The English Winter Break is in play for the first time this season and I think it has not gone as well as the Premier League and the top clu...
Tuesday, 29 March 2016
Miami Tennis Picks 2016 (March 29th)
The tennis continues in Miami today with the Fourth Round of the Masters tournament and the first two Premier Event Quarter Finals.
Hopefully another strong day to follow Monday and what has been a very good tournament for the picks so far.
Tomas Berdych - 1.5 games v Richard Gasquet: This looks to be one of the stronger Fourth Round matches on paper. Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet have played some close matches in the past and the thirteen previous matches have been split 7-6 in favour of Gasquet after he won the most recent meeting at the US Open.
That ended a run of three consecutive wins for Berdych, although it has to be noted that Gasquet has won the last two matches between them on the American hard courts.
Both players have something to prove this week as they have perhaps not come through the draw with the ease expected. Gasquet really looked to be struggling in the humidity in his Second Round match, while Berdych would not have expected to drop a set to Steve Johnson in the last Round.
Where I favour Berdych is he is a little stronger behind serve which should see him avoid the backhand to backhand rallies that Gasquet should win. In doing that Berdych should build some scoreboard pressure and eventually wear down the Frenchman in a three set win that sees him cover.
Gael Monfils - 1.5 Games v Grigor Dimitrov: His supporters will no doubt be thinking that Grigor Dimitrov is ready to get his 2016 season going after his win over Andy Murray in the Third Round. However there have been some false dawns in his performances already this season as the Bulgarian tries to forget the last twelve months which have been difficult to say the least.
I think he would have hoped for a better match up than facing Gael Monfils who has won the three previous matches between the two. Monfils looks more focused than at any time in his professional career and that has resulted in more consistent results.
Whether it is the athleticism or the superior defensive skills, Monfils has enjoyed playing Dimitrov. His serve is also underrated which gives the Frenchman some easier points and I think he may surprise Dimitrov coming off a big win.
I say surprise but the layers have got things spot on for me in making Monfils a fairly strong favourite. I believed they might go with the bigger 'name' but I agree with the layers that Monfils is the favourite to progress and I will back him to do while covering this number.
Kei Nishikori - 3.5 games v Roberto Bautista Agut: I really didn't expect Roberto Bautista Agut to come through and beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. That belief would have been less so when he dropped the first set 62, but goes to show the confidence the Spaniard has off the back of a couple of title wins in 2016.
However he is going to have to dig mighty deep again if he is going to beat Kei Nishikori who has won all three previous matches. All three might have been tight in terms of sets played, but Nishikori has worn down Bautista Agut each time.
It is hard to see this one going much differently- Bautista Agut is surprising no one with what he brings to the court. Unfortunately this looks a match where everything he does is bettered by Nishikori and so it is hard to see how he wins the match.
Both players have a weakness when it comes to the serve, but Nishikori is more consistent, a better defender and has more of an ability to turn defence into attack. Those factors should make the difference and I expect Nishikori to continue his dominance of this head to head and come through 63, 76.
Simona Halep - 4.5 games v Timea Bacsinszky: Confidence has been an issue for Simona Halep in 2016 but there are signs things are picking up. While she hasn't been at her dominating best, Halep has played really well in patches to see off all opponents so far this week without too many difficulties.
This is arguably the biggest test as she faces Timea Bacsinszky in the first Quarter Final in the WTA Premier Event. Bacsinszky hasn't played up to the level of 2015 but she is coming into a great part of the year for her with the clay court season and the confidence of a strong run in Miami can't be underestimated.
The Swiss player seems to be one that will build up some steam with a few wins under her belt and will make life tough for Halep. However, I think the latter is very happy in the conditions and she can make use of those to earn the victory.
She might not be at her very best just yet, but Halep is good enough to win this match. Halep has the consistency to battle through her tough moments and I will back her to move through to the Semi Final behind a 64, 63 win.
MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 1.5 Games @ 1.75 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 3.5 Games @ 1.67 Bet36 (2 Units)
Simona Halep - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)