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Saturday, 18 April 2015

Monte Carlo Tennis Picks 2015 (April 18th)

For the first time since the French Open Final last June, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet one another and this could be a big chance for the World Number 1 to underline his confidence going into the rest of the clay court season.

That is the second Semi Final on Saturday following Tomas Berdych's match against Gael Monfils as the in-form Frenchman looks to reach the Final.

Tomas Berdych v Gael Monfils: It has been a great week for Gael Monfils having beaten Roger Federer and Grigor Dimitrov without dropping a set, while he has been playing with a lot more aggression than we are perhaps used to him doing.

He will need to maintain that aggression if Monfils is going to beat Tomas Berdych who matches up very well with the Frenchman. Berdych has a big serve which can get him in a position to dictate the points against Monfils, while he is consistent enough off the ground to keep making the balls if Monfils decides to go on the defensive.

However, this hasn't been a great week in terms of performances for Berdych, even if he is well rested having not been pushed and virtually receiving a walkover to the Semi Final. Berdych has to play better than he has to this point this week if he is going to find a way past Monfils, but I do think the match up is one that works for him.

It might come down to which of these players can dictate tempo the best to determine the winner and we may have to go three sets to get it done, but I do think Tomas Berdych can reach the Final here with a slightly more consistent effort off the ground.

Novak Djokovic - 2.5 games v Rafael Nadal: For the first time, Novak Djokovic is favoured to beat Rafael Nadal on a clay court and you would have to agree with the assessment of the layers to have done that.

It has been a good week for Rafael Nadal as he finally beat a top ten player for the first time since the French Open when he defeated Novak Djokovic, but he hasn't won the tournament here at Monte Carlo in the last two years. This is essentially a home tournament for Djokovic and he has produced some very good tennis here in the past, but this week has been even more special as he has simply blitzed anyone who dares to go against him.

I do think it is unlikely that Djokovic is capable of doing that to Nadal because I think there is some pressure on him to perform too. He wants to show that he is capable of winning the French Open, which remains a huge goal for Djokovic, and beating Nadal on his favourite surface will give him that confidence boost.

David Ferrer showed the devastation a strong backhand down the line can cause against Nadal and that remains the favourite Djokovic shot in this match up. If he is hitting that well, I think Djokovic will hold the edge in the extended rallies, and he will take advantage of any times that Nadal fails to get his length right, which has been the case at times this week.

Nadal may already see this as a solid start to his clay court campaign, but his time in Monte Carlo is likely to end in a 64, 75 loss in my opinion.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych @ 1.92 Coral (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 9-11, - 3.36 Units (38 Units Staked, - 8.84% Yield)

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