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Saturday, 14 March 2015

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2015 (March 14th)

It was as poor a day as I have had in the last month as all three picks made yesterday fell into the losing side of the column. These days happen, the key is to try not to prolong the disappointment and get things moving in the right direction as soon as possible without getting 'desperate' for winners.

Indian Wells is a long tournament that still has another eight days so there is plenty of time to right the ship and keep the positive momentum going before the clay court season begins in April.

Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v James Duckworth: He isn't the player of old, but I still expect Fernando Verdasco to have too much in his locker for James Duckworth despite the latter coming through the qualifiers.

That should have him ready to deal with the conditions but the slower courts at Indian Wells will suit someone like Verdasco who will be very used to clay courts and those conditions. The bigger serve at least gives him a chance to set up easier points and I expect Verdasco is too good for Duckworth who makes too many mistakes to be expected to beat a top 32 player.

It will be a battle at times because Verdasco can be very loose in matches and offer up a lot of mistakes of his own, but the Spaniard should be strong enough to record a 75, 64 win.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Vasek Pospisil: Andy Murray beat Vasek Pospisil 63, 75 in Rotterdam last month, but he made the second set a lot harder work than it needed to be and that is always one of the negatives about the Murray game.

It is not easy to talk about the negatives of a two time Grand Slam winner, but Murray's focus does see him drop serve, while the second serve has always been something of a liability. On the other hand, he dealt with the Canadian's serve very well in faster conditions than he will face today and I think the return game of Murray makes this an easier day in the office than some may think.

Things begin and end for Pospisil on his serve- if he finds his groove with that shot, it can be very difficult against him, but the slower court conditions should give Murray ample time for effective returns of serve and I see him creating plenty of break point chances.

The key to this spread is getting the win done in two sets- it isn't always the Murray way, but I think he may also win a set with a double break which should set him up for a 75, 62 win in his first match in North America this season.

Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 games v Edouard Roger-Vasselin: The first match after a lay off is always one fraught with danger, but I do think Feliciano Lopez can get the better of the qualifier Edouard Roger-Vasselin who saves his best tennis for the Doubles arena these days.

That isn't disrespecting the Frenchman who has a decent game, but there is nothing really spectacular about it and that should give Feliciano Lopez the chance to build into the tournament. As I said, it won't be easy, but Lopez has a serve that will make it difficult for Roger-Vasselin to attack as long as he is on his game.

It hasn't always been the case for Lopez at the beginning of the 2015 season, while his return of serve leaves a lot to be desired. However, I think Lopez can get enough pressure on Roger-Vasselin to come through with a 76, 63 win in this one.

Flavia Pennetta - 2.5 games v Madison Brengle: The defending Champion Flavia Pennetta gets ready to take to the court at Indian Wells for the first time since picking up the trophy in surprising fashion last season. She might have wished for an easy match than facing Madison Brengle, but the Premier Events have plenty of tough players in the draw and the Italian has to deal with what she has got.

Madison Brengle is having a really good start to the 2015 season as her health issues are now fully behind her and she is playing with confidence. However, Pennetta has been in decent nick herself and  I think her experiences in Indian Wells will give her the edge in this match.

As I have said, it won't be an easy match for Pennetta to get her defence of the title off to a positive start, but I think she will be able to battle through in three sets as she uses all of her experience. Brengle is a decent player that will enjoy home support, but Pennetta to come through 63, 46, 64 for me.

Andrea Petkovic - 3.5 games v Lesia Tsurenko: Like with many of the Seeded players at this stage of the tournament, they have to be careful in the Second Round against opponents that have come through matches to reach this stage.

That is the biggest concern for Andrea Petkovic who has shown good form over the last month by winning the title in Antwerp and returning to the top 10 of the World Rankings after an injury plagued season in 2014.

She should be too good for Lesia Tsurenko who has come through qualifiers and been in decent nick over the last couple of weeks. However, Petkovic represents a step up in class of opponent and I do think the German can come through with a 64, 64 win and a place in the Third Round.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Flavia Pennetta - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)

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