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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 17th)

Dominic Thiem - 1.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: Dominic Thiem has openly admitted that he needs to get to grips on grass court tournaments, but being back on the clay has once again shown the potential this youngster has.

He has come through two Rounds in Hamburg and can start making serious moves up the Rankings if he can see off Leonardo Mayer in this Third Round match, although it has to be said that this will be a tough match for Thiem.

When they met in Madrid earlier this season, Thiem had to come from a set down to beat Mayer, although it could have been a different story if the latter had taken his limited chances to break serve.

Both will be looking for the first serve percentage points won to be the key to their success and I do respect how well Mayer has played through the first seven months of 2014. The Argentinian has to be full of confidence, but Thiem has a real belief in his own ability and I like him to come through in three tough sets.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 games v Tobias Kamke: Albert Einstein said it is an indication of madness when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Having backed the opponents of Tobias Kamke twice already this week, I am going back to the well to go against the German player who has shown little clay court form in the past. Alexandr Dolgopolov is not the most trust worthy player to go against Kamke, but the Ukrainian seems to be showing a lot more commitment to his tennis these days.

That has paid off with some big wins through 2014 and Dolgopolov is close to returning to the World Top 20 while recording a strong win in his first match in Hamburg.

Dolgopolov has performed well on the clay courts in his career including previously winning a Tour title on the surface. If he can serve well, I would expect his variation off the ground to cause problems for Kamke and result in a 76, 63 win.

Dusan Lajovic - 2.5 games v Filip Krajinovic: Two players from Serbia ups the ante for both Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic who can boost their Ranking with the points they can earn by getting into the Quarter Final of an ATP 500 event.

Lajovic has been showing improvements in his game, especially on the clay courts where he reached the Fourth Round at the French Open and the Quarter Final in Bastad last week. He has had two more impressive wins this week and might catch Filip Krajinovic who is trying to back up a big win over Fabio Fognini.

The older of the two players has also had a lot more experience playing at this level and those can be factored in on the side of Lajovic in this match.

There has been a fair amount of success earned by Krajinovic on the Challenger Tour on clay, but I think he might just have one too many factors going against him and Lajovic should move through.

Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 games v Alexander Zverev: I was surprised by the way Alexander Zverev had control of his emotions in his straight sets win over Mikhail Youzhny in the Second Round, especially when put under pressure.

It was not what I expected from a 17 year old who has not had a lot of experience at this level and I think it might be asking a lot for Zverev to continue his run when he comes up against Santiago Giraldo.

The Colombian has had a day to prepare for this match following his win over Benoit Paire and he has the power and the performances on clay to give Zverev all he can handle. It is also clear that the youngster is very high on confidence and playing with plenty of belief so the key for Giraldo will be getting the first set in the bag.

I think he can do that and that may have Zverev feeling his exploits from the week so far and Giraldo could come up with a 75, 64 win.

Kaia Kanepi - 4.5 games v Richel Hogenkamp: There is something a little strange in Richel Hogenkamp qualifying for Bastad for the second year in a row, but it has been rare to see her attempt to get into tournaments like this over the past twelve months.

Hogenkamp must enjoy the conditions in this part of Sweden, but Kaia Kanepi has been in very strong form over the last month and proved her determination by coming back from the edge of the cliff to beat Johanna Larsson.

As I said when backing Kanepi to beat Larsson, tiredness may be a factor but she did get a day to rest for this match and that could pave the way for another win on the red dirt.

She has generally competed at a much higher level than Hogenkamp and I think that experience and the power that Kanepi has will lead to a 64, 63 win.

Karolina Pliskova - 4.5 games v Shahar Peer: I haven't seen a lot of Karolina Pliskova, but I have seen a player with potential if she can keep hold of the unforced errors that can blight her game. She has a decent serve and return and I would expect Pliskova to move up from her current Ranking of 47.

She should prove to have a little too much in the locker for Shahar Peer who has been having worse and worse years since reaching 48 wins in the 2010 season. It is likely that Peer will buck that trend this season with four more wins needed to reach the 12 win mark she had last season, but it is clear that she is a player in real danger of falling out of the top 100 in the World Rankings.

Peer has only been beyond the Second Round in four tournaments over the last twelve months and I think Pliskova will be dictating this match.

As long as Pliskova can control the unforced error count, I would expect her to be too good for Peer and win this 63, 63.

Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 games v Dudi Sela: Ivo Karlovic improved to 6-0 against Dudi Sela last week and he continues to dominate the sets too with 14 of the last 15 won by the big man including 12 in a row.

As well as Dudi Sela competes, the Karlovic serve poses too many problems for the short, relatively speaking, Sela, while his own game can allow opportunities for players to break his own serve.

That goes for even a limited returner like Karlovic who forces enough balls back in play without an overbearing serve to return and then Sela has to control his errors to hold serve.

I've said Sela struggles with his errors at times and Karlovic should prove too strong again as long as his run to the Final in Newport hasn't affected him adversely, even with three days rest since that Final.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Kaia Kanepi - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-6, + 1.54 Units (26 Units Staked, + 5.92% Yield)

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