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Saturday, 26 March 2016

Miami Tennis Picks 2016 (March 26th)

The first few days of this Miami Open have been very strong for the picks with both that were completed on Friday coming in as winners.

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the Roger Federer v Juan Martin Del Potro match that I was really looking forward to as Federer had to withdraw with a stomach illness on Friday. That might have thrown Del Potro and contributed to his defeat to Horacio Zeballos which is arguably his most disappointing result since returning to the Tour last month.

On Saturday the WTA Premier Event Third Round begins and the ATP Masters Second Round is completed. There are some big matches to be played through the course of the day as well as some big names opening their campaigns in Miami in another loaded schedule.

Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 games v Federico Delbonis: This has been a difficult season so far for Grigor Dimitrov who is struggling to find the consistency to improve the results from 2015. He has looked fragile in matches with a sloppy service game or two in each set giving his opponent a chance to build confidence and find a way to earn results against him.

It is the defeats to the likes of Rajeev Ram, Victor Troicki and Alexander Zverev that would bother Dimitrov as he surely believes he should be beating those players at this stage of his career. It makes it hard to trust the Bulgarian, but I can't help but feel Federico Delbonis is a touch overrated in this one.

Delbonis did have a very good run in Indian Wells where he beat Andy Murray but he is just 4-18 on the hard courts over the previous two seasons before that run last week raised this season to 7-3. The lefty serve makes him an awkward customer for Dimitrov, but that isn't enough to think he can build on last week and have another strong week on the hard courts of North America.

I think it will be close for a while, but I am expecting Dimitrov to come through the middle of the match with a couple of breaks of serve covering two sets and leading to a 64, 63 win.

John Isner - 3.5 games v Tim Smyczek: Last week John Isner had many chances to cover in two separate matches that I had backed him to do so and I was let down twice. Once was when he was broken serving for the match and the other was because he missed break points in four consecutive games that would have put him in pole position to cover.

Even with those disappointments in mind, I do think Isner is capable of covering this number against Tim Smyczek in his first match in Miami. The big man has been returning fairly effectively in Indian Wells and he might have a little more time to hammer back some returns in this one.

Isner has shown he is more than capable of producing some top tennis on the slower courts which gives him more time on the ball and I think the scoreboard pressure from his serve will help too. Tim Smyczek did push Sam Querrey to the limit in a recent match, but Isner is a better returner than the latter and I expect him to get a little more joy from the Smyczek serve than his compatriot did.

It is a first meeting between these two American players, but I am looking for Isner to frustrate his opponent behind his big serve and find a couple of breaks through this match to cover.

Simona Halep - 4.5 games v Julia Goerges: The conditions in Miami should suit both Simona Halep and Julia Goerges in this Third Round contest and I think it could be quite a good one to watch. However I do think Halep is a level above Goerges these days and I expect that to eventually show up on the scoreboard in what may look like a fairly comfortable win.

I don't think it will be as comfortable when it is actually played with both players likely to have their chances to break serve. Halep's serve can be a little bit of a weakness sometimes when she is not hitting her spots as she likes while Goerges can produce some lights out serving when she is on.

If that is the case, this is going to be a very close match, but the consistency that the Romanian produces should give her some edge in the contest. I think Halep has played well enough the last couple of weeks to think the confidence is on the way to being fully restored and I think she will like the time she will get in this Third Round match from the conditions.

After a few breaks of serve, I expect Halep to come through 63, 64 in this one.

MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov - 3.5 Games @ 1.75 Bet Victor (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Miami Update: 9-2, + 12.54 Units (22 Units Staked, + 57% Yield)

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