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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Shanghai Masters Tennis Picks 2015 (October 15th)

It can only be described as a frustrating Wednesday with too many of the matches getting to the brink of success only to fall through the trapdoor in the final moments of the matches. Second set tie-breakers were a particular disappointment as both Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem failed to see out their matches at that moment when they had their chances to do so.

Break points came and went for Thiem through the match, as it did in the second set for Sam Stosur who missed the cover by one game thanks to one break from five chances in the second set.

It doesn't help that a couple of the picks were just plain terrible and resulted in a pretty poor day.

You can see that the players are taking this week very seriously though and only Roger Federer and David Ferrer have missed making the Third Round in Shanghai of the top sixteen Seeds. With those players from fifth down to sixteen all still believing they can make a run for the final places in the World Tour Finals, the importance of matches in the next couple of days are going to be increased as each Round is completed.

Novak Djokovic - 5.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: On the face of things this might look like a lot of games for Novak Djokovic to cover against a dangerous player like Feliciano Lopez. However, Djokovic has been playing like a man possessed over the last couple of weeks and hasn't been just winning matches, but winning matches while barely dropping any games.

They had a pretty intense match at the US Open which was decided in four sets in favour of Novak Djokovic and that also means the World Number 1 has won all six previous matches against Lopez.

Even the match at the US Open looked like it was going to be a comfortable day in the office for Djokovic when he took the first set 61, but the second set saw Lopez take one of the few chances he had on the day to rebound. The way that Djokovic is playing at the moment suggests he won't take his eye off the ball in this one like he might have done at the US Open and the Serb has been blowing people away on the courts when he has got his nose in front.

As well as Lopez can serve at times, Djokovic is the type of returner that will make him work for everything he earns and I wouldn't be surprised if he comes through with another win by a comfortable margin.

Kei Nishikori - 3.5 games v Kevin Anderson: About the only pick that went right on Wednesday was backing Nick Kyrgios and the games against Kei Nishikori and the Australian duly covered. However, you have to credit Nishikori for overcoming a poor first set and eventually taking control of the match while not allowing Kyrgios' antics to affect his mind.

My one concern with backing Kei Nishikori at any time is knowing the serve can be a weakness and there are some players on the Tour you simply don't want to spot a lead. Kevin Anderson has a huge serve and is a decent front runner, but I still think his game is fairly limited even if he has broken into the World Top Ten for the first time in his career.

Personally I don't think he will be a long-term fixture in that part of the World Rankings but he has to be given some credit for the consistency that has taken him that high. While he did have a big win over Andy Murray at the US Open to finally make a Grand Slam Quarter Final, Anderson has usually found the very best players on the Tour a little too good.

That includes Nishikori who has won all three previous matches and would have covered this number of games in their last two matches. With the return of serve that Nishikori has, I expect he will be able to force some break points in this match and I like his chances to wear down Anderson and take a big step towards the World Tour Finals with a win over one of the chasing pack.

Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 games v Marin Cilic: Stan Wawrinka might already have booked his place in the World Tour Finals, but I don't expect he is going to have any less motivation to use his momentum to end the season on a positive note. There is still every chance he can end the year higher than Roger Federer in the World Rankings, especially as the latter has already exited Shanghai, and that should be enough for Wawrinka to want to push on.

He showed by winning the title in Tokyo last week that the desire is still there, although he will also be aware of the need for the Ranking points this week in Shanghai that Marin Cilic will be desiring. Cilic still has a real chance of making the Tour Finals himself, but I think he will need to have picked up his level to compete with Wawrinka here.

You can't ignore the fact that Wawrinka has won the last four matches between these players and there is no doubting that he has been in better form than Cilic. Aside from the surprise run at the US Open, for the second season in a row no less, Cilic has struggled to reach the business end of big tournaments against the top players.

Cilic has played well this week, but not against players of the level of a confident Stan Wawrinka and I think the higher Seeded player will wear him down in a 76, 64 win.

Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Bernard Tomic: I would love to say I was simply surprised that Bernard Tomic beat David Ferrer on Wednesday, but the manner of the win was even more of an eyebrow-raiser for me and it will be interesting to see if he can back that up in the Third Round.

Now he faces Richard Gasquet who dominated Tomic at the US Open in a straight sets win to improve to six wins from seven matches against the Australian.

Gasquet has had two solid wins behind him this week, but Tomic's wins are definitely the more impressive, especially the manner in which they have come. However, it is Gasquet who has regularly got the better of Tomic after coming through a lot of tight first sets and I think his motivation to get to the Tour Finals again will propel him through a difficult Third Round match.

Backing up the kind of win Tomic had on Wednesday will be tough for the youngster who has been picking Doubles duty this week too. Both of these players can have issues with their serve at times, but Gasquet should be the better of the two players in the longer rallies which should give him the edge in the match.

Of course I felt David Ferrer would be better than Tomic in the rallies on Wednesday, but I am not completely sold on the Australian and like Gasquet to find a 76, 63 win.

Rafael Nadal - 1.5 games v Milos Raonic: 2015 has been a difficult season for Rafael Nadal and it might have been easy for him to get to Shanghai and struggle to get over the disappointment of another one-sided defeat to Novak Djokovic. Playing someone as awkward as Ivo Karlovic in the Second Round was another issue for Nadal to contend with, but he actually played pretty well and deserved to move through.

Now he faces another big server in Milos Raonic who had to dig deep to beat Nadal's compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in the Second Round. Raonic has had to win two long matches to get into the Third Round and he might find it difficult to back up his over Nadal from when they met at Indian Wells back in March.

The conditions here are different to Indian Wells and Nadal might have a little more joy getting the serve back in play, although that remains a huge weapon for Raonic. When he serves well it can be almost impossible to contain Raonic, but I have liked the way Nadal has played the last ten days.

He looked more in tune with what he wanted to do on the court in the win over Karlovic and I think the confidence is definitely improving, enough to see him cover this small number of his way to beating Raonic and moving into his second successive Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 3.5 Games @ 2.15 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 1.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-5, - 4.98 Units (16 Units Staked, - 31.13% Yield)

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