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Friday, 14 August 2015

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2015 (August 14th)

The Quarter Finals have been reached at both the Masters and Premier Events taking place in Montreal and Toronto respectively, although it looks like the tournament organisers will be hoping there is enough time between the expected rain to get the matches all through.

It looks unlikely, particularly in Montreal for the bottom half of the draw, as rain is expected to settle in just before the evening session is due to take place and remain there for the rest of the evening.

The same can be said in Toronto where heavy showers are supposed to come in from the middle of the afternoon until late in the evening so don't be surprised if there are some players on 'double duty' on Saturday.

There are some big matches that have been set in the Quarter Finals, mainly in Montreal where all the names that we probably expected to make up the final eight have virtually made their presence known. As with any Masters event, there have been some surprises too as players pick up unexpected Ranking points that can see them make a big move up the World Rankings, which will only aid them going forward.

One of those has to be Ernests Gulbis who has had a pretty poor 2015 and slipped down to 87 in the World Rankings. Reaching the Quarter Final here is a good start to begin moving in the right direction, although I am not sure how he will cope with the likely quick turnaround to make the qualifiers in Cincinnati for next week which begin tomorrow.

Jeremy Chardy v John Isner: The layers don't often get things wrong, but I can't help feel the wrong player is favoured to win this match, especially if the rain delay doesn't help John Isner. The big American is into the Quarter Finals of an event for third week in a row and the two Finals he reached in Atlanta and Washington are clearly having an affect on his body.

He looked a little beat up against Nick Kyrgios in his Third Round match on Thursday and it was only a couple of gifts from the Australian that allowed Isner to break through. The serve is still a huge weapon, but there is definitely some limitations in his movement as back and leg issues catch up with him.

Now I am in no way suggesting Isner tanks this match, but the tournaments coming up have to be in the back of his mind as he returns to the United States. The crowd should also be firmly behind Jeremy Chardy in the French speaking province of Quebec and Chardy has won all three previous matches against Isner so clearly has the mental capacity to deal with the booming serves that will go past him.

Chardy has experienced something of that in his Third Round win over Ivo Karlovic so I expect him to be mentally ready, although he can't be as loose with some of his service games as he was on Thursday. If Isner is hurting, Chardy might be able to increase his winning run over him and he looks an underdog to back in the Quarter Finals.

The serve will always make Isner dangerous, but Chardy can get enough balls back in play to wear down the American's body that has played a lot of tennis over the last month. I'd back Chardy at the slightly smaller price offered by layers that will at least pay out if one set is completed.

Novak Djokovic - 5.5 games v Ernests Gulbis: You have to be impressed with the run that Ernests Gulbis has made this week in Montreal, but his biggest challenge by far is next on deck for him. Gulbis is a player that does love to raise his level when playing the best players on the Tour and he has done that plenty of times in the past, but it would take something special for him to beat Novak Djokovic in the form the World Number 1 is in.

The dismantling of Jack Sock in the Third Round was brutal and Djokovic has laid down a marker to the rest of the Tour that he has big intentions of winning the US Open which begins in two weeks time. Playing to the level he showed against Sock will be difficult, but Djokovic has the return game to keep the pressure on Gulbis.

I also do wonder how much fight the Latvian will show if he falls a set behind in this one as he is likely to be involved in qualifiers for Cincinnati next week. He might already consider this a successful week picking up vital Ranking points, but getting into the second Masters of the summer has to be important for Gulbis too.

Someone like Djokovic can take the racquet out of your hand whether you want to or not, but I do think Gulbis has the potential of just going away a little in this one. There is no guarantee that Gulbis goes to the qualifiers in Cincinnati as he doesn't have a lot of points to defend there, but I still feel Djokovic will begin to find his eye on the return of serve which will lead to a 64, 62 win for the Number 1 Seed.

Djokovic will be able to get the better of Gulbis' strongest shot in the backhand and I also expect the Serb to attack the forehand by changing direction from the backhand wing. That should eventually break down the Gulbis game and the Latvian is going to have to serve very big if he is going to make this a really competitive match in my opinion.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + 3.5 games v Andy Murray: There is every possibility that this is one match that is held over until Saturday as they are scheduled last on the Centre Court in Montreal. With the rain expected this evening, both Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Andy Murray might be spending more time playing table tennis, as they did in the rain delay at Queens Club a couple of years ago, than actually the main event out on court.

I picked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take a set off of Murray in their Davis Cup match last month and a little more focus from the Frenchman would have seen him do that as he dropped the first two sets 75, 76. Once again it is expected that Murray is going to win this one in straight sets from the layers, but I think Tsonga has played well enough this week to make this another competitive match between these players.

The key to the whole match for Tsonga is trying to get something out of the Murray second serve, the weakest shot in the British player's game. Any extended rallies will favour Murray so Tsonga has to attack effectively on that shot if he is going to spring the surprise having beaten Murray in Toronto at this stage last year.

Aside from that victory for Tsonga, Murray has dominated the matches between these two in recent years and he has won 11/13 sets between them. However, very rarely is it an 'easy' win for Murray and I think Tsonga is inspired by having to defend his Ranking points from last year and can make this very close again.

The Tsonga backhand remains a big weakness in his game, but first strike tennis is the key for the Frenchman who should receive warm support throughout the match. Tsonga has the power to take a set off of Murray, but too often that hasn't been the case in recent matches and I will instead use the games offered to Tsonga which will come off as long as he keeps this competitive throughout. Murray has played well this week, but this is the toughest challenge he has seen so far and he might have to dig very deep to get the job done.

Lesia Tsurenko v Sara Errani: I watched much of the Sara Errani win over Victoria Azarenka on Thursday and I have to say I was more disappointed with Azarenka than I was impressed with the Italian. Azarenka got very down on herself after leading 4-3 with a break in the first set and she allowed Errani to escape unpunished on her own serve which would have really upset her.

The Italian did have a medical time out during the match, although there was no suggestion in her movement that it was anything to be concerned about going into the Quarter Final with Lesia Tsurenko.

Backing up her win over Azarenka is going to be difficult for Errani as she faces a confident player that won the title in Istanbul last month and has won 5 matches in Toronto without dropping a set. Tsurenko was an impressive winner over the likes of Garbine Muguruza and Yanina Wickmayer, although both players can be guilty of making a lot of mistakes and Errani won't gift too many to the Ukrainian.

Not many players have the moment and consistency that Errani can produce, but Tsurenko also has the power to hit through these courts and certainly punish a weak serve. Confidence is a big thing at the highest level and Tsurenko won't ever be more confident of her chances having 10 straight wins on the hard courts and going a little further will show she has won 16 of her last 17 hard court matches.

Errani can make some of the best players lose their focus and extract errors from them and that is a concern for Tsurenko, but the latter has been in exceptional form. This is a pick 'em contest, but backing the Ukrainian to continue a fine run in the last month has to be the call as long as she doesn't gift unforced errors in the same manner Azarenka was on Thursday.

MY PICKS: Jeremy Chardy @ 2.30 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga + 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Lesia Tsurenko @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-5, + 2.96 Units (24 Units Staked, + 12.33% Yield)

1 comment:

  1. The big American is into the Quarter Finals of an event for third week in a row and the two Finals he reached in Atlanta and Washington are clearly having an affect on his body.

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