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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (October 27th)

The first matches in Group A and B at the WTA Championships are now in the books and there have been a couple of surprising results already, none more so than Maria Sharapova battling back from a set down to beat Agnieszka Radwanska.

Group A is back in action on Tuesday and it is a critical time for Radwanska and Flavia Pennetta with the losing player most likely out of the tournament depending on what happens in the other match on the same day. It could be an emotional day for Pennetta who announced she would be retiring at the end of this tournament as she is on the brink of an exit with a straight sets loss going to see her knocked out of the event.

The ATP events in Basel and Valencia will continue on Tuesday as the majority of the First Round matches are scheduled to be played, but I can't go on without mentioning Rafael Nadal's win over Lukas Rosol despite finding himself just a couple of points away from losing that match.

Rosol has been a thorn in the side of Nadal over the years that began with a victory over the Spaniard at Wimbledon and he clearly relishes this match up. Two months ago I am convinced Nadal would have lost that match having not created a break point in the first two sets up until breaking Rosol in the second set when the latter was serving for the match.

That's another win that will build Nadal's confidence having had a couple of solid weeks in Beijing and Shanghai and rumours of his despise do seem greatly exaggerated. His Ranking is not going to improve drastically over the last couple of weeks of the season, but this will give him real belief to take into the 2016 season if he can finish off his last couple of tournaments in impressive form and the win for Nadal looks a huge one, especially if he can go on and have a strong week in Basel.

Agnieszka Radwanska-Flavia Pennetta Under 20.5 Games: This is a huge match for both of these players as they look to get back into a position where they can make a move to the Semi Finals. A defeat for Flavia Pennetta will likely mean her career is at an end, but I can see the Italian putting it all in after a very one-sided loss to Simona Halep last time out.

Matches between Agnieszka Radwanska and Flavia Pennetta has seen both players have their successes but the one glaring trend is how one-sided the matches tend to be. It might only be five wins to three in favour of Radwanska, but the last six matches have all seen only eighteen games or fewer needed to decide the winner.

I am not entirely sure why that is, but my feeling is that Pennetta's power will either break through the Radwanska defences consistently or she may make too many mistakes and allow the Pole to surge clear.

Picking a winner might actually be more difficult than the layers think, but Radwanska's big wins over Pennetta concerned me enough to steer clear of the handicap too. However, this might be too many games for the pair to surpass judging by recent matches between the two and it might be another one-sided win for one of the players that will put the winner in a position to advance to the Semi Finals.

David Goffin - 3.5 games v Andreas Seppi: At this stage of a very long season, players have to search for the motivation to keep going on the Tour. Some will still be chasing a place in the World Tour Finals, others are just hoping to set a marker for the new 2016 season while others still are perhaps wanting to build confidence for a big chance to represent their nation.

The last of those might be the motivation for David Goffin who will be representing Belgium in the Davis Cup Final next month. That Final is played on the clay courts so Goffin might be using the last two weeks to simply put some wins together and give himself plenty of belief to take into the Davis Cup.

It won't be easy against Andreas Seppi who is a competitive character on the Tour, but the Italian has lost four straight matches on the Tour. That includes a straight sets loss to Goffin in Beijing and I think it will be tough for Seppi to turn that form around when he will be forced to work so hard to hold his serve.

The veteran Italian is a tough opponent to see off on his day, but the match up is one that Goffin should appreciate as he will have time to tee off on the Seppi serve which remains a weakness. I'd be surprised if Goffin has it as easy as he did in Beijing against Seppi when he lost just five games, but I still think he wins this one 64, 64 and moves into the Second Round.

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 games v Jerzy Janowicz: Whenever a player comes through the Qualifiers, I always think they have to be given plenty of respect as a couple of wins will give anyone some confidence. The dangerous Jerzy Janowicz is a player that thrives on confidence but this has been a difficult season for him and I do wonder if his two wins this week to get into the main draw is enough for him to turn that around.

The conditions in Basel should suit Janowicz whose best run on the main Tour has come on the indoor hard courts when reaching the Final at the Paris Masters. However, too many double faults and too many poor shot selections doesn't help the Pole's cause and a solid player like Philipp Kohlschreiber can take advantage.

The veteran might be coming down to the latter stages of his career, but Kohlschreiber has had a couple of solid runs in tournaments since the US Open. He looks good for a Seed at the Australian Open in January, but to ensure that happens Kohlschreiber would love another solid run in Basel.

Kohlschreiber has been in better recent form than Janowicz and he has won his last two matches against this opponent. Despite the fact Janowicz might be more in tune with the conditions, I think Kohlschreiber can be solid enough to look after his own serve and find a break on his way to a 76, 64 win.

Grigor Dimitrov - 4.5 games v Sergiy Stakhovsky: There is no doubting that 2015 has been a disappointing season for Grigor Dimitrov who has also had to deal with personal and professional changes. The end of the season has to be used to ensure he will at least be Seeded at the Australian Open in January while also trying to build some momentum to take into the new season.

Being down at Number 28 in the World Rankings is a real surprise for Dimitrov fans, especially if you had told them that at the beginning of the season. He hasn't shown too much positive form since the US Open so it might be a surprise I am picking him to win by a comfortable margin in this First Round match.

However, Sergiy Stakhovsky is the kind of player that can produce some solid stuff, but is more likely to throw in a couple of terrible service games to go down without too much of a fight. The win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon will be his career highlight, but Stakhovsky has lost by wide margins to lesser players than Grigor Dimitrov since the US Open.

I remain a little concerned with the Bulgarian and his lack of form because that means confidence is dented and Dimitrov is more likely to throw a sloppy game in himself when it comes to the serve. Even with those doubts in my mind, I still think he is going to be too good for Stakhovsky and I will look for Dimitrov to win this one 64, 63.

Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: Neither one of these players can really point to too much recent productive form, although Guillermo Garcia-Lopez has the edge over Fernando Verdasco in that regards. It does feel like Fernando Verdasco is perhaps on an irreversible slide down the World Rankings these days, but he has dominated his compatriot and has won five straight matches against him including one match earlier this season.

The problem for Verdasco is that his inconsistencies on the court have now shifted in terms of producing wins- he has always been inconsistent, but Verdasco generally used to produce more good than bad, although it feels that has perhaps moved the other way these days.

That has seen Verdasco lose some tight matches in the last few months rather than winning those to maintain his Ranking and would be a concern in backing him in this First Round match. However, I think Garcia-Lopez has to overcome a mental hurdle when he takes on Verdasco which can be difficult against a player from the same nation.

Garcia-Lopez has had some disappointing losses since reaching the Final in Shenzhen and I think Verdasco has a little more out of the serve that can help him through this one. It will likely need three sets for Verdasco to get it done, but I like his chances of coming through 63, 36, 63 and earn an important win.

MY PICKS: Agnieszka Radwanska-Flavia Pennetta Under 20.5 Total Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
David Goffin - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-2, - 2.40 Units (6 Units Staked, - 40% Yield)

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