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Friday, 31 July 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (July 31st)

The Quarter Finals are next up on deck in the various tournaments that are being played this week as we have reached the business end of the events. Next week the next ATP 500 event is played in Washington and that will see the return of more big names, but first Rafael Nadal will want to end his week at the current ATP 500 event in Hamburg with a title to his name.

He hasn't been at his best so far this week with the serve being particularly vulnerable, but Nadal has battled through two tough matches to move into the Quarter Finals where he faces a tough challenge in the form of Pablo Cuevas.

They had a very closely contested match earlier this season and Cuevas is a solid clay court player, although you will see that I still think Nadal is capable of winning and moving into another clay court Semi Final.

Dominic Thiem - 3.5 games v Pablo Carreno Busta: These two players have gone 1-1 in their two previous meetings against one another as professionals, but Dominic Thiem is a much improved player these days and I expect him to get the better of Pablo Carreno Busta.

The Spaniard is obviously very comfortable on clay courts and has won Challenger titles on the surface, but Dominic Thiem has won titles on this surface at the main Tour level. While Carreno Busta will likely be a solid player on the Tour, Thiem has the talent to be a regular in the top ten as he can play effectively on clay and hard courts.

Winning the title in Umag was another confidence boost for the youngster and he backed up that win with an impressive performance against Federico Delbonis. Thiem has a solid serve, but is very effective off both wings when playing with confidence and that could be a key for him to overcome Carreno Busta.

Carreno Busta has played well on the clay in lower level tournaments, but the surprise is that he hasn't been able to take that into the main Tour level as he has lost more matches than he has won despite winning two more this week. He beat Robin Haase in the Second Round, but the Dutchman missed his chances and I don't think Thiem is as generous as he wins 64, 64.

David Goffin - 3.5 games v Joao Sousa: I like to give credit to any player that is basically getting the best out of their own potential and Joao Sousa is definitely one of those. His game is solid, but Sousa doesn't have a lot of power and there isn't any one aspect of his game that really stands out.

Except one thing... He is mentally very strong to be able to go out on Tour and beat players that are arguably more talented and Sousa has to be given a lot of credit for that. Unfortunately I think he will always come up short against the very best players simply because they are less likely to mentally fall away in matches and David Goffin has been playing very well over the last twelve months.

The Belgian player is up to World Number 14 in the Rankings and he has had a couple of solid runs this season while showing his ability to play on any surface. I think the lack of power may prevent Goffin from winning multiple Grand Slams, but he may feast on some of the players below him during his career with his ability to get plenty of balls back in play and dominate longer rallies.

Goffin isn't just someone who plays defensively by using his movement to get balls back in play and wear players down. He has the quality to turn rallies into his favour and I think he can do that against Sousa despite how comfortable the latter is on the clay courts.

It could be a punishing match for both players, but I think Goffin will begin to wear Sousa down who had a much tougher Second Round match on Thursday. That may eventually lead to a 64, 64 win for Goffin and a place in the Semi Final.

Benoit Paire - 3.5 games v Lucas Pouille: Two Frenchmen meet in this Quarter Final and it is only the recent amount of tennis that Benoit Paire has played which is reducing my enthusiasm for him to see off Lucas Pouille. Paire has won the title in Bastad last week, but has also had to go three sets to win his two matches this week and I do wonder if that has sapped anything he had left in the tank.

If there is still something left for Paire, I would consider him a healthy favourite to win this match as Lucas Pouille has struggled on the clay on the main Tour before this week. Pouille has also suffered some losses to players far below those he has met so far this week and I think Paire can use his heavier game to wear him down and end the run.

As much tennis as Paire has had to play, Pouille has also come through the qualifiers as well as two matches in the main draw so his own physical well being has to be questioned.

Confidence can have a big impact on matches and you have to think Paire will have the edge in that department and can make that tell in the match. He looks to be getting back to something near his best over the last ten days and I don't think Paire will be ready for it to end here as he beats Pouille 75, 64 for me.

Rafael Nadal - 4.5 games v Pablo Cuevas: The serving of Rafael Nadal has been below par all week as he has been forced to dig deep to win those games, but his return game hasn't been out of sync. That has enabled the former undisputed 'King of Clay' a chance to work his way into games and come through to the Quarter Final, but Nadal needs to raise his game again as he gets set to face Pablo Cuevas.

It has been a strong season for Cuevas who reached a career-high Ranking earlier this year and he has had a couple of solid wins this week to back up his Semi Final run in Bastad last week. He will be used to having big weeks at this time of the season as Cuevas won back to back titles last season in Bastad and Umag, although facing Nadal is always a difficult challenge.

You can tell confidence is short in Nadal's game simply with the way he has struggled to protect his serve, but I think he is playing well enough to take the title here. He just needs to tighten up his game a little bit and Nadal should prove too good for a player that hasn't been playing that well this week.

Cuevas has come through two matches with a bit more difficulty than he would have expected and I think Nadal can find a way to break his game down. I do think Nadal will need to serve better, but even a little bit better than Thursday should be enough for a 64, 63 win.

Gilles Muller - 4.5 games v Go Soeda: Both players have had some impressive wins this week for different seasons- Gilles Muller has been a comfortable winner in both of his matches, while Go Soeda has upset two players in a row which will give him a lot of confidence.

It will help if Soeda can put his matches with Muller to the back of the mind as he has lost all four previous matches while winning just one set. In fact, three of the matches has seen Muller win by wide margins on the scoreboard including in Atlanta three years ago.

You can perhaps understand why that has happened too. Muller has a huge serve in terms of pace and placement and it will be tough for Soeda to get involved in a lot of those games which in turn puts pressure on him to keep up on the scoreboard. The Soeda serve is already one of the weaker ones on Tour and this additional pressure sees him crack, especially as Muller is someone who will look to attack the net and make his opponent pass him under pressure.

I imagine something similar happening in this Quarter Final as long as Muller can serve well. If he does that, I do expect Soeda to crack twice in a 63, 75 defeat.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Goffin - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Benoit Paire - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Gilles Muller - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 12-7, + 7.14 Units (38 Units Staked, + 18.79% Yield)

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