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Monday, 10 February 2014

Tennis Outright Picks 2014 (February 10-16)

The last week on the tennis Tour proved to be a tough one when it came to making picks and that poor week was only underlined when Richard Gasquet failed to win the title in Montpellier despite getting through to the Final. Unfortunately it was Gael Monfils who took the title, the second player I identified for that title but one who didn't have to get through the tough matches I had been expecting.

Some bad luck, some bad picks, but it hasn't been a very good start to the 2014 season and that is a disappointment to this point although I did mention a long season has these ups and downs.

This week we have four different tournaments taking place including the first ATP 500 event which takes place in Rotterdam and has understandably picked up a number of the top ten players on the ATP.

Other tournaments in Buenos Aires and Memphis will take place during the course of the week on the ATP Tour, while the WTA makes a stop in Doha with plenty of the big names taking their place in the draw for that event.

ATP Rotterdam
Half of the top ten in the men's World Rankings are in Rotterdam this week after Andy Murray decided to take a Wild Card berth following his exploits for Great Britain in the Davis Cup. Murray is the Number 2 seed in Rotterdam this week and I think he is rightly set as the favourite to win the tournament with the way the draw has panned out.

Murray is a former winner at this event and has a very strong record against potential Quarter Final opponent Jo-Wilfried Tsonga despite the Frenchman likely to enjoy the conditions indoors where his big game is that much more effective.

The likes of Richard Gasquet and Marin Cilic both had long weeks under their belt last week and Mikhail Youzhny has been out of form which makes Murray look the clear favourite to come out of this section.

He looked comfortable at the Australian Open on his return from back surgery and Murray played well for Great Britain in the Davis Cup and I will keep him in my book this week.

I also think it may be worth picking what looks a big price on Grigor Dimitrov in the top half of the draw as the Bulgarian looks to back up his performance at the Australian Open in his first match since that tournament.

Dimitrov will likely have to beat the likes of Juan Martin Del Potro, the defending Champion, and Tomas Berdych to get to the Final this week but the youngster could be set for a breakthrough season and has pushed both of those players in recent matches. Del Potro is the obvious threat in the section as the Champion from last year and he won this tournament despite a poor Australian Open twelve months ago so his early exit again at Melbourne Park isn't the biggest concern.

The Argentine is one of the best indoor hard court players in the world, but Dimitrov pushed him to three sets when they last met in Paris at the end of last season, while Del Potro also has to beat the dangerous Gael Monfils in the First Round.

Tomas Berdych has not won a tournament in over a year on the Tour, but seems to enjoy the indoor hard courts and is another threat that has to be taken seriously. However, I do think Dimitrov is ready for a big year on the Tour and he could set down yet another early marker in 2014 by reaching the Final here and is another player I want to keep on side, especially at the prices.

ATP Memphis
The two Finalists from this tournament from last season, Kei Nishikori and Feliciano Lopez, are the top two seeds this time around and are also leading the market when it comes to winning in Memphis this time around.

It is not a deep draw so it is not a big surprise that both Nishikori and Lopez are expected to get back to the Final next weekend, but I think it may pay a little to back Ivo Karlovic to come through the bottom half and potentially win the tournament.

The big Croatian is travelling over from Europe for the tournament here, but he has had a few days to get his body ready for the change in time zone and he should be a little too good for Matthew Ebden in the First Round. That should get Karlovic ready for the tournament and he has a decent record against Feliciano Lopez to think he can cause the upset in the Second Round which will open the draw, especially as Lopez has a bye through the First Round.

Players like Mikhail Kukushkin and Marinko Matosevic are the other seeds in the bottom half of the draw and I don't think either should cause too many sleepless nights for Karlovic on the fast indoor hard courts. Karlovic hit 44 aces in his win over Daniel Brands last week and if he is serving well, he looks too good for those in the bottom half.

Kei Nishikori should be good enough to get through to the Final, but he has a couple of tough potential opponents in his way in the top half of the draw with both Sam Querrey and Lleyton Hewitt expected to represent Quarter Final and Semi Final opponents.

Therefore, you can't really guarantee the top seed is going to be standing in the way of Karlovic in any potential Final next weekend and so I will keep the Croatian in my book this week with an each-way interest.

I am not making an outright pick from the tournaments in Buenos Aires or Doha this week- the former should be won by David Ferrer, but he looks short in the market considering the form he has displayed over the last six months, while the tournament in Doha looks very open as far as I am concerned and will be one I take an interest in for future WTA tournaments going forward.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray @ 3.50 William Hill (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov @ 23.00 Boyle Sports (1 Unit E/W)
Ivo Karlovic @ 13.00 Coral (1 Unit E/W)

Weekly Picks: 4-8, - 7.46 Units (22 Units Staked, - 33.91% Yield)
Outright Picks: 0-1, - 1 Unit (1 Unit Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2014- 11.13 Units (178 Units Staked, - 6.25% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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