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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Monte Carlo Tennis Masters 2016 (April 16th)

It has been a really disappointing first week on the European clay courts for my picks as I have struggled to earn the bit of luck I may have needed. I was disappointed Roger Federer fell apart as badly as he did against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after a near perfect first set, while Marcel Granollers took a 3-0 lead in the second set only to still go down comfortably enough 62, 64.

The last few weeks have been much better for the picks, but it has to be said that this week is a big disappointment to me.

On Saturday we move onto the Semi Finals in Monte Carlo and there is no doubting the big one is the first one between Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. My pick for the day comes from that match, while the other Semi Final should appeal to the locals as two Frenchmen meet in Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The layers are also having a hard time to separate the compatriots in the form they have displayed this week and I do agree with that sentiment.

Andy Murray + 3.5 games v Rafael Nadal: Both Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal made relatively slow starts to the tournament this week, but now the winner of this Semi Final will likely be the favourite to take the title home. While they started slow, the similarities continue with the way both Murray and Nadal produced their best tennis in the Quarter Final and this has all the makings of a really competitive Semi Final.

With that in mind, I was extremely surprised to see Nadal is a fairly significant favourite in this match and that might be heavily influenced by the way the Spaniard beat Murray at the O2 Arena in the World Tour Finals. Their match prior to that one saw Murray hand out a heavy defeat to Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Masters, although the clay courts in Monte Carlo play much slower than those.

The speed of the court might give Nadal more opportunities to get on the front foot, but I think Murray will test him to the fullest in this one with his return of serve and ability to stay with the Spaniard in the extended rallies. It is going to be key for Murray to serve as well as he did in the Quarter Final destruction of Milos Raonic if he is going to get past Nadal, but I do think the World Number 2 will keep this one very competitive through the match.

I do think Murray is capable of getting joy out of the Nadal serve which hasn't been as effective as the Spaniard may have liked, although it looked better in his win over Stan Wawrinka. I think a lot of that had to do with Wawrinka not being as locked in to the match as he should have been and Murray should show a lot more focus even if things are not quite going the way he anticipates.

I believe Murray will win at least a set and I think he has every chance of winning this match, but I will look for him to keep things competitive throughout and back the World Number 2 with the games in hand.

MY PICKS: Andy Murray + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 7-13, - 13.54 Units (40 Units Staked, - 33.85% Yield)

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