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Saturday, 23 January 2016

Australian Open Tennis Day 7 Picks 2016 (January 24th)

It has been a busy day which means the picks for Day 7 at the Australian Open are coming out a little later than anticipated. I will have Day 8 picks out much earlier on Sunday, but for now let us get on with the picks as the Fourth Round commences in the second week of this Grand Slam.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Kei Nishikori Under 41.5 Total Games: These two players are very familiar with one another and even a five set match at the Australian Open in 2012 failed to get over this number of games.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was beaten in that match four years ago, but he did beat Kei Nishikori in five sets last year at the French Open and even that match barely went over this number of games.

The feeling is that this would finish under this number of total games as long as one of these players can win this one in three or four sets. My feeling is that Tsonga is going to have the edge by being in a better place from a mental point of view, but I don't want to underestimate Kei Nishikori who has been in strong form this week.

Both players will have their chances to break serve and I will be looking for one of them to get control of the match and prevent this going into yet another decider between them at Grand Slam level.

Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: This has been a special week for Roberto Bautista Agut as he has backed up his title win in Auckland with three wins to get into the Fourth Round. It has been particularly impressive when you think the Spaniard has moved through the first two Rounds in five sets, but still looked physically strong in his win over Marin Cilic.

It will need another big effort from Bautista Agut to see off Tomas Berdych who has to be confident he can make another Quarter Final here in Australia. Berdych held himself together for just long enough to see off Nick Kyrgios in the Third Round and that should give him momentum although he has to be careful against Bautista Agut who has frustrated him in the past.

A lot of this match will be down to how well Tomas Berdych serves- if he serves well he will put his opponent under significant pressure and there is no doubting that Berdych will have his chances to break serve.

I think Berdych is in solid enough form to think he will produce a solid serving day and wear down Bautista Agut in a straight sets win which sees him cover this number.

Roger Federer - 7.5 games v David Goffin: There is no doubting that the match up will be a fairly comfortable one for Roger Federer when he faces David Goffin, but that doesn't mean he will win it easily.

The former World Number 1 has made it clear that he needs to pick up his play if he is going to win the Australian Open this week and he can't afford a flat start like he had against Grigor Dimitrov. Even though Federer won the first set of that Third Round match, he didn't really look himself until after he had dropped the second set and can't come out in that manner again.

It was difficult to understand why Federer was feeling the way he was in that match, but Dimitrov has a little more in his game than Goffin. The Belgian player is a very talented one, but he doesn't have a lot of power which means there is no intimidating shot for Federer to face.

The serve is also very, very breakable and I think Federer will likely earn a double break at some point to move into the Quarter Final behind a 63, 64, 62 kind of win.

Maria Sharapova - 4.5 games v Belinda Bencic: This might be a surprising pick as so many are out there tipping the upset, but that might put some pressure on Belinda Bencic in this one. She does look like a player with a bright future on the Tour, but Bencic has had a very difficult time when it comes to the latter stages of Grand Slams in the past and Maria Sharapova can use her experience to edge through.

It does feel that Bencic is never too far away from crumbling completely when things are not going right for her. The first serve is a decent shot, but I think Sharapova will have some joy returning the second serve and the power edge is clearly with the Russian.

I do think Bencic will have some returning success too as Sharapova struggles on that front with inconsistencies in her toss and double faults a big problem for her. However I think Sharapova will make use of her tough Third Round win to build confidence and I can see her earning a break more in each set to win this one surprisingly more comfortably than most people are expecting.

Serena Williams - 6.5 games v Margarita Gasparyan: Another bright talent on the WTA Tour in Margarita Gasparyan has a chance to perhaps cause the biggest upset of the Women's draw so far. She takes on Serena Williams this week but I am not entirely sure she is ready to get much closer than the five games she won when playing Serena at Wimbledon last summer.

It does look like Serena Williams is on a mission this week and she has been barely troubled since her First Round win over Camila Giorgi. I expect Gasparyan has played well enough to give Serena something to think about but I am not convinced she can match the power on a consistent basis which will eventually see Williams move clear.

Serena Williams has to serve well to not allow Gasparyan to get comfortable and she will get her own chances to break serve. Gasparyan has won her last two matches in straight sets, but this is a completely different challenge for her and it has all the hallmarks of a 63, 62 win for Serena Williams and potentially setting up a reunion with Maria Sharapova if my first prediction is correct too.

Carla Suarez Navarro-Daria Gavrilova Over 21.5 games: She might be one of the top ten Seeds in the draw, but there hasn't been a lot of attention given to Carla Suarez Navarro who has quietly made it through to the Fourth Round. That will change on Sunday as she takes on home favourite Daria Gavrilova in the night session.

Gavrilova might only recently have become an Australian citizen, but she has plenty of support from her new home crowd and has been made to feel very welcome. That has shown up in her performances, although a different challenge awaits from the ones she has faced in the tournament with Suarez Navarro using all her skills to get Gavrilova moving.

Prior to this, Gavrilova has faced big hitters that will make unforced errors but those might be at a premium in this one. On the other hand, neither player will comfortably get through their service games and it has all the makings of a three set classic as long as Gavrilova is able to physically last that long having won the last match 11-9 in the third.

There is no doubting that Gavrilova feels she is going to be absolutely fine and ready to compete this week and I do think a third set will be needed which makes the total games looking like they will be surpassed.

MY PICKS: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga-Kei Nishikori Under 41.5 Total Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 7.5 Games @ 1.75 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Maria Sharapova - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 6.5 Games @ 1.80 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro-Daria Gavrilova Over 21.5 Total Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)

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