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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Tennis Picks 2015 (October 29th)

I can only say it was more frustration on Wednesday as players got into strong positions only to let me down in unexpected fashion. Leonardo Mayer had a break advantage in the final set of his match with Teymuraz Gabashvili, but fell apart by losing four games in a row to drop the match.

Even worse has to be the manner in which Stan Wawrinka lost to Ivo Karlovic- he was up a set and a break before being pegged back, losing the tie-breaker and then dropping serve immediately in the final set to lose the match.

Pathetic to be honest with you.

Thankfully Rafael Nadal came out of a difficult position to win his match else it could have felt like a disastrous day, but I am frustrated that it didn't end up with a winning position on Wednesday considering how close at least three of the losing picks were to being successful.


The tournaments in Singapore, Basel and Valencia continue on Thursday when we get the first two Semi Finalists in the WTA Finals as well as setting up the Quarter Final line up for the two ATP events this week.


Simona Halep - 2.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: This is a big match for both players in action this Thursday as both still have a chance of qualifying for the Semi Final despite losing their last match. Simona Halep can confirm her place in the Semi Finals if she can win this match in straight sets, while Agnieszka Radwanska would be able to do the same if she can win in straight sets and Flavia Pennetta is beaten in straight sets later in the day's play.

Any kind of win for Halep will give her a chance of progressing and that means her motivation should be high through this match, but I do wonder about Radwanska's mindset. If she is to drop a set, it means Radwanska is going to be out of the tournament even if she wins this match and that could see her check out.

Some might look at that as a chance for her to loosen up and let rip with nothing left to play for until January, but it has been a long season and she could just as easily tank away the match. Simona Halep has dominated Radwanska in recent matches too which should give her the mental edge and I definitely think she has more in her game to exploit the serve of the Pole than the other way around.

The last time they met saw Radwanska make an incredible start before Simona Halep took over but I think it might be a little more straight-forward for the World Number 2 this time around. After taking a tight first set, I look for Halep to pull away for a 64, 62 win.


Flavia Pennetta + 1.5 sets v Maria Sharapova: After winning just three games in her first match in Singapore, Flavia Pennetta would have been pleased to have her own destiny in her hands going into the final Group match. A straight sets win for Flavia Pennetta will be enough to get into the Semi Final and prolong her career by at least one more match, although she will know the exact permutations by the time she goes to the court.

For Maria Sharapova it looks a lot more straight-forward as winning a set should be enough to move into the Semi Final having won her first two matches with a 4-1 set advantage. There hasn't been too many signs of the injury that has kept Sharapova off the Tour over the last few months, but Flavia Pennetta has been something of a conundrum for the Russian.

Pennetta has won the last three matches between the players and all of their matches have been competitive with every single one needing a final set decider to determine the winner. I like the way the Italian battled back to beat Agnieszka Radwanska in her second Group game having been embarrassed by Simona Halep on Sunday, and Pennetta will give it her all with this potentially being her last match on the Tour.

The head to head with Sharapova will inspire her too and I like Pennetta's chances of taking at least a set in this one at a generous odds against quote. She has done that in every previous match against Sharapova and the mere fact she has won three in a row against the Russian should inspire a big performance from Pennetta.


Marin Cilic - 4.5 games v Teymuraz Gabashvili: Both players got through tough matches on Wednesday to move into the Second Round and I think Marin Cilic can back that up by beating Teymuraz Gabashvili and reaching yet another Quarter Final.

Out of the two players, Cilic was a little more in control of his win on Wednesday and it was Gabashvili who had to dig very deep to see off Leonardo Mayer. Of course Cilic had a longer week last week when winning the title in Moscow, but I don't envision fatigue being an issue for either player.

The more consistent player is Cilic and I think Gabashvili won't have so much luck holding serve as he did on Wednesday. The Croatian has to serve well too to make sure he doesn't give Gabashvili any kind of encouragement in this one, but I think Cilic has been playing well enough to do that and win this match.

Cilic should have the majority of break points in this match and I like him coming through 64, 63.


John Isner - 1.5 games v Jack Sock: Both John Isner and Jack Sock are going to be very happy with the way their 2015 seasons have panned out and both look set to finish in the top thirty of the World Rankings. The chances of John Isner reaching the World Tour Finals look to have gone now, but he will still want to end this season well and try and get into the World Top Ten.

Both men might be looking forward to the end of the season now, but Jack Sock did reach the Final in Stockholm last week and John Isner reached the Quarter Final in Beijing. That shows both are still very focused on the matches they are playing and I think this is going to be a close match decided by a point here and there.

John Isner has had the better of Jack Sock in the past as his serve is a little more solid all around and that has kept the scoreboard pressure on his compatriot. Sock will always give away at least one really sloppy game on serve and Isner is a great front runner that will be able to push away from him if he can get ahead here.

The speed of the courts should make this a close match that features a tie-breaker or two, but I give the edge to John Isner to find a break somewhere and come through this match 64, 67, 76.


Roger Federer - 4.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: This has always been a tournament that Roger Federer would place some real stock in having been a ball boy here in his younger days. Being back at home will only inspire Roger Federer all the more and he was a comfortable winner in the First Round.

He might have won all ten previous matches against Philipp Kohlschreiber, but there is no doubt that Federer will have a lot of respect for his opponent. These two are friends off court that have practiced together many times too so Federer will know all about the quality that Kohlschreiber can bring to the court.

However, Kohlschreiber has looked like he is slipping somewhat through the 2015 season and he is more likely to throw in a poor couple of service games than he was when at his very best. I think the German will be inspired going up against Federer and he will produce some quality tennis, but the problem will be trying to maintain that through the Second Round match.

Eventually you have to think Federer's quality will make the difference with a few returns and he will be too good as long as he serves effectively through the match. He was a little loose on that side in his win over Mikhail Kukushkin, but I think Federer will be more focused knowing the quality player he is facing and will come through this one 63, 64.


Roberto Bautista Agut - 4.5 games v Andrey Rublev: The Tour is a tough learning school for the young players that take it on and Andrey Rublev will look back at 2015 and take note of the lessons he learnt. The youngster has shown he has the talent to reach the very top of the men's game, but it will take time as he grows into his body and gets used to the weekly grind of the ATP Tour.

The younger players tend to have a little bit more fatigue in the final month of the season and I think Rublev will do well to keep up with Roberto Bautista Agut who is happy being on the court all day. The Spaniard did reach the Final in Moscow last week and had to dig deep to beat Nicolas Almagro in the First Round here which might mean some fatigue is in play, but I think his experience of managing the season Tour will give him the edge in this match.

Both players will likely have their chances to break serve, but I think Bautista Agut is the more consistent player at this stage of their career. I expect he will look to dig deep and grind down Rublev who had a solid First Round win to snap a four match losing run on the Tour.

Rublev has suffered some one-sided losses in recent weeks as the season winds down and I think Roberto Bautista Agut wins this one 64, 63 after wearing down his younger opponent.

MY PICKS: Simona Halep - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Flavia Pennetta + 1.5 Sets @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
John Isner - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-10, - 10.78 Units (30 Units Staked, - 35.93% Yield)

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