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Friday, 16 May 2014

Rome Tennis Picks 2014 (May 16th)

When Jo-Wilfried Tsonga missed a number of chances to take the first set of his match against Milos Raonic, I tweeted out that I was hoping it wasn't going to be one of those days when the little bit of luck needed was not going to be on my side.

I had nothing to fear as the rest of the day proved to be very successful for the picks and has rebuilt the season totals that were so badly affected by a poor week in Madrid last week.

With the Quarter Finals all scheduled for Friday, hopefully the good run of the last couple of days can go on for a few more days before the French Open begins in a little over a week from today.

Milos Raonic - 3.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: Jeremy Chardy followed up his impressive win over Roger Federer with a comfortable one over Ivan Dodig, but his tournament could come to an end against the big-serving Canadian.

I backed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to beat Milos Raonic on Thursday, but the aggressive style of play that is favoured by the latter these days paid dividends once he got through a first set he should really have lost.

The match up with Chardy that is seemingly up Raonic's street as he has won all four previous matches they have played on the professional Tour, including a comfortable straight sets win in Madrid last week.

Raonic can put immense pressure on Chardy with his serve and it could lead to the Frenchman perhaps pushing too hard to stay with him. The groundies of Chardy can be erratic too and Raonic dominated his second serve last week to the extent that anything similar will give him a great chance to record another comfortable win against him and move into the Semi Final.

Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 games v Tommy Haas: The veteran Tommy Haas is showing very little sign of slowing down as a threat on the Tour and his win over Stanislas Wawrinka in the Third Round was impressive.

Arguably, Grigor Dimitrov's win over Tomas Berdych later in the afternoon was even more impressive in the manner it came about and this should lead to a top quality Quarter Final between two one-handed backhand exponents.

I am giving the edge to Dimitrov in the contest as I believe he will have a little more in the tank at this stage of their careers, while also slightly better when it comes to the serve and the return of serve. These can make all the difference in what should be a fascinating encounter and I like Dimitrov to come through with a 63, 46, 64 win.

Andy Murray + 4.5 games v Rafael Nadal: It is hard to believe that these two players have not met since 2011 considering they have both been at the top of the men's game in that time, so this is going to be an interesting match to view.

Andy Murray wanted the match with Rafael Nadal to assess how well his preparations have been going for the French Open, although I don't think anyone is confusing this Nadal with the one that has been so dominant on the clay courts over the last decade.

For the second match in a row, Nadal was pushed harder than expected and I think Murray has every chance of becoming the latest player to be able to do that. The Brit hasn't been serving as well as he will need to in this match, but I think he will also have a few chances to break serve as Nadal just isn't getting enough from that aspect of his game.

Can Murray win the match? I believe he could, but that will come down to taking the key points and keeping Nadal down if he gets into a strong position, something Mikhail Youzhny couldn't do on Thursday when leading 76, 20 before losing 11 games in a row.

Even a competitive loss would give Murray the cover and I think he will be able to do that at the least.

Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: I have backed Ana Ivanovic twice this week and I am going to risk being behind her for at least one more match- it is simply a risk because Ivanovic can blow hot and cold on a tennis court and you can't always be convinced with what you are going to see.

If she is cold, Carla Suarez Navarro has the nous and expertise on the clay courts to take advantage and move through to the Semi Final, but if Ivanovic is on her game, I would expect her to be too strong for the Spaniard.

The extra power should see Ivanovic through if she is on form, especially against the weaker second serve that Suarez Navarro possesses. The inconsistency is the biggest factor that can't be determined in Ivanovic's game at this moment, but I would think she can win this match 63, 64.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 2.5 games v Jelena Jankovic: Agnieszka Radwanska has won the last five matches in a row against Jelena Jankovic which suggests there is something not quite right in the match up for the Serb.

I can't quite put my finger on what that is apart from the fact that Radwanska employs a few more variations in her game and that might be hurting the rhythm that Jankovic likes to play with.

Losing rhythm means more unforced errors against an opponent that thrives on them and that is where I think the clay courts will only make it harder for Jankovic to hit through her opponent.

She did win their only previous meeting on a clay court, but I expect Radwanska to square that up here with a 63, 57, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Milos Raonic - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Andy Murray + 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Rome Update: 12-6, + 9.26 Units (36 Units Staked, + 25.72% Yield)

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