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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (January 9th)

The first week of the 2016 season is virtually in the books and the draws for the second week are already out for those who are interested. We are now less than a week away from the Australian Open draw as that Grand Slam will begin on Sunday night/Monday morning for those of us in the United Kingdom.

The picks have had an up and down week to this point, but there are still a couple of days left for those events to make sure that it is a positive start to 2016 after a pretty poor 2015 season.

Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Benoit Paire: This is the first Semi Final to be played in Chennai and Stan Wawrinka is in a position to win his fourth title at this event and his third in a row. I am sure Benoit Paire is going to believe he can prevent that from happening, but he has struggled against Wawrinka in their previous head to head matches including two comfortable losses in 2015.

The last of those only occurred a few months ago as Paire continues to struggle to get the most out of his second serve against an aggressive player like Wawrinka. The problem for the Frenchman is simply that he doesn't get a high enough percentage of first serves in play to protect the second serve and I think that gives Wawrinka a clear advantage in the match as it has in the past.

Wawrinka has only dropped two sets against Paire in his six previous victories against him and I have to say the latter has a tendency to 'give up' in sets when the going gets tough. There is no doubt that Wawrinka will have the chances to put together a double break in a single set and the key for this number for him to cover is making sure he serves effectively himself.

That isn't always the case with Wawrinka who can be hard to trust to cover bigger spreads, but I think he has his eye in by this point and enjoys the match up with Paire. His performances in Chennai in the past also means advantage Wawrinka and I think that shows up on the scoreboard in a 63, 64 win.

Borna Coric - 2.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: The second Semi Final looks like it could be quite an entertaining one as Borna Coric looks to reach another ATP Final, this time at the expense of the British Number 2 Aljaz Bedene.

I have to credit both players for showing off their battling qualities this week to get into the Semi Final with both needing to come from a set down or go the distance to win matches. The time spent on court is similar although Coric played the latest match on Friday which might be the biggest concern for his recovery time.

However, he is second out on court on Saturday and the youthfulness of Coric should help him to be ready for this Semi Final.

The key to the match will come from which of these players can protect the second serve better and I do think Coric can get a higher percentage of first serves in play. That is important as he might be able to get a couple of cheaper points out of Bedene than the other way around, but I expect this to be competitive and it may easily go into a deciding set.

However, I think Coric has the edge in terms of talent and being able to come through more difficult moments and I like him winning this one 63, 46, 64.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Rafael Nadal: This might be the match that will give Rafael Nadal the most knowledge of how far away he is from being back to his best as he takes on the World Number 1. Since the French Open Final in 2014, Rafael Nadal has lost all four matches against Novak Djokovic and he has failed to win a single set in that time, a run of nine straight sets lost.

All but one of those sets has been won by Djokovic 63 or more convincing, with the first set at the French Open last season ending 75 for the World Number 1. And in all honesty Djokovic has looked nigh on unbeatable over the last twelve months while showing off the same here in Doha that it is hard to see how Nadal can get much closer at this time.

The serve has not been totally at its best this week and I think Nadal is unlikely to challenge Djokovic until he is able to find some short returns from that shot. Unfortunately for him, Djokovic's return is an impeccable as ever and I think the Serb definitely loves putting the boot down on his rivals.

I expect this can be close for a while, but I think Djokovic will find a double break in the second set as the pressure from his returns reap dividends. Nadal might win the most games in a single set since the French Open Semi Final last year, but I can only see that in one set and Novak Djokovic winning this one 64, 62.

MY PICKS: Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Borna Coric - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-7, - 3.64 Units (26 Units Staked, - 14% Yield)

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