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Friday, 8 January 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (January 8th)

Thursday has at least turned around the weekly totals for the picks after a tough opening day of the new season.

Friday should be interesting with two really big matches on the ATP Tour as Roger Federer takes on Grigor Dimitrov and Novak Djokovic takes on Tomas Berdych. The lower Ranked players in both matches will be looking for a boost in confidence to take into the first Grand Slam of the season, while the higher Ranked players will be looking to show they are ready to compete for the titles in their positions as favourites.

I am looking forward to seeing how both those matches play out, although timings mean I am unlikely to get much more than the highlights from both.

Kei Nishikori - 3.5 games v Bernard Tomic: These two players meet in Brisbane for the second time in consecutive seasons and Kei Nishikori will be looking to make it two in a row against the home favourite Bernard Tomic. The latter will certainly be looking for a big season in 2016 to show he can make the most of his potential, but this is a tough match up for him against Nishikori who should be healthier than he ended 2015.

It was a good win that Nishikori put together in his Second Round match and he has had a day off since that victory to prepare for this one. Bernard Tomic has had a tougher week against players that he perhaps should have been seeing off a little more comfortably than he did, but I can see him raise his game for this Quarter Final.

The difference between the players has to be the better movement that Nishikori has on the court although I am expecting both to have to dig deep in this one. The rallies should be extended but I think Nishikori is the more consistent player off the back of the court and I am expecting him to grind down Tomic over two long sets.

That edge on the baseline should enable Nishikori to come through with a 75, 64 kind of win and a place in the Semi Final.

Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 games v Borna Coric: When Roberto Bautista Agut and Borna Coric finish their careers, I do think the latter would have had the bigger impact on the Tour. However, at this stage of their careers I still give the former the edge in the head to head and I expect Bautista Agut to show that off in this Quarter Final in Chennai.

There is a lot of hard work that Bautista Agut puts into his game on the court, but he has an under-rated first serve that can help him set up the points. His defensive work will extract errors from players outside of the top ten in the World Rankings and I expect Bautista Agut to do that against Coric.

I like what Coric is able to do on the court and the potential he shows, but this is still a learning curve for him and a player like Bautista Agut can frustrate him. The Spaniard won't give up anything easy and that can be a mental issue for a younger player who has the big expectations that Coric has on his shoulders.

In 2015 Bautista Agut won both the matches played against Coric on the clay courts, a surface that might suit the latter better than Bautista Agut. This should be an interesting match to see how far Coric has come, but I think he might still be frustrated by the opponent he faces and I expect the higher Ranked player to move through 64, 64.

Caroline Wozniacki - 4.5 games v Sloane Stephens: The winner of this Semi Final is going to be the big favourite to win the title in Auckland, but the edge has to be given to Caroline Wozniacki. The Danish former World Number 1 has dominated Sloane Stephens with all five previous matches ending with win for Wozniacki and her yet to drop a set.

All of the previous matches have been fairly easy wins for Wozniacki, although these players haven't met since 2014 and some things have changed. For example, Wozniacki is a lot more aggressive than when they last met back in June 2014 and that does mean she will make a few more mistakes than before when she would wait it out and expect the errors to come from Stephens.

Both players have been in dominating their matches this week, but Wozniacki is the better player and I expect that to show up. It will be tougher than previous matches with Stephens capable of throwing in some big games through her sheer power, but I do think Wozniacki is going to be able to extract enough errors from Stephens to set herself up for the win.

After a few breaks of serve for both players, I will be looking for Wozniacki to win this one 75, 63.

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-4, + 2.36 Units (20 Units Staked, + 11.80% Yield)

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