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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2015 (March 17th)

It is a big day for the Premier Event at Indian Wells as all of the Fourth Round matches are played on Tuesday, while the Masters tournament completes their Third Round.

The big match of the day will be between Sloane Stephens and Serena Williams, although it is a 'big' match in terms of the American media and their off-court issues rather than the competitiveness of their recent matches on-court.

Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will also be back in action on Tuesday in a full day at Indian Wells.

Tomas Berdych - 4.5 games v Steve Johnson: There are a few more American professional players on the ATP Tour that have taken the College route before moving onto the main Tour and that may have stunted their development to some extent.

Instead of making an impact in their early 20's, these players wait a little longer as they build experience before beginning to really find their way on the Tour. Steve Johnson has been producing his best tennis over the last twelve months as he has gotten used to the standard of play at this level, but I still think he will be a little too short of quality to beat Tomas Berdych in this Third Round match.

Berdych is showing signs of having a very strong season on the Tour, although I am not convinced he will find the extra he needs to win a Grand Slam title. He has been good enough to see of those opponents he is expected to beat, but fellow top 10 players have been too good for Berdych.

He should still have the tools to see of Johnson fairly comfortably in this match and I am a little surprised that he is being offered at odds against to cover this number of games as I was looking for a routine 63, 64 win for the Czech player.

Roberto Bautista-Agut - 3.5 games v Jack Sock: Roberto Bautista-Agut was kind enough to see off Denis Istomin in comfortable fashion as one of the few picks that has gone my way this week and I like his chances to beat Jack Sock in this Third Round match.

I do think Sock needs to be given credit for coming through two Rounds here at Indian Wells in his first appearance on the Tour since the end of last season and beating Gilles Muller and Yen-Hsun Lu are impressive results.

However, his physical state is going to be tested having already played back to back three set matches and now facing Bautista-Agut who is capable of getting a lot of balls back in play and quickly turn defence into attack.

The Spaniard has been serving well and I think the conditions will suit him down to the ground in Indian Wells and I like him to battle through to a 76, 63 win.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v Donald Young: As a three time previous winner at Indian Wells, Rafael Nadal has been overlooked somewhat as a potential winner. There are reasons for that as Nadal looks to get back to his top level following an injury-hit second half of 2014, while the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have been in very strong form and are clearly favourites for the title.

Nadal quietly went about his business with a comfortable Second Round win, but there will be a lot more attention on this match as he faces Donald Young of America.

It has been a good tournament for Young already with two consecutive wins behind him, including against Rafael Nadal's Doubles partner here at Indian Wells, but the level will be picking up now. The serve is still not as effective as Young would like and Nadal is the kind of player that will play every point as though it is the last he will ever play which will keep the pressure on the home player.

It might not feel like home for Young as he is playing one of the most popular players on the Tour and I expect Nadal to wear him down before producing a 64, 62 win.

Heather Watson + 4.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: There is no doubt that I have got Heather Watson matches wrong in the first two Rounds when I expected her to be beaten, but she is in form and could take advantage of the incredibly long match that Carla Suarez Navarro had a couple of days ago.

The Spaniard came through against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets, but the first two of those sets took almost three hours to complete and it will be interesting if the last couple of days is enough time for her to recover physically.

With this match scheduled as the first one out on court on Tuesday, there isn't a lot of time for Suarez Navarro to get ready for this match. If the conditions were the same for both players, I would still think 4.5 games is a lot to be giving up by Suarez Navarro with her style of play suited to what Heather Watson will want to do.

Both players don't mind the extended rallies, but that is where Suarez Navarro may struggle physically and I like taking the games in this one.

Belinda Bencic v Jelena Jankovic: It hasn't been the best start to 2015 for Belinda Bencic, but she earned a hugely impressive win over Caroline Wozniacki on Monday which could give her the impetus to go deep into the Indian Wells tournament.

It isn't always easy for a young player to back up a win like the one Bencic achieved, but I think she is playing an opponent who should already be out of the event. Jelena Jankovic had to dig deep to see off Madison Keys in the Third Round as the American had the lead in every set but couldn't shut the door on the experienced Jankovic.

Bencic will have better memories of facing Jankovic than she did of facing Wozniacki- she hadn't won a game in the previous match with the Dane, but Bencic beat Jankovic at the US Open last season and that experience as a big underdog can put her in a good place mentally for this match.

She is still an underdog in this almost pick 'em contest and I do think Bencic will back up her win against Wozniacki by beating an out-of-sorts Jankovic who was fortunate to get through on Monday.

Carolina Garcia - 2.5 games v Sabine Lisicki: Reaching back to back Finals in the two weeks leading up to Indian Wells would have given Carolina Garcia plenty of confidence in her game and she has backed that up here. Another win over a top 10 player in Ana Ivanovic in the Third Round should show Garcia that she is capable of competing with the best players and she is the favourite to see off Sabine Lisicki.

I quite like the way Lisicki carries herself on the court, but the German really isn't as a good a player as some out there think- she has the tools to play some fantastic stuff, but off the grass courts she is not the same. I also think Lisicki is a little too erratic with her play and will have to be better than that if she is to beat a confident Garcia.

Lisicki has been impressive in beating Doubles partners Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani in consecutive Rounds, while Garcia has had to come through three sets in both her wins in the event.

However, I think Garcia is a little more secure all around and is playing with a confidence that suggests she could be a big mover up the World Rankings in the coming months. I like her to battle her way through to a 76, 63 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista-Agut - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Heather Watson + 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Belinda Bencic @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia - 2.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet365 (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 9-13, - 10.60 Units (44 Units Staked, - 24.09% Yield)

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