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Thursday, 11 February 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (February 11th)

It was a mixed bag of results on Wednesday when it felt like it could be a much stronger day if the chances had been taken by the players I had picked.

At least it wasn't a terrible day like I had this time last week and I am looking for the Thursday matches to hopefully continue a positive trend for the week.

Caroline Wozniacki - 3.5 games v Dominika Cibulkova: A really disappointing Australian Open has to be put behind her for Caroline Wozniacki as she returns to the Tour for the first time since her First Round loss there. It was a really surprising result for Wozniacki having reached the Semi Final in Auckland to open the season, and she might have hoped for an easier match than facing Dominika Cibulkova.

It has been a good match up for Wozniacki more often than not in the past having won nine of their twelve previous matches, although it has been over three seasons since they last played. Dominika Cibulkova has reached a Grand Slam Final since that time and she has bounced back from her own First Round loss at the Australian Open by winning a Fed Cup tie for Slovakia as well as a crushing win here.

Both players are going to have to put a lot of hard work into this match if they are going to reach the Quarter Final in St Petersburg. However, I like the edge that Wozniacki has when it comes to the first serve and I can see her earning a few more short balls from that shot to give her a chance to dictate rallies.

Of course Cibulkova having already gotten over her Australian Open disappointment might aid her in this match as Wozniacki tries to get over her own with this being her first appearance back on the court. However I think Wozniacki's previous success in the matches against Cibulkova will help her prepare the right way for this Second Round match and I will be looking for her to come through 64, 46, 62 in this one.

Jeremy Chardy - 1.5 games v Nicolas Mahut: The opening match in Rotterdam on Thursday is an all-French encounter and I like Jeremy Chardy's chances of getting another one over Nicolas Mahut. It is Chardy who has won all three previous matches between these two compatriots and Chardy has dropped just one set in that time.

The first serve is going to be very important for both Chardy and Mahut as that really is the weapon that gives them the easier points in protecting serve and also the confidence from which the rest of their game can flow. Both Chardy and Mahut have served well so far in Rotterdam and one concern might be the fact that Chardy had a long match on Wednesday.

Even with that in mind, I do think these matches between compatriots begin to have a feeling that there is a pecking order amongst the players. The fact Chardy has won all three previous matches against Mahut is a big deal and he will have every chance of giving Mahut problems by making him play a lot of awkward volleys through this match.

It has the makings of a tight match and Mahut might finally win another set against Chardy, but I think the higher Ranked Frenchman has the overall edge. As long as Chardy is serving well and not offering up generous break points, he should be able to cover this number in this Second Round match.

Marcos Baghdatis - 1.5 games v Martin Klizan: Both Marcos Baghdatis and Martin Klizan had strong weeks last week and are looking to back that up with a second consecutive Quarter Final appearance. Both are erratic players that can be hard to get a read on, but I do think Baghdatis has the edge in the match and I am looking for him to cover this small number.

Both players will feel they can dominate proceedings behind their first serve and my one concern for Baghdatis is that he tends to have a low first serve percentage. That will mean Klizan can have a chance to tee off on the second serve, but his own serve can be a little erratic at times with his low margin of error style of play contributing to him being put in some tough situations.

You can't be anything but impressed with some of the wins Baghdatis and Klizan have put together since going out of the Australian Open at the first hurdle. I can see both players having their successful periods in this match, but I do think the Cypriot is slightly more secure all around compared with Klizan.

There will be times when Klizan is going to be unplayable, but Baghdatis can weather the storm and make sure he heads through to the Quarter Final while covering this number in a tight three set win.

Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 games v Santiago Giraldo: The clay courts have certainly seen Pablo Cuevas produce his best tennis and I do think he will have a little too much for Santiago Giraldo when they meet in the Second Round in Buenos Aires.

I don't want to put a line through Giraldo easily because he is a talented player that has some heavy groundstrokes which can see him pummel opponents into submission. The first serve is a solid shot, but the Colombian's second serve might be an issue and a shot that Cuevas will look to take advantage of.

Cuevas won a title during the South American Golden Swing last season, although he didn't have a lot of success in Buenos Aires. However that came at the end of the Golden Swing and two solid weeks Cuevas had on Tour, and I think he is in a much better position to challenge here even though a tough draw has come together.

While Giraldo did have some success on the clay courts at this time last season, I think Cuevas is the far more effective player on the surface. Cuevas does seem to get more out of his first serve on the clay courts and I think he is less erratic off the ground than Giraldo which gives him the edge when it comes to protecting the second serve.

After a couple of hours, I can see Cuevas coming through with a tough 75, 64 win.

Rafael Nadal - 5.5 games v Juan Monaco: No one really expected Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open last month, but I think fewer would have called for a First Round exit at the hands of Fernando Verdasco. It wasn't a great performance from Nadal, but he did let the potential victory slip from his hands and now will look to rebuild some confidence back on the clay courts.

The South American Golden Swing has become a part of Nadal's schedule although the draw in Buenos Aires looks a lot stronger than previous editions. The Spaniard could have easily got a much more unfavourable draw than playing his good friend Juan Monaco in his first match here, a match up that has been very good for Nadal in the past.

That includes a convincing win in the Final here twelve months ago and you have to say a returning from injury Monaco is not likely to be a big threat to Nadal. Monaco had an impressive First Round win, but the match up with Nadal is regularly a tough one because the latter does everything Monaco does albeit in a more effective manner.

I can see there being some nerves from Nadal as he looks to get his 2016 season back on track after the disappointment in Melbourne, but this is a very strong opportunity to begin righting those wrongs. In all of Nadal's previous wins over Monaco he would have covered this number including in Buenos Aires last season and I think he will come through with a 63, 62 kind of win in this one.

MY PICKS: Caroline Wozniacki - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-3, + 8.12 Units (22 Units Staked, + 36.91% Yield)

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