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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (July 21st)

The opening day of the new tournaments on the tennis Tour generally does see few main draw matches and it was no surprise that the layers didn't catch up by releasing all of the markets. I had a couple of matches that appealed, but nothing was strong enough to have me make my pick and the decision was made to allow Monday to pass without any picks.

On Tuesday, the five tournaments played this week have got a load of First Round matches scheduled to take the court, although at least three of the five events are going to be affected by rain through much of the week.

With the amount of matches that are going to be played on Tuesday, it is no surprise that I do have some picks from this day, although any from the event in Bogota will be made at lunchtime on Tuesday once the layers have caught up with all the qualifiers who are in action in the main draw.

Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 games v Nicolas Almagro: Between 2005 and 2012, Bastad was a tournament dominated by Spanish players as 6 of the 8 titles in that time ended up going to a player from that nation. It is a tournament that Nicolas Almagro has loved to play at in the past having won the title here and also reached two other Finals, while he was a Quarter Finalist two years ago before losing to his First Round opponent in 2015 in Fernando Verdasco.

Verdasco hasn't added his name to a list of Spaniard's who have won the title in Bastad, but he has reached at least the Quarter Final on five straight appearances here with his best effort being a Final appearance two years ago. The winner of this First Round match will certainly feel they can go all the way this time with the way the draw shaped up, but I am guessing neither Verdasco nor Almagro are overly happy with the match this early in the tournament.

Previous matches have been tight, but it is Verdasco who has had the slight edge, but it has been much more than an edge on the clay courts which might surprise. For all of the success Almagro has had on his favourite surface, he is just 3-8 against Verdasco on clay even though he won their most recent meeting on the surface.

It is no surprise that Verdasco had the better grass court season of the two players, but neither pulled up too many trees when it came to the clay court earlier this season. I just think there is a mental issue for Almagro when he plays some of his compatriots like Verdasco who he perhaps feels has a better talent than himself.

A lot of that is between the ears as Almagro was considered one of the top prospects in Spanish tennis and the player that Toni Nadal highlighted as a big threat to Rafael as they were growing up. For all his talent, Almagro never seems far away from a mental meltdown and I think someone like Verdasco can frustrate him through his sheer power on the court. This should be a tight First Round match, but Verdasco has been playing the more consistent tennis of late and I expect him to come through this big opening test.

Lukas Rosol - 3.5 games v Damir Dzumhur: Getting married and settling down with a family has worked wonders for the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray over the last twelve months. Lukas Rosol was the latest tennis player to join that club and he will be hoping that married life works out as well for him as it has for others on the Tour.

He gets an early test of how it will suit him in Umag as Rosol plays his First Round match with an improving Damir Dzumhur but a player who is likely to be restricted by physical limitations. Talent can take a player so far, but Dzumhur has to find the consistency from the baseline to really move up the World Rankings as he doesn't have the same power as some of the others on the Tour, nor the serve that can provide a lot of cheap points.

That isn't something that Rosol usually needs to worry about, although I still am critical of his game as he doesn't make the best use out of his weapons. There is a lot of low percentage shots taken on by Rosol who hopes he can blast opponents off the court when sometimes it is better to take a slight step back and play the shots that are there rather than forcing the issue too far.

Rosol has appreciated the clay courts the most in his career so far, even if his biggest win came on the grass against Rafael Nadal, and I think he will be too strong for Dzumhur. Dealing with the power Rosol has at his disposal is going to be tough for the Bosnian and I think it will end up giving the higher Ranked player a chance to move into the Second Round with a 63, 64 win.

Santiago Giraldo + 3.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: This looks like one of the better First Round matches in Umag, but I am surprised that Philipp Kohlschreiber is such a strong favourite to see off Santiago Giraldo. You have to think that Giraldo is very serious about this tournament having given up the chance to play in front of his home fans in Bogota in a much weaker field and he has played well enough in recent weeks to make this very competitive.

The Colombian has won the two previous matches against Kohlschreiber, although the last of those was because the latter had to retire when down a set and halfway through the second. You would say that both players might have expected a little more out of the grass season last month, but both Giraldo and Kohlschreiber are very comfortable on this surface so the adjustment shouldn't be too difficult for them.

I do think Kohlschreiber is the more consistent player, but I also think Giraldo has the edge in terms of being able to suddenly get very hot and hit a lot of winners. Both will need to serve well to keep themselves in front in this match and I can see each player taking one of the first two sets and this to be very closely contested throughout.

There are also some similar records in play on the clay and I am finding it hard to split them in terms of a winner which makes the games Giraldo is getting that much more appealing.

Matthew Ebden - 2.5 games v Tatsuma Ito: The move from the grass courts to the hard courts can be difficult, but it might be even more of an issue in Bogota where the altitude makes these courts play a lot faster than expected. That is where Matthew Ebden could have an advantage over Tatsuma Ito after coming through two qualifiers to take his place in the main draw.

The Australian would already have the mental edge in the contest having never been beaten by Ito in the past and winning all five previous matches while dropping just two sets.

Ebden has a decent pop on his serve compared with Ito, but neither player is the most consistent and I can see an erratic match develop. However, the conditions won't be an unknown to Ebden which should help him coming through in Bogota to the Second Round and Ito's serve can be one that gives opponents chances to break serve.

In these faster conditions, one break could destroy any pick made, but I think Ebden is more likely to get a chance to do that and I like him winning this one 64, 76.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Santiago Giraldo + 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Matthew Ebden - 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)

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