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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Rome Tennis Picks 2014 (May 13th)

It wasn't a good Monday for the picks as the last week's poor form carried over to the opening day of the Rome Masters, but it is still early in the week and the return of the big names to the court should hopefully provide better results.

Marin Cilic v Santiago Giraldo: The last month has been the most consistent one that Santiago Giraldo has put together on the main Tour and he followed up his appearance in the Final in Barcelona with a Quarter Final showing in Madrid last week.

Giraldo continued the solid form he has been showing by winning a couple of qualifiers here in Rome too and he has plenty of big names beaten in the last few weeks with the likes of Andy Murray, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nicolas Almagro all beaten, so Marin Cilic won't hold too many fears for the South American.

However, I think Cilic serves well enough to give Giraldo something else to think about, especially if he continues to return as aggressively as he has been in 2014.

The Croatian hasn't been as good form as he was showing a couple of months ago, but Cilic has won all three previous matches against Giraldo and is yet to drop a set against him. As well as Giraldo has been playing, I believe he might be a touch over-rated in this First Round match and I will back Cilic to come through.

Tommy Haas v Andreas Seppi: Rome hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Tommy Haas in recent seasons and he is playing an opponent that will be getting a lot of support from the home crowd which could make this a very tough First Round match for the German.

Andreas Seppi hasn't been having a great 2014, but he is still an awkward customer and the Italian support should help him really take the attack to Haas.

However, I do think Haas' has a strong head to head record against Seppi because he has the more consistent serve and can earn cheaper points on that shot. That wasn't the case in a surprising early loss in Madrid last week, but it has only been two weeks since Haas beat Seppi in Germany.

That was a very close match that was decided by two points and this is bound to be another close match, but I think Haas will be able to set up the points more consistently on his own serve and come through in three sets again against Seppi.

Stanislas Wawrinka - 5.5 games v Pere Riba: Pere Riba surprised me by coming through his First Round match against Paolo Lorenzi, but there is little doubt that the competition he will be facing on Tuesday has been ratcheted up to a whole new level.

Riba spends the majority of his time on the Challenger circuit and there really isn't a lot about his game that will be giving Stanislas Wawrinka a sleepless night ahead of this match.

The win in the First Round was the first on the main Tour on a clay court for Riba since 2011, while Wawrinka should be more focused after being beaten in the First Round in Madrid last week in surprising circumstances.

I expect Wawrinka will dominate behind the heavier serve and groundstrokes and he should be good enough to record a 64, 62 win.

David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Mikhail Kukushkin: David Ferrer crushed Mikhail Kukushkin when they met on the hard courts earlier this season and I think the clay courts are only going to work in his favour that little bit more.

It has been a strange kind of season for Ferrer who has beaten Rafael Nadal on clay, but who has been dismissed by Teimuraz Gabashvili on the surface too. He will have to be aware of the decent serve that Kukushkin does possess, but the Kazakhstan player has never really enjoyed the slower surface.

Before his win in the First Round, Kukushkin had lost 8 in a row including 4 in a row on the clay courts and I think he will have trouble in the slightly slower conditions in Rome that will come with an overcast day that is expected.

Ferrer has to serve better than he has been in recent weeks, but the Spaniard can pick up a 63, 63 win to move through to the Third Round.

Roberta Vinci - 2.5 games v Ekaterina Makarova: Both Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci have had a downturn in their form in 2014, but the Italians are back in front of their home crowd on a surface that should favour their games.

I expect Vinci to show that in her First Round match against Ekaterina Makarova who has generally struggled when it comes to the slower clay courts.

That could be down to the lack of patience and consistency that Makarova shows off the ground and I think Vinci can force mistakes with the extended rallies that are likely to come about on the surface.

Vinci hasn't been in great form, but did reach the Third Round in Madrid last week after a Quarter Final appearance in Oeiras the week before and that might have restored enough confidence to come through this First Round match.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic @ 1.92 Stan James (2 Units)
Tommy Haas @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Stanislas Wawrinka - 5.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Rome Update: 1-3, - 4.54 Units (8 Units Staked, - 56.75% Yield)

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