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Saturday, 30 July 2016

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2016 (July 30th)

The Rogers Cup/Coupe Rogers being played in Toronto and Montreal this week are up to the Semi Final matches and then the majority of the players will head off to the Olympic Games.

That tournament begins next Thursday, but we will have some Ranking events also being played next week as other players continue their build up to the US Open in the same way they would in non-Olympic years.

It has been a good week for the picks so far, but I said yesterday that it would depend on the final three days as to whether it is a really good week, or just one that is keeping the positive momentum going. This time last year I had a pretty horrific July, but this year has been filled with winning weeks which is important to turn around what has been a poor season up until now.

Picks from the Semi Final matches will be placed on this thread on Saturday afternoon as I won't be able to do as much research for all the picks until that time. Of course this thread is open for any picks I do have from the Semi Final matches to be played, although at this time the match ups have not been set so I am not sure that there will be any picks at all.

Simona Halep-Angelique Kerber over 21.5 games: The first Semi Final at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal will likely provide the favourite to win the tournament on Sunday. Both Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber have had to fight to get to this Round where they will repeat their Wimbledon Semi Final from earlier this month.

I have some doubts about what kind of fitness levels Kerber has going into the Semi Final even if she looked at her best on Friday in her Quarter Final win. Pulling out last week in Bastad with an elbow issue has perhaps come out this week in her poor serving performances for the most part and it is an area in which Halep will look to expose any vulnerabilities.

However I do think Kerber will also enjoy some success going after the Halep serve and matches between these players have been competitive and featured plenty of break points. Last year in Toronto it was Halep who came through a tight match and their Semi Final at Wimbledon was a close match for long periods too with Halep perhaps throwing away the tie-breaker.

I do believe this match will be a close one and it could easily need a deciding set to figure out who will be playing in the Final tomorrow. While this is plenty of games for the pair to combine and cover, going into a decider will likely mean going over the number as well as the fact their last match at Wimbledon would have been enough games in two sets.

Madison Keys - 5.5 games v Kristina Kucova: There won't have been a more surprising run to a Premier Event Semi Final than the one Kristina Kucova has produced this week. The wins she has put under her belt after coming through the Qualifiers includes beating both Washington and Stanford Champions from last week, but it has also seemingly come out of nowhere.

It was only last week that Kucova was losing to Sabine Lisicki fairly comfortably, but her variation and two handed shots from both wins have baffled players all week. It is the fight she has shown to come from behind in sets which has also been impressive and the win over Johanna Konta in the Quarter Final is as impressive as it looked.

Fatigue has to be a big factor for Kuchova having already played six matches in Montreal and fifteen sets in that time. She is also going to be dealing with tremendous power that comes from the Madison Keys racquet and I do wonder if the Slovakian's run is going to be overpowered by the American.

It is a lot of games being asked to cover because of how well Kucova has played and the fact that players have been bamboozled by her game. That could mean Keys takes a little time to get to grips with the Kucova skills on the court, but you have to think she can hit through some of slicing and dicing Kucova will do in this one and eventually wear down a player that to be feeling the pace of the week in a 64, 62 win.

Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 games v Kei Nishikori: This looks a good Semi Final on paper between the Number 2 and Number 3 Seeds in Toronto, but I do favour Stan Wawrinka enough to want to back him to see off Kei Nishikori. Both players had solid Quarter Final wins, but I think Wawrinka looked in a stronger place physically and that can be very important in these big matches.

Physical tiredness can lead to mental tiredness and that will put pressure on Nishikori who has had some struggles on his serve to keep opponents at bay. There is no doubt that Wawrinka will have chances to break serve, but the concern will be that he hasn't really served brilliantly until his win over Kevin Anderson on Friday.

His serve will be attacked by Nishikori who will be looking to get plenty of balls back in play, but there were times when he looked out of sorts physically against Grigor Dimitrov on Friday. That has helped influence my decision to pick Stan Wawrinka to cover this number, while the Swiss player has won three out of four matches against Nishikori and covered this number in each of those wins.

I expect some stunning rallies to come out of this match, but the bigger points will likely be won by Stan Wawrinka which can see him come through 76, 64.

Gael Monfils + 4.5 games v Novak Djokovic: After missing some time on the Tour, including home Grand Slam the French Open, and losing in the First Round at Wimbledon, Gael Monfils has been making hay on the North American hard courts. Winning the title in Washington was a surprise, but his run to the Semi Final in Toronto has been a spectacular way of backing that up.

Monfils beat Milos Raonic in two tough sets on Friday and the biggest concern is whether all this tennis will eventually take its toll on the body. Playing the World Number 1 in the Semi Final having lost eleven straight times to him makes that challenge all the more difficult.

Novak Djokovic hasn't looked at his very best this week, but he is yet to drop a set and did beat Tomas Berdych in the Quarter Final which is still a tough assignment. However I am not sure the serve is working at its best and Monfils is capable of taking advantage of any issues Djokovic is having there, but the eye test does say the World Number 1 is not completely confident in that shot at the moment.

This is a decent number of games for Monfils to be given and he has covered it in three of the last four matches with Djokovic. He can steal a set which makes it more appealing and I will back the Frenchman to keep this one more competitive than the layers tend to think.

MY PICKS: Simona Halep-Angelique Kerber Over 21.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Gael Monfils + 4.5 Games @ 2.20 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 19-14, + 4.30 Units (66 Units Staked, + 6.52% Yield)

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