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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2016 (March 16th)

It was a bit of a frustrating day for the tennis picks on Tuesday with a couple of picks coming very close to covering the number but ultimately falling short, while another ended in a retirement from a strong position.

All of that meant it was a 0.500 day with one void although the week totals remain intact which is important. I do want to build on the success of the tournament to this point, but it is better than seeing those early successes removed with the week winding down.

On Wednesday the ATP Masters event sees all eight Fourth Round matches played through the day at Indian Wells while the first two WTA Premier Event Quarter Finals are also scheduled to played.

It means another busy day with some big time matches set to be played and I am looking forward to another good day of tennis for the fans to enjoy both in Indian Wells and for those watching on TV.

Richard Gasquet - 1.5 games v Marin Cilic: The Fourth Round of any Masters event is going to bring together some very good matches and I think this is one of the best we will see at Indian Wells. Both Richard Gasquet and Marin Cilic have been in and around the top ten in the World Rankings in recent years and the winner will feel the points earned this week can set them on their way to establish themselves in those positions.

There isn't a lot to separate these players with both Gasquet and Cilic having had early successes at the tournaments in 2016, while also playing well here to move into this Round.

I also think both Gasquet and Cilic will feel they have a solid enough first serve to set up the points in this one and the key on that shot will be which of the two can get most out of the second serves they see. The backhand battle should also be fascinating to watch as that is the stronger shot that both players possess and you can understand why the layers are finding it tough to separate these two.

However I do think Gasquet is rightly favoured having won both previous matches against Cilic including last season at the Cincinnati Masters. He looks to be slightly more solid at this point of their careers and that can be the difference as Cilic perhaps is offering a little too much out of his own serve than he should be.

The Frenchman has suffered just the single loss in 2016 so far and I think Gasquet might be able to battle through for a 63, 36, 64 win.

Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 games v David Goffin: This is another really good looking match that has been scheduled for early in the day in Indian Wells and I expect to see some stunning tennis produced by both Stan Wawrinka and David Goffin.

The last match these two played at Wimbledon proved to be an incredibly tight affair, but I do think the conditions in Indian Wells are more favourable to Wawrinka. Here the timing is a little better for him than on the lower bouncing grass courts and I think that will help him make things a little more straight-forward than the last match with Goffin was.

I have a lot of respect for Goffin who is getting the most out of his talent, although on occasion he does find the very best players a step too far. The Belgian Number 1 is usually competitive, but there have been times when he is unable to protect the serve as he likes and the top players are some of the best front runners on the Tour.

Goffin will need to serve well, but I also think he is effective enough to get something out of the Wawrinka serve which can be erratic at times. However Wawrinka is tough to stop when he has a couple of wins behind him and I think the Swiss player comes through with a 76, 63 win in this match.

Gael Monfils - 4.5 games v Federico Delbonis: It was arguably the biggest win of his career, and definitely in the top two, for Federico Delbonis as he battled past Andy Murray in the Third Round. He has had a day of rest to recover both physically and emotionally, but it is always tough for the lower Ranked players to build upon a top ten win, especially when they are facing someone as talented as Gael Monfils in their next match.

For Monfils it has been serene progress through the draw and this is a big chance to pick up some Ranking points to start moving back towards the top ten of the World Rankings himself. He can be tough to back to cover big numbers like this one, but Monfils has had some impressive wins in 2016 and the dismissal of Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the last Round can't be underestimated.

That match is a benefit for Monfils as he would have seen the lefty serve that Delbonis is going to bring onto the court. It is important for the Frenchman to not give his opponent any encouragement as he tries to back up a huge win and I do think the odds against quote for him to cover this number is tempting enough.

Monfils has the athleticism to give Delbonis fits if he is slightly off his game compared with Monday and I think he will find a way to battle through for a 63, 64 win.

Rafael Nadal - 3.5 games v Alexander Zverev: Rafael Nadal has to be pleased with the way he battled through the second set of his win over Fernando Verdasco on Tuesday. That was the kind of set he might have dropped earlier in the season, but it is clear that Nadal is not quite up to the top of his game.

That makes the challenge of Alexander Zverev a difficult one for him, but I do think Nadal is able to beat the youngster when the meet in the Fourth Round. There is a lot to like about the Zverev game, but his inexperience can see him offer up a few chances to break serve and that could be critical in this one.

It has been a very strong week for Zverev who has had impressive wins over Grigor Dimitrov and Gilles Simon in the last two Rounds to get into this one. When he is serving well, Zverev is able to get himself into a very strong position in the rallies, but a first meeting with Rafael Nadal is all about controlling the nerves as well as producing the tennis required to beat the former World Number 1.

I have little doubt that Zverev will have some chances to break the Nadal serve because the Spaniard is not really protecting that shot as he was a few years ago. However I think ultimately Nadal is too strong on the day and Zverev has crumbled a couple of times in matches when things have begun to go against him. I don't think that happens here although I do think Nadal is a little too good at this point and will record a 64, 64 win.

Agnieszka Radwanska - 2.5 games v Petra Kvitova: In normal circumstances, I would favour someone like Petra Kvitova to eventually overpower someone like Agnieszka Radwanska. However this Kvitova looks like a player short of confidence and she is going to be tested to the maximum by Radwanska who will make sure she gets as many balls back in play as possible.

It almost worked perfectly for Nicole Gibbs in the Fourth Round as Kvitova is making too many errors at random times and you can accept her hitting her a few winners when that is happening. Radwanska is a far superior player to someone like Gibbs although she will need to serve effectively to ensure she is not allowing Kvitova to build her rhythm through the match.

The Kvitova serve still earns some cheap points from opponents, but it is not at the top of its performance and I do think Radwanska is going to extract plenty of errors from her game. It is Kvitova who has won 6 of their previous 9 matches, but the last 6 of those have been split and it is Radwanska who has won 2 of the last 3 including in the WTA Championship Final at the end of last season.

With confidence as short as it looks like it is on the court for Kvitova, I do think Radwanska is rightly favoured and I think she will wear down her opponent and extract mistakes in a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Richard Gasquet - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 23-13, + 16.12 Units (72 Units Staked, + 22.39% Yield)

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