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Friday, 18 March 2016

Indian Wells Tennis Picks 2016 (March 18th)

There was only the one pick made on Thursday and Karolina Pliskova was a fairly comfortable winner against Daria Kasatkina to move into the Semi Final of the WTA Premier Event.

On Friday the remaining two ATP Masters Quarter Finals are played with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both in action after that brilliant picture of them high-fiving just off court on Wednesday went viral. If both win, they will be meeting in the Semi Final, but there is little doubt that Rafael Nadal has the bigger test on the day on paper at least.

Friday also sees both WTA Premier Event Semi Finals played later in the evening as the Indian Wells tournament winds down and the next big event in Miami perhaps starts to take over.

The big news about the Miami Open was the announced return of Roger Federer who wasn't expected back until next month at the Monte Carlo Masters. It will be interesting to see how the knee is feeling following surgery after the Australian Open although we probably won't see Federer until next weekend when the Second Round of the Masters begins in Miami.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: This looks to be a fascinating Quarter Final if Novak Djokovic is not up to full strength having admitted he has had a few health issues over the last couple of weeks. That has shown up in some less than dominant performances this week, but Djokovic was a very good winner over Feliciano Lopez in the Fourth Round and I think that positive will set him up to end Indian Wells in a positive way.

He will be challenged by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who should enjoy the conditions as he can power through the court, but the Frenchman has to be at his very best to beat someone of the calibre of Djokovic. Tsonga showed in the Canadian Masters of 2014 that he is still able to dig deep and produce top performances, but I also believe that the Frenchman might be on the downward slope of his career.

That was also a rare success against Djokovic who has won 10 of the last 11 matches between the pair. The majority of those have been dominated by the World Number 1 and I think it might be another day where Djokovic is able to weather the Tsonga storm and then pull away for a comfortable looking win.

It will have to be a better serving day than Djokovic has produced for the most part this week and he will also have to be at the top of his game when it comes to the return. Tsonga has yet to be broken this week and that will give him confidence, but he is hasn't played a returner of the calibre of Djokovic and I expecting the World Number 1 to win this one 75, 63.

Serena Williams - 5.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: The World Number 1 Serena Williams has made comfortable progress through the draw into this Semi Final and I am not surprised she is a big favourite to beat Agnieszka Radwanska. The American has won all 9 previous matches between the two players and the majority of those have been very one-sided as the Williams power has proved too much for Radwanska to handle.

It has been a good 2016 season for Radwanska, and she has played well at Indian Wells with just a single set dropped so far. However the mental hurdle of facing Williams has proved too much for Radwanska who took a heavy loss in the Australian Open Semi Final to the World Number 1.

Of course she might look at the closer second set as the blueprint to take forward, but Radwanska is always going to be under pressure dealing with the Williams serve. Her own serve doesn't really offer as many cheap points and having to work hard to negate the Williams power has proved a little too much for her through her career.

I wouldn't be surprised if one of the sets played in this Semi Final is very competitive, but I do think Williams is going to find at least a couple breaks of serve in another set which should set her up for the cover. This Semi Final has all the makings of a 64, 62 kind of win for Serena Williams and I will back her to cover the games in this Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Serena Williams - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Indian Wells Update: 27-15, + 19.74 Units (84 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

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