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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Miami Tennis Picks 2014 (March 27th)

Yesterday was a frustrating day for the picks not because they went 2-2 for the day, but Roger Federer was beaten in his Quarter Final and means I am down to my final two players in the outright picks I made at the start of the event.

I have absolutely no idea what happened to Federer during the match against Kei Nishikori, but I have read his comments about being disappointed with his serve and that shot letting him down after being so strong over the last month.

The fact of the matter is Federer was a set and a break up, twice, but couldn't put away Nishikori despite my feeling that the latter may have been physically and mentally exhausted after his three set win over David Ferrer.

From the end of the first set to the conclusion of the match, the Federer serve seemed to disappear, but he will look at this week as one that could have produced so much more. He will be improving in the Rankings this week though and that is important as we get set to enter the clay court season and particularly when we get to Wimbledon where Federer will certainly feel he has one of the better chances to add to his Grand Slam career tally.

Novak Djokovic will be the strong favourite to win the men's Masters tournament after seeing off Andy Murray with the aid of a controversial point at the end of the first set. That seemingly played havoc on Murray's mind as he failed to make the second set competitive and now the Serb will be the one people will expect to win back to back Masters tournaments following his win in Indian Wells.

I am still hopeful that Rafael Nadal can win his first title in Miami having been a three time Finalist before, but the Spaniard does have the tougher tests ahead of him from here on out.

I also still have Serena Williams on my side and she must have hardened as the favourite to win the women's Premier Event and take her first title since before the Australian Open.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Maria Sharapova: The last two times Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova have played, the matches have been more competitive on the scoreboard than usual but a lot of that has to do with the way the Russian has saved critical break points.

Unfortunately for Sharapova, she is likely going to need to fend off plenty more in this match which is clearly one that excites Serena Williams and that is not a good thing for her opponent.

Williams was very complimentary of Sharapova in her press conference a couple of days ago, but there is a clear dislike between the players and the American likes to embarrass Sharapova where she can.

She was serving much better in her last two matches and that doesn't bode well for Sharapova... I think Williams will create the chances to win this match fairly comfortably and I will back her to take this match with a 63, 63 win.

Na Li - 3.5 games v Dominika Cibulkova: Na Li has played pretty efficiently this week and I think it will be tough for Dominika Cibulkova to perhaps rally against an opponent that matches up very well against her.

Yesterday, Cibulkova fended off match points to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in the Quarter Final and had to win the match in three long sets.

It was poor serving that kept Cibulkova in real trouble as she was broken in 8 of her first 9 service games and any kind of similar performance today will see Li win comfortably.

This has been a good match up for Li as she has more power and the better serve of the two players, while also producing the consistent tennis that is enough to take away the speed and movement of Cibulkova. They played a three set match in the last tournament in Indian Wells, but that was down to a sloppy second set from Li and I expect this one to be a little more straight-forward.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Alexandr Dolgopolov: I have to say I am liking the change in attitude that Alexandr Dolgopolov is bringing to the court at the moment, but I am still yet to discover if he can handle the amount of tennis he has been playing in the last month.

Dolgopolov has reached a Final in Buenos Aires, a Semi Final in Acapulco and Indian Wells and now the Quarter Final here in Miami.

He is not someone that is used to this kind of consistent success and I think he will be pressured to breaking point by Tomas Berdych who has been in very good form in 2014 bar his early exit at Indian Wells.

Berdych should keep the pressure on Dolgopolov with his serve and I think he is returning serve a little more aggressively to keep his opponent off balance. I respect how well Dolgopolov has been playing, but Berdych is feeling confident and I think he finds the 76, 63 win in this Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Na Li - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Miami Update: 13-8, + 7.76 Units (42 Units Staked, + 18.48% Yield)

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