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Thursday, 20 August 2015

Cincinnati Masters Tennis Picks 2015 (August 20th)

There were some late finishes in Cincinnati on Wednesday as the rain certainly interrupted proceedings through the day. The good news for the organisers is that the rest of the tournament looks like it will be able to be played without the delays we have seen through the week and the event is still on schedule to be completed without players having to play twice in the same day.

The Third Round is all set to be played on Thursday so it is going to be a really busy day in Cincinnati for the fans and it should be some entertaining stuff for those watching.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 games v Jerzy Janowicz: I probably have to be a little crazy to get involved in a match that involves two of the most erratic players on the Tour. Neither Alexandr Dolgopolov nor Jerzy Janowicz look to play the high percentage shots but will instead pick shots that are strange to the say the least out of the blue.

Variation is the key to the whole Dolgopolov game and that makes him both a dangerous opponent and one that is capable of throwing in the worst performance you are likely to see. He is hard to get a read on because you simply don't know what Dolgopolov is going to produce on any given day, but the variation with his slicing and dicing shots should give him every chance to move into the Quarter Final.

It has been a difficult last couple of years for Janowicz since reaching a career high 14 in the World Rankings. Even that Ranking was perhaps misleading as the Pole had two big runs at Wimbledon and the Paris Masters the previous year which contributed to his rise and his current Number 52 Ranking is probably more realistic.

He does have a couple of good wins here this week, but Janowicz is never far away from playing his loose style full of drop shots and double faults and that is where Dolgopolov has punished him in their two previous matches. The second serve has been attacked by Dolgopolov who has seen Janowicz throw in 11 double faults and win just 11 out of 43 points played behind that shot.

There will be chances for Dolgopolov to break serve and the key to this match is how well he serves to keep Janowicz on the back foot. If Dolgopolov can serve effectively, I think he finds a way to move through with a 63, 76 win.

Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 games v Ivo Karlovic: The one concern for Stan Wawrinka from a physical stand point has to be the back injury he had to pull out of Montreal with, although there weren't any signs of that in his win over Borna Coric on Wednesday.

Of course the other issue that refuses to go away is the Nick Kyrgios incident from last week and Wawrinka is doing well to try and keep that away from his mind. It is probably easiest to do that out on court, especially in a match like this against Ivo Karlovic where Wawrinka knows he can't allow his mind to wander.

There will be times when Karlovic will just fizz down three or four aces and pummel his way through service holds, but Wawrinka has a good record against the big man. He has won 4 of 5 matches against Karlovic including both previous matches on the hard courts and Wawrinka should have the edge in this match too because of his chipped return.

He will make a few more balls back than Karlovic perhaps doesn't anticipate and that might just give Wawrinka a chance to progress through to the Quarter Final with a 64, 76 win.

Novak Djokovic - 5.5 games v David Goffin: The arm issue is a concern for Novak Djokovic fans with the US Open approaching and his last few appearances at the Cincinnati Masters haven't been the most impressive by the high standard he has been producing. However, the match up with David Goffin should be one that makes Djokovic feel very comfortable and I think the World Number 1 can have a fairly routine day in the office.

I do really appreciate the way David Goffin plays, but I have found that he is just a little short of the power that might worry the top guys and has to battle for every point he wins. While his consistency is enough to see off players Ranked lower down, Goffin needs more to beat those in the top 10.

His serve is very vulnerable and a returner as good as Novak Djokovic will keep him under immense pressure and that could lead to a few break points being created through the match. Lesser returners like Yen-Hsun Lu and Fernando Verdasco had their opportunities in their losses to Goffin this week and I am not sure the hard courts do the Belgian many favours as players can hit through him on these courts.

Goffin played Kei Nishikori last week and was beaten 4 and 4, but I think Novak Djokovic's superior return game might see him break serve at least a couple more times. The key to this cover is Djokovic feeling comfortable on serve and that is a concern with the arm issue, but he was effective on the big points against Benoit Paire and doing that again may lead to a 64, 62 win.

Tomas Berdych - 3.5 games v Tommy Robredo: Tommy Robredo battled through some tough moments in his win over Sam Querrey on Wednesday to extend his winning run over the American. Now the level goes up again as he faces the super consistent Tomas Berdych who is trying to make up for a miserable week in Montreal when he was upset by Donald Young.

An impressive win over Thomaz Bellucci in the Second Round will have given Berdych a boost in confidence and he has got the better of Robredo when they have met on the hard courts.

You know what you're getting with Robredo- he is going to work hard, give nothing away for free and look to wear down opponents while extracting mistakes from their game as they look to hit closer and closer to the lines. However, Sam Querrey showed it is possible to hit through the Spaniard in Cincinnati where the courts tend to play faster and it is going to be a hot day so the ball should be fizzing through the court that much quicker.

Berdych has the big shots to do that and he destroyed Robredo when these players met here two seasons ago. There will be some tough moments to overcome, but Berdych should be able to get through his service games with a little more ease than Robredo and I expect him to crack the Spaniard's defences at least twice in a 64, 64 win.

Richard Gasquet - 1.5 games v Marin Cilic: The US Open Champion Marin Cilic could be in line for a significant drop in his World Ranking in the next few weeks as injury has disrupted his 2015 season. He has struggled to get back to the level that saw him take home the title in New York last year, although there have been a few signs that he is getting closer in recent weeks.

The problem for Cilic has been trying to raise his level as his competition has increased through each Round won or in the Masters events. Losing to Bernard Tomic last week in Montreal was a surprise and Cilic was dismissed by Kei Nishikori in three sets in Washington after battling through three matches.

Cilic has not had a lot of success in Cincinnati in the past and backing up his win over Joao Sousa is going to be tough against Richard Gasquet. This time last year he was being crushed by Stan Wawrinka and it is going to be difficult for Cilic against Gasquet if he is playing the kind of well thought out matches he has already against two young Australians this week.

This is an important week for Gasquet who has never played his best tennis in Cincinnati but he has been serving well and his backhand is a big weapon against Cilic. The key for Gasquet is making sure he puts the pressure on Cilic by not allowing him to waltz through his service games and I think the Frenchman is capable of doing that.

It might go to three sets, but Gasquet can get the better of Cilic and reach his first Quarter Final here.

Rafael Nadal - 3.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: Feliciano Lopez beat Rafael Nadal last year when they played at the Shanghai Masters, but he will need to be at that level to do that again despite the inconsistent form Nadal has produced.

Back in 2014, Lopez had been playing some of the best tennis of his career, and that is shown by the fact he was just one win from matching the most in a single season he has achieved before. This year has been more difficult for Lopez and he has slipped back outside the top 20 in the World Rankings while has suffered a couple of disappointing losses on the hard courts over the last month.

Lopez is still a very dangerous opponent on the faster surfaces with his big serve and ability to get to the net and Nadal has to be aware of that. However, Nadal is going to know all about his opponent and will know exactly what to expect so the key for him is making sure he looks after his side of the court.

Nadal had a decent win over Jeremy Chardy, the Montreal Semi Finalist, in the Second Round, although the serve is still allowing too many break points. He did save all nine break points faced on Wednesday, but Nadal can't give Lopez the chance to take the lead in this one as he can be a strong front runner.

He will have his own chances to break serve thanks to his work ethic, and Nadal can work his way into a potential match with Roger Federer in the Quarter Final after coming through a tough match with a 76, 63 win.

Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Kevin Anderson: I don't think Roger Federer would have been able to ask for a more comfortable reintroduction to competitive tennis than a Second Round match with Roberto Bautista Agut and the former World Number 1 was an easy winner. That match up is perfect for Federer and always will be as Bautista Agut doesn't have the weapons to really hurt Federer, but Kevin Anderson is a different story.

If Anderson serves well, he can take the racquet away from his opponent, but Federer has found a way to get into enough rallies to break him down in the past. The fact this is an evening match might also edge towards Federer as he will have just a little more time to perhaps get a read on the ball and force Anderson to hit volleys and win baseline rallies.

Federer has won the break battle between these players by 10 service breaks to 4 in their previous three matches and all of those have been routine wins for the Number 2 Seed here.

I think Federer won't have too many issues holding onto serve, but the key to the cover is making sure he takes the chances on the Anderson serve when they are presented. You'd have to feel that Federer is going to win the rallies once they get past three or four shots on the Anderson serve and I think he will be too strong for the South African in a 63, 64 win and set up a potential blockbuster Quarter Final with Rafael Nadal.

MY PICKS: Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Betway (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-7, + 0.06 Units (30 Units Staked, + 0.02% Yield)

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