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Monday, 23 March 2015

Miami Tennis Picks 2015 (March 24th)

So a poor week in Indian Wells ended with the two Finals both going against the picks and just summed up the way the tournament went for me. I am not going to be too downhearted simply because the first three months of the season have been very productive and there are always times when things don't go as planned.

The real key is trying to prevent these losing runs from dragging on for too long and the Tour has quickly moved on to the Miami Masters/Premier Event which begins on Tuesday with main draw action. Like Indian Wells, the Premier Event First Round begins first and the Masters First Round matches will get going on Wednesday, while the big names are all Seeded to move through to the Second Round already.

One big name who won't be in Miami this week is Roger Federer who released his schedule last month and opted to miss this Masters event and instead return on the clay courts of Monte Carlo. It is an interesting decision, but Federer seems honed in on having a really strong clay court season, especially when you consider he is also playing an ATP 250 event in Istanbul before the Madrid and Rome Masters events.

I am not entirely sure what the thinking is except he is probably being paid a fortune to go to Istanbul, although I also guess that the new gap between the clay and grass court season played a part in him taking another tournament on board.

Serena Williams was a doubt when she pulled out of the Indian Wells Semi Final last week, but the rest between that decision and the start of the event in Miami seems to have worked and she is taking her place at the top of the Premier Event draw. The fact the organisers are highlighting her first match taking place during the Friday evening session suggests they are confident Williams plays this week too.

As with last week, we have two short priced favourites to win the events at Miami in both the Premier Event and Masters and it is hard to look beyond Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic as potential winners over the next two weeks.

Serena Williams has won the last two Miami titles and Novak Djokovic is the defending Champion who has won 3 of the last 4 here so how can you really look beyond either? The only doubts would be the Williams injury from last week and Djokovic trying to win back to back Masters in March, although he has done that last season and in 2011.

If you are looking for alternatives, Maria Sharapova could come out of the bottom half of the draw and finally breakthrough and win the title if Serena Williams is out of the draw. Sharapova didn't play that well in Indian Wells, but she has always preferred the second of the two Premier Events held in this month and has been a Runner Up in Miami five times before, including three times in a row between 2011-13.

The draw for the men's event isn't out at the time I am writing this, but someone like Tomas Berdych has had one of his few really successful tournaments at this level in Miami where he was a Runner Up in 2010 and Andy Murray is a two time winner of the event as well as being a Runner Up previously.

Both Berdych and Murray were in good nick last week and could go very deep into the tournament with the right draw.

Personally I will be steering clear of the outright markets again this week and won't return to those until the start of the clay court events at the beginning of April. My only concern for the Miami tournament is providing better picks than the ones at Indian Wells.

Once the schedule for the Tuesday play is released, I will start putting my picks down here and will have them all out during my lunch tomorrow.

Monica Niculescu - 4.5 games v Shelby Rogers: I am not a great fan of Monica Niculescu with her grimy brand of tennis, but it is effective and gives some of the very best players a problem when they haven't seen it before. That might be part of the issue for Shelby Rogers whose own confidence can't be very high after taking a number of big losses to open the 2015 season.

Rogers is yet to win a match on the main Tour at six previous attempts and she might be a little bamboozled by the range of variations that Niculescu throws on the court. From the slices to the drop shots to the simple change of pace and angle, the Romanian can be a real nuisance and I expect that to frustrate her young opponent.

The pressure of trying to win a match on the Tour has to be affecting Rogers too and the fact is she is barely winning games and sets let alone matches.

As long as Niculescu isn't playing too much within herself, I would expect her to be a fairly routine 63, 64 winner in this match.

Kristina Mladenovic - 2.5 games v Klara Koukalova: It has been a difficult season for both of these players, but the upside that Kristina Mladenovic possesses has to be taken into consideration for this match.

Neither player can point to any real form, but there is a definite feeling that age is catching up with Klara Koukalova and she has suffered some heavy defeats this season. Her serve has never been her biggest weapon, but she might just have lost half a step getting around the court too which means it is that much tougher for her to break back and really get into matches.

Mladenovic has a decent serve and is one of the 'young guns' on the Tour that are hoping to make a real move upwards in the World Rankings. She has yet to really bring in the form she displayed during the off-season at the IPTL, but Mladenovic has more room for improvement in my mind and I expect her extra power to be a difference in this match.

Expect a battle initially as both players try and find some consistency in their game, but I think would think Mladenovic takes control and comes through 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Monica Niculescu - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kristina Mladenovic - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Indian Wells Picks Final19-24, - 13.24 Units (86 Units Staked, - 15.40% Yield)

Season 2015+ 30.63 Units (397 Units Staked, + 7.72% Yield)

Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

1 comment:

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