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Friday, 18 September 2015

Davis Cup Tennis Picks 2015 (September 18th)

The US Open is almost a week old since Novak Djokovic came through a testing third set to record his third Grand Slam win of the season and the second time in consecutive Grand Slams he has found a way to get the better of Roger Federer.

It wasn't the most exciting of Grand Slam events, but the final few days certainly were interesting and the Men's Final was arguably the best match of the tournament full of drama and special tennis.

The ATP Tour has had a week off as preparations began for the Davis Cup ties to be played this weekend including the two Semi Finals between Great Britain and Australia and Belgium and Argentina.

Some big names are also playing in the World Group Play Offs and Group I ties with Stan Wawrinka, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer representing Switzerland and Spain. The Rio Olympics are less than a year away so players are getting in their Davis Cup time which will give them enough 'points' to represent their nations in Brazil next summer and so the Davis Cup might see a few more big names out there over the next six months, as will the Fed Cup on the WTA Tour.

Belgium and Great Britain go into their Davis Cup Semi Finals as the favourites to win, but it does look like the Doubles might be the most important rubber in both ties. Belgium are probably in the strongest position to beat Argentina because of Federico Delbonis' struggles on the hard courts, while Great Britain will be hoping Dan Evans can repeat his success over Bernard Tomic from two years ago at the US Open to give them the edge in that tie.

Dan Evans + 2.5 sets v Bernard Tomic: I'll be the first to admit that there is something about Dan Evans I don't like- maybe it is the work ethic that has been criticised in the past, or the fact that he seems like a prat on and off the court, but that's just the way it is in all walks of life.

While I enjoy seeing Evans take a bit of thumping just to get him grounded, I will say that this is a player that has been able to raise his game at times. Davis Cup action has arguably seen the best of Evans as he has won a couple of live fifth rubbers, but he has slipped to World Number 300 in the Rankings and it is a big ask for him to come in and beat Bernard Tomic.

However, Evans has been give the second Singles spot next to Andy Murray thanks to his decent run of results of late, albeit at Futures and Challenger level. He does strike me as a player that will thrive in the Davis Cup atmosphere and confidence won't be an issue, while Evans can also look back at the US Open in 2013 when he surprised Tomic by beating him after dropping the first set.

These elements can give Evans confidence in the second rubber of this tie which might be critical in the overall scheme of things assuming Andy Murray can win his two Singles matches.

In saying that, Tomic is the more likely winner and the layers seem to agree with that assessment. The Australian is back in the fold after being left out of the tie against Kazakhstan following criticism of the authorities back home after his Wimbledon exit.

It seems the Australians can only handle one 'brat' at a time with Nick Kyrgios sitting out, but Tomic is never too far from a meltdown and looks a short price to win this in straight sets. He has the bigger serve than Evans and is undoubtedly more talented, but it is all about coping with the 'hot streaks' Evans can get on and phasing out the crowd in the Arena and I am not sure Tomic is always able to do that effectively.

Tomic has handled that responsibility in Davis Cup though and has won 5 of his last 6 live rubbers away from home in straight sets. I just think if Andy Murray has won as expected, Tomic could feel the pressure of trying to get Australia on the board and that might lead to a mental lapse or two during the match.

If Evans can take advantage, he has every chance of winning at least a set in this one, although I am expecting it to be 1-1 between the nations at the end of the day.

David Goffin - 7.5 games v Federico Delbonis: Belgium will be expecting to win the first rubber of their Semi Final with Argentina when they send David Goffin out to the indoor hard court against Federico Delbonis.

This has been a huge season for Delbonis when it comes to the Davis Cup and representing Argentina- he won the vital fifth rubber to help his nation beat Brazil against Thomaz Bellucci and Delbonis then came from two sets down to beat Victor Troicki in the second rubber of the Quarter Final against Serbia.

Both are very impressive results but there are two factors that aren't in play here for Delbonis- the first is that both ties were played in Argentina as the fans helped him massively and the second is both ties were on his favoured clay court.

Neither is the case here and Delbonis is not as effective on the hard courts as shown by his straight sets loss to Ivo Karlovic at the US Open. Of course losing to Karlovic is no disgrace against that huge serve, but to be broken in each set by such a limited opponent shows how uncomfortable Delbonis can be on a hard court.

A player like David Goffin should be too good for Delbonis on this surface as long as he has gotten over whatever was ailing him at the US Open and forced his withdrawal mid-match there. Goffin knows the importance of the tie for Belgium so would have been hard pressed to miss out, but nothing came out at the US Open and it sounds like he is ready to go.

Goffin has been the main star for Belgium in recent Davis Cups as he has won his last 5 rubbers, but the nation have been fortunate to play Switzerland and Canada who were missing their two best players each time. He will love playing in front of the home fans and can wear down Delbonis once he begins to get a read of the lefty serve, while Goffin should be physically capable of going longer than the Argentinian in this one.

After a tight first set, I look for Goffin to take control in a 75, 63, 63 kind of match.

Leonardo Mayer - 4.5 games v Steve Darcis: Steve Darcis has won three of his four Davis Cup rubbers this season and could be in a position to put Belgium 2-0 up in the tie if everything goes to plan as expected in the first rubber.

Darcis and Leonardo Mayer meet in the second rubber and both might exchange some words of sympathy with one another after both were destroyed by Roger Federer in consecutive Rounds at the US Open. Darcis won four games against Federer in the Second Round after Mayer won five games in the First Round, but both will have had to put that to the back of their mind going into this rubber.

In recent years Argentina have been able to rely on some top players to represent them in Davis Cup, but Mayer is the Number 1 player for them these days. He has responded by winning his last five Davis Cup rubbers since 2014 and that has been key to sparking Argentina to reach this Semi Final.

Both Mayer and Darcis probably hoped this match would be on the clay courts where their best Davis Cup results have been achieved, but both are competent on the hard courts. I do think Mayer is the better hard court player of the two as he has the bigger serve and the harder groundstrokes, but Darcis is an awkward player that can get to the net to pressurise opponents.

It will be a close match with some twists and turns, but I think Mayer will eventually be able to take control and come through this one 67, 64, 63, 64.

MY PICKS: Dan Evans + 2.5 Sets @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Goffin - 7.5 Games @ 1.83 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Leonardo Mayer - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

US Open Final: 37-39, - 8.93 Units (151 Units Staked, - 5.91% Yield)
US Open Outright: 2-4, - 6.25 Units (15 Units Staked, - 41.67% Yield)

Season 2015- 13.25 Units (1544 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)

Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)

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