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Monday, 12 October 2015

Shanghai Masters Tennis Picks 2015 (October 13th)

The 2015 tennis season is winding down and the next month is all about picking up the Ranking points to reach the Tour Finals on both the WTA and ATP Tour. While the WTA Tour has effectively played the last of the really big events, the 'Race for Singapore' still looks an intriguing one to the point that a few players have taken Wild Cards this week into events to earn the points they need.

There are only 700 points separating fifth place to sixteenth and the likes of Angelique Kerber, Agnieszka Radwanska, Flavia Pennetta and Venus Williams are out on the Tour to earn some valuable points this week. It might get even more interesting if the likes of Simona Halep, Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova decide they will follow Serena Williams' lead and pull out of Singapore as all three have been suffering injuries at the back end of the season.

Those three are part of the four players already confirming their place in Singapore so it could open the door further down the Race for other players to get involved.

The 'Race for London' on the ATP side of the Tour looks a little more clear cut, although the Shanghai Masters is offering 1000 points to the winner which could certainly change things. However, Richard Gasquet in ninth place is 1200 points behind David Ferrer and I am not sure there will be many out there that think Gasquet, John Isner, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic or Milos Raonic have a legitimate chance of winning the title here and making up some huge ground on the top eight players in the world.

It is more likely that the ninth place could be a vital one with Andy Murray suggesting he would miss the Tour Finals to prepare for the Davis Cup Final as the move onto the clay courts needs some adjustment time for him. That would open the door for someone outside of the top eight to make their way to London and might be the most interesting aspect of the 'Race' in the coming weeks.

Just over 400 points separates Gasquet in ninth place and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in fifteenth so that could be fun to see who can put together a solid month to move into a potential final spot in the Tour Finals.

No one can really rule out someone coming through the pack to take a surprise top eight place with two 1000 events and two 500 events upcoming, but I do think the top eight players will be 'comfortable' with the leads they have built. Four of the places have been taken and the likes of Tomas Berdych, Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori will know a big week in Shanghai will put them on the brink of qualification too, if not confirm those places, so it should be a fun week here.

Richard Gasquet - 2.5 games v Gilles Muller: It was a poor return to the Tour for Richard Gasquet who was beaten in his first match since reaching the US Open Quarter Final. That has dented his chances of reaching the World Tour Finals in London, but the Frenchman can still fight his way into the top eight if he can end this final month of the season in a positive manner.

His opening match in Shanghai could have been easier than the dangerous Gilles Muller who reached the Semi Final in Tokyo last week. Muller was a little fortunate to get as far as that considering the break point chances that players had against him prior to the Semi Final and even the close loss to Stan Wawrinka was actually pretty one-sided.

The lefty serve is a dominant shot for Muller when he brings his very best to the court and Muller will give Gasquet some problems trying to deal with that shot. However, this is a player that doesn't bring too many different looks to the court and Gasquet will likely be the better player as soon as the rally progresses beyond the fourth shot of the point.

This is a dangerous number if Muller is serving well because Richard Gasquet can sometimes be a little too loose when it comes to his own service games. He was playing very well in New York though and knows that Muller isn't the most effective returner, although someone who will take a chance to get to the net if he sees too many second serves.

After a tight battle in the first set which may need a tie-breaker to separate the players, I like Gasquet getting his 'Race for London' re-energised in a 76, 64 win.

Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v Borna Coric: I have a lot of respect for the talent that Borna Coric clearly has at his disposal, but I think Marin Cilic will still have a little too much for his compatriot in this Second Round match. There will be something about playing a player that he might have looked up to for Coric to deal with and that has proven a difficulty in the initial meetings in the past for others.

Coric does come off a lot more confident than most though and I not entirely sure he will be overawed considering some of the wins he has put together over the last twelve months. He had an impressive win over Alexandr Dolgopolov in the First Round, but Coric needed to go into a final set tie-breaker to get things done.

That was the case for Marin Cilic on Monday too, although he would have had a lot less rest than Coric ahead of this match. Cilic can be a little loose on the court and that will give Coric a chance to earn a big win in this one, but the youngster is still trying to find his own consistency on the Tour.

He is going to grow into his body which will bring his power up to the level he will need on the Tour, but at the moment that side can be a little bit of weakness. Coric has the skills to take a set in this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was to lose a set by a couple of breaks of serve and Cilic should have enough for a 36, 62, 63 kind of win.

Anna Schmiedlova v Annika Beck: I thought Anna Schmiedlova would be a much healthier favourite to win this match than she is, especially as she has tended to play along with a much higher company of opponent than Annika Beck.

There aren't too many World Ranking places that separates these two players, but Beck was playing in Tashkent, where she reached the Quarter Final, while Schmiedlova was reaching a Quarter Final in Wuhan. An early defeat in Beijing is disappointing, but that means Schmiedlova shouldn't have any lingering jet lag issues from the travel back to Europe.

I think there is more potential in the Schmiedlova game too and I believe she has a more effective serve which should keep her nose in front during this match. Schmiedlova has won the two previous matches between these players and I like her consistency from the back of the court which should see her overcome Beck.

Maybe this match goes the distance, but Schmiedlova coming through with a win looks a generous price to me.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Anna Schmiedlova @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Weekly Final11-10, - 1.82 Units (42 Units Staked, - 4.33% Yield)

Season 2015: - 1.27 Units (1652 Units Staked, - 0% 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)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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