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Monday, 25 May 2015

French Open Day 2 Picks 2015 (May 25th)

The French Open has started very positively for the picks, but you can still read the outright picks I made here.

While there weren't many upsets or truly entertaining matches on Sunday, the biggest talking points both came out of the top two Swiss male players in the world who both comfortably won their First Round matches. However neither Roger Federer nor Stan Wawrinka were impressed with the tournament organisers and made their feelings clear in their press conferences following their wins.

Roger Federer was stunned to see someone manage to get on the court for the second time in two days as he was asked for a 'selfie' and he had a lot to say about the lack of security. I can understand exactly where Federer is coming from as he should be free to concentrate on working without fearing someone will get onto court and the French Open should be disgusted especially in light of what happened to Monica Seles twenty years ago.

The last thing anyone would want to see is a repeat of that situation and the French Open should be roundly criticised for allowing this to happen on consecutive days on their main court.

Stan Wawrinka concentrated more on an article that had been placed on the Roland Garros website making a note of his recent personal troubles and he wasn't holding back as to what he wanted to see happen to the 'journalist' who wrote the piece.

A controversial start to the second Grand Slam of the 2015 season, but it was a positive one for the picks which went 4-1 on Sunday although I would never have guessed the one losing pick would have been Steve Johnson beating Guillermo Garcia-Lopez outright. Hopefully the start to this week can be built upon in the next two weeks as Monday continues the First Round action.

Juan Monaco v Federico Delbonis: I did consider picking Juan Monaco to cover the 1.5 game handicap, which would also protect you from any injury withdrawal that Juan Monaco could potentially have. I decided against that simply because there wasn't a noticeable price difference between picking Juan Monaco to win straight up or to cover the games, but I am clear that I believe he should come through in this battle of two Argentinians on their favourite surface.

Juan Monaco has shown more consistency on the European clay courts than Federico Delbonis over the last six weeks, although Delbonis had a welcome return to form having reached the Final in Geneva last week. Delbonis has won a Challenger tournament in that time too, but failed to qualify for either the Madrid or Rome Masters and this is the level that Monaco has been winning games in.

It can be frustrating backing Monaco simply because he can be something of a choker under the pressure of expectation when he comes close to winning matches. He has allowed opponents back into matches when Monaco should be closing them out, while Delbonis did beat Monaco comfortably on the clay courts last season.

However, Delbonis can be moved around by someone like Monaco and the latter can win this match if he can prevent Delbonis teeing off from the baseline. That can happen by keeping Delbonis on the move and this match will be decided in a couple of tight sets which may go either way. I just feel Monaco is the better player and he is slightly overpriced to win this match and I will look for him to progress to the Second Round.

Fernando Verdasco - 7.5 games v Taro Daniel: Taro Daniel has come through the qualifiers which can make him a dangerous First Round opponent for Fernando Verdasco who is certainly not the same player as a few years ago. The Spaniard is still capable of having runs in Grand Slams as Verdasco is very comfortable in a best of five set match and feels he can out-last others, but he can also be erratic which can give Daniel a chance.

With that erraticism in mind, this might initially seem like a lot of games for Verdasco to cover, but Daniel doesn't usually play at the same level as the Spaniard.

Daniel was comfortably beaten by Nicolas Almagro in Casablanca and he has the kind of serve that will offer Verdasco chances to get a double break in a single set. Verdasco himself will give Daniel some chances as he likes to go for his shots and can give away silly points when perhaps pushing too hard, but I think his power will eventually wear down what Daniel can do.

As I have said before, any qualifier has to be respected with three wins behind them and Daniel has done a lot of winning at the Challenger level. However, I think Verdasco will come through a tight first set and then pull away in a 75, 63, 63 win and a cover of a big number of games.

Dominic Thiem - 4.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: How weird is it to call Aljaz Bedene the British Number 2? But that is what Bedene is having won a Challenger in Rome and he also reached the Quarter Final in the main draw in Casablanca so confidence could be high that he can make an impact in the French Open by upsetting Dominic Thiem.

That won't be easy as Thiem won his first main Tour title in Nice last week and has reached a career-high Number 31 coming into the French Open. He is considered one of the top talents on the ATP Tour and Thiem has always called the clay courts his favourite surface so it made sense he won his first title on this surface.

This could actually be one of the more fun matches to watch on Monday as both players will look to play their shots, but I think the edge has to go to Thiem who should have a little more from the baseline. Thiem can sometimes be erratic when it comes to protecting his serve, but I think he will put plenty of pressure on Bedene's serve too and he should have the edge as long as he remains focused on the task at hand.

It will be fun to watch however long it lasts, but Thiem can cover even in a four set win.

Tommy Robredo - 5.5 games v Andrey Golubev: Andrey Golubev has entered the main draw at Roland Garros as a Lucky Loser and he will be hoping that his two wins in qualifiers from the three matches played will give him a chance to beat Tommy Robredo on his favoured surface. Golubev will look to take advantage of any match rustiness that Robredo displays after he returns to competitive action for the first time since Barcelona last month.

It will be difficult for Golubev to beat Robredo if the latter is ready to go in Paris and not being troubled by any kind of injury. The match up looks a good one for Robredo as he should be able to extract plenty of errors from the Golubev game as the rallies are extended and the Spaniard remains one of the fittest players on the Tour.

The Robredo serve can be a weakness so Golubev will feel he can have some chances to break and get himself involved in the match, but he has struggled to really perform on the main Tour over the last few seasons. Golubev is also more suited to the faster surfaces and I think that all comes together in this First Round match to see Tommy Robredo move through to the Second Round.

There is a real chance this match needs to go at least four sets, but I think Robredo can earn a double break in one of the sets to move through with a 46, 64, 62, 64 win.

Borna Coric v Sam Querrey: Borna Coric is another young player on the ATP Tour that is expected to be part of the next generation that will challenge for Grand Slam titles and perhaps reach the World Number 1 status. He has begun to make a real impact on the Tour already at 18 years old and Coric comes to Paris having reached the Semi Final in Nice last week.

Admittedly this might not be the surface that suits Coric prefers, but two of his best performances on the Tour have come in clay court events and I was perhaps a little surprised to see him as the underdog to Sam Querrey in this First Round match.

It is an intriguing contest as Querrey has the serve that can frustrate opponents, but he is not a comfortable performer on the clay courts and is just 4-8 in previous matches in Paris. The American has struggled on the European clay courts during the last month and Querrey is probably already looking forward to getting onto the grass courts.

The serve makes this a more difficult match to predict as Querrey could frustrate Coric whose own serve is still developing and will give the American chances to break. However, I think Coric has an edge in terms of movement and rallying from the baseline and I believe he extracts enough mistakes from Querrey to move into the Second Round as the underdog.

Adrian Mannarino - 3.5 games v Jurgen Melzer: I did have a couple of second thoughts about this pick because of Adrian Mannarino's poor 1-6 record at his home Grand Slam and his general struggles on the clay courts where he can't use the pace his opponents are bring to turn things around on them.

Over the clay court season, Mannarino has won just 1 of 5 matches so you can understand my concerns, although I think the First Round match against Jurgen Melzer is the kind of match the Frenchman would have hoped for.

A few years ago I would have made Melzer a big favourite to win this kind of match, but he has really slipped down the World Rankings and looks to be coming to the end of a decent career. Melzer has had a poor 2015 season and you could see the lack of confidence in his own game in his defeat to Joao Sousa last week in Geneva.

There should be plenty of breaks in this match and it would be a real surprise if it is won in straight sets, but I think Mannarino is playing at a better level than Melzer in general these days. While the clay courts are not the type of surface Mannarino enjoys, he did win his first match at Roland Garros last season and I think he can come through with a 75, 36, 63, 64 win.

Angelique Kerber - 5.5 games v Timea Babos: It has been a couple of lean seasons for Angelique Kerber having reached just one Grand Slam Quarter Final since July 2012, although the French Open has arguably been her most consistent Slam over the last four years.

The German has been producing some top quality tennis since the move to the clay courts after a poor start to 2015 and I can see why some would have tipped Kerber up as a dark horse in this tournament. She won in Stuttgart, a big clay court title, but Kerber didn't really back that up effectively in Madrid or Rome which would be a negative against her.

However, I think she will be too strong for Timea Babos in this First Round match on Monday, especially as Babos has had a tough time finding consistency on the clay courts over the last six weeks. Aside from a strong run in Marrakech,  Babos has really struggled to earn wins and will always give opponents a chance to win sets with a double break of serve.

The Kerber serve can be a little inconsistent too and she will have to do well on that front if she is to cover a big number, but I think she will find a way to do that in one set which will lead to a 64, 62 win.

Sam Stosur - 5.5 games v Madison Brengle: Sam Stosur is no longer a legitimate contender to win Grand Slam events, but the French Open may provide her best opportunity to go deep in a Slam draw again. She is a former Finalist at the French Open and winning the tournament in Strasbourg last week will have given the Australian some confidence, even if the draw didn't have the big names the one in Paris does.

Stosur can only take it a match at a time and see where that leads her and the first test is presented by Madison Brengle who has been struggling badly since reaching the Semi Final in Stuttgart. Four consecutive First Round losses coming into the French Open will have dented Brengle's confidence and I think the Stosur serve can keep her under pressure in this match.

The kick serve Stosur employs is really effective on the clay courts and that should put her in a stronger position to hold serve compared with Brengle. Setting up short points on the clay and beginning to dictate the rallies is very important, while it will also allow Stosur to protect the backhand wing which is clearly a weakness in her game.

If Stosur can serve well I would expect the scoreboard pressure to be very important in the match and allow her to wear down Brengle in a 75, 62 win.

MY PICKS: Juan Monaco @ 1.73 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 7.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tommy Robredo - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Borna Coric @ 2.10 Betway (2 Units)
Adrian Mannarino - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Sam Stosur - 5.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)

French Open Update: 4-1, + 5.84 Units (10 Units Staked, + 58.4% Yield)

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