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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (October 21st)

The final three places in the WTA Tour Finals will be decided this week and that means the contenders for those places are desperate for one more big run in the tournaments in Luxembourg and Moscow to sow those places up.

The WTA Tour Finals are played in Singapore from Sunday so the remaining contenders can pick up some momentum going into the final tournament of the 2015 season.

The ATP World Tour Finals look a little more settled with the final eight in a strong position to wrap up their spots even prior to the final Masters of the season in Paris in a couple of weeks time. David Ferrer is in eighth place, but he came from a set down to win his match in Vienna which could be a vital victory for him as he looks to make sure he finishes above Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who certainly has plenty of momentum behind him from the last month.

Tsonga will be in action on Wednesday as he tries to back up a big week in Shanghai as the tennis tournaments move forward this week.

Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 games v Sergiy Stakhovsky: It has been a very good season for Ivo Karlovic who is back in the top twenty of the World Rankings at 36 years old which he has to be given credit for. The serve continues to be a huge weapon for Karlovic who would love to underline his 2015 season with a couple of strong showings beginning in Vienna.

The Second Round match with Sergiy Stakhovsky is a difficult looking one with the latter capable of playing some very high class tennis. However, there are a lot of drops from that level from Stakhovsky too although he does have a win under his belt in Vienna which may give him an edge in terms of knowing what conditions to expect.

That shouldn't bother Karlovic with his first serve effective on most hard courts and he has also won the last three matches against Stakhovsky having initially lost the first two. He might not be the best returner on the Tour, but Karlovic will know that Stakhovsky is likely to attack the net and is not always the cleanest volleyer when he gets there.

I have to believe that is a big reason why Karlovic is able to break the Stakhovsky serve as frequently as he has in the last three matches against him. Karlovic is also likely to try and take the net away from Stakhovsky by employing the slice and following that in and I think his serve will help him through any pressure moments better than Stakhovsky's will for him.

After a couple of long sets, I am looking for Karlovic to win this one 76, 64.

Simone Bolelli - 3.5 games v Lucas Pouille: At 21 years old, Lucas Pouille still has some learning to do if he is to become a top professional on the Tour, but his World Ranking of Number 70 isn't a bad return out of 2015. Of course 2016 is all about pushing on, but this season might be over for Pouille from a mental standpoint.

A long season can take its toll on a young player at this time of the season and we saw Nick Kyrgios cut his 2014 season short with that in mind. Pouille hasn't done the same, but he has lost four matches in a row and has failed to win a set in any of those matches and also not won more than four games in any of the eight sets competed in.

The slower hard courts in Moscow make work to the favour of Simone Bolelli too although the Italian is capable on the faster surfaces too. This is already Bolelli's best season on the main Tour by a considerable distance and he has had a lot more wins than Pouille in recent weeks which should boost his confidence for this First Round match.

Bolelli has a decent serve when he is on his game and I think he is going to take down a player he has beaten three times in the last twelve months including twice this season. With his ability to play the long rallies on the clay courts, the slower conditions won't bother Bolelli here either and I think he breaks down Pouille 76, 63 over two sets.

Victor Troicki - 1.5 games v Teymuraz Gabashvili: Both of these players have looked like they are playing out the string in this 2015 season and both Victor Troicki and Teymuraz Gabashvili can produce some really good quality tennis as well as some complete dross in the same match.

At least Troicki can say he has had a couple of wins here and there recently compared with Gabashvili, although the latter is playing at home and has a win under his belt here.

As I have said, both can go through some real fluctuations within the same match and I would not be surprised if both were to win a set in this one. However Troicki could hold the mental edge not just because of his recent form compared with Gabashvili, but has also won all four matches against Gabashvili in previous matches.

Those matches are at least four years old though so I am not sure they are relevant now, but Gabashvili hasn't looked like a player that has had too much left in tank in the last couple of weeks. I am not completely sold on Troicki's mentality having lost a couple of Grand Slam matches from 2-0 up in sets this season, but I think he comes through in three sets and has enough to cover this number.

Svetlana Kuznetsova - 5.5 games v Klara Koukalova: Svetlana Kuznetsova has more ups and downs in her performances these days than she did when she won two Grand Slam titles, but I still think she is too good at home against Klara Koukalova.

All three previous matches have gone in favour of Kuznetsova although the last of those came here in Moscow last season and was cut short when Koukalova retired having lost the first set.

There has been a little more confidence coming out of recent Koukalova performances having won some more matches, albeit at a lower level than Kuznetsova would be used to. Coming through three Qualifier matches will have helped her mentally for this challenge of facing Kuznetsova, but I still believe the latter has too much in the tank for her.

The serve is not as effective as it once was, but I think Kuznetsova can protect that shot for just long enough to send the pressure on Koukalova. The latter has really struggled to match the top players for most of the season and Kuznetsova still qualifies for that criteria as a top 32 player in the World Rankings.

After a battle through the first set, I like Kuznetsova winning this one 75, 62.

MY PICKS: Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Simone Bolelli - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Victor Troicki - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-1, - 0.54 Units (4 Units Staked, - 13.5% Yield)

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