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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 24th)

The tennis has been spread out over a number of hours through the three ATP events taking place this week and that also means the layers are taking a different amount of time in pricing up the full markets.

That has meant putting up the different picks at different times too with the ones from Gstaad and Umag coming out before the ones in Atlanta.

On Thursday we have reached the conclusion of the Second Round at the events to set up the business end of the events over the weekend. So far the outright picks are both still in their respective tournaments, although John Isner is making his first appearance in Atlanta on Thursday.

So far the picks have been a mixed bag through the week so I am looking for more positive momentum in the last few days.

Robin Haase - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: Growing up as a young Swiss tennis player can't have been easy for Henri Laaksonen in recent years with the standard being set by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Laaksonen hasn't been at his best in 2014 as he struggles to improve his Ranking, but he took advantage of the Wild Card into Gstaad by winning in the First Round.

The points earned are important to him, but it might be tough to back that up against Robin Haase, even if the Dutchman looks set for his worst season on the Tour since 2010. The next two weeks are vital for Haase to prevent his Ranking falling heavily as he reached the Final here last season and also the Semi Final in Kitzbuhel which takes place next week.

It has been a tough season for Haase who hasn't been beyond the Second Round of any event since Bucharest back in April and that was only the second time he had achieved that aim all season. Now he has the chance to get into the Quarter Final with the draw looking a good one, although mentally Haase can certainly lose his way.

However, I would think he has enough experience to know what he is dealing with in Laaksonen and Haase actually crushed him last season in a qualifier so won't be overly surprised by what the youngster brings to the court. I would expect Haase to find a 63, 64 win in this one.

Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v Jan-Lennard Struff: It has been a poor few weeks for Jan-Lennard Struff who only saw his losing run end at four matches when his First Round opponent had to retire with an injury.

The clay courts have been a surface that Struff has been accustomed to, but I think Fernando Verdasco will have a little too much for him, even if the Spaniard is coming off back to back disappointing losses.

Verdasco's best results have come on the clay over the last three years as his abilities as a Singles players have diminished. He could conceivably have his best Singles season since 2011, but Verdasco has become more like the player he was in his early part of his career as someone who drops silly sets and loses matches unexpectedly.

These players met last year in Bastad when Verdasco used his power to complete a comfortable straight sets win, but I expect this to be closer although one that the Spaniard wins 64, 64.

Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 games v Borna Coric: Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen one 17 year old make waves on the Tour and now Borna Coric looks to do the same as he was given a Wild Card into the event in Umag.

Coric came through his First Round match in surprisingly routine fashion against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but he now plays a clay court specialist in Horacio Zeballos. However, the latter is now outside the top 100 in the World Rankings and all the memories of his fabulous run at the beginning of last season that saw Zeballos win a title by beating Rafael Nadal on the surface have now faded for casual fans.

Even with that in mind, Zeballos has won three qualifiers here and beat Ante Pavic in the First Round so I would think his confidence is going to be in a very good place. Zeballos also beat Coric here in the First Round last season and I think he is perhaps being under-rated in this one.

While the match went three sets last season, Zeballos dominated the final set and I think he will prove a little too good in this one too in a 46, 63, 64 win.

Fabio Fognini - 3.5 games v Albert Montanes: Last summer was dominated by the performances of Fabio Fognini on the clay courts as he reached the Final of three consecutive events, winning two of them.

That was always going to be a tough feat to repeat for Fognini, but it has to be considered a disappointment that he has reached one Semi Final and one Second Round so far this time around. The Italian can be so frustrating to watch with his attitude not always the greatest, but he is only five wins short of matching his tally from 2013 on clay.

The match up with Albert Montanes is awkward with the Spaniard very comfortable on clay too, but Montanes hasn't been in the best of form despite a solid First Round win. Montanes had lost four in a row on clay before that win and I am beginning to feel that 2013 was an exception for a player in the last throes of his career.

Expect a few breaks of serve for both men on Thursday, but I think Fognini will eventually prevail 64, 64 as long as he keeps his mind focused in the match. Another early defeat is likely to see Fognini drop out of the World Top 20 in the Rankings, although that is a better reflection of where he stands in the men's game.

John Isner - 3.5 games v Robby Ginepri: John Isner gets his tournament in Atlanta underway on Thursday and I would think he is going to be too good for Robby Ginepri who has seen his best days on the Tour.

Ginepri has not been in great form in recent weeks and even the win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in the First Round could be put down to the fact that the latter won a Challenger title last week. There were some tiredness issues with Stakhovsky and I don't think Ginepri will benefit from that against Isner who is very comfortable here in Atlanta.

The defending Champion has a fair few points to defend before the US Open which may prevent Isner moving into the top 10 of the World Rankings, but the form has been pretty consistent through 2014 with some disappointing results too.

The serve gives Isner a real opportunity on the hard courts against anyone and that pressure may break Ginepri as it did when the latter lost to Ivo Karlovic in Newport. A 63, 76 win for Isner looks on the cards in this one.

Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 games v Tim Smyczek: He might not like the 'Mad Dog' tag that has been given to him, but Marinko Matosevic sometimes deserves the moniker with his attitude on the court. He plays an aggressive brand of tennis with his groundstrokes and the body language, but can quickly get down on himself if he starts making consistent errors.

He had an easy First Round win over Victor Estrella who perhaps was a little tired from reaching the Bogota Semi Final last week and I expect Tim Smyczek to give him more of an examination in this one.

Smyczek plays the majority of his tennis on the hard courts and has been competing a lot more than Matosevic in recent weeks with the latter making his first appearance since Wimbledon.

However, Smyczek has had a tough season to this point and I think Matosevic can bully his way through for a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Robin Haase - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-6, - 2.46 Units (22 Units Staked, - 11.18% Yield)

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