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Monday, 10 February 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (February 10th)

The tournaments in Rotterdam, Memphis, Buenos Aires and Doha will all begin on Monday and I have made three outright picks for those events which can be read here.

Usually the first day of a new week is a quieter day, but the Rotterdam tournament is an ATP 500 event while the WTA tournament in Doha is one of the bigger tournaments outside of the Grand Slams and having a bigger draw than most means they will also get straight into the action.

Last week was a disappointing one when all was said and done, but it's a new week and a new game and hopefully the luck will be riding on my side this time around and bring in a decent week.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games v Florian Mayer: There is no doubt that Florian Mayer is still an awkward customer for a lot of players to deal with in the manner he takes to the court with a lot of variation in spin and speed that can bamboozle the rhythm of opponents.

One player that doesn't seem to be bothered by those antics is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has won all four previous matches between the players and mostly in comfortable fashion and I expect him to do the same in Rotterdam on Monday afternoon.

Tsonga's best performances in 2013 came on the indoor hard courts as his only title was won on the surface, while he reached the Final of another tournament on the surface and I think it will play well to his bigger, more aggressive game.

That is where Mayer's tactics of trying to slow down the play with spins and drop shots can hurt him against someone like Tsonga- the Frenchman has the speed to get around the court, while he is allowed to dictate a number of the rallies and should be able to impose his own game on the match.

There will be some attractive tennis to watch from the match, but I would expect Tsonga to prove a little too good and come through with a 63, 64 win.

Mona Barthel - 3.5 games v Annika Beck: Two compatriots who should know each pretty well meet in the First Round in Doha and I think the lower Ranked player, Mona Barthel, is the one that moves through to the next Round.

Both Barthel and Annika Beck had their best success on the indoor hard courts last season, although it was only Barthel that could find a way to transfer that onto the outdoor hard courts.

There has been something of a slump in form from Barthel over the last twelve months when she was touted as one of the up and coming stars on the WTA Tour, and she hasn't shown a lot to open 2014, but I feel she is the more solid player of the two in this match.

Barthel can also look back at good memories of comfortably disposing of Beck in their two previous professional matches and I think the latter has a habit of falling away in matches which should help Barthel cover the spread too.

It might go three sets, but Barthel to come through 62, 36, 63.

Roberta Vinci v Tsvetana Pironkova: Sometimes you have to have principals when it comes to making picks in any sport and I think there is absolutely no way that Tsvetana Pironkova should be a favourite to beat a player as good as Roberta Vinci on a hard court.

Now the only reason this will be a one unit pick is because Vinci hasn't opened 2014 in good form and is still to win her first match on the Tour, while I still have to respect Pironkova has come through the qualifiers and also won a title already this season when knocking off the likes of Sara Errani, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber.

That means I have to have some respect for the form of the Bulgarian compared with Vinci, but usually Pironkova has struggled on the Tour outside of the grass courts with a couple of exceptions proving the rule.

Vinci is still a player that can make life tough for anyone outside the top ten in the Rankings and has to be worth a small interest at odds against.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 Games @ 2.33 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mona Barthel - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci @ 2.10 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

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