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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (May 21st)

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games v Santiago Giraldo: Marin Cilic had to dig down much deeper than he would have imagined to see off young star Andrey Rublev in the Second Round, but the more playing time he gets, the better for the US Open Champion. After a long lay-off through injury, it will take some time for Cilic to get back to his very best, although he is one of the better grass court players in the world and should enjoy the extended season on that surface.

First of all Cilic is trying to get himself into some form to take into the French Open as he looks to make an impact at the second Grand Slam of the season after missing the Australian Open. Cilic's win over Rublev should set him up for a solid week in Geneva ahead of the tournament in Paris, but backing it up won't be easy against Santiago Giraldo.

It has not been the best clay court season for the Colombian, although his two wins in Geneva will have helped Giraldo get back on track. However, he has a bad match up against Cilic whose aggression on return has put the pressure on Giraldo in their four previous matches which have all been won by the Croatian.

There have been signs of Cilic getting back to that aggressive return game which helped him win the US Open last September, but consistency will be an issue for him for a while because of that lay off. However, I think his ability on the court and what he wants to do matches up well with Giraldo and I can see Cilic finding his way into the Semi Final with a 64, 64 win behind him.


Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 games v Federico Delbonis: Stan Wawrinka hasn't quite made it onto my blacklist despite some poor recent performances of late as he looks to change his form on the court after some off-court issues have been affecting his personal life. Those issues have seen Wawrinka have troubles finding the consistency to string some wins together, but playing back in Switzerland should help as should the fact that he is meeting an opponent who hasn't been pulling up any trees himself.

You have to respect any player that has won back to back matches to reach the Quarter Final, although the level of competition goes up a couple of level for Federico Delbonis in this match. The Argentinian has been a little inconsistent in recent weeks, but he did win a Challenger tournament and Delbonis is much more comfortable on the clay courts than the other surfaces.

That will make Delbonis a dangerous Quarter Final opponent for the home favourite, but he has struggled at the highest level this season and will offer Wawrinka chances to break serve and come through.

I can see match with breaks both ways on current form, but one that Wawrinka eventually takes control of as he come through 75, 64.


Juan Monaco - 2.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: Two Argentinian players who are most comfortable on the clay courts meet in a Quarter Final in Nice with the winner in a very strong position to go all the way and win the title. Leonardo Mayer might be the Number 1 Argentinian player on the ATP Tour at this moment in time, but I think Juan Monaco is producing more positive results and can win the battle between them.

I do think Mayer has the stronger serve, but I would favour Monaco to be able to dictate the rallies from the baseline and eventually he should have the chances to break serve and control the match. There are times when Monaco seems to feel the pressure when ahead, which would be a concern against a quality player like Mayer, but the former has been winning more matches of late which should help him through the tough moments.

There will be some long rallies and some gruelling moments for both, while I also expect there to be chances to break serve for both Monaco and Mayer.

However, I think Monaco will eventually find more winning rallies as he breaks down the Mayer game and I think the former can frank the form that saw him beat Mayer in Buenos Aires earlier this season.


Borna Coric - 3.5 games v James Duckworth: There are a couple of really big talents coming through the ranks and one of those is Borna Coric who is looking to reach his first Semi Final since Dubai in February. That isn't to say that Coric hasn't been playing well, but that simply he is like many other young players who struggle for consistency.

This is the kind of tournament where someone like Coric can make hay as many of the top names are already preparing for the French Open and it is no surprise that he is the favourite to see off James Duckworth in this Quarter Final.

It is a surprise to see Duckworth reach the Quarter Final, but he has taken advantage of Gilles Simon's withdrawal at the top of the draw and his two wins this week are not really up to the level of main ATP Tour events. That fortune has helped the Australian and Duckworth has spent the majority of his time playing at Challenger level on the clay courts with his game much more suited to the fast surfaces.

While Duckworth can serve well at times, he is going to have to be very strong from the baseline if he is going to secure the upset. I would give Coric a real edge when it comes to the extended rallies that tend to develop on a clay court and I think the youngster comes through 64, 64 to move into the Semi Final.


Jelena Jankovic - 1.5 games v Sloane Stephens: She might not be at the same level as when she managed to reach World Number 1, but Jelena Jankovic is still capable of very strong showings and I like her chances against Sloane Stephens on a clay court. The biggest question mark about Jankovic is whether she is over the issues that has seen her miss the majority of the clay court season, although her performance in Rome and winning two matches here have erased any doubts.

With the way that Sloane Stephens can play, this is far from an easy match for Jankovic even if I do think the latter is the stronger player on the clay courts.

Jankovic has also found a way to diffuse the Stephens power and extract enough errors to win all three previous matches between these players, although none of those have come on the clay. Stephens has done well to come through her two matches here too, but this is her worst surface and Jankovic is the better mover on it.

That can be a key in the extended rallies as the better mover is more likely to be in a more effective position to turn the tables and I think Jankovic is playing well enough to do that. This might need three sets to separate the two players, but I like Jankovic to find a 76, 46, 63 win to move into the Semi Final.


Elena Vesnina - 3.5 games v Virginie Razzano: Both of these players came through Second Round matches impressively as the underdogs and now have a real chance to pick up some vital Ranking points. Elena Vesnina is Number 95 in the World Rankings and Virginie Razzano is Number 251 which only highlights how important the points they can earn are this week with big names not taking part in the draw.

Vesnina displayed all of her power to knock Alize Cornet off of her game and come through in three sets on Wednesday which means she has now won 4 of her last 5 matches to improve confidence. Virginie Razzano was an impressive winner over Francesca Schiavone, but she has mainly been playing at a lower level to try and rebuild her career and I think that is going to be an issue in this match.

Razzano has really not been competing with so much on the line in recent weeks and I think that can play a part mentally as the Frenchwoman tries to get back up the World Rankings. She has gone through some real hardship off the court which will have made her a stronger character, but Razzano could be pushed back by the power of Vesnina if the latter is on her game.

That power might be enough to help push Vesnina onto the baseline and dictate this match, although she has to avoid the unforced errors that blighted her in the first set against Cornet yesterday. If she can do that, I believe she can get the better of Razzano in a 64, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Juan Monaco - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Borna Coric - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jelena Jankovic - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Elena Vesnina - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-3, + 4.36 Units (18 Units Staked, + 24.22% Yield)

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