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Thursday, 6 August 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (August 6th)

You wouldn't think it was too difficult coming back from a set down to comfortably win tennis matches if you have been following the picks in the last couple of days. Jiri Vesely and Robin Haase both won sets with games in hand and still failed to get the job done, despite the former also serving for the match, while Bernard Tomic was another player who won the first set and went on to lose the match.

It feels like a bad couple of breaks that are letting down the week, but there is room to get back into a decent position if players begin to finish the positions they are getting into.

It also makes me laugh how brutal players are when they get into break point chances against my players picked this week, but are shockingly bad at taking those same chances when not being picked against!

Fabio Fognini v Philipp Kohlschreiber: This is the best Quarter Final taking place in Kitzbuhel today and I believe the winner might be the favourite to go on and win the title.

Philipp Kohlschreiber has won two of the three previous matches between these players, but Fabio Fognini won the most recent and has the quality to level up the head to head.

He can be hard to really trust as Fognini is just as capable of throwing in a performance where he barely looks like he wants to be on the court and he has to work hard to win his points. The Italian has shown better recent form than Kohlschreiber, although the latter has two decent wins under his belt this week which makes him dangerous once he gets on a roll.

I can see that as the reason that Kohlschreiber is perhaps favoured in this match as well as the long week that Fognini had in Hamburg where he came up just short against Rafael Nadal. However, a similar performance to one he had in the Final will be good enough for Fognini to beat Kohlschreiber in this one, although he might need three sets to do it.

Dusan Lajovic + 3.5 games v Nicolas Almagro: I wouldn't have picked either of these players to reach the Quarter Final and if it wasn't for Jiri Vesely choking away a 76, 52 lead, Nicolas Almagro certainly wouldn't be here. I am not convinced that the Spaniard is really to be trusted at short odds to make it through to the Semi Final even if Dusan Lajovic is not exactly in the greatest of form this past few weeks.

However, I think Lajovic is able to work through some games and will have chances to break the Almagro serve and winning a set should, and I mean should, be enough to make these games count. It hasn't so far with players winning sets with games in hand to begin, but Almagro hasn't looked like blowing anyone away and does look a vulnerable favourite.

The convincing loss to Pablo Andujar last week worries me when backing Lajovic, but Almagro hasn't been in the form to suggest he can win comfortably. Lajovic will have to protect his serve better than he did in his win over Andreas Seppi, especially in the first set, but he should have opportunities.

I simply also don't believe Almagro is such a big favourite in this one and Lajovic is worth backing with the games in his favour at odds against.

Dominic Thiem - 4.5 games v Albert Montanes: You have to think the last two weeks has taken some kind of physical toll on Dominic Thiem, but the two titles he has won has to be worth that effort. He had to dig deep in his first match in Kitzbuhel to come through in three sets, but the home tournament should inspire him to put in another big effort this week as he looks for a third title in a row.

A couple of years ago he was beaten comfortably by Albert Montanes here, but I think he can get a measure of revenge by moving into the Semi Final with a 64 63 win in this one.

Montanes has played well this week, but this has been an exception to previous weeks on the Tour as the veteran has begun to slip down the Rankings. The clay courts remain his favoured surface, but this is also where Thiem has won all of his titles this season and I think he will have gotten something out of his Second Round win.

The quality should be on the side of Thiem and his younger legs should respond to being at home and trying to win another title. Montanes has been very good this week, but he has taken some heavy losses prior to the week and I think Thiem is too good for him in this Quarter Final.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 games v Misaki Doi: Coming back from a long lay off on the Tour is difficult as Andy Murray found out to his cost on Wednesday, but I expect better from Agnieszka Radwanska. She faces Misaki Doi who looks to be a very good match up for her in her return to the Tour and I do think Radwanska wins with something to spare.

One concern would be the confidence that Doi has picked up from three consecutive wins in Stanford, but when she loses, she does tend to lose comfortably. That might be because Doi doesn't have a serve that can give her too many cheap points and the best players on Tour would expect to out-rally her when those points develop.

Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Doi has lost five matches on the hard courts and they have come by margins of 7, 6, 4, 6, 9 games each. Radwanska might not have had the best of years by her high standard, but the run to the Semi Final at Wimbledon might have sparked her and I expect a couple of decent runs during this hard court North American swing.

I think she will outwork Doi in the rallies and is happy enough to be out on court all day if she needs to and I expect Radwanska to win this 64, 62 once she gets settled back on the hard courts.

Karolina Pliskova - 5.5 games v Kimiko Date-Krumm: Another player who is making a long awaited return to the Tour is Karolina Pliskova who decided to skip events between Wimbledon and her return to Stanford. That is the biggest concern in wondering if she can get off to a flyer, but the match up with Kimiko Date-Krumm gives her every chance to do so.

The veteran had to dig incredibly deep to come through the First Round here against Sabine Lisicki and you have to think that has taken something out of the tank. Date-Krumm was 61, 41 down in that match, but turned it around to win in three sets and I think Pliskova may have a chance to pick her off in this match.

A lay off can cause problems in terms of rhythm and that would be my biggest concern for Pliskova who did crush Kimiko Date-Krumm for the loss of just four games here last year. However, that came after she had played a couple of other tournaments between Wimbledon and Stanford so I think this will be closer, although Pliskova should have the quality to overcome her opponent.

It might take a set to get used to being back in a competitive setting, but I then expect Pliskova to pull clear in a 64, 62 win.

Kei Nishikori - 4.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: After a difficult first set which Kei Nishikori dropped in the Second Round, he got back to form and moved into the Third Round relatively comfortably. After a strong run at the US Open last year when reaching the Final, Nishikori might have bigger expectations over the next six weeks than he did twelve months ago and he will expect to win the title in Washington.

His next opponent won't be easy to overcome as Leonardo Mayer has put together another solid season and looks set to surpass his career best number of wins in a single season. Mayer has a decent serve which will give Nishikori something to think about, but the latter has found a way to neutralise that in their previous matches and eventually crack through.

Nishikori has now won all six sets against Mayer and he hasn't lost more than four games in any of the last five sets after the first one they played went to a tie-breaker. Last year in New York, Nishikori beat Mayer 64, 62, 63 in the Third Round and he has the returning ability to break the Argentinian down again.

Leonardo Mayer is playing his first tournament since Davis Cup action in early July and struggled in the Second Round match which he won in three tight sets. His physical strength will be tested through this match and I expect Nishikori to eventually wear him down in a 63, 64 win.

Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 games v Steve Johnson: Steve Johnson fans might be happy I am opposing their man again in the Third Round considering he has produced his best tennis in the last couple of months when I have been backing his opponent. However, I think Grigor Dimitrov is capable of seeing off the American who I simply doubt can serve as effectively as he did in his Second Round win over Bernard Tomic.

I will say I have been impressed with Johnson's performances with some more consistency in his wins, but he has also produced some really bad stuff. Losses to Tatsuma Ito and Ricardis Berankis would have been seriously unexpected and I do think Johnson is someone who can throw in a real wobbly performance.

My concern for Grigor Dimitrov is how he is going to react to his break up with Maria Sharapova and whether 2015 is already something of a write off for him. Too many poor losses and not enough deep runs in big events has to be a real disappointment for a talented player and this is likely going to be the lowest number of wins in a single season since 2012 as he is nowhere near the 45 wins he achieved in 2014.

Dimitrov did beat Johnson in straight sets at Wimbledon and I think he is the better player who will have been given a boost by his Second Round win. He has to serve well to keep some pressure on Johnson and I do think Dimitrov is able to get more joy from the return games than Tomic did as he works his way throygh to a 76, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Fabio Fognini @ 2.15 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 4.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-8, - 10.16 Units (22 Units Staked, - 46.18% Yield)

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