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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2014 (August 5th)

It was a frustrating Monday for fans in Toronto as rain played havoc through the day, although the tournament looks set to remain on schedule with all the matches coming to a conclusion (at the time of writing it seems that will be the case at least). The forecast for the first two days wasn't the best with scattered storms in the area so the rain delay was expected at the Masters event taking place in Toronto, but the Premier Event in Montreal escaped the poor forecast for the day.

There were some strange matches in the First Round with the likes of Marin Cilic, Benoit Paire and Julien Benneteau all coming through, despite some very poor performances on break points. The three of those combined to create 51 break point chances, but only took 15 of those opportunities, although it didn't end up costing any of them a place in the Second Round.

Most of the results on the first day, up to the point I am writing this, have gone the way that most would have expected as the tournaments got underway, but there are some big name players that are yet to join the action. Those names haven't played much, if at all, since Wimbledon and they could be vulnerable early in the event, although the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova will be big favourites in the Second Round regardless of who they play.

With the rain delays in Toronto, the tournament organisers have felt they need to hold off on the schedule of play for Tuesday and that also means I will hold off on my picks. I will try and get those up by lunchtime on Tuesday, which is still with plenty of time before the matches are scheduled to begin play from Canada and I will also update the results from the first day at that point.

Richard Gasquet - 2.5 games v Vasek Pospisil: He may have lost the two previous matches that these two players have competed in, including last week in Washington, but I will back Richard Gasquet to get a measure of revenge over Vasek Pospisil this week.

Last season, Pospisil really announced himself on the main Tour with a spectacular run in Montreal so he does have a lot of points to defend this week. However, he was looking a little more jaded at the end of last week in Washington and has only had a day rest between the Final there and his first match here in Toronto.

The serve will always give Pospisil a chance after his close win over Gasquet last week, even if the Canadian created the majority of the chances. Only six points separated the players and I think the added tiredness may give Gasquet the edge in this one as long as he deals with the home support his opponent will be receiving.

Gasquet has only won one of the five sets these players have competed, but I will be looking for his eye to be in a little more after seeing the Pospisil serve last week and a little tiredness in the legs of the Canadian to help Gasquet come through 76, 64.

Roger Federer - 5.5 games v Peter Polansky: Another home hope that may be sent packing on Tuesday is Peter Polansky even though he is coming off an impressive straight sets win over Jerzy Janowicz.

However, the level certainly increases by two or three levels as he takes on the 17 time Grand Slam Champion, Roger Federer, in the Second Round. Federer didn't play the Canadian Masters a year ago when he was out of form, but 2014 has been a turnaround year for the Swiss player and he comes in off a strong run at Wimbledon.

Federer didn't have enough to see off Novak Djokovic in the Final and his serve is not as effective as it used to be, but the bigger sized racquet he now uses is making him more aggressive on return and the back hand has improved for consistency. Even a serve working at 80% should be enough to keep Polansky on his toes and I do believe Federer will create chances to break serve in this one.

A first match back on the hard courts does need an adjustment period which would be my concern for the number of games Federer is being asked to cover, but I still fancy him to come through 63, 63 in this one.

Venus Williams - 3.5 games v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: There aren't many things that Anastasia Pavyluchenkova can say she has done on a tennis court that Venus Williams hasn't, but one of those is winning a match in Canada.

Let that sink in for a moment- Venus Williams, one of the leading women's players of all time has NEVER won a match in Canada!!

It's a statistic that could, and perhaps should, be rectified in this First Round clash on Tuesday, while some will point out that all of Williams' losses have been in Toronto and the move to Montreal may spark a change in fortunes.

Venus Williams isn't the player of old, but she remains a keen competitor and might be able to use her athleticism to force enough errors from Pavlyuchenkova. The Russian can put together some brilliant passages of tennis, but she will have to serve very well in this one and I think that might put too much pressure on her in a 76, 63 loss.

Camila Giorgi + 3.5 games v Andrea Petkovic: Andrea Petkovic is certainly in much better form than she began 2014 when she suffered consecutive defeats to Camila Giorgi, but I still believe the Italian has the power game to at least make this a competitive match.

Petkovic has only gone 6-6 on the hard courts this season, but she particularly struggled before April- since then, the German has won a title in Charleston and also reached the Semi Final at the French Open and last week in Stanford.

That would have upped the belief for Petkovic who has had injury-riddled two years on the Tour and wasn't sure she was going to make it back to the level she had reached. Petkovic is a very solid competitor, but Giorgi has the capability of reaching a very high, almost unplayable level at times.

It hasn't been the best few weeks for Giorgi on the Tour, but she enjoyed the hard courts last summer with her run to the US Open Fourth Round and I can see this match needing three tight sets to separate the two players.

Eugenie Bouchard - 4.5 games v Shelby Rogers: Eugenie Bouchard has handled the pressure of expectation very well this season since reaching the Semi Final at the Australian Open- she followed that with another Semi Final at the French Open before reaching the Wimbledon Final and the young Canadian is fulfilling the potential she has been expected to.

Now it will be a different sort of pressure playing in front of her home crowd who will be much more expectant than they would have been twelve months ago and it will be interesting to see how Bouchard deals with that.

This will be her first match since the Wimbledon Final annihilation at the hands of Petra Kvitova, but Bouchard has shown plenty of mental resolve and I expect her to be ready to compete against Shelby Rogers.

Rogers does have the benefit of matches under her belt, but she is yet to take her form on the lower level to the main Tour and I think she may struggle to handle the power Bouchard can bring to the court. I expect Bouchard to come through 75, 63 after getting accustomed to competitive tennis again in the first set.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 5.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Camila Giorgi + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Canadian Masters/Premier Event Update: 3-1, + 3.70 Units (8 Units Staked, + 46.25% Yield)

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