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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (April 23rd)

A poor final day at the Monte Carlo Masters meant I had my first real losing week on the Tour for a couple of months and that is pretty good going. It also means the picks are in a decent place for the season as we continue on the clay court part of the year, which is also my favourite time for making picks with the better players being able to wear down their opponents.

This week the tournaments in Barcelona and Bucharest are shorn of most of the top players on the Tour who are getting ready for a big May that has two Masters tournaments in Madrid and Rome and also the French Open, the second Grand Slam event of the season.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - 2.5 games v Albert Montanes: The key to really being a good clay court player is learning to deal with the patience that you need to construct points on the slower surface and that is something I am not convinced that Alexandr Dolgopolov has mastered just yet.

The Ukrainian is having a strong 2014 season, but he was out-thought by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Monte Carlo, a Spaniard that is very comfortable on the red dirt.

Now he faces Albert Montanes, another Spaniard who saves his best tennis for the clay courts, in front of the Barcelona crowd that will attempt to offer him plenty of support. However, Montanes is not the same player of a few years ago and his serve can be attacked, while Dolgopolov has been protecting his own serve pretty well in the last couple of months.

Dolgopolov has to keep his head straight in what can be a frustrating match on a clay court against a defensive player like Montanes, but he has had a lot of success on the surface already in 2014 and I like him to win 75, 63.

Fabio Fognini - 3.5 games v Santiago Giraldo: These are two players very comfortable on the clay courts, but I would expect the Italian Fabio Fognini to prove a little too good over the course of the match.

Fognini has won 3 of their 4 previous matches and leads 2-1 on the clay courts, while there is no doubt that Fognini has shown far more form on the surface than Giraldo.

He was a little disappointing in his matches in Monte Carlo which were made more difficult than they should have been for Fognini, but the belief still has to be high when he is on the red dirt.

There have been times that I have seen Giraldo play some exceptional tennis, but I imagine Fognini frustrating him too much with his defence and coming through 75, 64.

Rafael Nadal - 6.5 games v Albert Ramos: It was a disappointing tournament in Monte Carlo for Rafael Nadal, but I don't think he will be worrying too much about his chances of dominating most clay court tournaments just yet.

It is important that Nadal wins in Barcelona just to make sure there are no nerves heading into a big month of tennis for him and I expect him to get off to a dominating start against Albert Ramos in this match.

I like the way Ramos plays on the clay courts, but he is going to sit in Nadal's comfort zone and the fact that he is left-handed means he will give the World Number 1 the rhythm he should enjoy. It was no surprise that Nadal won comfortably when they met last year at the same tournament and I like him to do the same this year.

Marin Cilic - 4.5 games v Andrey Kuznetsov: To say I was disappointed with the way Marin Cilic performed in his hammering at the hands of Stanislas Wawrinka is an under-statement, but I still am backing the Croatian to come through this match.

He didn't serve well and missed his limited chances against Wawrinka in Monte Carlo, but Cilic can at least point to the fact that his conquerer went on and won the tournament. He should have a more comfortable time against Andrey Kuznetsov who has already won three matches in Barcelona this week.

However, the clay courts have not seen Kuznetsov produce enough to think he can beat someone as talented as Cilic if the latter is on his game.

That is the key to the match, but Cilic should prove to be too good for the Russian in this match and come through 64, 63.

MY PICKS: Alexandr Dolgopolov - 2.5 Games @ 1.67 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 6.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 4.5 Games @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Final: 6-7, - 2.04 Units (26 Units Staked, - 7.85% Yield)

Season 2014+ 36.01 Units (545 Units Staked, + 6.61% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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