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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2015 (March 15th)

This is the time when I really feel the event at Indian Wells has gotten going with the first Sunday of the tournament, as is also the case with the event held in Miami, seeing every single top player in both draws having taking to the court.

We have had our first look at the players that have had a couple of weeks off from the Tour and the quality of matches should only improve as long as the majority of those players move through the draw. The WTA Premier Event will begin their Third Round action on Sunday which means Serena Williams will be back on the court where she was given a very warm reception on her return from a 14 year absence.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have had to wait long enough and will be in action in Singles matches, as both have already played a Doubles match in the draw.

Saturday was a better day for the picks, but there is still room for improvement as the tournament goes on. It has been a poor start to the Indian Wells tournament for the picks, but the shoots of recovery came through on Saturday and gives me something to build upon on Sunday.

Jeremy Chardy v Donald Young: The layers have set this as a pick 'em Second Round match with an improving Donald Young the slight favourite to beat the Seeded Jeremy Chardy.

After failing to live up to the hype that has surrounded him since his early teenage years, Young has put together more positive results in recent months and he is very close to surpassing his career-high Ranking of 38 from three seasons ago. The lefty serve should give him an edge in matches, but Young is still erratic at times and a solid competitor like Chardy should have a level enough performance to win this match.

Chardy has been in decent form in 2015 with all of his losses 'understandable' and he has a nice first serve that should set him up. The Frenchman's biggest issue is that he can sometimes be a little loose with his own play that can give opponents a chance to get back into matches and take off, but I am not convinced Young is the player to take full advantage.

It may go three sets, but I like Chardy as the underdog to move into the Third Round.

Roberto Bautista-Agut - 3.5 games v Denis Istomin: Denis Istomin is a player that can produce some really good tennis at times, but is far too inconsistent to expect it on a regular basis. He is going to have to be at his very best to beat Roberto Bautista-Agut who is a player that seems to have found his level on the Tour.

The Spaniard rarely loses matches that he would be expected to win over the last eighteen months, but the top players will generally see him off without too many issues. Istomin definitely falls into the former category and he will have to dig deep to make sure he has a chance in this one, although I am favouring Bautista-Agut to be too strong.

Bautista-Agut needs to serve well, but the slower conditions might not be as detrimental to him with his strong defensive play and I believe that will see him edge through in two sets with a 64, 63 victory behind him.

Simone Bolelli + 3.5 games v Milos Raonic: These two players have to be familiar with one another as this is the third time this season that Simone Bolelli and Milos Raonic will meet on the Tour and the previous two matches have been split one win apiece.

The slower conditions in Indian Wells off the court might favour Bolelli, although the Italian has a win over Raonic on the indoor hard courts which should be a surface that favours the big serving Canadian.

Bolelli has a decent serve himself and has been playing at a high level this season where he seems to be bringing a lot more confidence to the court. It is a far cry from twelve months ago when Bolelli was mainly spending time on the Challenger circuit and I think the Italian is a live dog in this one.

I will take the games and look for Bolelli to at least look after his serve for much of the match and force Raonic to dig deep to get through. Bolelli did come through the First Round with some difficulty, but he has played well enough to earn a crucial break in this match which should be enough to make these games count.

Garbine Muguruza - 1.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: This is a huge Third Round match between two players that are on the cusp of really becoming a threat to perhaps win a really big title. Both Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova are young players that will be tipped to win Grand Slam titles and the winner of this match could go very deep into the tournament at Indian Wells.

They met recently in Dubai in a match that was won by Pliskova, although it was a tight three set match and I think Muguruza has a lot more to find from that match. Too many mistakes and poor serving cost her that day and it won't take a lot for her to turn the tables on Pliskova here at Indian Wells.

I believe Muguruza is going to have more success on slower courts between these players so have to think the conditions in Indian Wells will suit the Spaniard more than Pliskova. It won't be easy unless Muguruza raises her game and cuts out some of her silly mistakes, but this is a player that should be much higher than 22 in the World Rankings and I like her to come through with a 63, 46, 64 win.

Svetlana Kuznetsova v Sloane Stephens: Sloane Stephens has really taken one, or two, steps backward in her career arc that many would have expected from someone who had reached Grand Slam Semi Finals before her 20th birthday. Her form remains inconsistent and I think Svetlana Kuznetsova uses all of her experience to come through and move into the Fourth Round.

It has easily been the best tournament of 2015 for Stephens as she has won back to back matches for the first time- I still see Stephens producing some really good tennis, but mentally she has struggled and those periods of form are quickly replaced by some poor performances.

On the other hand, Kuznetsova hasn't really set the world alight herself and she looks a player that doesn't have a lot left for the WTA Tour compared to the days when she won a couple of Grand Slam titles. The Russian hasn't produced a lot of form in 2015 herself, but she remains a solid competitor that will force Stephens to dig deep, too deep from the form she has shown so far this season.

It's got every chance of being a three setter, but Kuznetsova should be a little stronger favourite for me and I will back her to win this match.

MY PICKS: Jeremy Chardy @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista-Agut - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Simone Bolelli + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Garbine Muguruza - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova @ 1.92 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 4-6, - 5.40 Units (20 Units Staked, - 27% Yield)

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