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Sunday, 13 March 2016

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2016 (March 13th)

It was a very strong day for the tennis picks on Saturday to get the Indian Wells tournament back on track. Hopefully Sunday will prove to be another strong day as the Third Round of the Premier Event begins as well as the conclusion of the Second Round of the Masters which sees Novak Djokovic return to the court for the first time since withdrawing in Dubai.

The tournament will begin slightly earlier for those of us in the United Kingdom over the next few days as America have already changed their clocks so be aware of that.

Roberto Bautista Agut - 4.5 games v Mikhail Youzhny: There might be a few signs that Roberto Bautista Agut is coming back to par having made a blistering start to the 2016 season. For a player that thrives on being able to outlast opponents with his fitness, I think it has to be a worry that he has crumbled away so significantly in his last two losses.

In saying that, Bautista Agut should be ready for Indian Wells having had a couple of weeks off to prepare for the last two hard court events until later in the season. The first match is always going to be tough as players become accustomed to new conditions, but I think Bautista Agut is deservedly a big favourite to beat Mikhail Youzhny.

The veteran has played well at the lower levels this season as he tries to rebuild Ranking and confidence, while Youzhny has already won three matches in Indian Wells. However Youzhny had a poor 2015 and is just 1-1 on the main Tour this season including a one-sided defeat to Malek Jaziri in Dubai.

His win over Aljaz Bedene was far from easy and I do wonder if that has taken something out of Youzhny's legs. Bautista Agut will test that through this match and I like the Spaniard coming through with a 64, 63 win.

Feliciano Lopez - 1.5 games v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez: These two Spanish compatriots have played some tight matches in the past and the head to head is 4-3 to Feliciano Lopez, a lead I am expecting him to extend in this Second Round match.

It has been an up and down start to the 2016 season for Feliciano Lopez but his run to the Semi Final in Dubai has to give him some confidence. He should really have won that Semi Final against Marcos Baghdatis, but Lopez will be happy with the performance and he did beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez along the way in three sets.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez had not been in the best form before he beat Ernests Gulbis in the First Round at Indian Wells and had been beaten in three matches in a row. There is some talent flowing from his racquet that has to be respected, but Garcia-Lopez has a serve that can be a little weak at times and that is where I believe Feliciano Lopez will take advantage.

The court itself isn't playing that fast, but the conditions in Indian Wells makes it hard to control the ball at times. With Lopez capable of getting to the net, he might take that time away from Garcia-Lopez and I like his chances of franking his win over his compatriot in Dubai by winning this one in three sets again.

Steve Johnson - 1.5 games v John Millman: 2016 has been a really poor season for Steve Johnson to this point, but one of the rare wins he has produced came against John Millman. I expect he can back that up in this Second Round even if Millman has a match under his belt, especially as Johnson is from California and should be all too aware of what kind of conditions there will be at Indian Wells.

Confidence is an issue for Johnson having had so many losses but some of those have been tight losses and I do wonder if he will be able to maintain his focus at critical times in this one. There have been some disappointing losses for Johnson to take too and he will have to dig deep in this one.

Facing someone like Millman who is going to give every ounce of effort for every single point is always a tough task if you're not feeling up to the top of your game. However Millman also has a serve that can be a weakness and the forehand can break down and I expect that will be a crucial difference in this one.

Johnson is a player from the United States that does have a decent serve and the heavy forehand and while this might go three sets, I expect he gets the better of Millman for a second time in a month.

John Isner - 3.5 games v Andreas Seppi: Andreas Seppi had to battle past one American player in the First Round, but he will have to be a lot better than he was against Donald Young if he is going to beat John Isner. The conditions in Indian Wells have really appealed to Isner in the past and I think the big serving American Number 1 is going to see off Seppi in this one.

It has not been the start to 2016 that Isner may have expected, but his two wins in the Davis Cup to help the United States beat Australia has to be respected. That should give Isner some confidence and I think his serve makes him a big threat in the conditions at this event.

That serve will keep the pressure on Seppi whose own serve is something of a weakness and an area Isner can have success. Yes, the return game is limited, but Isner will be able to have a few swings at a serve that doesn't exactly blow players off the court.

It should make all the difference for Isner and I think he will find at least one break in this one that can help him through 76, 63.

The WTA Third Round Picks are below. 

MY PICKS: Roberto Bautista Agut - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Steve Johnson - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 2.25 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Barbora Strycova - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Jelena Jankovic - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 10-7, + 4.50 Units (34 Units Staked, + 13.24% Yield)

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