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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (April 22nd)

The tournaments in Barcelona, Bucharest, Istanbul and Stuttgart have all reached the Quarter Finals on Friday and there are plenty of matches that will be played through the day.

A solid Thursday from Bucharest has turned this week back into a positive, but there is still some work to do to make sure this is a successful week for the picks. Friday's Quarter Finals are interesting and I will have four picks from the matches to be played in Bucharest and Barcelona.


Federico Delbonis - 4.5 games v Marco Cecchinato: This has already been a good week for Marco Cecchinato who has moved into the Quarter Final by winning back to back matches without dropping a set. He has not always produced his best at this level and there is no doubting the level has picked up when the Italian meets Federico Delbonis in the Quarter Final.

Delbonis didn't have the best time in Monte Carlo where he was beaten in his first match, but he has won a title in Casablanca and is at his best on the clay courts. His win over Illya Marchenko in the Second Round was expected, but Delbonis made it a much easier match than most would have imagined and that should mean the confidence is flowing through him.

He will have to be returning well with Cecchinato getting more out of his first serve than I thought he would in the last match against Damir Dzumhur. However this is a better returner he is facing and Delbonis is also a lefty which can be troubling for players to face when they are not quite sure where to attack those players.

Dzumhur did earn plenty of break points which will encourage Delbonis in this Quarter Final and I do think the Argentinian player is the better one on the clay courts. He can be let down by his serve at times, but the first serve should be a bigger weapon than the one Cecchinato brings onto the court and I like Delbonis to work his way to a 64, 63 win.


Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v Robin Haase: It is Robin Haase that has won three of the four matches against Fernando Verdasco but I think the latter has looked good this week and can get the better of the Dutchman in this one.

This is one of those matches where I am surprised when having a quick look at the World Rankings- I have no idea how Robin Haase is above Fernando Verdasco in the Rankings if I am being perfectly honest.

The clay courts are considered Haase's favourite surface, but he has had a difficult time on these courts as much as others in recent seasons. He was dismissed in ridiculously one sided fashion by Damir Dzumhur in Monte Carlo and Haase is going to have to be at his best to take on Verdasco who is playing quite well as he looks to turn around the negative trend in his own World Ranking.

Haase can produce some very strong tennis as he showed in beating the Number 1 Seeded Bernard Tomic, but he is so inconsistent. The serve has to be working and you will be able to see from early on whether Haase is in the mood for a fight on Friday, but ultimately I don't think it will be enough for him to beat Verdasco yet again.

If Verdasco can just hang with him in the early moments of this match, I think he will be able to come through with a 64, 64 win and a place in the Semi Final.


Fabio Fognini + 5.5 games v Rafael Nadal: Winning the Monte Carlo Masters, a tournament that had all of the top names in action, has to be a big boost for Rafael Nadal as he tries to reclaim his place at the top of men's tennis. Backing up that win by winning in Barcelona will have many believing he can win another French Open next month, but Nadal looks to be too big a favourite in this one.

Recent matches with Fabio Fognini have been far from easy for Nadal and the Italian has been in decent nick after dropping the first set to Mikhail Youzhny. Since dropping that set, Fognini has won all four sets he has played and has dropped just six games which suggests he is over the injury that saw him miss both Indian Wells and Miami.


Fognini also lost heavily to Paolo Lorenzi in Monte Carlo, but the wins this week will have given him some confidence. The Italian also seems to love playing Nadal in recent matches and he did beat him twice on the clay last season, although Fognini was beaten in another match.

There is no doubt that Fognini can be hard to trust at times when he loses focus and clearly starts tanking games and sets, but I think he relishes playing Nadal. That should fuel his motivation and this looks a lot of games for Fognini to be receiving in this one and I will back him to keep the match competitive, although I expect Nadal to find his way to the Semi Final.


Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 games v Andrey Kuznetsov: Having already beaten Andrey Kuznetsov in two previous matches in Barcelona, I am looking for Philipp Kohlschreiber to make it a hat-trick in the final Quarter Final of the day. The German should still be the better clay court player of the two even if he looks to be slipping a little these days and I like Kohlschreiber's chances of moving into the Semi Final.

Both players have had impressive wins this week, but my feeling is that Kohlschreiber has definitely had the tougher tests that he has dealt with. As much as I have to respect Kuznetsov for beating the likes of Stan Wawrinka this season, the Russian is a player that has yet to really have a lot of success on the clay courts at this level.

Without the pace in the court, I think Kuznetsov is more susceptible to making a few errors while his serve is not the biggest on the Tour and can be attacked on the clay. Someone like Kohlschreiber should be able to have success on the return and he will be tough to knock off if he is serving well which is a shot that is a little more erratic these days.

Even so, Kohlschreiber's best moments in the last couple of years have come on the clay courts and I think he will be able to fashion more of the break point chances. After a tight first set I can see Kohlschreiber work through for a 76, 64 win in this one.


Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: There are some players on the Tour that can bamboozle opponents and I have a feeling Agnieszka Radwanska's dominance of Karolina Pliskova could be one such case.

You would think the Pliskova serve and added power would be enough to take Radwanska out of her comfort zone, but it does seem the latter is able to make enough balls back in play to frustrate Pliskova. That leads to errors and has also led to Radwanska winning all five previous matches with the last four being very comfortable.

In fact Radwanska is yet to lose a set to Pliskova and I think the clay courts will favour her game over Pliskova who would like to shorten the points and play first strike tennis. On the clay courts I expect Radwanska will force Pliskova to play too many balls and should be able to get the better of her in this one.

She would have covered this number of games in the last four matches against Pliskova and having a match on the clay under her belt should aid Radwanska. I think she is the better player on this surface anyway and Pliskova trying to get over the mental hurdle of facing this opponent may be too difficult and I think Radwanska can come through with a 63, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Federico Delbonis - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini + 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Agnieszka Radwanska - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-4, + 0.32 Units (18 Units Staked, + 1.78% Yield)

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