlocq.

Neither player can talk about being in good form at the moment, but I believe Isner's game is a little more reliable, especially early in a tournament, than Berlocq's so I will look for the surprise here.

Jarkko Nieminen - 3.5 games v Paul-Henri Mathieu: Both of these players had a decent week on the Tour last week, showing some signs of form going into the Grand Slam, but I believe Jarkko Nieminen will continue his dominance of Paul-Henri Mathieu in this one.

Mathieu's injuries have slowed him down and while still capable of putting together flashy shots, he also makes a lot more unforced errors and that is where I think Nieminen will eventually find his success.

Of the two players, I do think that Mathieu has suffered the more disappointing losses during this clay court season and even with the home crowd behind him, I would fancy Nieminen to see him off in four sets.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
John Isner @ 2.10 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Jarkko Nieminen - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marcel Granollers - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units) To be completed

French Open Update: 1-1, - 0.10 Units (4 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

French Open Outright Picks 2013

I don't know what it is- is the cool looking clay courts, is it the longer rallies, but I love the French Open and am very much looking forward to visiting the tournament for the first time next week.

I booked tickets to go on the first Friday of the tournament, Third Round day, and even the disappointment of both Juan Martin Del Potro and Andy Murray missing out was ended when a draw of huge potential was made.

Personally, I don't see a lot of value left in the Women's draw as Serena Williams looks the pick after being given a good chance to go all the way to her third clay court title in succession. However, while Serena is certainly the pick in my mind, her poor record at the French Open is tough to ignore even if I can't see who will beat her before the Final.

Still, I didn't see Virginie Razzano beating Serena in the First Round last season so the World Number 1's odds on quotes to win here look poor value even if I do think she is the most likely winner.

Men's Draw
First Quarter
At the start of the tournament, I only considered two players as genuine contenders to win the title here at Roland Garros and the Gods have not been kind enough to split those players. Novak Djokovic is the Number 1 seed here and is the player I think is capable of breaking the Rafael Nadal strangle-hold on the French Open.

It isn't the worst draw in the world for Djokovic although he has been given the potentially awkward Third Round match against Grigor Dimitrov- however, while the Bulgarian has certainly improved his game, I am not sure he is ready to knock off one of the top players in a best of five set match.

Players like Tommy Haas and John Isner could be tough to play if they are on their game, but I would fancy Djokovic to beat either of those and I am pretty confident the World Number 1 will be in the Semi Final from this section.

Semi Final Prediction: Novak Djokovic after a tough Third Round win over Grigor Dimitrov

Second Quarter
While Novak Djokovic was one of my two contenders to win this title, the other is of course Rafael Nadal, a man coming into his first Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon last June. Nadal has won the big two clay court events leading into Roland Garros and his record at the French Open speaks for itself.

I look at his section of the draw and I really don't see who is going to beat Nadal on a clay court in a best of five set match. In fact, I would be a little surprised if Nadal even dropped a set ahead of the Semi Final and I do believe the Spaniard comes through this section with little to no trouble at all.

Prediction: No need to waste time- this is Rafael Nadal's Quarter of the draw.

Third Quarter
Andy Murray's absence from the Tour means David Ferrer is the highest seed in this quarter of the draw, although the likes of Tomas Berdych will certainly have something to say about that.

This is probably the most dangerous section for some of the top seeds as the likes of Nicolas Almagro, Milos Raonic and the in-form Ernests Gulbis are all in the quarter and I do think Tomas Berdych will do very well to reach the Quarter Final.

Out of Ferrer and Berdych, I certainly think Ferrer has the 'easier' path and I think there is the potential for Gulbis to reach the Quarter Final, especially if he can knock off Berdych in a potential Second Round meeting.

The top half of this quarter has a lot of uncertainty and I do believe that is why David Ferrer will be able to outlast his rivals in the section. The Spaniard seems to have a more comfortable path to a Quarter Final than anyone else and he should be able to outlast anyone he faces in that Round.

Prediction: David Ferrer, although Ernests Gulbis could be the surprise package

Fourth Quarter
The main main in the final section of the draw is a former winner at Roland Garros and the 17 time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer. There is no way Federer could have picked a better draw for himself than the one he has here, and he has a decent path through to a Quarter Final, barring a potential Third Round match against Julien Benneteau.

The Frenchman has given Federer plenty of problems in the past, including a win earlier this season, although I would fancy the Number 2 seed to beat him on the slower courts and more comfortably than people would initially imagine.

At that point, it could get a lot tougher for Federer as he is likely to face his toughest challenge of the tournament with either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marin Cilic and Juan Monaco potential opponents.

All three of those players have doubts surrounding their form, even though Monaco won a weak ATP event at Dusseldorf last week, but the biggest concern for Federer would be facing the mercurial Tsonga.

Last season, we saw Tsonga push Novak Djokovic all the way here at Roland Garros and he certainly has the big game that can make Federer extremely uncomfortable at times. That would be the biggest test for the World Number 2 before the Semi Finals in my opinion, but there is no guarantee that Tsonga will make it to the Quarter Final.

Prediction: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could be an awkward Quarter Final opponent, but I think Roger Federer will get through to the Semi Final.

So where do I think the winner is coming from? I think it is hard to see anyone but the winner of the Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal Semi Final as the winner of the tournament, although there will be some players in the bottom half of the draw hoping the loser of the Semi Final will extract everything out of the winner.

I believe Novak Djokovic has the kryptonite to beat Rafael Nadal on the clay courts- granted, Nadal won three in a row before Monte Carlo this season, including in the Final here last season, but Djokovic has the game to make life awkward for Nadal and that is why I think the World Number 1 will beat him if they play.

While I will take Djokovic to win the tournament, I think it is also wise to take Roger Federer with a small each-way interest. Federer is still a very good clay court player, even if he is unlikely to beat the big two.

However, Federer making the Final would give you a small profit and there is also the small chance that he can take advantage of any fatigue that the winner of the Nadal-Djokovic Semi Final is feeling. The potential Quarter Final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a concern, but Federer has a dominant record over David Ferrer, his most likely Semi Final opponent. It is a shame that the layers are only offering a third of the price for an each-way pick this time rather than the half odds offers, but that is down to the top heavy nature of the draw.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic @ 3.50 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Roger Federer @ 10.00 Coral (1 Unit E/W)

French Open Day 1 Picks 2013 (May 26th)

The start of the second Grand Slam of the season is a Sunday and these are my picks from the opening day.

I have also made a couple of outright picks from the Men's draw which can be found here

Gilles Simon - 7.5 games v Lleyton Hewitt: This is a bad match up for Lleyton Hewitt, a player that hasn't enjoyed his time on the clay courts in recent seasons, and I think he could be sent home quickly and get set for the grass court season.

Hewitt hasn't had a lot of matches in recent weeks, while Gilles Simon is consistent enough to wait for the mistakes the Australian makes. While it does look like a large amount of games to get through, I do think the Frenchman, urged on by the home crowd, will come through with at least one 62 set that should set him on the way.

I do think Simon has enough to just bide his time in this one as Hewitt begins to struggle for consistency, especially on the slower clay courts, and I do think Simon comes through 64, 62, 64.

Roger Federer -8.5 Games v Pablo Carreno Busta: Roger Federer cannot complain at all with his draw at the French Open and I think this is a good opener for him, although Pablo Carreno Busta has shown potential and will be very comfortable on the clay courts.

The young Spaniard will cause some problems, but playing Federer in a Grand Slam has to be overawing and that is why I believe the second seed here will take one of the sets fairly comfortably and set himself on the way to covering this spread.

I know Federer has had a couple of really surprising defeats this season and he also seems to fluctuate in levels of play far more often than we are used to seeing, but I don't think he will drop enough to let Carreno Busta get a real hold of this match and I like Federer to win 61, 64, 63.

Marcel Granollers - 3.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: Marcel Granollers is certainly the more comfortable of these two Spanish players on the clay courts and has a lot more matches under his belt on the surface this season. Feliciano Lopez has only played two matches on the clay and he lost both of those and I am expecting Granollers to come through in this one.

I know Granollers is capable of playing very erratically, as shown in his destruction at the hands of Benoit Paire, but I do think Lopez is a player that is much happier on the faster surfaces and that mentality may hold him back.

It wouldn't be a surprise if this one goes to four sets, but I do think Granollers will come through with enough room to cover this spread.

MY PICKS: Gilles Simon - 7.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 8.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marcel Granollers - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Saturday, 25 May 2013

UEFA Champions League Final 2013 Pick

It has been a good year for the Champions League, for the most part, and we have seen a lot of decent games and top performances from sides and I don't think too many people would argue with the two teams that will be contesting the Final on Saturday 25th May at Wembley Stadium.

Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were considered amongst the favourites to win the competition by the end of the Group Stage and both have put together some impressive wins to get here.

There has been the controversy in the tournament, and I am still not happy with the way the last ever Champions League campaign for Sir Alex Ferguson was ended. It was a poor decision to send of Nani in the loss to Real Madrid and it is no surprise that the manager was as devastated as he was if he had really made the decision to bow out at the end of season back in December as he has stated.

Now all of that will be forgotten as the two best teams in the Bundesliga and, arguably, the two best teams in Europe this season will meet in the Final on English soil.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich Pick: This is the first ever all-German European Cup Final and only the fourth time in the almost 60 years the competition has been run that two teams from the same domestic League will contest the Final.

Real Madrid met Valencia in 2000 and were comfortable winners on that day, but the games between AC Milan-Juventus and Manchester United-Chelsea were both settled on penalties. There is no doubt in my mind that games between domestic rivals, particularly with so much at stake, can descend into wanting 'to avoid defeat' contests.

Neither team would want to lose to the other and that may make this a tight game, rather than the expansive one we are all looking forward to. Also look at their games from this season- these sides have met four times this season with the scores being two 1-1 draws in the League and two Bayern Munich wins in the Cup (2-1 and 1-0 scores).

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are certainly evenly matched and they will be all too aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each side.

The absence of Mario Gotze does hurt Dortmund in this game, while they will also feel the pressure of wanting to win this competition with the 'small window of opportunity' they usually have. Back in 1997 their side won the Champions League, but began to lose players to 'bigger' clubs and with Gotze already signing with Bayern Munich, there are rumours that Robert Lewandowski will also be leaving this summer.

That brings a pressure of its own as Dortmund will want to rubber stamp this period in their history by adding the Champions League to the back to back Bundesliga titles they have won in the last couple of seasons.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich have to exorcise the ghosts that have seen them lose at this stage of the Champions League in 2010 and 2012, the latter coming in heart-breaking fashion in their own stadium. I have no doubt that their players will also be feeling the burden of trying to overcome those losses, but the experience may also prove to be crucial in the game.

Both sides will be confident of their chances and I do think this is going to be a lot closer than the odds are suggesting with Bayern Munich being pounded all week. I do believe most have got it right by picking the Bavarian giants to finally add another European Cup to their trophy cabinet, but I can't see this ending in a comfortable win.

I think it will be tight throughout, and may take one moment of magic to separate the sides. Backing Bayern Munich to win their third Cup tie against Dortmund by a one goal margin looks the call, although I would recommend keeping units to a minimum.

MY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL PICK: Bayern Munich to win by one goal (English Handicap Draw) @ 3.80 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Tennis Picks 2013 (May 24th)

The big four in the Men's game has finally been completed... That's right, Roger Federer has joined Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal on Twitter and it is going to be interesting to see how much interaction he has on the site.

I am surprised it took him so long considering Tiger Woods was a long-term friend and would surely have advocated joining the site to him. There have been parody accounts, but now the real man is on Twitter, I am interested to see which of the big four end up having the most 'followers' which is a good indication of their popularity.

We will also see the draw for the French Open being made on Friday morning and I will likely have my preview and Sunday picks up on the blog before the Champions League Football Final takes place on Saturday evening.

The picks this week haven't had a lot of success, but fortunately Juan Monaco is still in the tournament in Dusseldorf as my sole outright pick this week. Out of the four players left in that tournament, it is no surprise that Monaco is the favourite to go on and win the event, although he has to get through a couple of awkward matches to do so.

Juan Monaco - 4.5 games v Guido Pella: I may be taking a risk by backing Juan Monaco as a pick considering I did pick him as the outright pick from Dusseldorf, but I do like his match up against his compatriot and I do fancy Monaco will win with room to spare.

Monaco is actually a strong defender on the clay courts and I can see him exposing errors in the Guido Pella game as the younger Argentine has to hit closer and closer to the lines. I also think Monaco is the best clay court player that Pella would have played this week and I do think he will be able to force more errors and really hurt the backhand side of the left hander.

There are definitely signs of improvement in the Pella game, but beating Monaco on a clay court is not something I would expect of him right now. I believe the older, more experienced player will be able to come through a tough first set before moving away from Pella.

Monaco to win this one 64, 63 is what I believe we will see.

Romina Oprandi - 2.5 games v Shuai Peng: Romina Oprandi has shown some decent form on the clay courts in the last month and I think she is going to be too strong for Shuai Peng in this Semi Final match to be played in Brussels.

The players met recently at the Portugal Open that resulted in a comfortable win for Oprandi and there are likely to be a few breaks of serve in this one. However, the Swiss player is definitely finding effective returns of serve in her recent matches and I expect that to help here find a break more in each set of this match.

My only concern is that the French Open draw is coming out early in the day and it may have the players perhaps turning their attention to Paris already, but I think Oprandi comes through 75, 64.

MY PICKS: Juan Monaco - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Romina Oprandi - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-5, - 8.30 Units (12 Units Staked, - 69.17% Yield)

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Tennis Picks 2013 (May 22nd)

We are just two days away from the draw for the second Grand Slam of the season, but the big news ahead of that is the fact that Andy Murray will not be taking part in Paris.

It is clear that he has been suffering from some sort of hip/lower back pain and I guess this will make a lot of sense going forward as Murray doesn't have a great chance of winning at Roland Garros. That is not disrespecting how good a player Murray is, but it is simply the fact that too many players could find a way past him in my opinion and he is serving himself very well by getting ready for Wimbledon and the US Open later this year.

I do think that if we were heading into Wimbledon, Murray would have found a way to take his place in the draw so I don't have concerns that he will miss the grass court season. However, it is very likely that he will be the Number 3 seed at Wimbledon and that will likely mean beating two of the big three in the Men's game to end the long British wait for a home winner.

That is a tough ask, but something that Murray will feel he is capable of doing if he can get his rest ahead of the grass court season which will begin on June 10th. The next question has to be if Murray will go back to Queens where he is scheduled to open up his grass preparation and we will then get an idea as to how he is feeling ahead of Wimbledon.

In the meantime, there are a lot of qualifiers going on at Roland Garros in the next few days as players get ready to enter the main draw. Hopefully the rain will stay away from Paris in the coming two weeks, although it has been cold and wet forecasts for the rest of the week.

Aljaz Bedene v Tobias Kamke: Aljaz Bedene entered the main draw as a Lucky Loser and has opened up the tournament for himself by knocking out Nikolay Davydenko in the First Round yesterday. He is rewarded with a much more winnable match in the Second Round as he faces one of the home players in Tobias Kamke, a winner over Benjamin Becker in the previous Round.

Neither player has had a lot of success in the main level tournaments on the clay courts, although Bedene recently won a Challenger event in Rome and has more wins on the surface at the lower level than Kamke does.

I believe Bedene has the better serve of the two players, but both can be very inconsistent with their play off the ground and this could come down to the player making the least errors that secures the win.

Using the success in Rome last week, I think Bedene can win this one, possibly in three sets.

Tommy Haas - 4.5 games v Ivan Dodig: The slower courts don't favour the game that Ivan Dodig produces and I think Tommy Haas can come through this Second Round match without too many problems as long as he is taking the tournament seriously.

I have little reason to think that Haas wouldn't want to play well in front of his home support and having a run here ahead of the French Open wouldn't be a bad thing for the veteran. He is unlikely to win at Roland Garros, but the chance to improve his Ranking for Wimbledon has to be in Haas' mind, a tournament he can certainly have a lot more success.

We know that Dodig has a big serve and can certainly hit through the court with his forehand, but the slower courts means his errors can begin to flow at times and I think he is another player that will begin to look forward to the grass court season which begins in three weeks time.

The Croatian had a solid win in the First Round here, but a focused Haas should be able to come through 64 63.

MY PICKS: Aljaz Bedene @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tommy Haas - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 4.30 Units (8 Units Staked, - 53.75% Yield)

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

NBA Play Offs Conference Finals Picks 2013

I am pretty sure that not many would have picked the Memphis Grizzlies to get through to the Western Conference Finals, at least not at the start of the Play Offs. However, they have taken advantage of a couple of banged up teams to move through to face the San Antonio Spurs, a team that a lot predicted would be back in the Western Conference Finals after their collapse at this stage last season.

San Antonio are the favourites in my opinion to come through an win this series as they have the experience and previous Play Off success to fall back on, while Memphis are in unchartered territory. My other concern for the Grizzlies is that they have had the fortune of playing teams with significant injuries that have made them weaker and San Antonio are certainly healthier than the Clippers or the Thunder.

I'd fancy San Antonio to come through in 6 tough games.

The other side has seen the Indiana Pacers come through to take on the Miami Heat and this was the match up that everyone was looking forward to at the start of the season. Indiana had a 2-1 lead against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semi Finals and Miami were struggling a little before putting together three straight wins and a lot of people would have thought that experience would give the Pacers a better chance in any rematch.

However, Danny Granger has missed most of the season and that has left the Pacers as an inconsistent offense with no one scorer they can really rely on when it comes down to the crunch. Indiana remain very good defensively, while their size is definitely going to give Miami plenty to think about when it comes to grabbing significant boards.

Indiana also won 2 of the 3 regular season games too this season and so there will be no fear on their side that they can upset the Heat. However, I think Miami have a little too much talent and it would be surprising if they are not back in the NBA Finals for the third year in succession and in with a real chance of defending their crown earned last season.

The Pacers are likely to make life tough for Miami at times in this series, but I think the Heat are likely to get through in 5 or 6 games.

May 21st
Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs Game 2 Pick: It wasn't the most surprising of blow outs in Game 1 as the Memphis Grizzlies struggled with their mental pressure of being in the first Conference Finals for the franchise. They never really got their teeth stuck in the game and were beaten by 22 points.

I think Game 2 will be a lot closer, but I still think San Antonio can make the necessary adjustments to their game plan and get more production from Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili to cover again.

There is a chance the game goes over the total again, but I think the Spurs pull 2-0 ahead with a win of around 7-10 points.

May 22nd
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Game 1 Pick: The long lay off for the Miami Heat didn't help them in Game 1 of the Semi Final series with the Chicago Bulls, but perceived disrespectful comments from Frank Vogel and last season's tough Semi Final series should have kept them much sharper.

While the Pacers have the size and solid defense to cause some problems, their offense can be sketchy at best, particularly on the road. If Chris Bosh keeps playing at a high level, it will open things up in the paint for the Heat and I can see Miami getting off to a good start.

May 24th
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Game 2 Pick: Too many turnovers and offensive fouls from both teams in Game 1 made it a bit of a stop-start game, and I also think the quick turnaround will help the Miami Heat offense after their long lay off before Game 1.

I expect Indiana will also have gained some confidence from Game 1 too and they can certainly score against this defense. With the over being 6-1 in the last 7 between the teams, I do think this one will go over, although the total points have been increasing in the last couple of days.

May 25th
San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Game 3 Pick: The Memphis Grizzlies may be 0-2 down the series, but they know they are capable of turning this around, while San Antonio will remember blowing the same lead in the Western Conference Finals twelve months ago.

Both of these teams found their offensive groove in Game 2 and I do think the additional time off between games will meant they are fresh enough to keep going on that front. Like yesterday, I'll take the over in this one.

May 26th
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers Game 3 Pick: I can't be the only one that is absolutely fascinated by the Eastern Conference Finals as the games head to Indianapolis with the series tied 1-1. Both teams have won their game late, but the Pacers may secretly be wondering if they shouldn't have a 2-0 lead in the series already.

Indiana are certainly better at home with 6 straight wins in the Play Offs, winning by an average of 14 points per game, but Miami have won all 4 road games they have played by the same margin per game. Hard to separate the teams, but both are getting to the foul line and finding a way to make the other defense work that much harder. That means I'll back this one to go over, which is 7-1 in the last 8 games in the series.

May 27th
San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies Game 4 Pick: It is going to be interesting to see how the Memphis Grizzlies recover from the second haymaker taken in this series- twice in a row, the Grizzlies have been beaten in overtime and are now 3-0 down in the series, a situation that no team in the NBA have ever recovered from.

Memphis have had their most successful season in franchise history and they won't want to see it end at home with a sweep by the Spurs. The Grizzlies could easily be up 2-1 in the series and I do think they will find enough pride to take this series back to Texas for at least one more game.

May 28th
Miami Heat @ Indiana Pacers Game 4 Pick: The Miami Heat put on an offensive clinic in Game 3 and have taken back home court advantage in this series, although they will be looking to land another haymaker to the jaw and have the Indiana Pacers set up for a knock out blow in Miami on Thursday.

Both teams have continued to get enough offensively to cover the total points in this series and I haven't seen enough to think this game won't follow the same trend. Both get to the foul line and both teams can shoot the three ball well enough for this one to become the ninth time in ten games in the series that the overs comes in.

May 30th
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Game 6 Pick: This series continues to fascinate everyone heading into what could be the final twist in the series. Both teams are aware what the other can do and both are finding enough offense to stick with the over... That is now 9-1 in the last 10 games between the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers and I see no reason to think this one won't surpass the total.

June 3rd
Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat Game 7 Pick: It has been a very close series and one that is tough to separate the two teams. Game 7's have favoured the home team in recent years, but I can't imagine Indiana letting Miami get away from them easily in this one.

All of the pressure is on the Heat in this game as the favourites to win the NBA Championship for the second season in succession, but Indiana are very confident having already won here once in the series and possibly should have made that twice. I can see the Pacers doing their utmost to keep this close at the least so taking the points looks the call.

MY PICKS: 21/05 San Antonio Spurs - 5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
22/05 Miami Heat - 8 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
24/05 Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Over 182.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
25/05 Memphis Grizzlies-San Antonio Spurs Over 180 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
26/05 Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat Over 181.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
27/05 Memphis Grizzlies - 3 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
28/05 Indiana Pacers-Miami Heat Over 184.5 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
30/05 Miami Heat-Indiana Pacers Over 185 Points @ 2.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
03/06 Indiana Pacers + 7 Points @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

Conference Finals: 4-4, - 0.26 Units

Play Off Semi Finals10-11, - 1.49 Units
First Round Play Offs21-18, + 2.19 Units
April Final6-9, - 3.40 Units
March Final20-16-1, + 3.08 Units
February Final6-3, + 2.61 Units
January Final5-14, - 9.31 Units
December Final17-7-1, + 9.19 Units
November Final13-8-1, + 8.03 Units

Season 201398-86-3, + 10.90 Units
Season 2012: 79-53-1, + 27.48 Units

Tennis Picks 2013 (May 21st)

There is a lot of rain around in Europe at the moment, particularly in the north of France and Belgium where a couple of the WTA tournaments are being played this week. It could also be a slight problem for the organisers of the French Open as it is expected to rain every day in Paris up until the weekend meaning a lot of the qualifiers for the next Grand Slam could be forced indoors.

Hopefully the tournaments this week will get back on track on Tuesday and I will be looking for a couple of guys coming out of Challenger events last week to push on with wins in the main tour events.

Gael Monfils - 2.5 games v Santiago Giraldo: Santiago Giraldo is very comfortable on the slower clay court surfaces, but he has the game that can be a little erratic at times and I am expecting him to give his opponents some chances to break his serve.

That is an area that could be taken advantage of by Gael Monfils as the Frenchman looks to get himself moving back up the Rankings after an injury plagued twelve months. Monfils is ranked outside of the top 100 and had to rely on a Wild Card to play here in Nice and at the French Open next weekend.

Monfils, however, has looked to build his confidence by playing in a Challenger event last week and actually went on to win in Bordeaux. A win in the Challenger level of events won't be what Monfils would be expecting from his career, but he has needed to get some wins under his belt and that could be enough to propel him back up the Rankings.

This won't be easy for Monfils, but getting the home crowd backing him and with the confidence from last week may just see him over the line in this one.

David Goffin v Grega Zemjla: Another player that had a good week in Bordeaux was David Goffin who reached the Semi Final where he was beaten by eventual winner Gael Monfils.

The last twelve months have been a real eye-opener for Goffin after it seemed he had the world at his feet following a Fourth Round appearance at the French Open where he pushed Roger Federer.

However, it hasn't been so good for the Belgian player when the big crowds are no longer watching his matches, and he hasn't had a lot of wins under his belt this season. Even with that in mind, he could be facing the correct opponent in Grega Zemjla who has also spent more time losing matches this season and one that has struggled to turn his form on the clay courts when it comes to main tour events.

It wouldn't surprise me if the match went the distance, but Goffin's run to the Semi Final last week may stand him in good stead to win this one.

MY PICKS: Gael Monfils - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
David Goffin @ 1.73 William Hill (2 Units)
Christina McHale - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet 365 (2 Units) To be completed from Monday

Weekly Update: 0-1, - 2 Units (2 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Monday, 20 May 2013

Tennis Picks 2013 (May 20th)

I didn't make too many picks last week as I just felt the tournament in Rome was a little unpredictable... My gut feeling was correct, especially as all five picks failed to come off, and so I was glad to have stepped out for the most part.

It also goes without saying that there is a possibility this will be a quiet week, although I will make picks wherever I see fit. I have added one outright pick for the week which can be found here

Albert Ramos - 3.5 games v Victor Hanescu: Both of these players will consider the clay courts as their favourite surface, but I think the younger man can prevail in the contest.

Albert Ramos has certainly shown the more consistency in recent matches compared with Victor Hanescu, although the latter has reached a couple of Quarter Finals in the smaller clay court tournaments himself.

I think both players will feel confident behind their own serve, but I just feel that Ramos is perhaps a little more solid on that front and that can prove to be the difference in the match. While Hanescu certainly can serve effectively, he does tend to throw in at least one poor game per set and this could easily end with a 64 64 win for the Spaniard.

Christina McHale - 3.5 games v Lauren Davis: These two young American players will likely be looking forward to the Tour moving away from the clay courts in the next couple of weeks, but for now they have a chance to move through to the Second Round of a clay court tournament.

Of the two, Christina McHale has shown more form on the surface compared with Lauren Davis, particularly when it comes to the main tour level events. That includes reaching the Third Round at the French Open when she beat Davis enroute and I think McHale's experience will likely be the key to her beating her compatriot again.

Like many WTA Tour matches, especially on clay courts, I expect a few breaks of serve but for McHale to have come through with a break more in each set at least.

MY PICKS: Albert Ramos - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Christina McHale - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet 365 (2 Units)

Tennis Outright Picks (May 20-26)

The back to back Masters tournaments have been completed and the path to the French Open has been set for most of the big names in the Men's and Women's draws.

Rafael Nadal won both tournaments in Madrid and Rome and that has enabled him to move back up to the World Number 4 Ranking and also avoids the possibility of him having to face one of his main rivals as early as the Quarter Finals at Roland Garros. Since losing the Final in Monte Carlo, Nadal has won three straight tournaments and will surely go into the French Open as the favourite to hold on to his crown as the 'King of Clay'.

He dismantled Roger Federer in the Final of Rome and although Federer was positive about his state of mind going into the French Open, I don't consider the 2009 Champion to be a real threat to win the tournament this season. He has failed to win a title this season, the first time he goes into Paris without a title since 2000, and Federer would certainly be a big underdog to beat either Nadal or Novak Djokovic if they meet in the French Open.

The Woman's draw also looks like it will be fairly predictable as Serena Williams continues to dominate all of her rivals. Serena won both the big events in Madrid and Rome and the undisputed World Number 1 has not lost since the Final of Doha back in February.

The French Open has not been kind to Williams in the past, but I would find it tough to look beyond her at the moment. If Serena is surprised, as she was twelve months ago, I would guess Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka are the most likely winners and there aren't too many other players that are in this draw that have shown any form to suggest they can win a Grand Slam title.

The draw for the French Open will be made on Friday with the tournament to begin next Sunday. That means most of the big names are taking a week to get their minds and bodies ready for the two week Grand Slam slog, although there are still four tournaments taking place this week.

I am only making an outright pick from one of those events and I couldn't make a strong case for any player in the other events taking place this week.

ATP Dusseldorf
This is the first time that the tournament in Dusseldorf is in a traditional form as it was the home of the World Tennis Team Championships in previous seasons. The two home players, Tommy Haas and Philipp Kohlschreiber will both feel they can win this inaugural tournament, but they are both in the tougher bottom half of the draw.

Both the German players are in the top three of the outright markets this week, but I think it could make more sense to back Juan Monaco, the player splitting the two home players in the market.

Monaco hasn't had the best of seasons, but he has shown some signs of getting back to form in recent weeks. The clay courts remain Monaco's best surface and he has been beaten in close matches by players that have gone on to show some very good form in his last two tournaments.

This time, Monaco is given a decent start to the tournament here with a bye through to the Second Round and then facing an opponent that he would be a big favourite. The Quarter Final could pose problems if he goes up against Nikolay Davydenko, a player that has a strong head to head record against Monaco and is certainly capable of outhitting him off the ground.

However, if Monaco can get through that test, he can go all the way at a venue where he previously won with Argentina in 2010. I do think Monaco is worth having a small interest in to win the event here this week at the prices available.

MY PICKS: Juan Monaco @ 5.00 Bwin (1 Unit)

Rome Picks0-5, - 10 Units (10 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2013+ 24.48 Units (569 Units Staked, + 4.30% Yield)

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

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Weekend Football Picks (May 19th)

It is the final day of the Premier League season and it is one where a number of famous faces from the English game will be moving on, most notably Sir Alex Ferguson.

You have to be aware about motivation at this point of the season and it can be a bit of a minefield with some players beginning to think about where they are going to be sunning themselves on a beach next week.

Manchester City v Norwich City Pick: It has been rumoured that the Manchester City players were very happy to see the back of Roberto Mancini earlier this week and they did respond with a comfortable 0-2 win at Reading on Tuesday night.

This looks like the perfect chance to end their season with some positive memories as they are facing a Norwich City team that has been very poor on their travels this season and one that secured their Premier League future last weekend.

I am expecting an attacking Manchester City side to get stuck into their opponents and I do think Norwich may just have relaxed a little bit after beating West Brom at Carrow Road. The Canaries have conceded a lot of goals in their away games this season including heavy losses at Liverpool and Manchester United and I think Manchester City win this one by a couple of goals.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland Pick: There is nothing that Tottenham Hotspur can really do about whether they finish in the top four or not as they are relying on Newcastle United to get some sort of a result against Arsenal in the North East. However, the home team will know anything less than three points in this game will give them no chance at all and I expect them to do that at the very least.

Tottenham have been scoring a fair few goals of late and they seem to be facing Sunderland at the right time. The away team are now safe in the Premier League and they are missing a lot of their main attacking talent, while their motivation is gone. Paolo Di Canio has demanded his players give a full effort in the game, but it remains the point that Sunderland have lost 5 of their last 6 away games in the Premier League, were thumped 6-1 at Villa Park in their latest away game, and many of the players will be aware that big changes will be coming in the off-season.

Those factors could see Sunderland struggle to contain Tottenham, but all the prices have been adjusted because the home team 'needs' the win.

Instead, I think it makes more sense for Gareth Bale to be named 'Man of the Match' as he is likely to play an integral part of any win Spurs can manage, while he has been scoring plenty of winning goals for them himself. After winning all the personal awards you can this season, Bale will be high in the thoughts of the 'Man of the Match' award and you have to think he would likely get it if he is on the scoresheet.

Wigan Athletic v Aston Vila Pick: The Wigan Athletic fans have enjoyed the highs and the disappointment of the lows in the last week as their side won the FA Cup, but were also relegated from the Premier League.

I can't imagine them rolling over here, but it has to be a real shock to the system of the players that will be playing their third game in a week and I think Aston Villa could spring the surprise win.

Aston Villa have been playing a lot better to close the season when they secured their place in the Premier League and even in the absence of Christian Benteke, they certainly look a side capable of scoring goals. Villa have won 3 of their last 4 away games in the Premier League, including at struggling sides Reading, Stoke City and Norwich City, and they have the pace to exploit tired Wigan legs.

The side also have a strong record at the DW Stadium having been unbeaten in their last 6 visits to this stadium. Last season, this fixture ended goalless, but Aston Villa had won 4 straight before that and I can see them ending their season with a flourish.

MY PICKS: Manchester City - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Gareth Bale win 'Man of the Match' @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Aston Villa @ 4.00 Pinnacle (1 Unit)

May Update5-7, - 0.80 Units (14 Units Staked, - 5.71% Yield)

April Final10-21, - 9.15 Units (45 Units Staked, - 20.33% Yield)
March Final16-20, + 7.43 Units (55 Units Staked, + 13.51% Yield)
February Final14-23, - 2.81 Units (48 Units Staked, - 5.85% Yield)
January Final10-22, - 10.89 Units (45 Units Staked, - 24.2% Yield)
December Final17-24-1, - 0.83 Units (53 Units Staked, - 0.02 % Yield)
November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Season 2012/13+ 3.42 Units (396 Units Staked, + 1.63% Yield)

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tennis Picks Rome 2013 (May 17th)

I have taken a few days off from the tennis picks simply because it felt like a strange tournament and my gut feeling has come up trumps so far. There have been a lot of withdrawals from the tournament with some big names beginning to think about Roland Garros and making sure they are ready for the second Grand Slam of the year.

Strange results have also been the order of the day with some real surprise participants in the Quarter Finals to take place today, while controversy hasn't been too far away from some of the matches played.

The biggest controversy has been the non-call Jerzy Janowicz had against Richard Gasquet at an incredibly vital time in their Third Round match. A ball that clearly hit the line was called out by the player and the umpire took his side, but it did leave a bad taste in the mouth as it is against the spirit of the game.

I don't personally know Janowicz so I can't say with any authority, but his actions following that 'call' suggests the big Pole knew EXACTLY what he was doing and I don't condone 'cheating' in any way. Unfortunately, it was 'cheating' that took Janowicz past Gasquet in the end and I think a lot of people would have taken note of that... He next faces Roger Federer and I expect the former World Number 1 to be very keen on putting a hurting on Janowicz and I really do hope he can do that.

The other big news of the week is the story about Andy Murray and whether he will compete at the French Open or not- I would still be surprised if Murray doesn't turn up at Paris and give it a shot, although the concern is getting himself ready for Wimbledon where he has a much better of actually winning the tournament.

Even if Murray was at 100%, I think it would be extremely difficult for him to win on the clay in a best of five set match as it seems there are too many players that are capable of beating him on the surface. That may play into his decision to play or not, although I also think Murray is keen on getting to the World Number 1 position and won't want to drop too many Ranking points from Roland Garros.

I think the British Number 1 will likely keep his options open and at least look at the draw- there is every chance that Murray would be in a half of the draw without Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and that could lead to him having his best chance to reach the Final at the French Open. Again, I don't know Murray personally but he is clearly struggling with a lower back issue so it will be interesting to see whether he decides to take his place in the main draw next Friday or not.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Tomas Berdych: While Tomas Berdych has been playing consistent tennis to open 2013, he is yet to win a title and I also don't think he has been serving that well in recent weeks.

Whether there is an injury he is hiding going into the next couple of months with two Grand Slams to be played is hard to tell, but he is going to have to serve a lot better against the best returner in the Men's game at the moment.

Novak Djokovic was surprisingly beaten by Grigor Dimitrov last week in Madrid, but he has won at Monte Carlo on the clay and is still playing some very good tennis which makes him one of only two real contenders to win at Roland Garros later this month.

The World Number 1 would have covered this spread in his last five matches against Berdych since the beginning of last season and I do think he is going to have a few chances to do the same in this one. It wouldn't surprise if the first set is fairly competitive, but Djokovic to take that one and then move away from his Czech opponent in the second set for a 64, 62 win.

Rafael Nadal - 4.5 games v David Ferrer: Last week, these two Spaniards met and Rafael Nadal was given a 5.5 game handicap to surpass and failed to do so by half a game. This week, on a clay court that Nadal actually favours over Madrid, that handicap has dropped by a game and I think the layers have underestimated how tough a challenge Ernests Gulbis was in the last Round.

Maybe they think that has taken something out of Nadal, while David Ferrer was afforded a bye in the Third Round, but I think Nadal is going to be fine in this one. The match is incredibly important to Nadal as beating Ferrer will give him a chance of moving ahead of his compatriot in the World Rankings in time for Roland Garros, although Nadal will have to go through to win this event to do so.

The last four matches between the pair has seen Nadal record one set of 60 or 61 and I would be surprised if he didn't just enjoy this match up on a more traditional clay court and cover the spread this week.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 0-3, - 6 Units (6 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Madrid Picks3-9, - 12.26 Units (24 Units Staked, - 51.08% Yield)
Madrid Outright Picks2-0, + 7.70 Units (4 Units Staked, + 192.50% Yield)

Season 2013+ 34.48 Units (559 Units Staked, + 6.17% Yield)

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

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Tennis Picks Rome 2013 (May 14th)

I didn't make any outright picks this week simply because having back to back tournaments of this size, following the one in Madrid last week, seems to bring out the pull outs much more frequently.

Players are already focusing on the French Open so any niggle or not feeling totally ready will see them withdraw, as Serena Williams did in the Semi Final here last season, and so I thought it was a little too risky to try and second guess what players are thinking.

The Woman's draw is not particularly deep when it comes to potential winners if all the big names are in the draw, and picking an outsider in the hope that a big name pulls out looks a little too hopeful to me.

On the other hand, the Men's draw has a lot of uncertainty about it because of the lack of matches the likes of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer had last week in Rome. All three will want to get some practice under their belts, but all three could have turned their attention to Roland Garros already.

With these doubts in my own mind, I figured it would be best to enjoy this week from an outright point of view and get some more samples of players forms heading into the next Grand Slam of the season.

That doesn't mean I won't make any picks from the daily matches taking place, although I would take note of the awful weather that is coming to the tournament here in the coming days. I will also update the season totals after the last week in Madrid in my post for the Wednesday matches.

Lukas Rosol v Victor Troicki: Janko Tipsarevic has pulled out the tournament this week and that means Lukas Rosol was given a 'Lucky Loser' berth and I expect he can make full use of that by progressing through to the Second Round at least.

This has clearly been a good match up for Rosol as he has won the last three matches between these players, all on clay courts, including a very comfortable 3 and 1 win in Bucharest last month. Rosol has a serve that can earn him enough cheap points in this match and that is a foundation from which he can attack the Troicki service games.

The problem for the Serb is that he can be very erratic on the ground and that provides opportunities for his opponents to break his serve. Despite this being one of his more favoured surfaces in terms of results, I think Troicki will likely fall to a defeat in this one.

Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v Kevin Anderson: I am a big fan of what Marin Cilic can do on a tennis court and I think he can get through the big-serving Kevin Anderson in an intriguing Second Round match.

Cilic snapped a three game losing run with a comfortable win over Andrey Golubev on Monday and he has beaten Anderson on all three previous meetings. That doesn't surprise me as I personally think Cilic is one of the more effective returners on the circuit and I think he can negate the big serve that Anderson does possess.

I would very much favour the Croatian when it comes to the rallies on the floor so I think he definitely has the edge in this match up and I do like Cilic's chances of coming through with a 4 and 4 win.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 games v Simona Halep: I know that Agnieszka Radwanska was thumped by Laura Robson last week in Madrid, but I think the conditions here in Rome will favour the Pole a lot more than it did last week.

I also think the match up with Simona Halep is definitely much more to the liking of Radwanska than the one with Robson- the difference between Halep and Robson is the latter is very much capable of taking the racquet out of an opponent's hands with her groundstrokes and serve.

In this match, I expect Radwanska to get involved in the long, drawn out rallies that she enjoys and I expect her to grind down Halep as she has done in all three wins over her in the past. With good memories of playing this opponent, I expect Radwanska will do enough to record a 4 and 3 win.

MY PICKS: Lukas Rosol @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Weekend Football Picks 2013 (May 11-13)

Aston Villa v Chelsea Pick: Rafa Benitez knows he has around eight more days where he can call himself the Chelsea manager, but he can certainly leave his mark on the club in that time. Chelsea have a chance of winning the Europa League during the week, while they probably need another three points to guarantee a place in the Champions League for next season after a 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.

The Chelsea squad have certainly played well enough in recent weeks to think they can grab those three points from this trip to Villa Park, even though they have only won on 2 of their previous 14 games here. However, they could be facing Aston Villa at the right time as the home side are virtually assured of their place in the Premier League thanks to Wigan Athletic's 2-3 home loss against Swansea on Tuesday.

It won't be easy for the away side considering Aston Villa have won 3 of their last 6 games in front of their own fans and have picked up 16 points from the last 24 available in the Premier League to move out of trouble. This young team have certainly picked up a lot of experience from their battle at the bottom of the table, but they haven't quite been able to get the better of the top teams in the League at the moment.

I expect the home side to play with the freedom that comes with having a 5 point lead over Wigan with two games left to play and I think they will be able to cause Chelsea some real problems. But at the end of the game, I expect Chelsea to find a way to win the game and so I will back the away side to win the game in which both teams get on the scoreboard.

Manchester City v Wigan Athletic Pick: You would never have guessed that it is actually the FA Cup Final weekend with the coverage being reduced simply down to the news that Sir Alex Ferguson is stepping down as manager of Manchester United.

To be honest, I think the Cup Final has also been less of an interest to the casual viewer as it looks like a mismatch in terms of who should win this game. The problem is that Manchester City have been hit with rumours that Roberto Mancini will not be the manager of the club at the end of the season and so it is hard to guess how the players will be responding to his instructions ahead of this game.

On the other hand, Wigan Athletic had a devastating defeat to deal with on Tuesday, one that looks like it will be the defeat that sends them down to the Championship. How will the players be feeling ahead of the Cup Final is a tough question to answer as for many this will be the only real chance they of playing in this showpiece game, while others may just be thinking about their future.

The FA Cup Final has been competitive in recent seasons and no team has won by more than one goal since Manchester United beat Millwall in the 2004 Cup Final. Manchester City have dominated the results against Wigan Athletic in recent seasons, winning 7 in a row against them without conceding a goal and it could be worth backing them to do so again in the Final.

Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur Pick: This is a must-win game for Tottenham Hotspur if they really have ambitions of getting into the top four of the Premier League and a place in the Champions League next season and I think they are playing Stoke City at the right time to get the win they desire.

Stoke have survived in the Premier League and a lot of the players could very easily begin to think of their Summer holidays, while Tony Pulis will be considering who needs to stay and who needs to go in a squad that had a huge slump over the last few months.

They are also facing a Spurs team that scores plenty of goals away from home where they get a little more space on the counter attack and I do think there will be goals in this one. With Tottenham scoring at least 2 goals in 6 of their last 7 away games in all competitions, it could be worth backing the away side to win this one after a few goals are scored.

Queens Park Rangers v Newcastle United Pick: Queens Park Rangers have struggled all season, while Newcastle United have really had a hard time on their travels and that could lead to a tense game at Loftus Road on Sunday afternoon.

While the home side don't have a lot to play for now, they don't create a lot of chances at home and have struggled for goals there all season. On the other hand, Newcastle will be desperate to get any kind of result to keep them a little further away from Wigan Athletic in the final relegation place and a draw here would put a lot of pressure on the Latics to get something from their visit to Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

That could lead to a tight game where they away side will spend more time trying to prevent Queens Park Rangers scoring and taking the under 2.5 goals option looks the best call.

Manchester United v Swansea Pick: It is going to be a highly charged and emotional day at Old Trafford as Manchester United get a chance to say goodbye to Sir Alex Ferguson for the final time at this famous stadium.

While that makes it tough to really know how the players will react, I think the man is a proven winner and will demand his team send him off on a high. There is no doubt that the players will want to do the same and while Swansea are clearly still playing their football after a stunning win at Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night, it could be a bit much for the away team to handle.

United have plenty of goals in the side and I think they can make that tell and I can see the home side winning this by a couple of goals and the entire crowd to be able to celebrate the 26 years Sir Alex has given with yet another win in the column.

MY PICKS: Both Teams to Score and Chelsea to Win @ 3.30 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Manchester City Win to Nil @ 2.25 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Tottenham Hotspur Win and Over 2.5 Goals to be scored @ 3.00 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Queens Park Rangers-Newcastle United Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.95 Pinnacle (1 Unit)
Manchester United - 1.5 Asian Handicap @ 2.15 Bet 365 (1 Unit)

May Update: 3-4, - 2.10 Units (9 Units Staked, - 23.33% Yield)

April Final10-21, - 9.15 Units (45 Units Staked, - 20.33% Yield)
March Final16-20, + 7.43 Units (55 Units Staked, + 13.51% Yield)
February Final14-23, - 2.81 Units (48 Units Staked, - 5.85% Yield)
January Final10-22, - 10.89 Units (45 Units Staked, - 24.2% Yield)
December Final17-24-1, - 0.83 Units (53 Units Staked, - 0.02 % Yield)
November Final8-21, - 8.25 Units (37 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
October Final9-9, + 5.44 Units (27 Units Staked, 20.1% Yield)
September Final17-11, + 21.19 Units (46 Units Staked, 46.1% Yield)
August Final12-13, + 1.29 Units (40 Units Staked, 3.22% Yield)

Season 2012/13+ 3.42 Units (396 Units Staked, + 1.63% Yield)

Friday, 10 May 2013

Tennis Picks Madrid 2013 (May 10th)

After all the controversy regarding the blue clay here in Madrid last year, the organisers of the tournament will feel much more comfortable as all the headlines this time around are from the tennis being played.

However, it has been a tournament full of surprises as some of the big names have exited the event very early, especially on the Men's side of the draw. Roger Federer was the latest casualty yesterday, while Andy Murray is very fortunate to still be involved after a really poor display for the most part against Gilles Simon.

Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are the big names from the Women's draw that have already left the tournament and it is no surprise it has been a tough week for the picks being made.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v David Ferrer: Rafael Nadal is now the clear favourite to win this tournament from the ATP side and I think he is going to be too strong for David Ferrer in this Quarter Final.

Ferrer has certainly played well, but not looked entirely himself so far this week or for the last couple of weeks in fact, and I think it will be tough for him to reverse the trends from the last two times he has faced Nadal.

In those occasions, Ferrer has lost all 5 sets they have played against one another and won a grand total of 7 games as Nadal has found it fairly comfortable to get rid of him. If Ferrer serves well, he could potentially keep this close, but I do think Nadal will find a way to grab a couple of breaks in one set and come through 2 and 4 in this one.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Stanislas Wawrinka: These two are becoming a little more familiar with one another as this is their fourth meeting on the clay courts in the last couple of seasons, including a three set win for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Monte Carlo last month.

I understand that the layers set this match with the Frenchman as the underdog simply because the clay courts are his worst surface, while it is arguably the best surface for Stanislas Wawrinka, but I don't buy into that line of thinking.

While the backhand wing is certainly favouring Wawrinka, the serve and the forehand lands on Tsonga's side of the edge in the match and I think he does find a way to force the issue a little more than Wawrinka does. I think Tsonga just has the capability of winning 'cheaper' points on serve that will lend him the chance of winning this match, although it is bound to be close again.

There is every chance this one goes to three sets, but the conditions here in Madrid and the bigger shots should go in Tsonga's favour and I think he is worth backing here.

MY PICKS: Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga @ 2.31 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-7, - 8.26 Units (20 Units Staked, - 41.30% Yield)

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Tennis Picks Madrid 2013 (May 9th)

David Ferrer - 3.5 games v Tommy Haas: David Ferrer has certainly not looked himself in the last couple of tournaments so I am slightly reserved about this pick. However, I think there were definite signs that Tommy Haas was feeling a little tired after a long run in winning in Munich last week and already coming through a couple of Rounds here.

While Haas has been playing some quality tennis in 2013, it has to be remembered that he is still a 34 year old man and that someone like Ferrer can keep on the court for a long enough period to physically and mentally get the better of him.

The conditions here will at least make it easier for Haas to hit through Ferrer thanks to the altitude, but I do think the Spaniard can find a way to get through this with a 4 and 4 win.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Gilles Simon: Andy Murray had to really fight to get through the last Round, although I think he missed early chances to get ahead of Florian Mayer that would have made that Second Round a little easier to negotiate.

This match up is very much to Murray's liking though and I think he has dominated Gilles Simon enough in the past to think he can come through fairly comfortably. Simon will try and outlast players on the court, but he doesn't really have the one big shot that can get him out of a funk against the best players and I think that will be his problem again.

The rallies may be long, but Murray should come out on top more often than not and unless his back injury is more serious than he suggested, I think the World Number 3 will come through with a 3 and 3 win.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.86 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-5, - 4.26 Units (16 Units Staked, - 26.63% Yield)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Tennis Picks Madrid 2013 (May 8th)

May 7th 2013... Remember the date, because that was the date when Grigor Dimitrov turned from boy to man as he got the better of a top four player after coming so closely previously.

Dimitrov has pushed Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at different times this season, but nerves and experience have perhaps got the better of him except for this time... This time, Dimitrov managed to hold onto his emotions and he beat the World Number 1 Djokovic in three sets!

That is a stunning result for the Bulgarian and one he deserves after coming so close to beating Nadal at Monte Carlo and it may just give him the confidence to burst into the top 20 soon and go on to the big and bright things that many tipped for him. Dimitrov could go from strength to strength now that he has the belief and proof that his hard work off court will pay off and it will be interesting to see how he backs up this performance with a likely tough Third Round match against Stanislas Wawrinka in his immediate future.

No matter how the rest of this tournament goes for Dimitrov, I think the win will prove to be the springboard for bigger and better things, especially as it was such a physical match he came through. Dimitrov's physical ability to last with the best players on the Tour has been one of the criticisms of the Bulgarian at this stage of his career, but going toe to to toe with the World Number 1 for over three hours surely puts that to rest for now.

Some people will probably get on Dimitrov's back if he doesn't make the Semi Final of the tournament here after knocking out Djokovic, but remember what happened to Roger Federer when he beat Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001- the next Round saw Federer lose to Tim Henman and it wouldn't be a big surprise if Dimitrov fails to back up the win here, but it does demonstrate that he is going the right way and I do see a future Grand Slam Champion whenever I have watched him play.

While it was very good to see Dimitrov really grab himself a standout win, the picks had a bad day yesterday as all three failed to come in, which was a real disappointment after a good Monday. Some never stood a chance, while others failed to come in in unfortunate situations, but hopefully it will get better on Wednesday.

One other positive aspect from the Dimitrov win over Djokovic is that is has very much strengthened the chances of Rafael Nadal winning the tournament as my outright pick from the Men's draw this week.

Tommy Haas - 3.5 games v Tommy Robredo: These two veterans are both enjoying an Indian Summer to their careers, and both will feel they can move on to the Third Round after some very successful results on the Tour in recent weeks.

It is a bit of a surprise to me to say that both Tommy Haas and Tommy Robredo have recently added to their titles with wins at Munich and Casablanca respectively as they have enjoyed being back on the clay courts. Both players are also ranked in the top 40 in the World and both will feel they are capable of making some noise in this tournament.

How can I separate them on current form when both have been putting together a lot of wins? My main reason for favouring Haas is the conditions here in Madrid where the altitude certainly makes it better for those players that play a little more aggressively.

Tommy Haas will get into the net and I do think he has the bigger serve and the stronger groundstrokes and that is why I think he can see off Robredo in this tournament, even though the Spaniard has won both previous meetings on the clay courts between these two players.

Neither player had been here since 2009 before their respective First Round wins, which were impressive by both men. However, I think Haas is going to be able to create more opportunities in this match and will come through 5 and 3.

Carla Suarez Navarro - 3.5 games v Kaia Kanepi: While the faster clay courts will surely given Kaia Kanepi a better chance in this match, I still think Carla Suarez Navarro can back up her win over the Estonian at the Portugal Open last week with another this week.

There is no doubt that Kanepi is capable of playing on the clay courts having reached the Quarter Final at the French Open last season as well as winning in Estoril, but she couldn't defend her title this season and defeats to the likes of Mandy Minella does not inspire confidence.

On the other hand, her Spanish opponent fell just short of winning at the Portugal Open last week, but like many of her compatriots, the clay courts are certainly the most comfortable surface for Suarez Navarro.

She should also have a lot of confidence having recorded some big wins on the clay courts this season with the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Yanina Wickmayer and Sam Stosur all falling to her already. This isn't the easiest match for Suarez Navarro simply because of the power that Kanepi brings to court, but I think she can back up her win over Kanepi from last week and will come through in two tight sets.

Angelique Kerber - 2.5 games v Svetlana Kuznetsova: The clay courts look perfect for the game that Angelique Kerber brings to the tennis courts, although it won't be easy against a shot maker of the calibre of Svetlana Kuznetsova.

However, Kuznetsova could be a little fatigued after coming through a very tough Second Round match against Nadia Petrova last night and Kerber is someone that can force the Russian to stay out on the court for a long period.

That might eventually be the difference between the players in a match that is almost certainly going to see a number of break point chances for both players. I can see this one being similar to when they met one another on the hard courts in Australia earlier this season when Kerber managed to outlast Kuznetsova in two tough sets and I do think the German will have enough to cover this spread.

MY PICKS: Tommy Haas - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-3, - 2.26 Units (10 Units Staked, - 22.60% Yield)