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Friday, 13 March 2015

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2015 (March 13th)

Both the WTA and ATP main draws in Indian Wells have begun, but the First Round is yet to be completed on the ATP side of things. That means their big name players won't be in action until Saturday, but Friday sees the top names on the WTA Tour return as the Second Round gets going.

The biggest story will surround Serena Williams' return to Indian Wells with her being scheduled for the evening session and the American has admitted that she has some nerves ahead of her return to the court. That had to be expected, but I still of the belief that Williams is going to be inspired all the way to the title.

On that note, it would have to be close to a record if there is a fourteen year gap between her titles at Indian Wells- I can't imagine too many other players have won an event at the same venue with that kind of gap between titles so it is yet another record that Serena Williams can look to take down as she chases the likes of Steffi Graf and Margaret Court in terms of Singles Grand Slam wins.

The only pick I made from the tournament yesterday ended in a void because Jiri Vesely retired from his match against Marcos Baghdatis while a set down. It is a little disappointing, but the match was close at the time, according to the statistics, and I am not entirely sure what happened to Vesely to force the withdrawal. He does have two weeks to get ready for the next Masters event in Miami though so there is that for Vesely fans.

It looks another tough day finding picks despite a whole host of matches taking place at Indian Wells and I am going with three picks for the day.

Camila Giorgi - 2.5 games v Heather Watson: After seeing off one erratic player in the First Round, Heather Watson will look to bamboozle Camila Giorgi in this Second Round match. Watson beat Julia Goerges in the First Round, but the German has to be kicking herself with the way she continued to drop momentum at crucial times in the match and I will be looking for Camila Giorgi to be just a tad more consistent in this one.

There is no doubt that Giorgi can compete with anyone on the WTA Tour when she is 'on', but double faults and the frustrating run of unforced errors seems to prevent her from making a real impact at a major event. It will be those errors that Watson will look to in her bid for the upset, but the power is on Giorgi's side of the court and might be too difficult to contain.

Watson is trying to be more aggressive on the court and I have to credit her for doing that in a bid to improve her Ranking, but someone like Giorgi can take the racquet from her hand if on form. The British player would be advised to try and keep things varied on the court and use the slice and dice approach to force mistakes from the Giorgi racquet, but the new tendency to fight fire with fire might come back to haunt Watson in this kind of match.

It might go three sets, but I do think Giorgi is capable of running away with at least one of the sets by producing a 62, 61 scoreline behind a number of winners. That should help her cover in a match that might go the distance.

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - 1.5 games v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova: It was largely an impressive First Round showing for Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her win over Johanna Larsson in straight sets, but she is going to have to be a lot tighter when it comes to the errors produced if she is to beat Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in this Second Round encounter.

Pavlyuchenkova does have the head to head lead, but their sole meeting came four seasons ago and there is no doubt that Zahlavova Strycova is a much improved player in that time. The Russian may have the power on the court, but I like Zahlavova Strycova's ability to make her move with her strong defensive skills and that should eventually wear down her opponent in this one.

Sara Errani showed that side of things last week in a win over Pavlyuchenkova and I do believe Zahlavova Strycova is playing at a higher level than either of those players. Results this season have continued to be very promising for the Czech player who really announced herself by reaching the Wimbledon Semi Final last season and built on that in the following months.

The power of Pavlyuchenkova may see her take a set as long as she restricts her errors, but I expect her to worn down physically and mentally and Zahlavova Strycova can cover a small number.

Lucie Safarova - 5.5 games v Mona Barthel: Two left-handed players meet in the Second Round and I want to ride the form that Lucie Safarova showed in her recent two stops in the Middle East which also saw her take the title in Doha.

After a lean 2014 season on the Singles Tour, 2015 has opened up at a very strong pace for Safarova, particularly over the last month, and she is once again on the border of breaking into the World's Top Ten. A strong showing in Indian Wells and Miami should get her back amongst the elite and the form shown in Dubai and Doha should make her too strong for Mona Barthel.

Barthel can't be under-estimated after battling through a tough First Round match, but the German has not been in the best form this season and confidence will be high on the Safarova side of the court. Safarova has been serving well which should set her up more effectively than Barthel, even if the courts at Indian Wells are not playing as quick as some players would like.

Wins over the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Andrea Petkovic, Ekaterina Makarova and Venus Williams over the last month have shown what Lucie Safarova should be producing on a tennis court and I expect her to continue riding her success. She did beat Barthel 63, 63 at the end of last season and a similar scoreline could be on the cards in this Second Round match.

MY PICKS: Camila Giorgi - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Lucie Safarova - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update1-1, - 0.30 Units (4 Units Staked, - 7.5% Yield)

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