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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Cincinnati Tennis Picks 2014 (August 12th)

I don't know whether it is because I have been doing some long hours of late, or whether I am just not quite thinking straight, but it has been an incredibly poor last seven days of picks. That poor run continued with the first day at the Cincinnati Masters/Premier Event and has been an irritating part of the season.

At least from Canada I could say there was two surprise winners and at least four surprise Semi Finalists in the two tournaments, but that doesn't mean I am enjoying 'missing' on so many picks.

The second day of action in Cincinnati means some of the big names on both Tours are beginning their tournaments and it is going to be a big week for the likes of Maria Sharapova, Stan Wawrinka and Serena Williams who need to set a marker down for the US Open. Wawrinka might be a strange name to include, but he hasn't been at his best over the last few weeks and is a Grand Slam Champion this season, something the likes of Roger Federer and Andy Murray haven't done in 2014.

Both Sharapova and Williams have had disappointing tournaments in Montreal with Serena struggling through to the Semi Final before being beaten comfortably by older sister Venus.

Feliciano Lopez + 2.5 games v Marin Cilic: After a strong showing in Toronto last week, it can be tough for players to back up a successful week and it will be interesting to see if Feliciano Lopez can do that against Marin Cilic.

It is one of the toughest First Round matches in Cincinnati this week with both players capable of playing well on the hard courts, although the edge in the match may go down in favour of Marin Cilic.

Both players have decent serves, but Cilic certainly has the better return game, although Lopez may be able to have some success by extracting errors off the Cilic forehand with Lopez' backhand slice.

The Spaniard will also look to close on the net and keep the pressure on Cilic and their previous four matches have mostly been very competitive. Tiredness is a concern for Lopez, but I think he can make this competitive and make this small number of games very telling.

Vasek Pospisil v Radek Stepanek: This match has been set as a pick 'em contest in the First Round, but I think Vasek Pospisil has been in the better form in recent weeks and can make up for his early exit in his home tournament last week.

Pospisil can say he reached the Final of the tournament in Washington the week before and so may have been a little fatigued, but Radek Stepanek has lost three matches in a row and hasn't been in great form since his run to the Final at Queens.

The last couple of years has seen Stepanek struggle on the hard courts and he was dismissed by Pospisil in Montreal twelve months ago. While the veteran has the know-how to make life awkward for any opponent and can get under the skin of the player on the other side of the net, Pospisil should be able to use his serve to good effect in the contest.

It might be tighter than their previous meeting, but Pospisil should come through even if it takes three sets.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 games v Mikhail Youzhny: It was by far the biggest title that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has won his career as far as I am concerned and the manner of his victory in Toronto should inspire him ahead of the US Open.

My only question in this match is whether Tsonga has had enough time to come off the high of the performance he put in last week where he recorded wins over Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer to take the title home. That Final was played on Sunday and that doesn't leave a lot of time to celebrate and travel to Cincinnati to get used to the conditions here.

Mikhail Youzhny has won half of the six previous matches between these players, but two of those wins came in Tsonga retirements and he is having a terrible 2014 which hasn't produced the tennis it would take to beat Tsonga in the form he displayed last week.

The tiredness is hard to factor in, but I expect Tsonga can win this one 64, 64 and continue the form he has been displaying last week.

Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Benjamin Becker: Since the Australian Open win, Stanislas Wawrinka has won the Monte Carlo Masters, but he has struggled for consistency since January. Where he has a Quarter Final appearance in Wimbledon, Wawrinka has a First Round loss at the French Open, and he was beaten early in Toronto last week.

The Second Round match with Benjamin Becker won't be easy considering the German has been in decent form through the summer on the hard courts.

Becker has a powerful serve that is perhaps under-rated and if that part of his game is in form, he will make it difficult for Wawrinka. However, anything extended off the ground should give the Swiss player the opportunity to dictate the points although he has to remove some of the unforced errors that can blight his game.

Earlier this year, Wawrinka crushed Becker for the loss of four games- I expect this to be much closer but the higher Ranked player to come through 75, 63.

Sabine Lisicki - 3.5 games v Roberta Vinci: Last week in Montreal, Sabine Lisicki crushed Sara Errani and I do feel she can do something similar to the Italian's Doubles partner Roberta Vinci in this First Round match.

A good summer for Vinci was not enough to see her come through her first match in Montreal last week and this year has seen more and more players get the better of her. Players recognise what is generally coming off the backhand and the power of the likes of Lisicki should prove to be the difference between the players.

Lisicki also had a couple of decent wins last week and was only beaten by the eventual winner of the tournament and even that match took three sets to separate them.

As long as she doesn't push too much and make too many errors, Lisicki should be able to record a similar kind of win as she had against Errani and come through fairly comfortably.

MY PICKS: Feliciano Lopez + 2.5 Games @ 2.20 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Vasek Pospisil @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sabine Lisicki - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Cincinnati Update: 0-3, - 6 Units (6 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

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