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Monday, 15 September 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (September 15th)

The Davis Cup Final between France and Switzerland was set this weekend and that looks to be the best match up that is out there with the French getting the chance to host the Final. That will be make up the final matches of the 2014 season a couple of weeks after the ATP World Tour Finals are completed and I think it is a very close tie that is going to be tough to separate the two teams.

Of course Switzerland have the 'biggest name' in Roger Federer, but someone like Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will certainly believe he can play a big enough match to win a rubber against him and then the likes of Gael Monfils/Richard Gasquet will believe they too can do enough against Stan Wawrinka.

The edge in the Doubles will be on the side of the French team, even if Federer and Wawrinka revisit their team that won the Olympic Gold Medal in 2008, and I think it is going to be a tough tie for Switzerland to win on the road. It will also be fascinating to see what kind of surface the French pick for the tie as Federer is one of the premier indoor hard court players in the world and both he and Wawrinka could be well set after the ATP World Tour Finals on that surface. However, I also believe the Swiss team will feel they can find the edge on a clay court and that is certainly a tie that is going to be a lot of fun to watch at the end of November.


The Davis Cup can be put to the back-burner for now as the next six weeks is all about which players can qualify for the World Tour Finals to be played in London. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have all qualified already, although I do wonder if Nadal will take his place back on the Tour before the 2015 season after being forced out of the summer hard court tournaments with a wrist injury.

That could open the door for whoever finishes 9th in the race to London, a race which looks to be one that could go down to the wire. Andy Murray claimed it isn't a big goal of his to qualify for London, but he has taken a couple of Wild Cards to add to his remaining tournaments so it is clearly more important than he has let on.

Personally I already feel the top 11 in the Race to London are too far clear of players below them to be caught in the remaining weeks, while Stan Wawrinka, Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori should make up the next three places.

That would leave five players fighting for the remaining two places (assuming Rafael Nadal does take part in London) and I think all five will be battling very hard to make the final event of the year. There are doubts about all of them with David Ferrer and Tomas Berdych not in the greatest of form, while Milos Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov are just as likely to win a tournament as go out in the First Round.

Andy Murray showed some signs of recovery at the US Open after an underwhelming 2014 to that point and he clearly believes he is playing well enough to make London by taking those extra tournaments onto his schedule.


This week won't clear up too many issues with the one tournament in Metz, but things will certainly have some clarity to them when the Asian swing kicks off in seven days time.


Gilles Muller v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: The tournament in Metz has been won by a Frenchman for the last five years it has been run and the two favourites are Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

While both are coming off a successful Davis Cup tie success over the Czech Republic, the transition from the clay courts to the fast indoor hard courts will be tough for them so I won't make an outright pick this week.

The first Monday here has only two main draw matches scheduled with both involving French players for the home crowd to get behind. The second of those involves Edouard Roger-Vasselin who has been in poor form over the summer and now takes on a huge server in the form of Gilles Muller.

While Roger-Vasselin has a decent indoor hard court record over the last few seasons, he could feel the mental pressure of trying to stay with Muller- if the latter is serving well, it will be very difficult to break his serve and that scoreboard pressure could be tough to overcome for Roger-Vasselin.

Muller has been winning a lot of matches on the Challenger circuit and that can only have built his confidence for the indoor hard court season, even if he did suffer a disappointing First Round loss at the US Open.

Even with that poor loss in mind, Muller has won 11 of his 16 indoor hard court matches this season, albeit at the Challenger level, and he might be able to serve his way into the Second Round as the underdog.

MY PICK: Gilles Muller @ 2.05 Stan James (2 Units)

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