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Friday, 7 March 2014

Indian Wells Tennis Picks (March 7th)

Without a doubt, yesterday was the kind of day that rubs me up the wrong way as one pick is beaten because a player can't serve out a match (Santiago Giraldo would have covered with a 62 close out in the third set but is broken, only to hold for a 64 win) and the other is not helped with some lazy play with the match firmly on their racquet (Jeremy Chardy was leading 3-1, 30-0* but poor effort allowed Rhyne Williams to stick around).

The only pick that was truly terrible as Denis Istomin was hammered early and late in a three set loss against Radek Stepanek, but it does feel like I have left a winning day out there with those two picks and those are the ones you remember at the end of the week if the picks haven't produced enough winners.

To be fair, the Chardy pick had chances in the first and second set to win without the need for a tie-break, but the Giraldo pick was the one that bothered me more as he did have a chance to serve for the match that would have seen him cover the games.

I hope the luck is on my side on Friday as the First Round matches in the ATP draw are completed and the Second Round gets underway in the WTA.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 games v Heather Watson: These two players have met twice in the past and it has been fairly routine for Agnieszka Radwanska in those matches, but she has to improve the form she has shown over the last month.

That is because Heather Watson has been in decent form herself and has won a lower level tournament and come through three matches at Indian Wells so far this week.

My problem for Watson is that she plays a similar style to Radwanska and I am not sure she has enough, at this moment in time at least, to give the Pole something else to think about. It should be a fairly comfortable time on court for Radwanska in the style of play that she will see and that should give her the edge despite a couple of very disappointing defeats during the Tour stops in Doha and Dubai.

There should be some long rallies that prove to be pivotal when it comes to the final score in the match, but I think Radwanska will win more than she loses and comes through 64, 62.

Lucie Safarova - 3.5 games v Yanina Wickmayer: Lucie Safarova has made a decent start to 2014 and she was serving impressively in Doha and Dubai and anything similar to that level of play should be too good for Yanina Wickmayer in this Second Round match.

It has been a couple of years since Wickmayer has really been a threat at tournaments, but she can still produce some top tennis at times which makes her dangerous. However, if Safarova can weather that storm and stay with the Belgian, she will get chances to break serve.

At the end of the day, Wickmayer produces too many fluctuations in her game and is susceptible to playing a few poor games in a set. Therefore, and I say again as long as Safarova serves well, there should be the opportunity for the higher Ranked player to come through with a 76, 63 win in this match.

Elena Vesnina v Annika Beck: Last year was a career year as a singles player for Elena Vesnina, but it has been harder work to start 2014 although an injury early in the season and a bad draw in her last tournament can be forgiven I feel.

I am surprised that she has been set as the underdog in this Second Round match against Annika Beck because I still feel the Russian has the bigger game that should produce more winning tennis.

There are times when Vesnina can be too loose with her tennis which gives up a lot of unforced errors, but I would expect Beck to also give up opportunities to break serve.

Vesnina should have the more success behind her serve than Beck does and she did crush her opponent for the loss of 2 games at the US Open last August. However, she hasn't been playing as well this season as she did last and I expect this to be closer, although I still believe Vesnina wins the match in three sets.

Paolo Lorenzi v Pablo Carreno-Busta: Two players who would feel much more comfortable on the clay courts are to play in the First Round here, but both should feel a little happier with the slower conditions that are in force at Indian Wells.

Out of the two players, Paolo Lorenzi has had more success on the hard courts and has also won a couple of qualifiers here which should give him a little more confidence than his opponent.

On the other hand, Pablo Carreno-Busta has lost 6 of the 7 matches he has played this season and that includes 3 defeats on the hard courts this season, although two of those matches were very close.

I expect this match will also be very close, but Lorenzi's added experience may prove to be critical in this one and I like the Italian to come through, albeit it may take three sets.

Feliciano Lopez - 2.5 games v Dudi Sela: I really believe the poor returning of Feliciano Lopez keeps his spreads relatively low in matches he should be winning and that is the case with this First Round match against Dudi Sela.

Of the two players, Lopez is the more likely to come through service games with less issues, and that is the key to the entire match.

Both players should have success behind serve, but Sela is liable in throwing in a couple of games where he presents chances for his opponent to break serve. The fact that Lopez 'should' dominate behind serve only increases the pressure on Sela who will begin to feel he cannot afford to drop serve and that anxiety can lead to errors that end up costing him games and sets.

It could come down to the first set, which is likely to end in a tie-break, and if Lopez can take that, I expect he will come through 76, 64.

MY PICKS: Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Elena Vesnina @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Paolo Lorenzi @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 3-3, - 0.50 Units (12 Units Staked, - 4.17% Yield)

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