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Monday, 24 March 2014

Miami Tennis Picks 2014 (March 24th)

It was a much better Sunday with both picks made from the day coming in, although Roger Federer looked like he was going to miss his chance to record a comfortable enough win to cover the spread on the day.

Federer was dominant in his win over Thiemo de Bakker and had plenty of opportunities to break serve through the contest, while continuing to serve effectively and that also means well for the outright pick I made on the Swiss man winning in Miami this week. The main threats of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray also made it through to the Fourth Round, but they are on a collision course to face one another before Roger Federer, although I don't think the latter is overlooking Richard Gasquet in the next Round.

Monday will see the likes of Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams take to the court as they continue their own attempt to win the title here and there is plenty more tennis to be played on this day as the last hard court tournament before the clay court season continues.

Milos Raonic - 3.5 games v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: One of those players that is likely to be looking forward to the coming couple of months is Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who will feel more comfortable back on the clay courts.

He has done well to reach the Third Round here in Miami, but I think the run will come to an end at the hands of the big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

I rarely back Raonic to cover games such as these because his return game doesn't really suggest he will earn a lot of breaks of serve, but I did notice he was standing in a more aggressive position on return in Indian Wells and that may give him more opportunities against the serve he will see in this match.

With Raonic's own serve putting scoreboard pressure on Garcia-Lopez, I think he will find a break in each set to record a 64, 64 win and book a place in the Fourth Round.

Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: It might be a slight concern for his fans when Stanislas Wawrinka admitted it has been a struggle to get motivated since winning the Australian Open, but I actually believe he has played some decent tennis all season.

It can be tough for a player who has broken through to win a Grand Slam to pick up their form after doing so, but Wawrinka has all the tools to see off someone like Edouard Roger-Vasselin in this Third Round match.

He is serving pretty well and has heavy groundstrokes that should keep Roger-Vasselin on the backfoot and Wawrinka also crushed the Frenchman on his way to winning the title in Chennai in January. I like the attitude Roger-Vasselin brings to a court, but I think there is a talent differential between the players that may be hard to bridge.

The serve can be attacked and that is where I expect Wawrinka to find his way to a 63, 64 win in this Third Round match.

Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Joao Sousa: Tomas Berdych didn't have a great start to the week in Miami but, unlike at Indian Wells, he did avoid the upset loss in the Second Round and that should put in him a good place to have a decent week.

This Third Round match should be a good chance for Berdych to play himself into some form as Joao Sousa plays a very rhythmic style of play that shouldn't force the Czech player to think too much about what he has to do on the court.

Sousa doesn't have a huge serve and like a lot of players that love the clay courts, he will look to extend the cross court rallies but that should allow Berdych to find his own groove off the ground.

With the serve being a big difference between the players, I expect Berdych to prove too strong as the match progresses and results in a 64, 62 win for the higher Ranked player.

John Isner - 1.5 games v Nicolas Almagro: With the way these two players can roll through their service games, I would not be surprised if this isn't the longest match of the day by a considerable distance, especially if it is concluded in straight sets.

Nicolas Almagro has produced on the hard courts in the past, but he is having a slow start to the season as he recovers from an injury that ended 2013 prematurely and the Spaniard decided to miss out on Indian Wells.

Despite having a decent serve, Almagro has been a little erratic off the ground and that would produce big problems if he gives up a break in this match against someone like John Isner.

I think that could be the problem for Almagro in this match and I will look for Isner to square up their head to head and come through with a 76, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Milos Raonic - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
John Isner - 1.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Miami Update: 5-4, + 1.3 Units (18 Units Staked, + 7.22% Yield)

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