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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Monte Carlo Tennis Picks 2014 (April 15th)

The first couple of days of a Masters event that is taking place over the course of a week are surprisingly limited in terms of the amount of matches they put on the court and that has been the case in Monte Carlo this week.

It also means that the Tuesday of the event is usually a full schedule as the tournament concludes the First Round matches and also gets the top seeded players underway with some of the Second Round matches.


I only had the one pick on Monday but wrongly picked Benoit Paire to come through his First Round match against Albert Montanes- it was a pretty poor display from the Frenchman, with the choice of shots being particularly poor, and he almost looked disinterested for a set and a bit.

Paire did push on to a three set loss, but it was still a poor display in most regards and he could find himself slipping down the Rankings over the next couple of months unless Paire puts in more effort than he seemingly did yesterday.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: I have to be honest and say that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has looked like a player that has perhaps lost a little bit of power in the off-season through the work he may have done on improving his fitness.

He hasn't had the results he was perhaps expecting to open 2014 and the clay court season is not his favourite part of the Tour, but I still think he can get the better of Philipp Kohlschreiber, a player he has beaten in 6 of their previous 7 meetings.

I respect what Kohlschreiber brings to the court- he has a decent serve and heavy enough groundies to be able to have significant success in this match, but he also has a mental issue when playing some of the better players.

The backhand wing will be dominated by the German, but I think Tsonga will still find a little more as the match goes on and find a 75, 75 win.


Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Marcel Granollers: Grigor Dimitrov has not beaten Marcel Granollers in their two previous matches, and the latter is also a little more comfortable on the clay courts with plenty of tournaments played on the surface this season.

However, Granollers is not the stereotypical Spaniard who loves the clay courts over the other surfaces and I actually think his game is better suited to the faster surfaces.

On the slower courts, his lack of fizz off the serve and the groundies don't have the same penetration and that is where Dimitrov should be able to take advantage of the First Round match. The first match on the clay courts can be a concern (although Dimitrov has won a Davis Cup match on the surface two weeks ago), but I still think the Bulgarian youngster should be too good.

There are times that Dimitrov can be erratic in his play, but the consistency is certainly coming into his game and I like him to win 63, 64.


Gael Monfils - 2.5 games v Kevin Anderson: The slower courts should level things up against some of the biggest servers on the Tour, but the likes of Kevin Anderson may also enjoy having a little more time to really get after their big groundstrokes.

The downside of playing on the clay courts is that their opponents can get a decent read on the return of serve and someone like Gael Monfils could make life extremely frustrating for Anderson with his defensive skills.

Monfils is consistent across the surfaces, but he has opened 2014 in decent nick and I think that he will force Anderson into enough uncomfortable positions to earn breaks of serve.

If the Frenchman is focused for the first clay court match of his season, he should be able to come through this tough First Round match with a 76, 75 win under his belt.


Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v Fernando Verdasco: Fernando Verdasco leads the head to head between these two players 5-4 coming into this match, but I believe Marin Cilic is going to be able to level their series with a win in this First Round match.

You have to give credit to Verdasco for winning the title in Houston last week, but he hasn't had long to travel across to Europe and get accustomed to the conditions in Monte Carlo. That could be a problem against a player as good as Cilic who would have arrived here a few days ago to get ready for the clay court season.

I have said a few times how highly I rate the Cilic return game and that should help him get involved in the Spaniard's service games.

Add in the more aggressive serving that has helped Cilic to a good, positive start to 2014, and I think he proves too strong for what could be a tired Verdasco.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 0-1, - 2 Units (2 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

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