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Friday, 18 April 2014

Monte Carlo Tennis Picks 2014 (April 18th)

The Monte Carlo Masters has reached the Quarter Final stage, but the Third round didn't pass without another surprise result as Tomas Berdych was beaten by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. There is no doubt in my mind that the key moment came in the second set with Berdych leading 3-2 and the game at 30-30 on the Garcia-Lopez serve.

The higher Ranked player missed a simple ball to bring up break point and seemed to lose all momentum at that point as he was then broken in 4 of the next 5 service games and was comfortably seen off in three sets.

The two underdogs I picked to win both also came up trumps on Thursday and that means there are four fairly large favourites in the Quarter Finals on Friday.

Milos Raonic + 3.5 games v Stanislas Wawrinka: I was very impressed with Stanislas Wawrinka in his crushing win over Marin Cilic in the Second Round and he has had a walkover in the Third Round to reach this Quarter Final.

There is little doubt that Wawrinka is a strong favourite to beat Milos Raonic on the clay courts having already beaten him twice on the faster hard courts that should suit the latter's big serving game more than these.

You have to also give Raonic some real credit for winning his first two matches in the manner he has and he will need to play aggressively in this one to cause a surprise. The big serve should set up some cheaper points, but the Canadian has to get on the front foot and get the forehand into play as soon as possible as any lengthy backhand battle will only be won by Wawrinka.

If Raonic is serving well, he should at least make this competitive and he could even steal a set if Wawrinka is not completely focused on a player he would be expecting to beat. It should keep the match competitive and even a 76, 64 loss for Raonic would be another for the big man to cover the spread.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v David Ferrer: I was not surprised by the number of games Rafael Nadal is being asked to cover against his compatriot David Ferrer, but I was surprised by the price on offer for him to do so and believe the 'King of Clay' should be backed in this one.

There won't be much going on during this Quarter Final that will surprise either player and they have so much experience playing one another that neither player will have a poor gameplan in place to win the match.

David Ferrer has caused some problems for Nadal, even on the clay courts, but generally Nadal finds a way to wear down a terrific competitor and come through fairly routinely.

If Nadal plays as he did against Andreas Seppi, he will have a few chances to break serve and I expect he will come through this match 64, 62 as long as the World Number 1 also focuses fully behind his own serve.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: It was his 29th birthday yesterday and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave himself a perfect present by coming from a set down to beat Fabio Fognini. I expect this will be an even bigger challenge for him against the Roger Federer of 2014 who has been in very strong form.

Last year, Tsonga stunned Federer in the Quarter Final of the French Open as he recorded a straight sets win to oust the 17 time Grand Slam Champion, but the form of both players is much changed from twelve months ago.

Federer has also recorded a comfortable win over Tsonga at the Australian Open and is playing very aggressively which should prove too good for the Frenchman. For the most part, Federer has been serving well this week, although he can't have the lapses he did against Lukas Rosol in the Third Round.

You know what you are going to get from Tsonga who is an under-rated player on the clay courts considering he does have the time to sit on his shots, but the backhand wing is really hit or miss and I expect Federer to break that down. There might be a few more breaks of serve than you would imagine in a match between players who serve as well as Federer and Tsonga do, but I like the Swiss man to come through 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Milos Raonic + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 2.40 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 6-4, + 3.96 Units (20 Units Staked, + 19.8% Yield)

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