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Friday, 25 September 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (September 25th)

When Evgeny Donskoy failed to cover in the opening match on Thursday from the four picks I had made, I was hoping it wasn't going to be the mirror image of Wednesday when all three picks had produced winners.

Thankfully my hopes came true as Nicolas Mahut, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Gilles Simon did the business to make a good week start to turn into a very good week.

We have reached the Quarter Finals in the various tournaments played this week, while the tournament in Guangzhou is in the Semi Finals, and that means there aren't as many options for the picks.

However, there are four picks I like from the matches to be played in the five tournaments reaching the business end this week.

Caroline Wozniacki + 2.5 games v Angelique Kerber: Caroline Wozniacki is the Number 1 Seed in Tokyo this week, but I don't think anyone would criticise me for saying Angelique Kerber is the form player going into the match.

These two are well accustomed to facing each other with this being the eleventh match in the series and it is Kerber who holds a narrow lead. She won the sole meeting between the players in 2015, although Wozniacki might be disappointed she couldn't win a match where she won the first set.

There are some real similarities with the way both players approach matches- both rely on their movement to make a lot of defensive plays that can frustrate opponents, although I think Kerber is more capable of getting on the offensive. Wozniacki has tried to bring in more aggression to her own game and it did reap rewards in 2014 when she reached the US Open Final, but finding that level consistently has been difficult.

With neither player dominating behind serve, this has all the makings of a match that will go deep into a third set after a huge number of breaks of serve for each player. It was Kerber who was better at the big moments when they played in the Semi Final here two years ago, but it was a tight match which was won in straight sets.

I don't think either player has it that easy in this one and winning a set should give Wozniacki every chance to at least cover this number if she can't go on and earn the Semi Final place.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 3.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: It is tournaments like this one where Karolina Pliskova has picked up her Ranking points to move up to World Number 11, a stunningly high position for a player that didn't get past the Second Round in any of the four Grand Slams this season.

She is two places above Agnieszka Radwanska in the World Rankings, although I also think the Pole is a player that might find it hard to rediscover the form that took her close to World Number 1. Her style has been figured out by opponents and anyone who can continuously hit through the court no longer has to make as many balls as in the past to get past Radwanska.

It feels silly to say a 26 year old has 'lost a step' but the defensive play in Radwanska's game might have suffered from a bid to become more aggressive on the court. Her previous style always made her too good for most players, but the best of the best could hit hard enough and consistently enough to beat her.

2015 has been something of a lost year for Radwanska in that regards, but she can have a strong end and I do think she can frustrate Pliskova. For as much as I have admired some of the Pliskova results, there are too many let downs in her game and she can be pretty terrible when serving ineffectively.

I expect Radwanska to return enough balls to start playing on Pliskova's mind and extracting errors from her as the match wears on. Radwanska has never lost to Pliskova on the professional Tour and she has won each set they have competed, a run I think she continues in a 64, 63 win.

Dominic Thiem - 3.5 games v Denis Istomin: While I do think the hard courts are still a surface on which Dominic Thiem is learning, playing indoors is something that I think he appreciates as it gives him time to really get his rhythm together and hit through the ball with confidence.

It won't be an easy match against Denis Istomin in the Quarter Final, but Thiem was comfortably getting the better of him when they met at the US Open and I am looking for him to frank that form.

Both have had good wins this week to build some confidence, but Istomin has needed three sets to win both matches he has played and that will have taken something out of him physically and emotionally. Those matches come off the back of Davis Cup action against the United States when Istomin had to play two Singles rubbers and was involved in long matches in both.

He can be very good at times which makes Istomin dangerous, but there are other occasions when he is pretty terrible and looks like he hasn't played tennis before. If he serves well he can get some confidence for this match, but I think Thiem is just a little too good and this is the kind of match I expect a player that is moving up the World Rankings to be winning at this stage of his career.

After a battling first set, I am looking for Thiem to move through 76, 63.

Philipp Kohlschreiber + 2.5 games v Stan Wawrinka: This looks the best Quarter Final of the day in any of the ATP events that are taking place on Friday and one in which the underdog Philipp Kohlschreiber might be under-rated. I have said before that Kohlschreiber is on his way down the mountain when it comes to his career, but he is still a savvy veteran that can give Stan Wawrinka something to think about.

To be honest this is a strange tournament for Wawrinka to place in his schedule after the US Open and then playing Davis Cup and I do question how much motivation he has for a deep run. He had to battle to beat Dustin Brown in the Second Round on Thursday as Wawrinka eventually moved through in three sets, but someone like Kohlschreiber might have a little bit more belief to go on and win this match.

Brown isn't someone lacking belief, but he is a flashy player that plays a lot of low percentage tennis, while Kohlschreiber will pick his shots a lot better. That can make a huge difference in a match like this which will be tight and even what looks like a small number of games can be a huge difference maker.

There is every chance this match goes into a third set because Wawrinka is never too far away from throwing in a really sloppy service game or two, while I am not convinced that Kohlschreiber won't do the same. Again, I can't shake the feeling this is strange scheduling from Wawrinka and whether the motivation is there to fight back if he gets into a hole and I like Kohlschreiber with the games to keep this close if not actually find the upset.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanksa - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber + 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-1, + 9.10 Units (14 Units Staked, + 65% Yield)

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