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Monday, 26 January 2015

Australian Open Day 9 Picks 2015 (January 27th)

We have reached the Quarter Finals in both men's and women's events at the Australian Open as the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2015 season rapidly reaches the business end of the week.

In all honesty, I think the line up for the last eight is intriguing in both draws and that should mean a fun couple of days of tennis beginning with the four matches from the bottom half of the draws being played on Tuesday. We will start with the two women's Quarter Finals being played back to back, while the night session is unsurprisingly set for home hope Nick Kyrgios taking on Andy Murray.

Yesterday was a mixed bag for the picks, but the tournament remains in a very healthy state and I am close to being vindicated for missing the first two weeks of the season to begin the picks from the Australian Open. There are still a few days to go so getting 'cocky' about things is a sure-fire way to fall flat on your face.

I do think both Simona Halep and Maria Sharapova are the right favourites in the women's Quarter Finals and expect them to be too strong for Ekaterina Makarova and Eugenie Bouchard respectively. However, the layers have got both priced up very short and the games are perhaps just one too high for me to be confident with the underdogs both receiving a 4.5 game head-start on the handicaps.

However, I do like the two men's favourites in their respective Quarter Finals.

Rafael Nadal - 2.5 games v Tomas Berdych: I have picked Rafael Nadal as one of the my two outright picks in the men's draw to win this Grand Slam event and I do think the confidence has returned to the Spaniard after an awkward beginning to the event. So you can imagine my surprise that the layers are not as convinced as me by making Rafael Nadal a pretty short favourite to beat Tomas Berdych.

This is a huge mental challenge for Berdych and there is no other way to look at it- no matter how well Berdych has been playing, and he has been playing very well, he has lost to Nadal 16 times in a row and that is not including one match when he was forced to retire.

That is a huge burden to have to overcome and I think Berdych will feel that pressure in this match, especially if Nadal can stick with him early and show that he has back to something like his best. This could be the first time that one player has won 18 straight times against another on the Tour, which will be playing on Berdych's mind and I don't believe he will display enough quality tennis to win a best of five against Nadal.

Nadal and Berdych had a very close four set match here in Australia three years ago and there is every chance this will go at least four again. But when it is all said and done, I think Nadal comes through with a 64, 36, 63, 76 win.

Andy Murray - 6.5 games v Nick Kyrgios: There is a lot of hype surrounding the young Australian Nick Kyrgios as he reached another Grand Slam Quarter Final which is going to see him enter the top 40 in the World Rankings. I don't really care whether people think he is 'cocky' and that Kyrgios seems to get up some people's noses, because I think characters like this bring new interest in a sport and it can only be good for tennis.

However, I was very much hoping the hype would mean that the layers would perhaps over-estimate his chances against Andy Murray who has been playing at a very high level through the tournament. It looks like his back issues of 2014 are now very much in the past and Murray is a threat to win this Slam for the first time.

Murray may have said he is not worrying about 'breaking anyone's heart' as he looks to concentrate on the task at hand and I think his experience of playing matches of this magnitude in hostile environments will be key to him progressing. Additionally, Murray has the ability to get a lot of balls back in play and expose some of the issues that Kyrgios' game still needs to develop and I can see him frustrating his younger opponent who wants to play 'highlight reel' tennis on every point.

As long as Murray serves well himself, he should keep Kyrgios at bay in this one and I believe he comes through with a 76, 62, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Rafael Nadal - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 30-19, + 20.63 Units (94 Units Staked, + 21.95% Yield)

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