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Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Australian Open Day 3 Picks 2015 (January 21st)

More Seeds were knocked out of the women's draw on Tuesday, but the match that everyone has been looking forward to since the draw was made was set in the Second Round as Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki both made it through their First Round matches.

It is still a huge surprise to see Azarenka unseeded here this year, but that just goes to show how injury hit her 2014 season was and I am expecting her to make some big leaps up the Rankings during the course of 2015. Caroline Wozniacki was in stunning form over the last six months of the season to the point that my normally critical response to her was lessened and I actually respected the fact that she has become a little more aggressive in her play.

The men's draw has avoided any major surprises just yet, even if some less informed journalists seemed to believe Alexandr Dolgopolov's exit was a huge upset. Dolgopolov has been suffering with some sort of injury ahead of the tournament to the point that his participation was not guaranteed so I can't say I was overly surprised that he failed to make it beyond the First Round.

All of the outright picks have moved through to the Second Round, which is a bonus considering the Seeds that were knocked out in the women's draw, and the first two days have been positive. I have made a couple of very poor picks, but I hope to improve as the next two weeks continue.

Andy Murray - 8.5 games v Marinko Matosevic: The home support is going to inspire Marinko Matosevic, but he is going to need a lot more than that if he is going to make this competitive let alone actually beat Andy Murray in the Second Round. Mad Dog is a fun kind of character to watch, but he is wildly erratic in his play and even his decent serve is going to be tested to the full by Murray's ability to get balls back in play.

They have met twice before and Murray has been a fairly comfortable winner both times, while Matosevic has yet to take more than three games in a set against him.

He will be aggressive and look to fire up the crowd, but Murray is so experienced that it is hard to see this ending in anything but another win for the British Number 1. I expect Murray to earn at least a couple of breaks of serve in a single set and that should set him up for a 64, 62, 63 win.

Richard Gasquet - 7.5 games v James Duckworth: Another Australian who will be taking on a Seed in the Second Round is James Duckworth, but he will need Richard Gasquet to be off the pace to keep up with the Frenchman in this one.

2014 was a disappointing season for Gasquet considering how well he had played the season before, but I think an injury had a lot to do with that and he is considered to be in a much better place in 2015. The early form he has displayed shows he could be back in a position where is too good for the likes of Duckworth, although unlikely to really challenge the top players on the Tour.

Gasquet has a decent first serve, but I think he will make hay in this one by out-rallying Duckworth for much of the match. When they met at Wimbledon last June, Gasquet played a couple of sloppy of games which made it much closer than it should have been, but he dominated the last two sets in a fashion that he will look back on with confidence.

If Gasquet can avoid those sloppy moments, he should be too good for Duckworth and come through 63, 63, 64.

Grigor Dimitrov - 8.5 games v Lukas Lacko: I don't think you can doubt the pure natural ability that Lukas Lacko can sometimes display with a tennis racquet in his hand, but Grigor Dimitrov has improved so much over the last eighteen months and can win this match going away.

I have seen Lacko produce enough quality to remain competitive in matches, but he is willing to try and go toe to toe with any opponent and producing even a little under par is not going to cut it against someone like Dimitrov.

On first glance I thought this was a lot of games for Dimitrov to be handing away, but Lacko is a player that lost in 3 of the 4 Grand Slams of last season without getting within this number. Two of those losses came to Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, but the other was to Dominic Thiem and Dimitrov is playing with confidence and returns well enough to find a couple of breaks of serve in a single set.

'Baby Fed' may have to come through a tie-breaker in one set, but a similar scoreline that Djokovic produced here last season in on the cards and Dimitrov can progress with a 63, 76, 61 win.

Roger Federer - 7.5 games v Simone Bolelli: These two played a very competitive Davis Cup match last season, but that was on a very quick court which may have aided Simone Bolelli and I am not expecting this one to be so close.

Both Bolelli and Roger Federer came through their First Round matches fairly comfortably, but the extra aggression in the Federer game that has been evident over the last twelve months should keep the Italian under pressure. This is a match in which Federer should feel fairly comfortable as Bolelli is likely to play with the clay court style of keeping rallies going and should eventually allow the aggression of Federer to take control.

Better performance on the break points is key for Federer, but I still think he can come through with a fairly routine 63, 76, 61 win.

Rafael Nadal - 9.5 games v Tim Smyczek: All it takes is a couple of bad service games and this number of games is very tough to overcome, but Rafael Nadal showed enough in the First Round to think he can dismiss the challenge from Tim Smyczek who qualified for the tournament before beating Luke Saville.

Nadal only lost 7 games in his opening match here and his experience might be something of an intimidation for Smyczek who is fairly limited by what he can produce on the court. Smyczek is going to have to work for every point he gets and he was destroyed by Roberto Bautista Agut at both the Australian and US Open tournaments in 2014.

The problem for Smyczek is Nadal is going to work hard for every point too and his quality should prove too much for the American. As I have stated, this is a lot of games for Smyczek to be getting, but I think Nadal wins the match 63, 62, 62.

Bernard Tomic - 2.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: Bernard Tomic took the chances that came his way in a win over Philipp Kohlschreiber in Sydney earlier this season, but that was a far closer match than the 64, 63 scoreline would suggest.

However, I do think Tomic can ride the momentum of playing in front of his own fans to move through to the Third Round even if Kohlschreiber has enough experience to deal with the crowd being against him. The problem for the German is that he has had a tough start to the season and this may be something of a down year for Kohlschreiber, while I am also expecting Tomic to have a much better 2015 season.

Melbourne Park has been good to Kohlschreiber in the past, but his lack of form going into the tournament and Tomic's previous solid performances at this Grand Slam may help the Australian take away some of the headlines that have been reserved for a couple of his younger compatriots over the last couple of days.

It is unlikely to come in straight sets, but I like Tomic to come through 64, 36, 76, 63.

Karolina Pliskova - 5.5 games v Oceane Dodin: Oceane Dodin surprised Alison Riske in the First Round, but the young French hope will need to dig really deep to beat someone in the form that Karolina Pliskova has been displaying.

Pliskova is definitely a player making a move up the Rankings and this is the kind of match that she should begin to dominate after she gets a feel of what Dodin is going to be able to produce on the court.

The serve is effective from Pliskova and I think that will be a good foundation from which she can take control of this match in the second set. I do think it may take some time for Pliskova to really get this match under control, but I do think that helps her come through with a 64, 62 win.

Sara Errani - 3.5 games v Silvia Soler-Espinosa: Sara Errani has slipped out of the top ten after a difficult 2014 season on the Singles Tour, but I still think she has shown enough in the Grand Slam tournaments to suggest she will be too good for Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Both of these players are more comfortable on the clay courts, but Errani has shown more consistency on the hard courts and I think that helps her in this Second Round match. Errani has won their three previous matches without losing a set and the Italian should take some confidence from her First Round win which is the first in the 2015 season.

This is already the furthest Soler-Espinosa has been at the Australian Open in her last six appearances at Melbourne Park and I think she will be outworked by Errani who can extract errors from better players than the Spaniard.

It has all the makings of a comfortable 64, 63 win for Errani and I expect to see her move through to the Third Round.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray - 8.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 8.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 7.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 9.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova - 5.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sara Errani - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 9-4, + 8.28 Units (26 Units Staked, + 31.85% Yield)


  1. great blog. What time do you post your picks each day?

  2. Been a busy few days to coincide with the opening of the tournament- now the first couple of Rounds are in the books, I am guessing picks will be posted a lot earlier the rest of the tournament... Thanks for reading