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Monday, 22 July 2013

Tennis Outright Picks 2013 (July 22-28)

Once again, Roger Federer has been beaten at the Semi Final stage of a tournament he would have steamrolled in his pomp and the questions remain about whether the 17 time Grand Slam winner is now in terminal decline.

He has always spoken about playing on until the next Olympic Games, but those are beginning to look a long three years away and I don't think Federer's ego will allow him to continue playing if he drops out of the top 10 in the World Rankings. That isn't likely in the immediate future, but he could have dropped a little more in twelve months time, especially with more and more players thinking they have the beating of Federer.

However, I am going to hold off on my judgement on Federer's future now he has picked up a new racquet and he will need a couple of tournaments to get a feel for that bat. The only issue I have with Federer's game that is unlikely to be given much of a change is the serve- he is definitely not as dominant behind that shot as he was a year ago and he is being made to work a lot harder to hold on to service games than he has in the last ten years on the Tour.

Another problem for Federer to overcome these days is that a lot more players feel they can beat him if they are on their game- that awe of playing the 'greatest player ever' is certainly not there at the moment, although that would quickly change if he starts winning tournaments again.

While Federer could not win as the favourite in Hamburg, it was down to Fabio Fognini to lift the title. This is only his second title on the ATP Tour, and comes just a week after he won in Bastad and it is clear the Italian is feeling very confident on the courts at the moment. He has had the talent, but has never shown the consistency he has this season, but now he looks a dangerous customer for most players on the clay, although it will be interesting to see if he can push on when the Tour reaches the hard courts of North America ahead of the US Open.

Either way, he will likely be making a leap into the top 20 in the World Rankings and that is a great achievement from a player that didn't look like he was going to convert his potential in the right manner.

Serena Williams won the tournament in Bastad and I am still not quite sure why she decided to play that event, particularly as she is skipping Stanford next week, a tournament that the best WTA players usually begin with in their preparation for the US Open next month.

It might have been down to something her sponsor has put in place or perhaps as the French Open Champion, Williams felt she should play one more clay court event this season, or might simply be because her big name rivals for the last Grand Slam of the year are also skipping the tournament.

It wasn't a good week for the picks, well the last two days were the poor ones that left the week in the red. Both outright picks made the business end of the tournaments in Hamburg and Bogota, both losing to the eventual winners, but it was not to be and that was a disappointment.

With a little more luck, it would have been another positive week, but it had been a good month so I can't complain too much. We have five tournaments being played this week as a new game begins.

ATP Gstaad
Just after Wimbledon was concluded, we learnt that Roger Federer was taking a Wild Card at two events in July- the first was in Hamburg last week and the second was in Gstaad to be played in front of his Swiss supporters.

The draw for the Number 1 seed could not be much better as far as I am concerned and this looks the perfect chance for Federer to double his number of titles this season. The first bonus for Federer is that he 'only' has to beat four players to win the title here while the seeded players in this section, Roberto Bautista-Agut, Juan Monaco, and Mikhail Youzhny will not hold too many fears for Federer.

Even the non-seeded players don't present a lot of dangers for Federer and I think it would be a huge surprise if he is not playing next Sunday.

It is very likely that we will see an all-Swiss Final next week as the Number 2 seed here is Stanislas Wawrinka and he is a player that is very capable on the clay courts and also has a reasonable draw in front of him.

However, Wawrinka has only reached one Final in Gstaad despite appearing here ten times in the past, although I can't pinpoint who is most likely to come through this half of the draw if the Swiss player can't make it through.

Janko Tipsarevic is playing here after flying from Bogota last week, while the clay is certainly not the favoured surface of Feliciano Lopez. It could be a couple of former winners that are able to take the most advantage of the draw as both Thomaz Bellucci (won here last season) and Marcel Granollers (winner in 2011) may go deep in the draw if they get through tough First Round encounters.

With the way the draw has panned out, it is tough to look past Roger Federer to add to his list of titles at an event that he does hold dear and backing him looks the call at odds against.

ATP Atlanta
This tournament is the first of the US Open hard court series as the build up to the final Grand Slam of the season will begin.

In the past, a big American contingent would turn up in Atlanta to open the run to the US Open and all three previous editions of the tournament have been won by an American- Andy Roddick won last season and Mardy Fish had won the first two editions, although he makes his return from large injury problems this time around.

John Isner is the Number 1 seed here this week and he looks in the tougher half of the draw in my opinion. He could meet Alejandro Falla, fresh off reaching the Final in Bogota last week, as early as the Second Round, but the biggest threat may just come through Lleyton Hewitt.

The Australian had a solid grass court season and he has a decent record against Isner by winning the last two matches between the pair and also holding a 5-1 head to head record. Hewitt loves playing a lot of the big servers as they give him the pace that makes his return of serve so effective, but he could face a tough battle against Ivan Dodig in the Quarter Final and it is tough to feel totally confident of which player comes through the section.

A man I backed last week could come to the fore in Kevin Anderson- the big serving South African is in the easier half of the draw as the Number 2 seed this week and he has had a very good 2013 while he reached the Semi Final last week in Bogota.

He could face his conqueror from last week in the Second Round in Ivo Karlovic, but the latter won the tournament last week and could be struggling for a bit of fitness after going three months off the Tour. Other players like Denis Istomin and Igor Sijsling could cause some problems, while the aforementioned Mardy Fish is coming off a long lay off so Anderson looks the call from this half.

A small interest on Kevin Anderson going a little better than in Bogota last week looks the call here. 

MY PICKS: Roger Federer @ 2.20 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson @ 5.00 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

Tennis Outright Picks (July 15-21)0-2, - 3 Units (3 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)
Tennis Daily Picks (July 15-21)10-12, - 4.92 Units (44 Units Staked, - 11.18% Yield)

Season 2013+ 27.30 Units (853.5 Units Staked, + 3.20% Yield)

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

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