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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (February 22nd)

It wasn't a good day for the picks on Friday and has put the week in a difficult spot, although the saving grace is all three outright picks are still in action and have every chance of winning the tournaments they are competing in.

The most difficult of those is John Isner who takes on Marin Cilic in the Semi Final in Delray Beach and the way the latter has been playing, it is tough to see anyone stopping him taking the title home this week which will be the second in three weeks.

The biggest surprise yesterday was seeing Serena Williams being beaten by Alize Cornet and she was beaten... There have been times in the past when you think Williams may have beaten herself, or she has picked up a niggle, but that wasn't the case in Dubai and the Frenchwoman simply out-performed her.

It will always be surprise when Serena is beaten by anyone other than Victoria Azarenka in my opinion and even losing to the latter will raise some eyebrows, but it will still be considered a good week for Williams to get back on the court. Now the big interest is whether she will take her place at Indian Wells having deliberately skipped the event for a decade due to the poor reception she and Venus got there, but we will have to wait two weeks for our answers to that question.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games v Jan-Lennard Struff: The battle between the players with two barrelled first names will be the second Semi Final in Marseille and I think Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will have taken a lot out of his Quarter Final win as he looks to reach another Final in front of his home support.

After losing the tie-break, Tsonga dismantled Edouard Roger-Vasselin and his confidence should be in a very good place in time for this Semi Final.

Struff had a much easier time in the Quarter Final as he beat a listless Michael Llodra without too many problems, but I can't see Tsonga performing as badly and letting Struff come through his service games with no issues to deal with.

We all know the size of the Tsonga game and while it may take a little while to get used to what he is seeing from Struff in their first meeting, I expect the heavy ground strokes to eventually wear down his opponent and produce a 75, 63 win.

Alize Cornet + 3.5 games v Venus Williams: Beating both Williams sisters in consecutive days is not an easy task for any player on the WTA Tour, but Alize Cornet has got through the 'tougher' of the two these days and must have a good feeling about her chances in this match.

However, I think Venus Williams is playing some special tennis and is going to be a hard to stop having built up so much momentum this week already and she is yet to drop a set.

The question is whether Cornet can keep the same level of intensity and form that helped her knock of Serena last night and thus make this a competitive match? I think she will be given chances on the Williams serve which has been a touch vulnerable at times and it will all depend on whether Cornet can keep her head straight.

Usually, I would not back a player that has just beaten Serena Williams in her next match because it does take a lot out of someone, but Cornet held her nerve so effectively yesterday that I can see her taking at least one set in this one and perhaps making it very competitive through the match in the Final.

Kevin Anderson - 2.5 games v Steve Johnson: I have been burned twice by Steve Johnson already this week, but I am going to the well one more time in the belief that he won't get the better of Kevin Anderson in this Semi Final.

Johnson actually beat Anderson last month, but that was with the South African suffering some sort of illness and I think a fully capable Anderson will prove a little too good.

He came through a three setter against Marinko Matosevic yesterday, but dominated the match and could have won much easier than the scoreline may suggest, while I think Johnson has played a lot of tennis over the last month and may struggle to keep up.

The American has a decent serve that has got him out of trouble at times, but I think Anderson will pose a lot of pressure with his own serve and that may eventually wear down Johnson with a 76, 64 win for the higher-Ranked player.

Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v John Isner: I may have backed John Isner to reach the Final at the very least in Delray Beach this week, but this does not look a good match up for the American who hasn't played that well all week.

At the moment, Marin Cilic seems completely zoned in when it comes to match tennis and he has a return of serve that can at least pressure Isner and not allow him to have as many easy games as he usually expects.

In all honesty, the Isner serve hasn't been in top form this week either and unless that changes drastically, I think Cilic will create the more chances.

The Croatian has also served effectively the last three weeks and, again, if that changes drastically, the outcome may do to. Unfortunately for Isner, I can't see anything but a 76, 63 win for Cilic in this one.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alize Cornet + 3.5 Games @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson - 2.5 Games @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 15-16, - 1.95 Units (60 Units Staked, - 3.25% Yield)

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