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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Australian Open Day 8 Picks 2015 (January 26th)

The Quarter Finals at the Australian Open have already set four intriguing matches across the men's and women's events, but another four matches will be set today and I have the feeling those will be 'good looking' ones too.

The business end of Grand Slam tournaments will generally provide plenty of drama and it is good to see the Australian Open has been leading up to these kind of matches into the second week of the event. We have already had some surprises, but generally the best players have got through and that is always a benefit to tournament organisers.

Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep making it through to the Quarter Finals also means three of the four outright picks remain very much in contention to win the respective tournaments. The daily picks also had a very good first week and it was another positive day yesterday as I hope to wrap up the week with positive results.

Kei Nishikori win 3-1 v David Ferrer: These two players both work extremely hard on the court and expect to see some long rallies with some exceptional tennis mixed in to boot.

I have always had a lot of respect for David Ferrer, but I think Kei Nishikori is a much improved player over the last twelve months with his run to the US Open Final a real confidence boost and a vindication for the hard work he puts in.

The feeling is that Ferrer has just dropped from the heights of a couple of years ago, even if he did win the title in Doha to open the season, and I think Nishikori will just have too much for him. However, Nishikori's serve could still do with some work and I do think Ferrer will fashion enough chances to extend this to four sets.

Nishikori has won 4 in a row against Ferrer, but he dropped a set in every one of those matches and I think he will likely do that in this one before coming through a tough Fourth Round match.

Novak Djokovic - 7.5 games v Gilles Muller: After coming through the first three Rounds fairly comfortably, Novak Djokovic should be feeling better in the second week now that he is over his illness.

This isn't the easiest of matches against a big-serving Gilles Muller who is playing very well at the moment, but Djokovic is the best returner on the Tour and I expect he will put enough pressure on Muller. Djokovic should create chances once he gets his eye in on the return and I think that will help him ease through to the Quarter Finals.

Djokovic was pushed by Fernando Verdasco in the Third Round, but I think that just focuses him a little more in this one and he will work through a 75, 63, 63 win.

Garbine Muguruza + 1.5 sets v Serena Williams: Some of the mistakes that Garbine Muguruza made in the last Round against Timea Bacsinszky won't be able to be ignored against someone of the quality of Serena Williams, but I also think the latter has been struggling through the first week of the tournament.

Williams has been able to recover from her slow starts in the first three matches at the Australian Open, but she was perhaps a little fortunate to not have bumped into someone like Muguruza earlier in the event.

The loss at the French Open to this opponent last season will not have been forgotten by Williams which will make her a more dangerous player in this one with the added focus. However, I can't ignore the early struggles she has had in 2015 and I think Muguruza can give Williams some real problems in this one.

I am not sure if Muguruza will be able to play well enough for long enough to beat Serena, but taking a set at odds against looks a big price.

Madison Keys - 3.5 games v Madison Brengle: The big question will be whether Madison Keys can back up her very impressive win over Petra Kvitova in the Third Round and I think she will with the advice being given to her by Lindsey Davenport.

Madison Brengle came through her Third Round match thanks in part to the mistakes made by CoCo Vandeweghe and I don't think Keys is going to be as generous as her compatriot was a couple of days ago.

The serve is definitely favouring Keys and, if she can look after that element of her game, I think that will help her come through this match in fairly routine fashion. Brengle played well enough over the last couple of weeks to reach the Final in Hobart and also win three matches here, but I don't believe she has a very big game that can't be exposed by someone like Keys.

This just feels like a 63, 63 kind of match that Keys should win.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 3.5 games v Venus Williams: Venus Williams had to weather an Italian storm in the form of Camila Giorgi in the last Round, but this is going to be a different kind of match for her to figure out. Agnieszka Radwanska isn't blessed with the same firepower as Giorgi, but she has the variation and defensive skills to extract errors from Williams and also has won the last three matches against Venus without dropping a set.

Radwanska has been very comfortable so far at the Australian Open and she has also been displaying a little more pop on her serve which may make things a little easier for her, although I have to say that Venus Williams has played well too.

The problem for Venus will be that she shouldn't be given a lot of unforced errors that Giorgi offered up in the last Round and Radwanska has been playing with a lot of confidence. If Williams serves well this could be a competitive match, but she will have to be a lot better than she was against Giorgi and I think Radwanska comes through 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori Win 3-1 @ 4.20 Sporting Bet (1 Unit)
Novak Djokovic - 7.5 Games @ 1.92 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Garbine Muguruza + 1.5 Sets @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 28-16, + 21.47 Units (85 Units Staked, + 25.26% Yield)

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