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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (July 16th)

Wednesday has proved to be a really miserable day for the picks with the frustration summed up by the vast difference in terms of double faults from the players I picked compared with their opponents.

While double faults aren't going to lose matches on their own, it doesn't help when you are giving your opponent a host of free points and that did make a difference in whether matches and picks were being won or lost.

It truly was a poor day in the office, but Thursday is another day and hopefully one that can produce a lot more positives than Wednesday did.

Any picks from Newport will be put up on Thursday lunchtime, which is still plenty of time before the first match is scheduled to begin, once the markets are up from the layers.

Anna Karolina Schmiedlova v Denisa Allertova: A Second Round match in Bucharest is almost a pick 'em contest as Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Denisa Allertova look for a big win. With both players Ranked inside the top 80 in the World, both will also know this field gives them some chance to really pick up some vital Ranking points if they can get through this Second Round match.

It was Schmiedlova who came through the First Round with more ease, but Allertova's win was impressive too even if it went the distance. The clay courts suit both Schmiedlova and Allertova and they have had considerable success on the Tour at both main Tour level as well as in those events below that tier.

This should be a tough match where both players will be involved in some long rallies, but I think Schmiedlova has the slightly stronger serve which will help produce shorter, more effective points.

It will be hard for Allertova to keep having to win the longer points to stay with Schmiedlova if the latter is serving effectively. While there should be a few breaks of serve for both players, I expect Schmiedlova is the one standing and moving into the Quarter Finals.

Sorana Cirstea v Andreea Mitu: Two home favourites meet in the Second Round, the second time they have met in a little over a week as Sorana Cirstea looks to frank her win over Andreea Mitu from last week.

After her breakthrough years on the Tour in 2012 and 2013, Sorana Cirstea has slipped down the Rankings and it has been a poor season for her. There is talent there, but Cirstea's consistency has completely left her and her win in the First Round is the first victory on the main Tour in 2015, a far cry from her 32 wins in 2013 at this level.

Cirstea failed to qualify for the French Open, but she did beat Mitu in two tight sets last week on the clay and will feel she can beat her compatriot again. Mitu did reach the Fourth Round at Roland Garros but her three wins there account for half of her main Tour wins for the season.

The younger Romanian has had some real success below the main WTA Tour level, but I do wonder if Mitu has an inferiority complex to overcome. While she was building her way onto the Tour, she would have seen Cirstea really enjoying some success and I do wonder if she has the 'belief' to win a match like this.

The couple of wins that Cirstea had last week should have improved confidence if her First Round success is anything to go by. As well as Mitu played at Roland Garros, she has been in poor form since losing in the Fourth Round there and I am looking for Cirstea to frank the victory she had over Mitu last week.

Yulia Putintseva - 4.5 games v Alize Lim: If there is one player that perhaps garners a little more attention than her World Ranking would suggest she should be getting, I would pick Alize Lim as that player. She is dating Jeremy Chardy, a much higher Ranked player on the ATP Tour, but Lim seems to be more popular for social media posts and pictures.

She has had a good week already in Bastad and a place in the Quarter Finals could see a huge improvement in her Ranking, but Alize Lim faces a big task to knock off Yulia Putintseva.

Both players had a decent week last week too with Lim winning an event and Putintseva reaching the Final on another on clay, although tennis is all about tiers and Lim's was much lower than Putintseva's.

Three good wins is impressive from Lim this week, but generally she does play in much weaker events than someone like Putintseva. The latter has had some decent results on clay this season and is beginning to be more comfortable at the highest level of the WTA Tour and I do think she will be a little too consistent for Lim in this one.

A 64, 63 win for Putintseva looks to be on the cards and it looks a big price for her to cover this number of games.

Serena Williams - 7.5 games v Klara Koukalova: There really isn't a lot to say about this Second Round match except it might be a surprise to many to see Serena Williams out on the Tour just days after winning Wimbledon. The fact that she is back at Bastad for the second time in three seasons playing a clay court event should say she really enjoyed the last time she played here as she dominated on her way to winning the title.

Unsurprisingly, Williams was a dominant First Round winner on Wednesday as she was given an extra day to get herself ready after winning the title at SW19 on Saturday. Serena Williams admitted the move from grass to clay is not a troubling one and she should be far too good for Klara Koukalova who is the same age as Williams, but nowhere near as effective these days.

All the talk in the build up was about the tight matches these two played on the clay a few years ago, but the 60, 64 win for Williams against Koukalova here two years ago has been ignored.

This is still a big number for Williams to cover if she is not quite on her game, but she looked confident on Wednesday. It also has to be said that Koukalova has taken some heavy losses this season including a 61, 63 loss to Kristina Kucova last week and I do wonder how she contains the World Number 1.

When Williams played in Bastad two years ago, she hammered her way to the title and I think she is going to be far too good for Koukalova as she was two years ago. This time it might be a 63, 61 win for the World Number 1 and holder of all four WTA Grand Slams.

Anna-Lena Friedsam + 2.5 games v Johanna Larsson: The home crowd are going to be fully behind Johanna Larsson to continue her positive last two weeks as she begins to return to full fitness on the Tour. After reaching the Final at an event in Versmold last week, Larsson was given an extra day before having her First Round match scheduled and responded with a straight forward win.

The match up with Anna-Lena Friedsdam is going to be a very difficult one as the German has shown she is comfortable playing on the clay courts. The most obvious highlight of her season was holding a set lead over Serena Williams at Roland Garros before being defeated, and her best results have come on the surface this season.

Friedsam is still young and that has seen her produce a lot of inconsistent performances which makes me wonder if she can see off Larsson in this Second Round match. However, it also has to be pointed out that Larsson had to dig deep to reach the Final last week and I do wonder how much has been left in the tank for Bastad.

I can understand why Larsson is the favourite though as she has had some positive results on the clay herself. She is also very comfortable playing at home as shown by two previous Finals and a Semi Final in Bastad before a First Round loss last season. I do think Larsson likely wins, but Friedsam has enough to take a set and make this competitive in a match that might be very close.

MY PICKS: Anna Karolina Schmiedlova @ 1.75 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Yulia Putintseva - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 7.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Anna-Lena Friedsam + 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-7, - 6.74 Units (22 Units Staked, - 30.64% Yield)

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