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Monday, 4 August 2014

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2014 (August 4th)

Last week was a miserable one for the picks to the extent that I didn't feel I was getting a good enough read to make picks from the final two days of the tournaments.

There was an interesting finish in Washington where the two top Canadian players will be meeting in the Final at the time of writing- that seems like they have peaked too early to defend the points that both Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil picked up at their home Masters event last season and asking both to dig deep for another long week, at a higher level no less, looks a big task for them going forward.

The Canadian Masters really begins the countdown towards the US Open which is now three weeks away from commencing- the big news last week was that Rafael Nadal was going to miss the two hard court Masters event this summer with a wrist injury and so the markets have priced up Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer at very short prices to win this tournament.

They are the most likely winners as far as I am concerned, but a long break from the Tour as well as tough opponents from the very first match meant I took a watching brief this week in both the men's event in Toronto and the women's Premier Event in Montreal.

Serena Williams will be a big favourite having reached the Final in Stanford to remove the doubts about her fitness, although whether she wins that title or not may also have another effect on the prices. Williams is still the player to beat, even in a down year, but again I want to see how players are performing ahead of the US Open rather than backing someone to win a tournament at short prices.

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games v Denis Istomin: I am always surprised that Marin Cilic decides to stay for the European clay court summer tournaments rather than make the move to the hard courts in North America, but I guess the appearance fee from Umag is too much to ignore.

In my opinion, the heavier and more aggressive stance that Cilic has taken since employing Goran Ivanisevic should work very well on the faster surfaces, particularly as the Croatian is a decent return of serve.

His own serve should be more effective on the hard courts and I expect him to get back to winning ways against Denis Istomin. Istomin won their last meeting to snap a four match losing run against Cilic, and he has been in decent nick this summer.

However, Istomin is inconsistent at best and I do believe Cilic forces him to play too many shots in this one with his serve coming back with some interest which should lead to the higher Ranked player coming through. Over the next few weeks, Cilic can really move up the Rankings with nothing to defend from last season and I like him to win this one 63, 76.

Benoit Paire - 2.5 games v Alejandro Falla: Backing Benoit Paire in 2014 hasn't been much fun for his supporters and now he is on the brink of falling out of the top 100 in the World Rankings- it was only eighteen months ago that Paire was being tipped by a French newspaper as a future World Number 1 and that pressure may have contributed to his poor performances since then.

However, I do feel he can get the better of Alejandro Falla, who Paire has beaten twice before, especially as Paire has a couple of qualifier wins under his belt to boost confidence. Add the fact that Falla has struggled mightily in recent weeks and the Frenchman may just have the edge.

My concern for Paire is his erratic nature and the lack of concentration that can see him go on long runs of making errors and losing games.

Even with that in mind, I think Paire's recent matches here in Toronto will help him with the conditions and those wins should give him the belief to come through 64, 76.

Marinko Matosevic - 2.5 games v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: I hate the 'Lucky Loser' concept when it is clearly being manipulated by the top Seed of the qualifiers pulling out with a retirement in the final round of qualifiers knowing he has a place in the draw.

That was the case for Marinko Matosevic whose 'retirement' allowed a compatriot to move into the main draw here in Toronto and it does leave a slightly bitter taste in the mouth.

However, the ATP have to clamp down on those rules and Matosevic didn't do anything wrong- I fully expect this 'Lucky Loser' to move into the Second Round against a Guillermo Garcia-Lopez who hasn't played a hard court match since March.

The Spaniard is happier on the slower surfaces where is serve isn't the weakness that it is on the faster surfaces- he just doesn't earn the cheap points that many others do and has to work hard to hold on to serve on any surface, but it becomes more of a pressure on the hard courts where one break can sometimes settle a set.

I don't think one break will be enough in this First Round match as Matosevic is erratic himself despite a decent first serve. He double faults far too much and can be over-aggressive, but that should be enough to see off Garcia-Lopez at the end.

It might take three sets, but I like Matosevic to win 63, 46, 64.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: These two compatriots have met seven times on the professional circuit and it is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has won all seven matches including three times this season.

It hasn't been a vintage season for Tsonga who doesn't have the same bite on his groundstrokes as he has had in previous seasons, but he should be able to get the better of Edouard Roger-Vasselin. The latter is more of a Doubles specialist, but he has the French flair to produce on a Singles court too, but might not have the belief he can beat his more renowned compatriot.

Tsonga hasn't been on a competitive court since his loss at Wimbledon to eventual Champion Novak Djokovic, but he has enjoyed this portion of the season and I believe he will be too good for Roger-Vasselin again.

Roberta Vinci - 2.5 games v Barbora Zahlavova Strycova: Barbora Zahlavova Strycova took advantage of Roberta Vinci's poor first six months of the 2014 season to beat the Italian and snap her four match losing run to her.

However, Vinci has definitely picked up her form this summer with back to back Finals reached on the clay of Bucharest and the hard courts of Istanbul and that confidence may see her return to something like her best.

Vinci works hard on the court, but she really has been overachieving the last two years as a Singles player considering the backhand weakness and the over-reliance on the slice. This has been worked out by others on the Tour, but her confidence was also shattered so her revival could see her surprise a few players during this hard court swing through to the US Open.

I also do believe that Zahlavova Strycova is perhaps a little over-rated in this match considering how well she played on the grass courts this season- she hasn't played since her Quarter Final at Wimbledon and may be a little rusty which could give Vinci the edge.

The Italian may just wear her down and record a 75, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Benoit Paire - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Final7-13, - 12.10 Units (40 Units Staked, - 30.25% Yield)

Season 2014+ 36.48 Units (1225.5 Units Staked, + 2.98% 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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