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Monday, 5 May 2014

Madrid Tennis Picks 2014 (May 5th)

The Madrid Masters/Premier Event got underway on Saturday as the lead up to the second Grand Slam of the season really gets going with that tournament set to get going in three weeks time.

The big news ahead of the tournament was the decision of Novak Djokovic to withdraw from the event as his wrist injury seems to have responded negatively this week. His fans have to be worried about his chances to really compete for the French Open title that he has desired for so long having come as close as he did twelve months ago to beating Rafael Nadal too, but the longer term implications have to be a real concern for Djokovic himself.

Wrist issues are never straight-forward in tennis and the only way they can truly be helped is with an extended period off the court, but this is not exactly the time of the year that any player would want to miss. However, Djokovic may be able to deal with the pain now, but I do fear for the chances of him really competing at Wimbledon and the US Open in the coming months.

I am not a doctor and I certainly don't have any inside information as to what Djokovic is actually dealing with here, but I do know it has to be something serious enough to see him miss a Masters tournament, especially one that puts into doubt his ability to perform in Rome next week and Paris in three weeks time.

Djokovic's absence makes Rafael Nadal an even stronger favourite with the layers to win this tournament, but I don't believe there will be a big rush to back a player that has suffered two disappointing defeats on his favoured clay courts over the last month.

Both David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro have had surprise successes against Nadal at Monte Carlo and Barcelona respectively and I have been wondering if there is some sort of injury that the Spaniard is still carrying.

It also means another couple of weeks without winning another clay court title either here in Madrid or in Rome will have Nadal going into Roland Garros at his most vulnerable than he has perhaps ever been.

There are some players that will feel they can take advantage if the World Number 1 and 2 are both suffering with some doubts, most likely Stanislas Wawrinka who won the Monte Carlo Masters to add to his first Grand Slam title, and that makes this week an interesting viewing, rather than getting involved in the outright markets.

The WTA Premier Event running alongside the Masters sees the return of Serena Williams to the court and I think it is best to keep clear of investing an interest in the draw with Roland Garros coming up and players making their returns. It might give us an idea as to which players could potentially win the event in Paris later this month, but I still feel it is hard to look past Williams even if she has not been as successful at the Grand Slam events than she perhaps should have been in the last two years.

RIP Elena Baltacha- it was only recently announced that Elena Baltacha was battling against liver cancer and it was a real shock to the system to hear she had passed away aged 30. An absolute no age to pass on...

I will be making picks every day from the tournament as long as I find some matches that I like and will hopefully be able to build on a solid four months that have opened the 2014 season. The next month has usually been one of the more favoured periods of the season for me, but there is no guarantee that every season will prove to be the same.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: Over the years, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has been able to get the better of his compatriot Edouard Roger-Vasselin and I would expect him to do the same in this First Round match in Madrid.

Tsonga has the better clay court pedigree of the two players and I would expect the conditions in Madrid to also favour his game with the high altitude helping the ball fly through the court.

The bigger serve and the heavier groundstrokes are going to be on Tsonga's side of the court and I expect he will have a little too much when it comes to returning serve and come through 64, 63.

Federico Delbonis - 2.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: Feliciano Lopez has lost his last two matches since having to retire in Houston and I think he is going to have his hands full against Federico Delbonis who is very comfortable on the clay courts.

Lopez is capable of playing on the red dirt, especially in a place like Madrid where his serve is going to help him win a lot of free points and the aggressive, attacking tennis could pay dividends.

However, I am wondering if Lopez is fully over the ailment that forced the retirement in Houston, while Federico Delbonis has enjoyed the most success at this level on the clay courts to this point of his career.

The first set is likely to be very competitive, but Delbonis could come through with a little more room in the second if he can take the set and I like the Argentinian to come through 76, 64.

Grigor Dimitrov - 4.5 games v Pablo Carreno-Busta: Last season, at this time of the season, Grigor Dimitrov announced himself to a wider audience by beating Novak Djokovic and pushing Rafael Nadal and he could be an outside threat to win the tournament in Madrid this week.

This isn't an easy First Round match though against Pablo Carreno-Busta who is very comfortable playing on this surface, although the Spaniard hasn't been in the best of form coming into the tournament in his home country.

I would be expecting Dimitrov, who has also won a title on the clay courts already this season, to use his serve to really give him an advantage in the match as that should allow him to pressure Carreno-Busta. If Dimitrov is serving well, all the mental pressure will be on his opponent in trying to keep up and Carreno-Busta is liable to losing a set by a wide margin.

Dimitrov should be able to book his place in the Second Round without too many issues along the way and I like him to come through 63, 64.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Federico Delbonis - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Picks Final7-6, - 0.11 Units (25 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)

Season 2014+ 36 Units (586 Units Staked, + 6.14% 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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