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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Cincinnati Tennis Picks 2014 (August 13th)

I would love to know whose black cat I've run over, how many ladders I've walked under, how many mirrors I've cracked and whether I am living 'Groundhog Day' on a Friday the 13th because I can simply not get away from what feels like a terrible run of bad luck.

Just off the top of my head, I have picked players who have blown huge tie-break leads, players who have managed to lose sets from double break advantages, other players that seemingly created a thousand chances but can't break serve, but invariably will be broken in their next service game, and I am just about fed up to my back teeth.

Don't misunderstand- there have been some glaring bad picks too... I should never have picked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win on Tuesday when I had voiced as many doubts about him as I had, but Stan Wawrinka's inability to finish the match in the second set despite having three match points at 53, another one at 54, and the chance to break serve again at 55, only to then take the first match point that came along in the tie-breaker had the steam coming out of my ears.

This came after Sabine Lisicki faced three break points (saved all three) in the first and third set COMBINED against Roberta Vinci, but somehow managed to be broken EVERY TIME (four games)  in the second set and the missed the cover by half a game.

How do you cap that? How can anyone possibly imagine a pick going down in that manner when Lisicki consistently had Vinci under pressure on her own serve but can suddenly completely collapse like that?

This has got to the point where I am taking some heavy hits, but am literally feeling like I am even a slight change of fortune away from moving back in the positive direction. The last seven days have cut the season totals by over 50% and that is simply down to the poor luck which would have covered the poor picks if players had finished what they had started.

So where will the picks go from here? That is a tough question to answer because I am now second guessing my own thoughts and that is not a good place to be. I do honestly believe that the majority of picks have been sound and if the chances had been taken, or players simply maintained any kind of level, they would have definitely helped produce more winning picks.

A disappointing end to last week coupled with an atrocious start to this one has put me in a foul mood, but hopefully Wednesday is the start of the fight back.

Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v Yen-Hsun Lu: This is the second consecutive week that these two players will be meeting one another and I expect that will help Tomas Berdych know what he is facing.

Berdych was the better player last week, but an ill-timed loss of serve allowed Lu to come back and take the first set before the Czech player managed a break more in the last two sets to come through. The big man had more chances to break serve and won plenty more points against the Lu serve and something similar should make this a more routine win.

It wasn't the perfect serving display from Berdych last week, so there are room for improvement there and if he can manage that I would expect him to make this a more routine day in the office.

The last two meetings between the players have been tight affairs, but their only other meeting in Cincinnati ended with a 63, 64 win for Berdych and I will look for a repeat of that scoreline today.

Andreas Seppi + 2.5 games v Mikhail Youzhny: I do think Mikhail Youzhny, despite his strong head to head record against Andreas Seppi, is perhaps being over-rated for this match based on his win over a tired Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Tuesday.

As good as that win looks on paper, the fatigue Tsonga was feeling played a huge part and Youzhny has struggled mightily in 2014. He can win this match, but I have little doubt that he would need at least three sets to do that and that makes this number of games attractive to take in hand.

You can't forget that Seppi is not having the best of 2014 seasons himself, nor the fact that he has played some sloppy sets of tennis, but he did win the only match with Youzhny that has been played in this current campaign.

I have mentioned I can see this match being tightly contested and perhaps going three sets which could make these games very handy at the end of the day.

Marinko Matosevic + 2.5 games v John Isner: Backing a player against John Isner in front of his own supporters is always tough as being back on home soil seems to inspire the big American. He should have the ability to see off Marinko Matosevic, but their previous two matches have been very competitive and this one could go the same way.

When they met in Atlanta earlier this summer, it was another close first set that Matosevic perhaps should have won, before one poor service game cost the Australian the second set. That is the biggest problem for 'Mad Dog' as he can play erratic games on serve which would see this number of games mean nothing in the match.

However, he has a big serve and Matosevic should be able to use that to good effect as long as he keeps the first serve percentage above 60. We know Isner is going to ease his way through more service games than Matosevic, but the latter showed he can push the American on that aspect of his game when they met in Atlanta.

It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see two tie-breaks needed to separate these players, but I also think Matosevic is capable of taking at least one set and that could be enough to at least cover the games even in a losing effort.

Fernando Verdasco + 3.5 games v Marin Cilic: Even though Marin Cilic is one of my more favourite players on the Tour, I am going to go against him for a second time this week with another big serving left handed Spaniard.

Fernando Verdasco should have the game that transfers seamlessly onto the hard courts with the heavy groundstrokes flying through the hard courts, but he is far more erratic than back in 2009-11 when he had his best years on the Tour.

That isn't to say he can't find vintage form at any time and I think Verdasco will definitely have more success against the Cilic second serve than his compatriot Feliciano Lopez did. Verdasco will have to serve well against an aggressive returner like Cilic, but I can see the first two sets being split and that should give Verdasco the chance to at least cover the games even in a losing effort.

My issue with Verdasco is that he can sometimes crumble in sets, but he would be able to get his eye in if this goes to three sets and I can see these games in hand being enough at odds against.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 2.14 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi + 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic + 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco + 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Cincinnati Update: 1-7, - 12.10 Units (16 Units Staked, - 75.63% Yield)

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