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Monday, 29 September 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (September 29th)

Petra Kvitova booked her place at the end of season tournament on the WTA side by winning the tournament in Wuhan with another convincing display against Eugenie Bouchard. Both Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray won their respective events as most expected them to do and picked up some vital points towards their goals of reaching the World Tour Finals to be played in London in November.

The next month is going to be vital in those regards for the likes of Nishikori and Murray and this week is one of those where some big points are available. Both players are in action again this week, but the tournaments are definitely moving up a level on the road to Shanghai with the top names in action, bar Roger Federer.

That includes a return for Rafa Nadal, a player I thought could very easily decide to call it a season after missing a couple of months with a wrist injury, especially on the hard and indoor hard court events to come. The Spaniard could have begun preparing for the 2015 season, but has decided to take on the remaining big events on his schedule, including Shanghai and Paris on the way to the World Tour Finals, although I am personally not expecting him to add to his titles.

Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov are other players that return after a few weeks off and this is one of those weeks can start separating those who will be playing in London and those who will not.

The WTA event in Beijing is a big one too with most of the top names involved this week- that tournament actually has begun already with some of the events in Asia beginning ahead of the traditional Monday start. Last week saw Seeds getting knocked out left, right and centre during the course of the week and there would be the hope, for the organisers at least, that this is a more consistent week for the top players.

Marin Cilic - 6.5 games v Yan Bai: How will the latest surprise Grand Slam Champion on the ATP Tour deal with a new found target on his back? The likes of Juan Martin Del Potro and Stan Wawrinka haven't always been able to focus completely on their next appearances on the Tour so it will be interesting to see how Marin Cilic handles the pressure as he begins his week in Beijing.

Cilic was focused to the point of helping Croatia beat the Netherlands in the Davis Cup since winning the US Open, and he looks to have a clear match up advantage against Yan Bai in the First Round in Beijing.

Bai has not played a lot of tennis over the last twelve months and he doesn't compete at the highest level of tennis which could make him a decent opponent for Cilic to start against. The aggressive return of serve may surprise Bai and this could be a really tough match for someone with little experience of dealing with players of this capability.

Any mistakes may make it impossible for Cilic to cover a large number of games, but I think he comes through this one 64, 61.

Vasek Pospisil - 2.5 games v Lukas Rosol: I don't particularly trust either one of these players to perform to the level I expect, but I still believe Vasek Pospisil can get the better of Lukas Rosol and cover this spread.

Both player have big serves that will give them the chance to pick up some easy points, but I feel Pospisil's serve is the more reliable weapon and Rosol is always to follow his own up with a number of rash errors.

The Canadian has won their two previous matches including a resounding win on the hards courts of North America, and I think he is capable of winning the battle of the big servers with a 76, 64 win.

Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Fernando Verdasco: It must still hurt Grigor Dimitrov in the manner a couple of his Grand Slams ended in 2014, but getting into the World Tour Finals would underline the impressive season he has had.

This is his first appearance since the US Open and there are valuable points to be won, but Dimitrov may well have been hoping for a more comfortable First Round match than against Fernando Verdasco.

The latter has won the two previous matches against Dimitrov and is still capable of producing some big time tennis. That can be unplayable and makes Verdasco a dangerous proposition, although he can also be very erratic.

Dimitrov has shown some maturity in the way he has approached matches this season and I think his level-headedness will be a key to this one as he breaks Verdasco late in each set to record a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 6.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Vasek Pospisil - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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