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Friday, 15 January 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (January 16th)

The Australian Open draw was made on Friday morning in Melbourne Park and the big news is obviously the fact that Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are Seeded to meet in the Semi Final after competing in the last two Men's Grand Slam Finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

To be honest, I think this part of the season is not the most favourable for Roger Federer who has clearly put his biggest stock in the summer months with the last two Grand Slams as well as the Rio Olympics occupying his thoughts. Of course Federer goes into any Slam with a real belief he can win, even the French Open, but I do think the latter two Slams are much more favourable for his game.

The Women's draw looks wide open with the injuries that have affected the top players in the World Rankings, while Serena Williams would have hoped for a much more straight forward match than facing Camila Giorgi in the First Round.

One other match that caught my eye was Venus Williams versus Johanna Konta in the First Round as I really thought the British player could have a big 2016 season to follow up the form she showed in the latter half of 2015. That is a very difficult draw for her though and I am not sure Konta has shown enough in the first couple of weeks of 2016 to think she is in line for a big run as she had at the US Open.

This week the picks have had a good time, but Friday proved to be one of the poorer days of the week with the two Semi Finals in Auckland going the other way as I thought they would. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won their first sets by the same 63 scoreline that put them in a strong position before losing the remaining two sets to be knocked out of the tournament.

Eugenie Bouchard - 3.5 games v Alize Cornet: This has already been a very big week for Eugenie Bouchard who is looking to bounce back from a poor 2015 season by the standards she has set for herself. Wins over the likes of Camila Giorgi and Dominika Cibulkova show that the confidence is improving, something that was noticed at the US Open, and Bouchard will be desperate to win her first title since 2014 and only her second on the Tour.

That is hard to accept for a player that has been tipped to go to the top of the World Rankings in the women's game and Bouchard herself has not been completely happy with her performances. Despite the win over the talented and tough Cibulkova, Bouchard has admitted that she wants to play better than she has shown.

I think she will have every chance to add the Hobart title to her trophy cabinet against Alize Cornet who has had a solid week herself and had a walkover in the Quarter Final. The Frenchwoman has slipped down the World Rankings herself and this has been an important week for her confidence too, but Cornet has not had to play the level of talent that Bouchard has and this is the toughest match she will have played.

Cornet can frustrate Bouchard and she is capable of knocking off any player on her day. However, I think Bouchard has shown enough this week to get through the challenge Cornet has presented and I believe she will battle through for a confidence boosting 64, 64 win.

Jack Sock - 1.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: This is perhaps not the Final that anyone really expected on Saturday in Auckland after both of these players surprised me with wins over David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the top two Seeds in the Semi Finals. Out of the two, I think Jack Sock has the chance to win his second title and prevent Roberto Bautista Agut winning his third.

It should be quite a good match to watch as both players look like they can match up well against one another.

Jack Sock has the power and the serve to give Bautista Agut an issue, but the Spaniard will feel he can use his better movement and superior backhand wing to extract errors from the American. However, my feeling is that Sock is able to bring his forehand into play for long enough to win enough rallies to come through and win this Final and add to his two wins over Bautista Agut in 2015.

It was the protection of his serve that helped Sock win both matches, although they were very close and I think it will be the serve that helps him win again. If his serve is working, Sock knows he will get his chances on the return to break serve and I expect that will help him win a tight match 76, 64.

Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Victor Troicki: I think the favourites can make it a clean sweep of wins in the Finals to be played on Saturday and I like their chances to all cover the spreads that have been asked of them. Grigor Dimitrov is looking to recover from a disappointing 2015 season by putting this title away and giving him some momentum to take into the Australian Open which begins in a couple of days.

2015 was arguably a better year for Victor Troicki than it was for Dimitrov as he recovered his World Ranking following an enforced lay off from the Tour thanks to failing a drug test. In actual fact he simply asked to miss a day due to feeling unwell before doing the test a day later, but that didn't matter and he was forced off the Tour.

Both have had to battle the weather as well as their opponents to get through to this Final and I think Dimitrov may have an edge when it comes to physical well-being. Troicki had to battle through the distance in his Quarter Final and Semi Final which was played on Friday, while Dimitrov just had to put the finishing touches to his own Quarter Final win before winning his Semi Final with room to spare.

These two players met last week in Brisbane and Dimitrov won a three set match which was close for the first couple of sets. I think he is the better player and his physical fitness looks like it will be in a superior position to Troicki's in this Final and I think it might be a little 'easier' than last week as he wins this one 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Eugenie Bouchard - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Jack Sock - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-4, + 5.92 Units (24 Units Staked, + 24.67% Yield)

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