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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (February 17th)

It has been a pretty brutal first couple of days in this new week on the Tour for my picks which have not been helped by two players on the way to winning their matches both seeing their opponents retire. I have yet to be the beneficiary of a retirement when a pick looks set to lose, so those picks ending as void coupled with the horrible picks I have made have got this week off to a pretty terrible start.

This is only the Tuesday so there is plenty of chances to recover, but I need a change in fortune for that to happen, especially with some of the stupid mistakes being made by players I have backed. It almost feels like they hit the wall when it looks easier to win, for example check the way Mona Barthel had Daniela Hantuchova completely on the ropes in their match on Monday but still couldn't get the job done.

Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 games v Sabine Lisicki: It has been a long lay off for Ana Ivanovic since her surprising First Round exit at the Australian Open where she was considered a dark horse for the title, but the match with Sabine Lisicki should be one that works well for the Serb.

Being off the Tour can lead to some rustiness in competitive tennis, but Ivanovic has the heavy groundstrokes that can keep Lisicki on the back foot, although she has to serve better when it comes down to the second serve. That has been a weakness in the Ivanovic game for far too long now, although she might not feel the pressure against Lisicki, a player she has dominated in the past.

They met four times last season and Ivanovic won three of those matches, while the exception at Wimbledon was perhaps an expected result for many in favour of Lisicki. The German does have a big game that can cause problems, but she is very erratic and could be on the wrong side of the result in a match where both players will have chances to break serve.

The first set is bound to be tight considering Ivanovic hasn't played for a while, but I expect her to then move away with a 75, 63 win.

Roberta Vinci - 3.5 games v Lucie Hradecka: Last season was a pretty poor one for Roberta Vinci and there is every chance she could have a tough 2015 upcoming, although the clay courts remain her domain and the surface that will likely prevent a large slip down the Rankings.

The Italian is the World Number 38 but remains almost 100 places better off than Lucie Hradecka who had a wonderful Australian Open. However, she had a decent first Grand Slam of the season in 2014 too before struggling to maintain that form and I do think her game could see the errors extracted from it by Vinci on this surface.

These two players haven't met since 2011 when Roberta Vinci won three matches against Lucie Hradecka including a pretty comfortable win on the clay courts after dropping the first set in that match. I think Vinci will get the better of the longer rallies in this one too and can grind her way to the win.

One concern would be if Hradecka brings her big game to the fore, but I think she would prefer to play someone like Vinci on the faster surfaces and the Italian comes through 64, 64.

Sara Errani - 5.5 games v Teliana Pereira: Like her compatriot, and Doubles partner, Roberta Vinci, Sara Errani has slipped in the Rankings over the 2014 season and is unlikely to recover her form to the extent of being a feature in the World's Top Ten. However, she remains a real threat on the clay courts with her style of play capable of extracting errors out of the best players on the Tour and I expect she will be too strong for home hope Teliana Pereira.

Pereira actually reached the Semi Final here in Rio last season so you have to imagine she will be confident in her chances, although her run came to a stunning halt by arguably the first really good player she met. The Brazilian can't work her way into this event with this match against the Number 1 Seed and Errani remains such a difficult test on the clay courts for the players on Tour that I expect her to win this one going away.

The biggest problem for Errani with a spread like this is her own serve which is limited to say the least and one that will give Pereira a chance to get on the front foot. However, Errani's defences can frustrate players to push for the lines too much and that is where Errani can get away with the serve that is little more than a way for her to start another long rally.

I do think the first set could be tight, but Errani will wear down Pereira in my opinion and come through 64, 62.

Dominic Thiem - 1.5 games v Joao Sousa: I don't think I am the only one who thinks Dominic Thiem has a very bright future on the Tour and I think he should be winning matches like this one against Joao Sousa. Sousa is a very good professional who will take every match very seriously and will put in a full effort which will see him beat players if they are not concentrating, but Thiem should be the better player as long as his focus is on the match.

It has been a difficult start to the 2015 season for Thiem who has only won one match so far, but he has all the tools to up that number very quickly. Of course it is also in contrast to Sousa who has played well in Montpellier and also reached the Third Round at the Australian Open.

Sousa doesn't have a very big game, but he works hard on the court with his defence a key part of his tactics and he can force mistakes from his opponents. However, he is working so hard to maintain his place in matches that he can sometimes lose a bit of gas in the tank and that is where Thiem should take over.

Their previous match came at the Australian Open over twelve months ago and it was a very tight match to be honest. This one looks like it might go three sets too, but I think Thiem can battle through to a 64, 36, 63 win.

David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Daniel Gimeno-Traver: David Ferrer was a little beat up at the Australian Open and the Spaniard continues to slip from the top of the men's game, although he is still capable of producing the tennis he has become known for. He did win the title in Doha, but the lay off could have an affect and give Daniel Gimeno-Traver a chance to perhaps spring a surprise.

And it would be a surprise if the veteran Spaniard who now produces his best tennis on the Challenger circuit is going to beat David Ferrer in this First Round match. The Gimeno-Traver serve is something of a weakness and he is going to have work very hard to keep holding and I think that pressure will eventually crack his chances in this one.

Ferrer is unlikely to take any point off and will make Gimeno-Traver really earn every point he is to win and it will be tough on the clay courts to maintain the rallies if Ferrer is on form. The last few years has seen Ferrer come off the lay off between the Australian Open and the Golden Swing in South America in impressive form as he has won titles in that situation. He has also made a fast start in those tournaments for the main part and Ferrer should be in a position to get clear of Gimeno-Traver in this one.

A tight first set is expected, but Ferrer should pull away for a 64, 62 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Ana Ivanovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Sara Errani - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet365 (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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