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Friday, 25 March 2016

Miami Tennis Picks 2016 (March 25th)

The tournament in Miami has proven to be another good one for the picks in the early days, but there is still plenty of work to be done to make sure this is another tournament that gets the season moving back towards the positive.

The Second Round in the ATP Masters event begins on Friday and you know most eyes are going to be on Roger Federer taking on Juan Martin Del Potro.

We all know the Del Potro story as he continues his return from another long injury lay-off and he remains my favourite player on the Tour so I will always watch his matches with a keen interest. This would be a big match regardless, but the added factor is trying to figure out how Roger Federer is feeling coming off his first surgery of his career which has seen him miss the Tour since the Australian Open.

Federer is coming back earlier than expected and he has spent the last couple of years missing the Masters event in Miami so this looks a great match to look forward to.

Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 games v Jeremy Chardy: The head to head is in favour of Jeremy Chardy who has won both previous matches against Fernando Verdasco although they haven't played against one another since 2010. However the Frenchman hasn't been at his best in 2016 and he has lost three matches in a row which will have dented some of his confidence.

In saying that, Fernando Verdasco is not someone I plan on backing too often this season unless he can start bringing some consistency back into his performances. He is another player that hasn't really had a lot of success in 2016, but his win over Gilles Muller in the First Round was impressive and suggests the conditions might suit him in Miami.

The Spaniard did have four early exits in a row before reaching the Fourth Round last season and I do think the slower conditions here gives Verdasco more of a chance to play his natural game than Jeremy Chardy. The latter has a decent first serve which will help him, but Verdasco might feel he will get the better of the extended rallies if he can use his forehand to pepper the backhand.

I'd be surprised if this is anything but a close match, but it is one that I feel Verdasco might have more confidence to deal with the big moments. There are times when it feels tough to trust Verdasco but he can get the better of Chardy for the first time on the professional Tour with a 64, 67, 75 kind of win.

Roger Federer - 3.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: I will be putting aside some time on Friday evening to watch this Second Round match live as two players I love to watch meet in Miami. Juan Martin Del Potro has always been one of my favourite players on the Tour, while Roger Federer's style and panache makes it tough to really dislike him and not many play tennis in his way.

The only disappointment at this moment is the uncertainty that surrounds both players ahead of this match. Federer is coming off knee surgery and it will be interesting to see how he deals with his first significant injury and long lay-off from the Tour not of his own making.

On the other hand we have Del Potro still working his way back to being full time on the Tour, although I have been impressed with how he has dealt with the lower Ranked players he has played. Del Potro even challenged Tomas Berdych in Indian Wells before falling away in the second set and there is a real confidence he can get back to the top of his game in the coming months as long as the Argentinian can steer clear of injuries.

So why do I think Federer will be a little too good on the day? I am still not convinced Del Potro is fully comfortable with his backhand and that is going up against Federer's own improved shot from that wing. I also think Del Potro is trying to get back up to speed and that has resulted in a couple of poor service games in a set of tennis which will give Federer a chance to take control of this match.

Mentally it will be interesting to see how Federer deals with the return from an injury, but I think physically he will be ready to compete. The conditions don't really suit either player as much as you'd think, but Federer can work his way to a 75, 64 win and a place in the Third Round as well as improving his head to head against Del Potro.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas + 4.5 games v Richard Gasquet: It might be Richard Gasquet that leads the head to head, but all three previous matches have gone the distance against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The Second Round match in Miami might be another close one especially with the conditions slower than other hard courts which should favour Ramos-Vinolas.

I am not sure it will be enough for the Spaniard to win the match outright, but it should make him feel a little more comfortable on the court. Ramos-Vinolas may prefer the clay courts, but he had a decent week in Indian Wells with a big win over Nick Kyrgios in the Second Round, and the slower conditions in Miami may make him feel he can have some joy from the extended rallies.

The last three appearances in Miami suggests that Richard Gasquet has also begun to appreciate the conditions at this tournament and he has reached the Semi Finals in 2013. However, he did miss last season and Gasquet might be caught cold by Ramos-Vinolas who has given him troubles in the past.

The key for Ramos-Vinolas is making sure he makes full use of the lefty serve and try and put some pressure on Gasquet by getting him to move around the court. His forehand does naturally go into the Gasquet backhand which remains a big weapon for the Frenchman, but I think Ramos-Vinolas might be able to steal at least one set which should give him a chance to cover with this number of games in his pocket.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas + 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Betway (2 Units)

Miami Update: 7-2, + 8.52 Units (18 Units Staked, + 47.33% Yield)

1 comment:

  1. There's something immediately dignified about venues in NYC - they are beautifully designed, tasteful, and understated. Went to this comfy place recently, just the right temperature, good food and great experience.