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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2014 (August 7th)

A strong week to this point could have been even better if Andreas Seppi didn't blow a big lead in the final set tie-breaker, but I won't complain too much about that with plenty of positive results so far.

I never like seeing a pick get beaten in the manner that Seppi was simply as he was the better player and I will have days where I am on the 'wrong' player where I might not have the luck to get through with a winner. It felt like Seppi was the 'right' player to back after the performance which made it a shame he couldn't complete the win, but hopefully I'll have a make up pick somewhere along the week.

These short Masters/Premier Event weeks means we really have to wait to see the layers catch up with the markets as we reach the Third Round and that means I won't be putting up picks from the Thursday tennis until the morning.

The picks should be out by lunchtime, which is still plenty of time before the first match of the day is scheduled to begin in Toronto/Montreal. At that point, I will update the weekly totals and hope for another positive day from the picks.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Novak Djokovic has taken complete control of matches between himself and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga ever since he made the meteoric rise to the very top of the men's game in 2011. After initially losing five of the first seven matches between these players, Djokovic has won twelve in a row against Tsonga since Wimbledon 2011 and only a couple of those matches have been very competitive.

Djokovic did have to battle through his first match in Toronto, but that can be expected sometimes as a player adjusts to the hard courts following his win at Wimbledon last month.

He has also won both Masters events held on North American soil this season and Djokovic might be ready to push on again in the Rankings after breaking his poor run in big matches with the win at Wimbledon. The little things can make all the difference at this level and that little more belief makes him the favourite to win here, in Cincinnati and at the US Open.

I do respect what Tsonga is capable of bringing to a tennis court, but he hasn't been at his best in 2014 and his serve has not been at a dominant level. With Djokovic's return game, I can see him winning this 63, 64.

Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 games v Tommy Robredo: After being forced to pull out at Washington with some sort of illness, Grigor Dimitrov struggled early on in his Second Round win over Donald Young, but was back to near his best at the end of the match.

He should feel confident of levelling the head to head with Tommy Robredo, especially on a hard court, and I do think his overall game is going to be too much for the veteran Spaniard.

The next few weeks can see Grigor Dimitrov really push on for a place at the World Tour Finals for the first time and he doesn't have a lot of points to defend so a move up from his current place of Number 8 in the World Rankings is a distinct possibility.

I have a lot of respect for Tommy Robredo, but he has generally found the better players too good ever since he beat Roger Federer at the US Open last season. While his know-how may make this more competitive than some think, Dimitrov should be able to pull off a 64, 75 win.

Andy Murray - 3.5 games v Richard Gasquet: Andy Murray was close to his best in dismissing Nick Kyrgios in the Second Round on Wednesday and he will need to produce top tennis if he is going to beat Richard Gasquet in this Third Round match.

Since his back injury, Andy Murray has failed to reach the heights on the Tour that many expect of him and that is shown by his current Number 9 position in the World Rankings. He has struggled against the every best players on the Tour, but he has the return game and consistency to keep Gasquet on the back foot in this one.

The Frenchman had to dig deep to book his place in the Third Round with tough wins over Vasek Pospisil and then coming from a set down to beat Ivo Karlovic. Gasquet has been inconsistent since a back injury prior to the French Open and I can see Murray frustrating him and forcing the errors that should lead to a straight sets win.

A break of serve more in each set should be in the offing for Murray who can come through 75, 64.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Marin Cilic: When I first saw the amount of games that Roger Federer is being asked to give up in this match, I wasn't convinced that this was a smart choice, but the odds have persuaded me against my misgivings.

As well as Marin Cilic has played, he can be a little loose on service games so I can see the aggressive Roger Federer return paying dividends in games. If the match gets into a forehand to forehand battle, I would like Federer's chances to win the rallies, while the former World Number 1 has an improved backhand that can at least keep him in rallies and find the depth to pressure opponents.

Federer's serve is not the weapon it used to be in the peak of his powers, but he still has very good placement and that should give him a chance to hold on to serve a little more comfortably than his opponent.

Both players should find breaks of serve, but Federer may just come out with a 63, 64 win.

Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 games v Shelby Rogers: Since the break-up with Rory McIlroy, Caroline Wozniacki has really picked up form on the WTA Tour including winning the title in Istanbul.

Of course, Wozniacki is facing a Shelby Rogers who is off a huge win, perhaps the biggest of her career, and has won four matches here so will be feeling that much more confident.

However, young players can find it difficult to back up a big win when they are inexperienced and Rogers was helped by Eugenie Bouchard's nerves in the Second Round match. That shouldn't be the case for Wozniacki who has been winning matches very comfortably over the last few weeks and who seems to be playing with renewed focus that took her to the top of the World Rankings.

I was impressed with the power that Rogers displayed in her win over Bouchard, but coming off that high may be difficult, while Wozniacki is one of the best defensive players on the WTA Tour. I expect the Dane to get enough balls back in play to make Rogers play too many shots and force those errors and that should lead to a 64, 62 win for the former World Number 1.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Lucie Safarova: Serena Williams was at her very best in crushing Samantha Stosur on Wednesday and clearly has earned something from her win in Stanford last week. While this hasn't been a vintage year for Williams up to this point, that performance against Stosur shows what she is still capable of when she has her head fully in the game.

The American World Number 1 must know that she will have to bring that kind of form into this match against a Lucie Safarova who has been enjoying her best season on the Tour since 2011.

The run to the Wimbledon Semi Finals has to be taken as an inspiration for Safarova and she has given some of the best players on Tour competitive matches all season. She has pushed Na Li, Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova to three sets on the hard courts, but all in losing efforts, and Safarova has a serve that can see her rumble through games.

However, Safarova is going to face some aggressive returning and anything like the form that Serena showed yesterday should be enough to see her come through 64, 62 in this one.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 2.33 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Toronto/Montreal Weekly Update: 9-5, + 7.60 Units (28 Units Staked, + 27.14% Yield)

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