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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (October 22nd)

I finally had a retirement go my way when Simone Bolelli pulled out his match against Lucas Pouille despite being a couple of games from defeat.

That makes up for Pablo Cuevas being given a pass through to the Second Round after winning the first set 61 before his opponent was unable to continue so there is that.

I had to remind myself of my blacklist on Wednesday as Victor Troicki was moved onto that list of players and I think he'll do well to get off it any time soon. Of course the season is coming to an end, but there are some players that I am simply not comfortable backing any more and Troicki certainly is amongst those.

Marin Cilic - 3.5 games v Denis Istomin: Retaining his title in Moscow is going to be a challenge for Marin Cilic who has a lot of points to make up in the 'Race for London'. It would take some strange set of results from the players ahead of him to allow Cilic to get into the World Tour Finals, but he will still look for a strong end to the season to set up the 2016 season.

He will have to take on a form player in Denis Istomin who won the Challenger in Tashkent last week and was also a comfortable winner in the First Round in Moscow. Istomin will be confident with the title in the bag, but he played quite a lot of tennis last week with a number of three set wins needed and I do wonder if fatigue will play a factor in this one.

The slower conditions means Istomin might have to fight through more rallies to see off Cilic and that is when that fatigue begins to play a part more and more. Marin Cilic has the edge when it comes to the serve and he has been too good for the players he has been expected to beat in recent weeks.

There are still some inconsistencies in his performances having seen 2015 hurt by injuries, but Cilic has won five of his six previous matches against Istomin. These two players haven't met this season, but I think Cilic holds the edge in this match and can work through for a 63, 64 win.

Mikhail Kukushkin - 2.5 games v Andrey Kuznetsov: After knocking off the big hope of Russian tennis in the First Round, Mikhail Kukushkin will be hoping to see off another in Andrey Kuznetsov in the Second Round. Kukushkin was born in Russia, but represents Kazakhstan so the fans might be a little more keen on supporting Kuznetsov in this Second Round match.

I don't want to underestimate Kuznetsov at all as he has put together some successful weeks on the Tour and has played much more tennis than Kukushkin who hasn't been in action since Kuala Lumper earlier this month.

Kuznetsov has a decent serve and he can bring together some really good tennis to the court, but the same can be said for Kukushkin. Both players will likely have their moments in this one as they get hot and cool off with their shot-making, but it could be a great match to watch if both are putting together their best tennis at the same time.

I just feel Kukushkin can sustain a higher level than Kuznetsov for a longer period of time and that should give him the edge and help him through to the Quarter Finals. The first set might need a tie-breaker to separate them before Kukushkin pulls clear in a 76, 64 win.

Svetlana Kuznetsova - 4.5 games v Anastasija Sevastova: This has already been the most memorable week for Anatasija Sevastova on the WTA Tour in the 2015 season. The Latvian battled through the Qualifiers in Moscow before winning two Rounds in the main draw and now takes on Svetlana Kuznetsova who will have the crowd behind her.

It has been a surprising run from Sevastova considering her successes have come in the lower ITF tournaments on the hard courts, but she is a decent clay court player. The slower conditions in Moscow might favour her in that regard, but she now has to hold off Kuznetsova who has been in fine form through her first two matches.

Kuznetsova has dropped just nine games in her first two matches here and she would love to add the title in Moscow to the others she has won in her career. I think Kuznetsova is the favourite to do that now as she has reached the Quarter Final in fine form and looks the best player left in the tournament, but that means seeing off Sevastova who is off a win over Karolina Pliskova.

All of the tennis that Sevastova has had to play to get to this stage has to be a concern and she hasn't really performed at this level effectively prior to this week. After a tight first set I am expecting Kuznetsova to show her higher Ranking dominance and come through 75, 63.

MY PICKS: Marin Cilic - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Mikhail Kukushkin - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 3-2, + 1.46 Units (10 Units Staked, + 14.60% Yield)

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