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Friday, 26 February 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (February 26th)

It has been a very good week for the picks this week from the four tennis tournaments being played in Acapulco, Doha, Dubai and Sao Paulo.

With the range of times between the different events, it does mean that my picks have had to come out in two separate periods. First I can put up the picks for those matches in the Middle East and then I can get any other picks out from the other two events during my lunch break.

Another strong day could mean the season totals move significantly back in a positive direction after a miserable start to 2016. The key is to make sure I am not giving too much away in the final couple of days of the tournaments to be played this week.

I have updated the weekly totals up to the final two matches that were due to be played in Acapulco. I will add those results on Friday lunch time at the same time I add any picks I may have from the two tournaments in Brazil and Mexico.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: When these players met in the Australian Open Quarter Final, Carla Suarez Navarro produced an absolutely miserable performance on the court. She will need to be a lot better than that if this match is going to be a lot more competitive and I do think the Spaniard is capable of making things a lot more interesting against Agnieszka Radwanska.

I don't think there will be any surprises if there are a lot of break points in this match as neither player has a dominating serve. One of the keys to the match is how much controlled aggression Suarez Navarro is going to be able to produce effectively as it was her misfiring performance from the back of the court which cost her in at Melbourne Park.

We know the Suarez Navarro backhand is the shot that probably has the most penetration through the court of both players and she can take control of the match if she is hitting that shot with confidence. For Radwanska it is all about getting enough balls back in play and hoping her opponent breaks down but this has been a very good start to 2016 and I do thin Radwanska is playing with enough belief to do that.

Matches between these players has seen the winner cover this number each time and I do think Radwanska is the more likely winner in this one on the form produced over the last two months. That isn't to say that Suarez Navarro has played badly, but she is someone that might need Radwanska off her game or her own to be firing to its maximum to win this one and I like the Pole to move into the Doha Final behind a 64, 46, 61 win.

Andrea Petkovic - 3.5 games v Jelena Ostapenko: Both Andrea Petkovic and Jelena Ostapenko have had some impressive wins to reach a big Semi Final and it is where I expect the experience of the former to prove to be a big difference maker.

After a couple of disappointing losses earlier in the season Petkovic has played well in the Middle East after reaching the Quarter Final in Dubai. She has backed that up here in Doha and her win over Garbine Muguruza in the Quarter Final here on Thursday was a very impressive result.

I think Petkovic will be too strong at this point of her career for the eighteen year old Jelena Ostapenko who has enjoyed a special week in what has been a tough experience for her in 2016. Playing at the higher level at a young age means she is learning each week on the Tour and I think she has benefited from the draw to reach the Semi Final.

Some of her defeats in 2016 have come to players much further down the World Rankings than the likes of Petkovic and I think the latter will understand the opportunity for Ranking points she has. It won't be a blow out win, but Petkovic should ultimately be too strong at key times to win this one 64, 63.

Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 games v Nick Kyrgios: I won't hide the fact that I am a Nick Kyrgios fan and I like some of the antics that put others off- however I didn't like the whole incident with Stan Wawrinka last year in Montreal and I hoping that it doesn't get as personal as it did back then.

It is hard to go against Kyrgios here in Dubai as he continues his strong run from Marseille, but I think he might not be at 100% which is a problem when facing a talented player like Wawrinka. There was a first set issue with his back, while Kyrgios admitted he was struggling with food poisoning and I do wonder if he is going to be completely ready to go in this one.

The Australian is serving unbelievably well at the moment so Stan Wawrinka has to show a little more consistency when he has the ball in hand. Wawrinka himself noted he has been a little up and down with his serve and giving gifts to someone like Kyrgios is never going to end well.

Of course the incident last time these players met will dominate the headlines ahead of the match, but I have to think both players have learned and moved on from it. I don't think that will be a problem, but I can see Wawrinka using it as extra motivation to be more focused and beating a player who has played a lot of tennis over the last two weeks has to be within his abilities.

I am guessing this is going to be an incredibly fun match to watch, but Wawrinka will eventually have enough to come through with a 76, 75 win.

Federico Delbonis - 3.5 games v Inigo Cervantes: The Quarter Final in Sao Paulo that interests me the most is this one between Federico Delbonis and Inigo Cervantes and I do favour the former to come through.

He had to battle hard to beat Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in the Second Round and Delbonis should be the stronger player on the South American clay courts. That isn't any disrespect to Cervantes who has moved up to Number 65 in the World Rankings thanks to his success at the Challenger level over the last twelve months.

The Spaniard has had a couple of very solid weeks in South America, but the fact of the matter is that he is used to playing opponents who are not quite at this main Tour level like Delbonis. That has shown up in some of the losses that Cervantes has, especially if he continues to struggle with his serve with double faults being a big issue for him.

I can imagine there are chances for Cervantes to break serve too as Delbonis can be inconsistent behind that serve. However I ultimately think Delbonis is going to come through with a 64, 64 win.

Alexandr Dolgopolov - 1.5 games v Bernard Tomic: This could be a fascinating Semi Final to watch from Acapulco as both Alexandr Dolgopolov and Bernard Tomic are capable of producing the ridiculous to the sublime.

It isn't easy to always predict what we are going to see when these two players head to the court and the wind in Acapulco has been another issue. That hasn't affected these players though as they use plenty of slice and variation to put opponents in awkward spots on the court and I am interested to see how it develops.

The edge goes to Alexandr Dolgopolov for me because I think he has recorded the more impressive wins this week and looks to be in the stronger form. Bernard Tomic fans might point out that he has yet to drop a set but I think he has had the more straight-forward draw and a better player than Illya Marchenko would have given him big problems on Thursday.

Dolgopolov is a better player and looks to be playing the more secure tennis and I think he will find himself in the Final after a three set win. It could easily end up a score similar to 26, 63, 62 in this one and I think the Ukrainian will head through.

Sloane Stephens - 3.5 games v Yanina Wickmayer: Winning a title in Auckland but following it with a really poor Australian Open kind of highlights the player that Sloane Stephens is. The American is certainly tough to back with confidence early in events, but she can pick up some real momentum and is then difficult to stop.

For a long time Stephens struggled to reach Finals and win titles but that might have changed over the last few months and so I expect she will have the confidence to win this Semi Final against Yanina Wickmayer.

I don't think Wickmayer has ever got back to the level she was prior to a ban from the Tour and she has struggled for consistency with her big hitting game. When on form, Wickmayer is a very difficult customer to deal with, but falling below her standards can see her make a host of errors and almost hand the match to her opponents.

Giving Stephens a head start or offering her encouragement to get involved in the longer rallies with her movement will give the American the edge in this one. Stephens also has a pretty big game herself and I think she is likely to get the better of Wickmayer who has had to dig deep to get to this Semi Final and play a lot more tennis than her opponent.

Maybe that physical fatigue also plays a part as Wickmayer mentally drops her level and I think Stephens goes through 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Andrea Petkovic - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Federico Delbonis - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Alexandr Dolgopolov - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sloane Stephens - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 22-10, + 15.84 Units (62 Units Staked, + 25.55% Yield)

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