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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2014 (August 6th)

It has been a good start to the week for the picks, even in the face of an absolute capitulation from Eugenie Bouchard in her Second Round loss on Tuesday, and hopefully that can be built upon over the next few days.

There is also good news for the fans that are attending Toronto/Montreal with the weather forecast calling for zero amount of rain in the coming days after a wet start to the week. Fortunately the tournament remains on schedule and the big names will have all got their first matches of the hard court season under their belt by the time play concludes on Wednesday.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: Playing in Canada is usually a lot of fun for the French players with that language being a popular one in the east of the country and Jeremy Chardy will have good memories of his last appearance in Toronto.

Two years ago, Jeremy Chardy beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets here and he reached the Third Round, but it might be a big ask of him to beat his compatriot on current form.

As effective as Chardy's first serve can be, his second is much more vulnerable than Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's and I think it is going to be hard for him to maintain the rallies in the face of the power he will be seeing on the other side of the net.

Tsonga is also off a very good performance against Edouard Roger-Vasselin and I would expect the former top ten player to come through 63, 76.


Andreas Seppi v Ivan Dodig: Andreas Seppi has won all four previous matches against Ivan Dodig and he may be able to make that five in a row against a player that hasn't played much tennis in two months.

As good as his win over John Isner in the First Round was, Ivan Dodig hadn't played since the French Open and it will be interesting to see how quickly he can recover to play another tough looking match. Dodig has at least had a day between matches, but Seppi has been able to neutralise him in the past and that has to also weigh on his mind.

It hasn't been a good 2014 for Seppi who has been inconsistency personified and he hasn't won two matches in a row since the French Open. The hard courts show up his serve on a surface where a break of serve can end the set, but I think his added fitness may prove to be the difference in this one.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this go three sets, but Seppi looks a sound pick as the underdog.


Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 games v Tim Smyczek: He might have the serve that should be very effective on the faster surfaces, but there is little doubt that Feliciano Lopez' return game leaves something to be desired. In saying that, he can build scoreboard pressure and is off an impressive First Round win over Roberto Bautista-Agut and I think he can move past the American Tim Smyczek in this one.

Smyczek did well to qualify for the Masters here in Toronto and he has won all six set he has competed in the tournament, but there is a feeling that his mind could quickly turn to qualifying for Cincinnati next week.

His serve has been vulnerable on the hard courts this summer and Lopez slices enough balls back in play to expose errors in the Smyczek game.

As long as Lopez also serves well to keep the pressure on Smyczek, I believe he can win this match 76, 63.


Jack Sock + 3.5 games v Milos Raonic: Milos Raonic did very well to win the biggest tournament of his career to date last week in Washington, but backing that up at home could be more difficult as it proved for Vasek Pospisil yesterday.

However, Raonic has dominated Jack Sock and has beaten him three times already this season, including in Washington last week.

We all know what to expect from the Raonic serve, but Sock has a decent serve himself and there is definitely more belief in his play since winning the Doubles title at Wimbledon. Sock has played a couple of Semi Finals in the Singles tournaments since Wimbledon and was a dominant winner in the First Round here and I do think he can cause problems for Raonic, especially if fatigue is a factor.

Their three matches played on the hard courts over the last twelve months have all been keenly contested with Sock being able to cover if handed this amount of games. I backed against him last week, but I think Sock has the serve and belief to keep this competitive, as well as Raonic coming off a 'high' with his title win in Washington.


Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v Yen-Hsun Lu: Yen-Hsun Lu can be a very difficult opponent to shake off as Tomas Berdych found out last year in Bangkok when he needed two tie-breakers to beat Lu.

However, I am expecting this to be a little more straight-forward for him on the current form Lu has been displaying- since winning a Challenger title at home, Lu has moved to North America and suffered a couple of very easy losses to players at a level below what Berdych can produce.

Lu had a decent, but expected, win over Marcel Granollers in the First Round and Berdych wasn't at his best in Washington last week, but this should be a portion of the season that suits very well for the Czech player.

This is another match where Berdych serving well could produce enough pressure on Lu to perhaps push too hard and the top ten player should come through 64. 63.


Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Samantha Stosur: Serena Williams won the title in Stanford last week, but she was tentative at times, although I expect to see an improvement now that her body held up. She started off very slowly which put her under pressure, but Williams ended most matches playing up to the dominant level we have come to expect over the last two years.

On the other hand, Samantha Stosur has had a poor time on the court since the French Open even compared to her usual struggles on the grass. She then suffered a disappointing early exit in Stanford and has not been as strong on the hard courts as her serve should help her be.

It is now three years since Stosur surprised Williams to win the US Open, but she has been dismissed fairly comfortably in the next two matches and is not playing at anything near the level it took to win a Grand Slam title.

Williams hasn't been serving as well as she can either so this match may feature a few more breaks of serve than people may expect with the players on the court. Once the dust is settled though, I expect Serena has moved into the Third Round with a 75, 62 win in the bag.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jack Sock + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Toronto/Montreal Weekly Update: 6-2, + 7.20 Units (16 Units Staked, + 45% Yield)

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