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Thursday, 26 May 2016

French Open Tennis Day 5 Picks 2016 (May 26th)

It was another intriguing day at the French Open on Wednesday, especially for those Andy Murray fans who saw their man fall behind in the best of five set match before heading through in five sets.

This is not the time that Murray wants to be expending as much energy as he has been, but he has gotten through which is the most important thing. Having a couple of days until Friday to recover is important for Murray as is the fact he is playing an opponent like Ivo Karlovic who won't be looking to get involved in the long draining rallies.

Other players in Murray's half of the draw that will be looking to go all the way to the Final had a much easier time on Tuesday than the World Number 2 and the majority of the big names have moved through.

The same can be said from the Women's draw where the majority of those expected to move through to the Third Round made their way past their opponents on Tuesday.

On Thursday the remaining Second Round matches are to be played, but the weather in Paris doesn't look that appealing in the next few days which can affect the schedule.

David Goffin - 7.5 games v Carlos Berlocq: This Second Round match might have been a very awkward one for David Goffin if Carlos Berlocq was at full health. However the Argentinian is still outside the top 100 in the World Rankings following an injury hit 2015 and this is a big challenge for him.

You have to give Berlocq some credit having come through the Qualifiers and then comprehensively beating Paolo Lorenzi in the First Round. Now he faces David Goffin who has reached the Quarter Final at the Rome Masters and has the kind of game that will give Berlocq some troubles.

The rallies are likely to be extended as neither player can really rely on a serve for easy points but that is where I think Goffin is going to be good enough to win more often than not. The consistency that Goffin should be able to produce through the contest will give Berlocq plenty to think about, although I do think the latter will have his moments in this match too.

When it comes down to it, I do think Goffin will likely outlast Berlocq in a straight sets win and I do think he can take one of those with two more breaks than his opponent. A 63, 63, 64 win looks to be on the card for Goffin and I will back him to cover the number.

Nicolas Almagro - 4.5 games v Jiri Vesely: Nicolas Almagro proved me right earlier in the week when he not just covered the games as the underdog, but beat Philipp Kohlschreiber in four sets. That is an impressive win for the Spaniard but he will need to produce his best tennis to get past Jiri Vesely in this Second Round match with the latter a very confident clay court player.

While the consistency is still lacking for Vesely through the year to move up the World Rankings into one of the Seeded spots at these Grand Slam events, it has to be noted that he did beat Novak Djokovic on the clay in Monte Carlo. That has been the high point for the player from the Czech Republic and Vesely has had a couple of poor losses over the last few weeks which would be a concern.

The lefty serve will help Vesely and he does have some power which can give Almagro something to think about, but the latter is a solid player on the clay courts when he builds some momentum up. Almagro might not have beaten someone as good as Novak Djokovic, but he did win a title in Estoril and he was an impressive winner in the First Round over Kohlschreiber when coming from a set down to win in four sets.

This is likely to be a close match between the players, but I do think Almagro is the better clay court player and that will show up on Thursday. It will potentially need four sets to separate them but I can see Almagro coming through 63, 64, 36, 63 and move into another Third Round in Roland Garros.

David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Juan Monaco: This is a big number for David Ferrer to cover when you think that I am no longer convinced the consistency that took him into the top three of the World Rankings is there any more. The Spaniard is still very capable of producing some solid results, but someone like Juan Monaco will give him a few things to think about.

However as much as Monaco is comfortable on the clay courts, he is not a player that will hit through Ferrer and that is why I think this is the kind of match the latter can still win. Previous meetings between the players have been close which isn't a surprise when you think how similarly they try and play their tennis.

Neither player has a big serve, but instead will look for their rallying ability and clay court nous to outmanoeuvre opponents and get into a position to win points. That lack of a serve for both means there will likely be a few breaks of serve and there won't be a lot to separate Monaco and Ferrer during the match at times.

The key to the match is I believe Ferrer is still the more consistent player from the back of the court and I do think he can win more of those longer rallies. Again this is likely to go into four sets, but I believe Ferrer is capable of winning one of the sets with two more breaks than Monaco which can help him come through 64, 46, 75, 62. 

Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 games v Kurumi Nara: After winning the first set in the First Round with a bagel, Ana Ivanovic made life much tougher for herself before moving into the Second Round. There is still too much inconsistency around her game which makes her a dangerous favourite to back, but I do think Ivanovic will be too good for Kurumi Nara who hasn't had much success on the clay in the last couple of seasons.

Nara was the beneficiary of a retirement in the First Round and had lost her last three clay court matches prior to that. She doesn't have a lot of power which can be a problem on the clay courts and I do think Ivanovic will be able to play a lot of first strike tennis which suit the way she wants to impose herself on this match.

The serve remains the biggest weakness for Ivanovic as the ball toss is still erratic and that leads to her getting behind on the scoreboard. It is a concern when looking for the Serbian World Number 16 to cover big spreads, but I do think Ivanovic is likely to create more break point opportunities and can break Nara two more times in one of the sets they compete in.

As a former winner in Roland Garros, Ivanovic's clay court record this season has not been the best, but I think she can be too strong for Nara and win this one 64, 62.

Madison Keys - 4.5 games v Mariana Duque-Marino: Any player that comes from South America should be comfortable on the clay courts so Mariana Duque-Marino should be a threat to Madison Keys in this Second Round match. While Duque-Marino may have the patience to extend rallies, she has to find a way to deal with the power that Keys brings to the table, the type of power that helped her reach the Final in Rome earlier this month.

That might be the stand out result either player has put together, but Duque-Marino will point to her run to the Final in Nuremberg last week as a reason not to underestimate her. Unsurprisingly the Colombian's best results have come on the clay courts and the World Number 75 is going to be more of a threat than her Ranking may suggest.

I do think Duque-Marino will give Keys some problems, but the latter has been an improving player on the surface. Her serve will still be a big weapon on the surface if it is firing and has the potential to set up cheap points as she showed in Rome.

I think the power Keys has will give her every chance to attack the Duque-Marino serve and put her opponent under pressure, likely earning the majority of break points. As long as the American doesn't serve poorly or go looking to finish points too early on her own serve, I think she can look after that aspect of her game and Keys can win this 63, 64.

Venus Williams - 2.5 games v Louisa Chirico: These two American players might be at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to where their careers currently stand, but I am surprised that Venus Williams is not a bigger favourite to win this. Yes she isn't at her best on the clay courts, but Louisa Chirico will have to deal with the mental pressure of playing one of the Williams sisters who have done so much for Women's tennis in the United States.

I think the layers have been swayed by what was a very good run for Chirico at the Madrid Masters when she reached the Semi Final but the conditions there are much different than in Paris. Chirico has come through three Qualifiers and then won a First Round match over Lauren Davis in three sets, but she had to go deep into the third set and I do wonder if some energy has been sapped from her.

There is some power in the Chirico game that will give Venus Williams issues, but I do wonder how she will deal with the power that will come back her way. There will be some respect for Venus Williams which might create mental obstacles to overcome and I do like the chances of the older American to work her way through this match.

It is clear that Venus Williams is not quite as comfortable on the clay as the hard and grass courts which gives Chirico a chance of the upset. However I am not convinced she should be considered as potentially competitive as she is in this match simply because Chirico has not been consistent on the clay courts and I do think Venus Williams wins this one and covers what doesn't look the biggest number.

MY PICKS: David Goffin - 7.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Nicolas Almagro - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ana Ivanovic - 5.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

French Open Update: 6-6, - 1.50 Units (24 Units Staked, - 6.25% Yield)

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