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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Madrid Tennis Picks 2015 (May 7th)

I have been on a holiday for the last ten days or so which has meant that I just haven't had the time to put up my tennis picks in what is usually one of my favourite times of the season. However, I will be honest in saying it hasn't been as productive as previous years to this point, although a strong first quarter of the year has meant the season has been a decent one so far.

Hopefully the remaining days in Madrid are positive for the picks and I have something to build upon in Rome next week when final preparations for the French Open are completed by the top players on the Tour. Novak Djokovic has decided to skip this week to focus on Rome and Paris, but the surprises have already come this week with an early exit for Roger Federer in an event where he was the top Seed.

It is Third Round action in the Masters event being played in Madrid, while the Premier Event has reached the Quarter Finals as we approach the business end of the week.

Grigor Dimitrov v Stan Wawrinka: Grigor Dimitrov was forced to dig very deep to beat Fabio Fognini in the Second Round on Wednesday, but that is an impressive win over a player who is very comfortable on the clay courts. Some of the wins that Fognini has had on the clay over the last three seasons should underline the impressiveness of the Dimitrov win, but the Bulgarian has to show some better consistency if he is going to take the next step in his development this season.

Recent weeks have shown that it is not always easy to predict what form Dimitrov is going to bring onto the court, but it has been a lot more difficult to predict Stan Wawrinka who has been going through some personal issues.

While Wawrinka won't want to blame his poor season on the break up with his wife, there is little doubt that those off-court issues have to be playing some part as he tries to earn some revenge for a heavy defeat to Dimitrov in Monte Carlo.

I can't imagine this match will be so one-sided, but I think Dimitrov can frank that form and I am not convinced he should be the underdog in this one and will back him to come through, likely in three sets.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: The battling that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has done on the clay courts has to earn him some respect, but he is going to have to be better than he was in the win over Jack Sock if he is going to beat Tomas Berdych.

The fans will be behind Tsonga more than usual as Berdych is not liked that much around these parts, but I am not sure that will bother the Czech player that much.

He will know the match will be won on the court and Berdych has a better ability to get Tsonga's serves back into play with effectiveness than I would expect of the Frenchman. The pressure of trying to keep up on the scoreboard could be a real issue for Tsonga and he was a little fortunate to even reach this stage of the tournament.

Matches between these players have been very competitive in the past, but Tsonga is still getting back to his best following an injury lay-off and I do think Berdych is playing with enough consistency to see him off. It could need a tie-break to earn the first set, but I like Berdych to come through 76, 63.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v Simone Bolelli: Rafael Nadal has decided to go back to his old racquet as he looks to turn around what has been a poor clay court season by the high standards he has set through his career.

A Semi Final loss to Novak Djokovic at Monte Carlo was disappointing, but expected, and the defeat to Fabio Fognini in the Second Round at Barcelona was a huge upset. Nadal is now the favourite to win this event in Madrid, but he hasn't always produced his best here thanks to the altitude and the slightly different clay court conditions.

I'd still think he is going to be too good for Simone Bolelli who is a decent Italian clay courter, but a player that will be a comfortable match up for Nadal. The Spaniard should get plenty of chances to dictate the points as long rallies develop in this match and I think that will give Nadal a chance to earn the breaks of serve to cover this number.

Nadal had to battle much deeper than many would have thought to see off Stevie Johnson in the Second Round, but I think he will get better as the week goes on and I am looking for a 64, 62 win in this match.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Marcel Granollers: Andy Murray has been playing a lot of tennis of late having won in Munich and then being forced to begin his Second Round match in the early hours of Thursday morning. He will be back on the court this evening and that quick turnaround is probably the biggest issue that Murray will face in this one against Marcel Granollers who has not been in the greatest form on the Singles Tour in 2015.

Granollers is coming off an impressive win over Gael Monfils, but this is another level up in terms of competition and he is perhaps one of the Spanish players that is maybe more comfortable on the quicker surfaces rather than the clay courts.

The serve can be a weakness at times and Granollers doesn't have the same patience as some of his compatriots to get involved in the longer rallies that develop on this surface.

Again, my main concern is the fatigue that Andy Murray might be facing. If he has got the required rest and is helped by the matches before his going longer than expected, I would expect Murray to be far too good in a 75, 63 win.

Kei Nishikori - 4.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: Kei Nishikori was another player that perhaps took to the court a little later than expected on Wednesday and he had to come through a tough examination from David Goffin before booking his place in the Third Round.

The Japanese star is a real threat at the French Open as he showed by winning the title in Barcelona for the second year in a row and Nishikori could go very far as long as he can maintain his physical strength. The body does take a real pounding on the clay courts, but he has looked stronger over the last twelve months and I expect Nishikori to have recovered sufficiently to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in this match.

As much as I respect Bautista Agut for getting as high in the Rankings as he has, I do think he is found out more often than not when facing those players in the top ten. He took a fairly heavy battering from Nishikori in Barcelona, even if the match did need to go to three sets, and the way he plays does match up well for Nishikori.

There will be long rallies in the match and I think Nishikori is far better off the ground which will see him win those more often than not. Roberto Bautista Agut's serve is not going to earn too many cheap points so he will have to work for everything he gets in this one and I think Nishikori will have plenty of opportunities to break serve and move through to the Quarter Final with a 64, 63 win behind him.

MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 4.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Season 2015+ 31.93 Units (587 Units Staked, + 5.44% 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

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