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Friday, 21 March 2014

Miami Tennis Picks 2014 (March 21st)

It is time for the television cameras to pick up the action from the Miami Masters tournament after beginning to show the Premier Event yesterday and the event really feels like it is going to be underway now all the big names are ready to begin their title challenge.

That is no disrespect to the other players on the Tour, but every sport is really determined by the power of the star names and so it only really feels an event's status is linked with which names are involved in it.


The picks made a decent start to the tournament here with a 2-1 beginning on Thursday, although I was a little disappointed that Maria Sharapova couldn't quite cover the games in her win over Karumi Nara. With Serena Williams making a comfortable start to her week too, I am pretty satisfied with the beginning of the Miami event and hope that can be built on over the next nine days.


Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Ivo Karlovic: Fans of 'old school' tennis may enjoy this Second Round match as both Ivo Karlovic and Roger Federer are going to want to get into the net to finish off points, while the serve-volley tactic will be in full force.

I don't think you can doubt that Karlovic has dropped a touch of pace in his play and he is just that little bit slower getting up to the net which gives his opponents more chances to break serve these days than in his prime.

A more aggressive Roger Federer may also be able to take advantage of that half-step and this may be a slightly more comfortable win than the layers may imagine. If you take the last 9 sets played between these players, albeit over a five year period, Federer has won every one and surprisingly only 2 have needed a tie-break to separate them.

With the form that he has displayed to open 2014, I can see Roger Federer winning this one 63, 64 using his more attacking game to keep Karlovic on his toes.


Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v Thiemo de Bakker: Coming through the qualifiers here in Miami will make Thiemo de Bakker a dangerous opponent in this Second Round for Fernando Verdasco, but I still expect the higher Ranked player to show his class and move through.

As big a game as de Bakker has, he has generally enjoyed the slower clay courts a lot more than the hard courts, although the conditions in Miami are not the quickest we will see through the year. The problem for de Bakker is finding the consistency to beat someone as talented as Verdasco unless the latter decides to shoot himself in the foot.

We know Verdasco has a decent serve and heavy groundstrokes that can really work well on the hard courts, but he is also liable to going through stretches in a match where he forgets he is a Singles player too and getting the ball in the court becomes unbelievably difficult for him.

However, Verdasco showed more resiliency at Indian Wells when facing pressure points on serve and I can see him being too good for de Bakker with a 64, 64 win.


Alize Cornet - 1.5 games v Andrea Petkovic: An interesting Second Round match is in prospect between these two players, but I had Alize Cornet as a stronger favourite to win the match than what is being priced up.

Cornet has been playing at a more consistent level over the last twelve months and she has certainly shown more form than Andrea Petkovic, including beating her in three sets in Paris earlier this season.

The German is also coming off a disappointing couple of losses to Camila Giorgi while also struggling to reach the level she did before an injury derailed her career somewhat. Petkovic is dangerous when she puts her tennis together, but that is happening less and less these days and I like Cornet to come through, possibly in three sets.

MY PICKS: Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alize Cornet - 1.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Miami Update: 2-1, + 2 Units (6 Units Staked, + 33% Yield)

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