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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Monte Carlo Tennis Picks 2016 (April 13th)

It was a tough set of matches to pick from on Tuesday, but I am still disappointed that both of my picks failed to even get close to covering. It was a day of tie-breaks galore for my picks with every set completed decided on that method on Tuesday, but I am hoping for better results through the rest of the week.

On Wednesday the Second Round of the Monte Carlo Masters is going to be completed and it does look a better day for the picks with more appealing options in my opinion. I just hope that it can right the weeks results to this point after a slow start.


Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Damir Dzumhur: A first match on the clay courts is always going to be a big test for any player, but Tomas Berdych has to be happy with the draw he has been given. That is no disrespect to Damir Dzumhur who has come through the Qualifiers to reach this Second Round, but there is a talent gap between them which is going to be hard to bridge.

That has been the case in the previous two matches between these players as Berdych has won both comfortably and I can only see him dominating for the most part on a slow clay court. Berdych will still be able to rely on his serve, but that part of the game is something of a weakness for Dzumhur and I do believe the higher Ranked player will earn the majority of break point chances in this one.

There will be moments where Dzumhur uses his movement around the court to extract mistakes from Berdych, but it is tough to imagine him being able to do that for long enough to earn the win. Even keeping this match competitive would be something of an achievement for Dzumhur who has been on the receiving end of some heavy losses this season.

Ultimately I think Dzumhur will have some success, but he is unlikely to maintain that over two sets and he will be broken a couple of times in a single set. That should mean Berdych is able to come through with a 62, 64 win that sees him cover this number and move into the Third Round.


Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: The French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka will make his bow on the clay courts for the first time in 2016 on Wednesday. This is a tournament that will also hold a special place for Wawrinka having won the Monte Carlo Masters in 2014 and he will come into the event looking to have a much bigger impact than he managed in Indian Wells and Miami last month.

The Second Round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber won't be an easy one for him, but Wawrinka has won all three previous matches against the German. That includes a fairly routine win over Kohlschreiber in Dubai earlier this season, although the conditions there will have been much faster than what these players will encounter in Monte Carlo.

Kohlschreiber might have an additional edge having won a First Round match here already, but his previous lack of success against Wawrinka would have to be a concern. I also think Kohlschreiber has lost half a step in his movement around the court and Wawrinka definitely has the heavier groundstrokes which should see him penetrate the court more effectively and get his opponent on the back foot.

There is no doubt that Wawrinka will need to serve well to keep Kohlschreiber at bay in this one, but doing that should help him eventually come through with a 76, 63 win.


Milos Raonic - 2.5 games v Pablo Cuevas: Pablo Cuevas had to dig very deep to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the First Round, but he will need to be a lot better if he is going to get the better of Milos Raonic in the Second Round. I do wonder if Cuevas is really able to produce his best tennis on the European clay courts and this is a big test for him.

The key for Cuevas will be to serve well and not give up anything too silly for Milos Raonic to get his teeth into those service games. He will also need to make hay against the second serve that he faces, especially as Raonic is likely to still dominate those points behind the first serve.

Doing those things will give Cuevas a chance at the upset, but I am leaning towards the Canadian having a little too much on the day. The slower clay court should give Raonic time to line up the return of serve while not really affecting his own service games as much as some may think and that can help him dictate much of the match.

I don't think you can doubt the fact that Cuevas will look to extend rallies and will likely win the majority of those points, but I think he will give up a couple of breaks of serve. Against Milos Raonic that can be fatal and I think the Canadian will be able to come through with a 76, 64 win to move into the Third Round following a fairly comfortable First Round win over Marco Cecchinato.


Fernando Verdasco + 3.5 games v David Goffin: After seeing off one veteran Spanish left-hander in the First Round, David Goffin faces another in the Second Round when he plays Fernando Verdasco. This should be a much closer match as Verdasco is much more dangerous on a slow clay court than Feliciano Lopez, although the layers still make Goffin a strong favourite to progress to the Third Round.

You can't really argue with that thinking as Goffin is definitely one of the better players on the Tour and looks to have the game that should work well on the clay. However there are sometimes issues with whether he has the power to really push onto the next level and that will be tested by Verdasco in this one.

It is clearly the downward trend of Verdasco's career path, but he can still be a dangerous opponent and was dominant in his win over Federico Delbonis who won the title in Casablanca last week. Verdasco will need to serve well to set up the points but he is also capable on the return and the slower court should give him time to attack Goffin's serve in this one.

I am looking at this being a tight match and one that could go either way. I would be surprised if we don't see at least three sets in this one and that makes this a very appealing number of games to be given to Verdasco, a number of games I expect to keep him competitive through this Second Round match.


Gael Monfils - 5.5 games v Paolo Lorenzi: It has to be described as a strange First Round match that Paolo Lorenzi had against his compatriot Fabio Fognini. After losing the first set 62, Lorenzi won eleven games in a row to put himself on the brink of moving into the Second Round and ultimately lost just the one game in the final two sets to move through.

However his test will be much greater in the Second Round against Gael Monfils who had an impressive First Round win over Gilles Muller. The Frenchman has arguably looked more focused on his tennis than at any point in his professional career in 2016 and Monfils did reach the Quarter Finals in both Indian Wells and Miami so this could be a very strong part of the season for him coming up.

Monfils has shown in the past that he is more than capable of playing on the clay courts and I think his serve and athleticism will give Lorenzi a lot of problems in this one. The Italian is obviously very comfortable on the clay courts with the majority of his time spent on the surface, but there hasn't been a lot of main Tour success for him.

As comfortable as he is on this surface, Lorenzi will offer up a fair few break points in this one with his serve not the biggest of weapons. I can see Monfils being able to win one set with a couple of breaks of serve before a tighter one as he perhaps loses a little bit of focus, but I am still expecting the home favourites to come through with a 62, 75 kind of win and a chance to cover this number at odds against.


Alexander Zverev - 3.5 games v Marcel Granollers: There is no doubting the bright future that Alexander Zverev has on the Tour, but he will have to be aware of the danger posed by Marcel Granollers on the clay courts. This time last season, Zverev was very much in action on the Challenger circuit, but he has made a meteoric rise up the World Rankings and I think he can have another strong Masters tournament here.

His opponent is the beneficiary of a Lucky Loser spot having been demolished by Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the Qualifiers. Marcel Granollers has had a difficult season to date, but he did win a Challenger event last month to give him confidence to take into the clay court season, although the Spaniard might actually prefer a faster surface.

While Granollers is a capable performer on the clay, his game might actually transfer a little better onto those courts with a little more penetration on them. Here he will have to try and force Zverev into tough spots but I am not sure Granollers has the consistency nor the serve to do that for long enough to win the match.

I do think Zverev is still learning his trade on the Tour and on the clay courts, but he should be comfortable enough on the surface. He had an impressive win in the First Round against Andrey Rublev, another young star of the future, and I think that will hold Zverev in good stead in this one. The German will have to battle but he can ultimately prevail against Granollers in a 64, 75 win.

MY PICKS: Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 2.20 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Milos Raonic - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco + 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Alexander Zverev - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-3, - 2.52 Units (10 Units Staked, - 25.2% Yield)

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