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Friday, 28 February 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (February 28th)

The Semi Final in Dubai that everyone was looking forward to has been set between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and will definitely make good viewing for those lucky enough to tune in on Friday afternoon.

I've always loved when these two players meet one another because I think there is genuine needle between them, needle that can sometimes come to the surface on the court. You'll hear about the respect they have for one another and I don't dispute that, but they don't like one another and that brings a different dynamic to the court that always makes for fun tennis to watch.

The week has been a very good one for the picks, although I will once again update the weekly total on Friday once the matches in Acapulco are in the books. Those remaining picks from Thursday are played during the night (United Kingdom time) and one winner from the two remaining would make it three straight days with a positive return.

After this weekend, there will be a few days before the tournament in Indian Wells begins and it would be nice to be able to go into that event with the season looking in a much stronger position after a roller-coaster start to the 2014 season.

Any picks from the tournaments in Acapulco and Sao Paulo will be added on Friday once the markets are up for the matches that are being set during Thursday.

Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: Credit has to be given to Philipp Kohlschreiber for earning his 300th win on the Tour on Thursday, but he is now playing an opponent who is in great form and who holds an 8-1 head to head record between these two.

Kohlschreiber has had a pretty comfortable route through the draw so far and it's hard to argue against the fact that Tomas Berdych is going present a big step up in level of competition for him.

The Czech player has been serving very well and is playing the big points effectively- Berdych's confidence behind his serve also transfers to his return game and he has been placing pressure on opponents who know one break of serve could prove critical in sets.

He is playing solid tennis and limiting the mistakes he is making and that is where I believe he will be too strong for Kohlschreiber, a player he has dominated as I said above. This is the first time they have played in a couple of years and Kohlschreiber can sometimes put together some lights out serving, but Berdych is playing too well at the moment and I expect him to come through 64, 63 in this first Semi Final.

Roger Federer + 1.5 sets v Novak Djokovic: This is the Semi Final that everyone will be paying some keen attention to as we can really see how effective Roger Federer could potentially be in 2014 and whether he can win another Grand Slam title.

While he isn't the benchmark of men's tennis at the moment (Rafael Nadal takes that mantle), Novak Djokovic is still someone who is likely to be there or thereabouts when it comes to the Grand Slam prizes through the season. Losing out on the Australian Open title will be a real disappointment for Djokovic considering his dominance of that tournament in recent years, so getting back into the titles here in Dubai is important for him.

The layers seem confident in his chances to win this match, mainly because Federer hasn't really served that well so far. However, I expect the Swiss man to raise his game in this one and I think he has the tools to cause problems, particularly the short slice to the Djokovic backhand.

Federer will have to serve well to win the match, but he does match up pretty well against Djokovic as he can be aggressive enough to attack the second serves he will see and look to dictate rallies himself.

There are times when Federer still plays tennis at another level to his rivals and he usually takes advantage of that period to take a set off of Djokovic but has struggled to maintain the level to win the match. He has shown that in his recent matches against Djokovic, who really gets Federer's attention, and I don't think his chances of winning one set should be priced as it is.

Federico Delbonis - 3.5 games v Albert Montanes: This is an interesting Quarter Final between a veteran with a lot of experience and a young player who is beginning to make a regular impact on the Tour.

Albert Montanes has been slipping with his performances over the last twelve months and you have to think the gruelling Tour on the clay courts is perhaps wearing the 34 year old down these days. He will be put under pressure by Federico Delbonis' serve which can supply him some cheap points, while the confidence should be oozing from the Argentine after a come from behind win over Nicolas Almagro in the Second Round.

If Delbonis is serving well, it is going to be very hard for Montanes to really get a foothold in his service games, which also adds the pressure on his own vulnerable serve to keep up in the set.

Montanes will find breaks of serve if he gets as many chances as Almagro did in the Second Round, but I think he will also give up a lot of chances for Delbonis and I like the latter to find a 75, 64 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer + 1.5 Sets @ 2.33 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Federico Delbonis - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 11-5, + 12.10 Units (31 Units Staked, + 39.03% Yield)

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