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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Tennis Picks 2014 (January 1st)

I hope everyone had a great New Year doing whatever they did and I hope 2014 is a great year for everyone.

The first days of the tennis season have begun and we are moving through the tournament with Second Round matches to be played on Wednesday 1st January 2014. The likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have moved through in Doha and now Roger Federer begins his new season in Brisbane.

Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 games v Marin Cilic: This was a tournament where Grigor Dimitrov reached the Final last season and he has made a positive start to the First Round with a comfortable win over Robin Haase.

I expect he can prove to be too strong for Marin Cilic after the Croatian battled through against Denis Istomin in the First Round, although it won't be easy.

I like the fact that Dimitrov is perhaps a little stronger when it comes to the serve and might be able to earn a few more cheaper points in this one. There is also the feeling that Cilic may still be recovering from the four month suspension he had to serve from Wimbledon and that may see him just lose a little focus at the wrong time in this kind of match.

Cilic did serve well against Istomin in the last Round, but Dimitrov is a better returner and I think he proves too tough to come through with a 76, 64 win.

Kei Nishikori - 3.5 games v Matthew Ebden: Matthew Ebden is playing in front of home support for the first month of the season and came through a First Round match comfortably enough to set himself up for this Second Round match against the Number 2 seed.

It isn't a great match up for Ebden as Nishikori is capable of making the best players hit one more ball and he should be able to expose the flaws in the Australian's game by forcing him to hit closer and closer to the lines.

Kei Nishikori is not someone I hold a lot of faith in because he hasn't found the balance to become a real threat at the Grand Slam level- personally I feel you have to have a big 'get out of jail' shot in the locker in those events and he offers too many chances to his opponents.

He has beaten Ebden in their two previous meetings, although it took five sets to see him off at the Australian Open a couple of years ago. On this occasion, I think it could go more along the same lines as their match at Wimbledon last summer, and I like Nishikori to come through 64, 64.

Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Benjamin Becker: Benjamin Becker will always be known as the man who ended in Andre Agassi's professional career, and that has proven to be the highest point of his life on the Tour.

Sometimes I do watch Becker play and feel he should have done better with the tools at his disposal, but he is far too inconsistent off the ground and can be vulnerable if the serve is not working as well as it can at times.

If Becker serves well, he can certainly make it a tough match for Stanislas Wawrinka to overcome, but if he is slightly below his game, it will make life that much easier for the Swiss player. Wawrinka is coming off his best year on the Tour when he made it to the World Tour Finals in London and will be looking to build on that.

He does look the best player by some distance in the Chennai tournament, but he has to avoid being caught cold in his first match of the week against a player that has one win under his belt. If Wawrinka comes out with the right mentality, I do think he will win this one 63, 64.

Richard Gasquet v Gael Monfils: This looks the match of the day in Doha and the layers are finding it tough to separate the two Frenchmen although I am surprised that it is Gael Monfils set as the favourite and not Richard Gasquet.

Gasquet is the defending Champion at the event and has also won 3 of the last 4 matches between these two. He has looked far more confident over the last twelve months and is capable of some stunning tennis that may be a little too good for Gael Monfils in this Second Round.

There is no doubt that Monfils has the better athletic attributes as he is much faster around the court, but he has been guilty of being too passive when it comes to shot selection and that may just allow Gasquet to control the rallies. Monfils ability to get the ball back in play can be a problem if his opponent makes too many mistakes, but the confidence in the Gasquet game may see him deal with those issues.

It is unlikely to be decided in straight sets, and Monfils is a former Finalist in Doha, but I like Gasquet for a small interest in this one.

MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet 365 (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet @ 2.10 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

Weekly Update: 2-2, + 0.73 Units (6 Units, + 12.17% Yield)

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