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Thursday, 10 March 2016

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2016 (March 10th)

Yesterday saw the picks go 1-1 as Timea Babos fell apart in the middle of her loss to Lesia Tsurenko before Danka Kovinic overcame a blip of her own to see off Samantha Crawford deservedly so in the late match.

The ATP Masters draw has filled in all the gaps with the Qualifiers and the First Round of that draw begins on Thursday while the WTA Premier Event concludes their own First Round before the big name players, who received byes into the Second Round, get their events underway on Friday.

Nicolas Almagro - 3.5 games v Inigo Cervantes: These two players have been spending the last month on the clay courts during the South American Golden Swing but I think both Nicolas Almagro and Inigo Cervantes will be looking at this as a chance of picking up some vital Ranking points.

I am not surprised that Almagro is favoured to beat his compatriot as he has the game that transfers onto the hard courts a little better than Cervantes. The latter doesn't really get a high enough percentage of first serves to make use of the faster surfaces, although the court in Indian Wells doesn't play as quickly as some of the other hard courts.

However, the conditions in this part of California sees the ball fly through the air and I think Almagro has the bigger first serve and heavier groundstrokes to make hay in this one. There is no doubt that Almagro's best days might be behind him now, but he showed in his run to the Final in Buenos Aires that he can still be a danger when he puts it all together.

I think the match with Cervantes will give Almagro enough time to build some rhythm although I expect both players to have their chances to break serve. Cervantes might be the higher Ranked player coming into this match, but that was down to a strong run on the Challenger Tour on the clay courts and I think the hard courts favour Almagro to come through with a tough 64, 64 win.

Rajeev Ram - 1.5 games v Noah Rubin: Two American compatriots will meet in the First Round although they do come from two generations. Despite some impressive results over the last twelve months, Rajeev Ram is 31 years old now and he will face the Qualifier Noah Rubin in the First Round who has just turned 20 years old.

The layers haven't really found much room to separate them, but I did think Rajeev Ram would be a stronger favourite than he is in this match. Ram recently reached the Final in Delray Beach and spends a lot more time on the main Tour than Rubin who has produced a couple of big upsets already in 2016 but has a style of play that doesn't look as effective as it clearly can be.

Ram has the edge when it comes to the serve, but he is clearly an erratic player and he has never won a main draw match at Indian Wells, although he is very close to surpassing his career best Ranking of Number 60. While he will be up and down at times, Rubin is inexperienced but his two Qualifier wins will give him some confidence.

However, Rubin is still outside the top 200 in the World Rankings and I think Ram has produced enough in 2016 to think he can show that difference in this match. I have little doubt this is going to need a third set decider with the way both Ram and Rubin play on the court, but I think the older American player uses his experience to battle through with a 63, 36, 64 win.

Madison Brengle - 2.5 games v Misaki Doi: Misaki Doi might hold the head to head advantage over Madison Brengle, but the most recent match between the pair was won by the latter.

I believe Brengle will back up that win by making it two in a row on Thursday in this First Round match as she looks to put a couple of solid runs together in North America here in Indian Wells and then in Miami. Out of the two players, Doi has had the most memorable run in a tournament in 2016, but Brengle has been more consistent and it is that consistency that I trust more.

Doi did reach the Final of a tournament last month, but she has been beaten in the First Round in five of the six tournaments she has played in 2016. This will be a match when both players will have a number of break points as both have the capability of extending rallies and that will extract mistakes, while the second serve is going to be attacked to put them on the back foot immediately.

It is the consistency of Brengle that I think will aid her through to the next Round though and I think she will get the better of Doi at the most important times. Brengle has only been beaten in the First Round once this season (one other was a retirement) and I fancy she battles through with a 75, 64 kind of win.

MY PICKS: Nicolas Almagro - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)
Rajeev Ram - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Madison Brengle - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Sporting Bet (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 1-1, + 0 Units (4 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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