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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2015 (March 19th)

Wednesday was slightly annoying despite a positive record for the day because it does feel that at least two more picks should have been rewarded with winners. Tomas Berdych won the first set against Lukas Rosol very comfortably but allowed the momentum to get away from him in the second set before recovering to book his place in the Quarter Final.

The Serena Williams pick was even more frustrating as she found a way to battle through the first set, but dropped all momentum by allowing her serve to be broken in her first two games of the second set. Williams was breaking the Timea Bacsinszky serve at will by that point and managed three breaks of serve from four return games, but those early breaks given up meant it ended up being a 75, 63 win and not the 75, 62 scoreline I had predicted.

We have reached the business end of the tournament at Indian Wells which means there are only four matches scheduled on Thursday as the Premier Event Semi Final line up is completed, while the first two Masters Quarter Finals are played.

Flavia Pennetta - 3.5 games v Sabine Lisicki: I was surprised to see Sabine Lisicki make her way through the draw and she has to be respected in this Quarter Final, but the defending Champion Flavia Pennetta has shown little sign of wanting to lose her grip on the title she won last season.

Wins over Madison Brengle and Sam Stosur in straight sets were good performances, but coming from a set down to beat Maria Sharapova was very impressive from Pennetta and the Italian will be tough to stop on that form.

Pennetta has shown better form in 2015 than Lisicki and the conditions seem to be very much to her liking and I do think the wins she has had this week are more impressive than the German has put together. However, Lisicki needs to be respected as she is a player that does play better when full of confidence like she should be at Indian Wells this week and this should be a tough battle.

I just feel Pennetta is the more secure player of the two and she can dig deeper than Lisicki when the chips are down at any point in the match. It could be fun viewing, but I will look for Pennetta to battle to a 75, 64 win in this one.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: Andy Murray has a very strong record against left-handed players not called Rafael Nadal and that includes winning all 9 matches against Feliciano Lopez ahead of this Quarter Final at Indian Wells.

The last twelve months have been very good for Lopez so he might be coming into this match with the most belief he has ever had when facing Andy Murray as he looks to improve on his career-high World Ranking. A win over Kei Nishikori in the Fourth Round was very impressive from Lopez, but he is now going up against an in-form Murray in this Quarter Final.

Murray would have got a good look at what a left-hander will bring to the court in his routine win over Adrian Mannarino in the Fourth Round, although the Lopez serve is a lot bigger than what the Frenchman can produce. However, I think Murray has been seeing the ball very big on the return and his head to head suggests he has the tools to negate Lopez' biggest weapon and exploit a backhand that is below average.

If Lopez is serving well, it could be a close match, but even slightly below his best with that part of his game would see Murray dictate the match for the most part. Murray's own serve can be something of a weakness, particularly the second serve, but I expect him to focus on the Lopez backhand which isn't really a shot that the Spaniard likes to hit over and Murray won't be punished as much as others can.

That should lead to a 64, 63 win for the British Number 1 and potentially a big Semi Final against Novak Djokovic upcoming.

Novak Djokovic - 5.5 games v Bernard Tomic: There is little doubt that Bernard Tomic is in decent form, but he might have spent a lot more emotional effort in seeing off Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Fourth Round on Wednesday. It was clearly a big match for Tomic to show that he is still the face of the future of Australian tennis and that might leave him a little short of emotion even if he is going into a big match with the World Number 1 Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic did what he had to do to see off John Isner in the Fourth Round and the Serb looks to be in good form going into this Quarter Final. He still needs to find a level or two if Djokovic seriously wants to win the title with the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal looking in decent form in the bottom half of the draw, but I expect he starts to raise his game now.

I have been impressed with the wins that Tomic has put together this week, but he will have to serve better than he did yesterday if he is to get through against the best returner on the Tour. That might end up causing a little too much pressure on the Australian in this one and I expect Djokovic to win the longer rallies more often than not.

They haven't played one another for two and a half years, and Tomic has improved massively since then, but I am still not completely convinced by his ability against the best players on the Tour. I will look for Djokovic to take the belief away from Tomic in the first set and then move through fairly comfortably into another Semi Final at this event following a 64, 62 win.

MY PICKS: Flavia Pennetta - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update16-19, - 9.20 Units (70 Units Staked, - 13.14% Yield)

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