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Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Miami Tennis Picks 2014 (March 25th)

This is the time of the week when you begin to notice whether it is going to be a really positive tournament for the picks, or whether it might be one of the more difficult weeks. Thankfully, the daily picks are beginning to move in a positive direction and I still have three of the four outright picks I made running.

While Serena Williams is likely to have hardened as the favourite in the women's tournament, the likes of Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray pose plenty of issues for the two outright picks I have in the men's tournament.

With a bit of luck, this could be the second Masters/Premier Event in a row that produces positive results and keeps the 2014 season ticking along nicely ahead of the clay court season which will be beginning in two weeks following the Davis Cup ties to be played in the first week of April.

David Ferrer - 2.5 games v Kei Nishikori: I wanted to take a watching brief with David Ferrer for the first couple of matches here after the injury he suffered in Acapulco that meant the Spaniard could not play at Indian Wells.

The tournament in Miami will hold a good memory for Ferrer as he reached the Final here twelve months ago and was extremely close to winning that event in a tough, grind it out Final against Andy Murray.

The match up with Kei Nishikori is one that should keep Ferrer in a decent rhythm and I think he has a little more mental toughness which has been shown in their last two matches.

I know a lot of people are high on Nishikori's potential, but personally I am not that big a fan of his game and I think Ferrer comes through this Fourth Round match with a 64, 64 win.

Andy Murray - 3.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Andy Murray may still be trying to work his way back to top form in 2014, but I think he has every chance of beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has also been struggling in recent weeks.

I have noticed that Tsonga seems to have lost quite a bit of weight, perhaps working hard on his movement through the off-season to try and bridge the gap to the very best players on the Tour. It also seems to have taken something away from him off the ground though and the Frenchman might be there for the taking at this stage of his bid to improve.

Of course, you can't under-estimate someone who serves as big as Tsonga can, especially as Murray has been erratic when it comes to protecting his own serve.

However, I think there will be too much consistency on the Brit's side of the court and that should be enough to come through 76, 63.

Maria Sharapova v Petra Kvitova: This looks like one of the more competitive Quarter Final matches in the WTA Premier Event and I think Maria Sharapova is going to get the better of Petra Kvitova.

It was an impressive last two sets from Kvitova in double-bagelling Ana Ivanovic in the last Round, but she is erratic and someone with the mental strength of Maria Sharapova should be able to take her on.

The serve is a problem for Sharapova as she is struggling for consistency off that wing, but I do believe she is going to have a little too much determination and will find a way to win the match.

Sharapova has won 4 of their 5 previous matches too, but she may need three sets to book her place in the Semi Final.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Angelique Kerber: Serena Williams missed Indian Wells two weeks ago, but it hasn't been the perfect start to 2014 with defeats at the Australian Open and Dubai in surprising situations.

Williams hasn't been at her most convincing this week either, although she did have her best performance of the week in her Fourth Round win and I think she has too much in her game for Angerlique Kerber.

I actually like Kerber as a player as she has the shot-making in her arsenal, but can also defend pretty well on the court, but I think Williams will be able to hit through her in this Quarter Final.

Kerber has been crushed the last two times she has faced Williams since a surprise win over the American in Cincinnati and I think there are times when the German goes through long stretches where she makes too many mistakes. That is critical against someone as good as Williams and should lead to another fairly routine win for the Number 1 player in the world.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova @ 1.75 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Miami Update: 8-5, + 5.14 Units (26 Units Staked, + 19.77% Yield)

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