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Thursday, 23 July 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (July 23rd)

This has been a really terrible week for the picks as I have mixed the plain bad with the plain bad luck and that has led to a very poor couple of days.

It was more of the same on Wednesday as it seemed all the close games are going against me at the moment- I won't know how Thomaz Bellucci didn't cover against Christian Lindell after winning MORE points on the Swede's serve than Lindell did. Andrey Rublev lost a tight first set which eventually cost him the match in three sets, although the bigger game might have been the 0-40 he had on the Blaz Kavcic serve to get back on serve in that final set as the Russian lost five points in a row.

If I wanted proof that it hasn't been my week, I think it came in the Alexander Zverev match against Juan Monaco. While the final result was a comfortable win for Zverev, I remember looking at the match after nine games and noticing both players had won the exact same number of points.

What proof did I have that I am not getting the breaks? The fact that the player I had backed was still a break down after nine games despite having won the same number of points.

The bad picks are on me, but when you're getting next to no luck at the same time, it is never going to end well. I am not going to go chasing down the rabbit hole though for lost opportunities, but will only make picks that satisfy my criteria and look for the luck to swing back my way. Thursday is another full day of matches as the tournaments set up their Quarter Finals for Friday and I do hope things are going to land my way for the first time this week.

Jerzy Janowicz - 1.5 games v Steve Darcis: Both Jerzy Janowicz and Steve Darcis have been in Davis Cup action last weekend and both secured big wins for their nations. Neither player had too much trouble in the First Round in Bastad either and this could be another tight match between the players.

It is the third time that Darcis and Janowicz will meet on the main Tour although both of the previous matches took place in 2012. It is the big Pole who has won both previous matches, but their sole meeting on clay needed three sets to separate them and I think this is going to be a tight match too.

As big as Janowicz can play, he can be a little weak mentally when it comes to picking the right shots at the right time and that will give someone like Darcis a chance in this match. The Belgian player gets a decent pop out of the serve despite not being the biggest player on the Tour and he will be able to frustrate Janowicz by making him play more shots than perhaps he is going to be used to.

I won't lie though, I didn't think Darcis was as high as Number 67 in the World Rankings these days as he is a little inconsistent. Neither player has pulled up any trees on the clay courts can get a few cheaper points off the serve which can help him win this match 63, 36, 64.

Martin Klizan - 3.5 games v Andreas Haider-Maurer: Andreas Haider-Maurer made an effective return to the Tour after pulling out in his First Round match at Wimbledon and being back on the clay courts will suit the Austrian. He has played well on the clay courts this season and his win in the First Round means Haider-Maurer has won more main Tour matches this year than in his last four years combined.

The majority of his success on the surface came earlier in the year and Haider-Maurer is just 3-5 in his last eight matches on the clay. That includes beating Robin Haase in Davis Cup action last weekend and it is the kind of win that will give Haider-Maurer confidence to take into the tournament in Umag.

Martin Klizan won two rubbers last year in Davis Cup action himself as he helped Slovakia beat Romania and this is the surface on which he enjoys the majority of his success. Klizan has won a title on clay and reached the Semi Final of the big event in Barcelona too so returning to the surface off the grass probably suits him down to the ground.

You wouldn't be wrong in saying that both of these players are highly erratic in their play and you're not always sure what you're going to get. However, I think Klizan is the better clay court player and has won their sole previous match also on clay. After some twists and turns, I expect Klizan to come through 76, 63 in this one.

Borna Coric - 2.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: There might be some more well known Croatian players currently on the Tour, but the home fans have to rally around Borna Coric this week as the sole representative in the draw. No one should look down on Coric as the youngster looks like one destined for the top of the men's game once he has finished growing into his body, but the talent is undeniable.

Any young player on the long grind of the Tour are going to have ups and downs, but Coric has shown his potential with big wins over the likes of Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray over the last twelve months. Coric has a deep belief in his game, without going over the edge and irritating people, and I think he can get the better of this match up with Aljaz Bedene.

Bedene has been playing very well on the Challenger Tour with titles on the clay including in a Todi Challenger a couple of weeks ago. He should be highly confident he can get the job done on this surface and beat a Croatian in the First Round so Bedene shouldn't be intimidated by the atmosphere on the court.

However, Coric is the superior player and he has a Quarter Final and Semi Final appearance in clay courts at the main level this season. The Croatian also reached the Quarter Final here last year behind two impressive wins and I think Coric works his way through to a 75, 64 win.

Mona Barthel - 2.5 games v Kateryna Bondarenko: It has been a long time since Kateryna Bondarenko was a regular name in main Tour draws and it is no surprise that her Ranking has fallen outside of the top 100. For events like the one in Istanbul, Bondarenko has to qualify, but she has had arguably her best win for a long time by beating Venus Williams in the First Round.

Following up that win is going to be very difficult for Bondarenko through the emotions of having such a big win behind her, while she also has to deal with Mona Barthel who has turned a corner in terms of form. Barthel reached the Final in Bastad last week and came through her First Round match very easily this week too.

Barthel had lost 9 matches in a row since retiring half way through a match in Charleston, but the wins in Bastad will have restored some confidence. That has shown up by winning another match this week and the German beat Bondarenko when they last met three years ago.

It had looked like Barthel was going to get nowhere near the 23 wins she had on Tour last year, but turning a corner on form might have come at the right time. I expect Barthel to be a little too solid for Bondarenko who can't surely replicate the form she showed against Venus Williams. This should be a battle that Barthel can come through with a 64, 75 win.

Alize Cornet - 3.5 games v Kirsten Flipkens: There were no slip ups for Alize Cornet and Kirsten Flipkens in the First Round as they both came through in straight sets to meet in the Second Round. Alize Cornet has won four of their previous six matches including a three set win in Dubai earlier this season and I expect the Frenchwoman to be a little too good for Flipkens again.

It has been a couple of years since Flipkens had her career year on the Tour which included a run to the Semi Final at Wimbledon, but she has fallen down the Rankings since then. In fact you could add the wins from the last eighteen months together and you still wouldn't reach the total she had in 2013 alone and Flipkens has just struggled for consistency through this season.

The serve was always something of a liability, but I am not entirely convinced the movement hasn't deteriorated too, even by a slight amount. That means Flipkens is having a harder time closing the net and I think someone like Cornet can outlast her in the rallies that are likely to develop in this one.

Backing Cornet can be a rollercoaster as she never seems far away from losing focus and having a meltdown on the court. However, she has won four straight matches against Flipkens and the match up looks a good one for her, one I expect Cornet to win 64, 64.

Julia Goerges v Daria Kasatkina: These players met last week and I backed Julia Goerges to beat Daria Kasatkina despite the pedigree the latter has as a former French Open Junior Champion. There are other similarities to what I wrote last week as Kasatkina has once again come through her matches in very impressive fashion this week to build confidence.

Goerges was also a fairly comfortable winner in the First Round and I am still not convinced Kasatkina will be able to deal with the German's power if she is on her game. Perhaps the layers feel the match last week will have given Kasatkina an advantage now she knows what she is dealing with, but the match last week was much more in Goerges' favour than the final scoreline suggested.

It took Goerges some time to work out what she was seeing from Kasatkina, but the power was a clear advantage as her groundstrokes were the more penetrating. Kasatkina struggled to get into the Goerges service games after the early break of serve and I think the latter is going to frank her form from Bucharest.

The wind has been present in Bad Gastein which is going to affect the high risk tennis that Goerges plays, but I think she has to be the play at odds against to win this Second Round match.

Johanna Larsson v Karin Knapp: This is another match that is almost set as a pick 'em in the Second Round in Bad Gastein and I think Johanna Larsson can be backed to continue her hot form. She has lost her two previous matches against Karin Knapp including a heavy defeat on clay, but the Italian had to battle through a very difficult First Round match having just returned from an injury that forced her withdrawal at Wimbledon.

Larsson is the form player having won the title in Bastad last week and following that up with an impressive First Round win for the loss of just four games. Injury meant her European clay court season was restricted to the French Open, but the Swede reached the Semi Final in another clay court event earlier this season and clearly is very confident at the moment.

She isn't the only player in this match that has won a title on clay this season as Knapp did the same in Nuremberg prior to the French Open. However, that is a stand out tournament for the Italian who also reached the Semi Final there last year and Knapp is just 4-8 in clay court matches outside of that tournament over the last two seasons.

The head to head has to be a concern for Larsson who might struggle with the power Knapp can provide from the back of the court. Knapp also has a decent serve, but lack of matches of late might give Larsson the edge on current form and I will back her to move into another Quarter Final on clay this season.

MY PICKS: Jerzy Janowicz - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Martin Klizan - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Bet365 (2 Units)
Borna Coric - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Mona Barthel - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Alize Cornet - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Julia Goerges @ 2.05 Betway (2 Units)
Johanna Larsson @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-8, - 14.26 Units (18 Units Staked, - 79.22% Yield)

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