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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Rome Tennis Picks 2015 (May 14th)

So Wednesday can only be described as a disappointment as players missed the opportunities that came their way and it is quite comfortably the worst day I have had for a couple of weeks. It is the nature of the long tennis season that you can't have a great day every day, but I also don't want days like Wednesday to become a trend so will be looking for a bounce back on Thursday.

The tournament has reached the Third Round of both the Masters and Premier Event taking place in Rome and we continue the build up towards the French Open. It is the last marker that the top players can put down and there were no big surprises on Wednesday which means Thursday is a great day for the spectators with tickets to the tournament.

John Isner + 3.5 games v Rafael Nadal: John Isner has been serving over 70% first serves during the course of this season and that kind of number is going to make it incredibly tough for anyone to break his serve. He will need to get that kind of performance from his serve on Thursday if he is to beat Rafael Nadal on clay, although it might be enough to at least keep the match close even in a losing effort.

Rafael Nadal has beaten Isner in all five previous matches, including on the clay courts in Monte Carlo earlier this season, but that match had to go the distance and Isner covered this number. As good as Nadal is on clay, he has not been playing with the same confidence this season and has admitted that his best days might be behind him as he looks to win the French Open title yet again.

The Nadal serve is also one that will offer Isner chances if he takes a shot on the return and gets to the net with the same aggression that he has been in recent weeks. Isner is a huge man and getting the ball past him at the net is far from easy so he might have a couple of chances to break the Nadal serve which could be critical to getting within this number.

You do imagine Nadal wearing down Isner, but this could still be a close match if Isner takes the chances that might come his way and I think getting this headstart at odds against is the call.

Fabio Fognini + 3.5 games v Tomas Berdych: Tomas Berdych has been a feature of the top ten in the World Rankings for some time now and he has shown why that is by consistently getting to Quarter Finals and Semi Finals through the 2015 season. A big reason his career high is Number 5 is because Berdych has always struggled to turn those appearances into wins on a consistent basis, but he will be favoured to knock off Fabio Fognini in this Third Round match in Rome.

The home crowd inspired Fognini to dig deep in a win over Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday and this may finally be the season that the Italian is able to go deep into the draw in Rome having previously been just 3-7 here.

I will be honest in saying that I can't always trust Fognini as he can mentally check out of matches for prolonged periods and that won't work against someone as consistent as Berdych. However, I do think Fognini is capable of playing some special stuff on the clay courts and I expect he can expose some of the movement limitations of the big man.

However, Berdych serving well will make him a big favourite to progress as he frustrates Fognini into making mistakes and perhaps forcing too much. Even with that in mind, I like Fognini with the games in hand to at least keep this match competitive if not earn the surprise win.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v David Goffin: It was a late decision made by Andy Murray that he would take part in the tournament in Rome after winning back to back titles in Munich and Madrid heading into this event. The focus is on being well prepared for the French Open, but Murray has felt he is playing with full health and he was a comfortable winner over Jeremy Chardy in the Second Round to keep the winning run going.

David Goffin is no pushover, but I think the match up is one that will suit Murray very much as the Belgian player is unlikely to rip through him with power. I would expect Murray has the belief he can outlast Goffin from the back of the court, while the British Number 1 is more likely to set himself up with cheap points if he can get a decent first serve percentage in play.

It has been an overreaction by the layers in the Murray price to win the French Open off his consecutive titles, but I also have to say Murray is arguably playing his best clay court tennis of his career. That might not lead to the title here or at Roland Garros, but I think that tennis is good enough to see off Goffin.

Fatigue may eventually prove to be Murray's downfall in Rome, but I expect him to move into another Quarter Final at least and expect to see another 63, 64 kind of win on his record when it is all said and done.

Kei Nishikori - 5.5 games v Victor Troicki: Kei Nishikori made hard work of beating Jiri Vesely in the Second Round, but the most important factor is that he did win and I think he can back that up with a comfortable win over Victor Troicki in the Third Round.

Prior to his two wins here, Troicki had not been in great form on the clay courts as the Tour moved to Rome and Nishikori has already recorded one heavy win over the Serb, albeit on the hard courts.

The match up should be a good one for Nishikori because I think he is the far better player off the baseline of the two and Troicki can't even rely on a big serve to give him a cheap way out of the points under pressure.

That will make it tough for Troicki to try and beat Nishikori off the ground and I think the latter can win 64, 62 as long as he serves better than he did in the Second Round win over Jiri Vesely.

MY PICKS: John Isner + 3.5 Games @ 2.20 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini + 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Rome Update: 8-8, - 1.58 Units (32 Units Staked, - 4.94% Yield)

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