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Monday, 22 February 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (February 22nd)

The opening of the 2016 season has seen me suffer two really miserable weeks which have made it a very crappy start to the season for the picks.

It's a shame that it is fresh off the back of a really poor last six months in 2015 and I do wonder if I am reading things that badly or am I getting little luck behind me.

There is no doubt it is a bit of both to be perfectly frank, but that is no excuse and I hate being wrong when it comes to picks. Trust me when I say no one is more frustrated than me and I am looking forward to the mini break ahead of the two Masters events in North America in March.

We still have nine months of the season to play and I am demanding more from myself to get the season moving in back into the positive after a number of solid years making picks from the Tour.

Monday is usually a slower day on the Tour as tournaments begin to get going, but both Doha and Dubai have a big schedule to get through and Acapulco is another joint ATP/WTA tournament which begins.

Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 games v Lucas Pouille: It might not have been a great start to the season for my picks, but it has been even more difficult for Vasek Pospisil who is desperate to get some wins under his belt. The Canadian was one of a few players who got anything out of the Nick Kyrgios serve last week in Marseille, but Pospisil has now lost four in a row on the Tour.

This might be the best chance Pospisil has to snap his losing run as he faces a Qualifier Lucas Pouille in the First Round of the main draw in Dubai. Pouille will have picked up some confidence from his wins in the qualifiers when he lost just six games in four sets played, but the level of opponent certainly picks up for him now.

The second serve is going to be key in this one and the player that can protect that part of their game the best is going to be the likely winner in this one. I think Pospisil has struggle  at times to do that and his return of serve is not exactly that inspiring, but I do think he can use the scoreboard pressure to put some pressure on his opponent.

I think Pospisil will have the higher percentage of first serves in play and that could be the difference maker between these players. There will be some tension having not won a match on the Tour for a while, but Pospisil should still be the better player on the court in this one and can beat the young Frenchman in three competitive sets.

Marcos Baghdatis v Victor Troicki: The last time Marcos Baghdatis was out on the court, he was being dismantled by Martin Klizan, although the loss to the eventual winner in Rotterdam might not be so bad in hindsight. Baghdatis is definitely a better player than he showed on that day, although his best days are behind him, and I do think he will make this one a much more competitive affair against Victor Troicki.

It has been a very productive start to the season for Troicki which should mean he is coming into this one with a lot of confidence behind him. The Serb has won the title in Sydney and he has also reached another Quarter Final and Semi Final although Troicki's heavy loss to Nicolas Mahut in Rotterdam was a really surprising result.

Both players will look for the first serve to be firing to set themselves up for the win in this one and I do think it looks like developing into a tight match. It is Baghdatis who holds a strong edge on the head to head, but the last of those matches were a couple of seasons ago so I am less concerned about that.

However I do think Baghdatis has every chance of winning this match thanks to a slightly superior first serve and I think he is the better player off the ground. Troicki's form to open 2016 has been very good, but I think he walks a tightrope when it comes to what he can produce on the court and his form changes quickly. The destruction at the hands of Nicolas Mahut was a shocking result from Troicki and I think Baghdatis wins this one outright.

Kristina Mladenovic v Barbora Strycova: There might be a huge number of matches scheduled in Doha where the Final is played on Saturday rather than Sunday, but the only one I am focusing on is the one between Kristina Mladenovic and Barbora Strycova.

It was a long week for Strycova in Dubai which came to a conclusion on Saturday and there isn't a lot of rest to get ready for this one. She has struggled in her two previous matches against Mladenovic who has a big serve that can set up the points for her a lot better than Strycova's does for herself.

With the effort needed to win points, Strycova could have a hard time handling the Mladenovic power, especially off a long week which should have had some impact from a physical standpoint. It hasn't been the best time on the Singles court for Mladenovic in 2016 and she is an inconsistent player at times, but I think the power, physical fitness and better serve gives her a considerable edge.

And for all of the solid wins Strycova had last week, it has been a mixed season for her too and I am looking for the Frenchwoman to make it three out of three against her.

Gilles Muller - 2.5 games v Donald Young: Two left-handers meet in the First Round in Acapulco and you have to think Gilles Muller is going to have a considerable edge over Donald Young. I think the layers don't really believe in Muller's return game as the reason they have kept this number as it is, but I do believe he is the much better server on the court and that can make a big difference.

It has been a solid 2016 season to this point with two Semi Final places under his belt already so Muller should be feeling confident in his play. Sometimes he can be a little erratic off the ground when taking into extended rallies, but Muller should have the accuracy off the serve that will set up plenty of short points as well as those that fail to get back to the court.

On the other hand Young will have a chance to put pressure on Muller too, but the difference is that the American can sometimes put together some really sloppy moments when protecting serve. Giving Muller a break advantage will be difficult for Young to recover and I do think the higher Ranked player comes through this one.

Muller will likely need at least one tie-breaker to get his nose in front, but can move into the next Round with a 76, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Marcos Baghdatis @ 2.30 William Hill (2 Units)
Kristina Mladenovic @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gilles Muller - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Final: 10-20, - 25.24 Units (62 Units Staked, - 40.71% Yield)

Season 2016- 57.60 Units (382 Units Staked, - 15.08% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)

Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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