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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Cincinnati Tennis Picks 2016 (August 20th)

The picks might have gone 2-1 on Friday to make a little dent in the losses for the week in Cincinnati, but how frustrating that Borna Coric decided he had nothing left to give after dropping the first set to Marin Cilic 6-2.

That would have helped make a serious dent in the losses for the week and give me a chance to perhaps even turn the last two days into a winning record for the totals in Cincinnati. That looks unlikely now with a maximum of six matches left to go, but if I can reduce the losses, it will keep some of the momentum going as we head into the final two tournaments before the last Grand Slam of the 2016 season begins at the US Open.

On Saturday we have the four Semi Final matches in Cincinnati and the top three Seeds in the women's draw have made it there, while the men's draw has four well known names make the Semi Finals even if they were not Seeded to get there.

Hopefully it will be a clear day of tennis with the rain that has affected the tournament here and I am looking for more winners to get this tournament turned around.

Garbine Muguruza - 2.5 games v Karolina Pliskova: Two big hitters on the WTA Tour meet for a place in the Cincinnati Masters Final on Sunday and I expect to see a lot of big serving and heavy groundstrokes through this match. I will admit I was a little surprised Karolina Pliskova leads the head to head over Garbine Muguruza with her two wins both coming in the 2015 season on hard courts.

The three set win over Muguruza in Dubai might give Pliskova a little more confidence as those courts probably rival Cincinnati in terms of speed. Both matches have been competitive but it is Pliskova who has won the big points to take the wins, but I think Muguruza has looked very strong this week and can reverse those fortunes.

The serve has been working very effectively for Muguruza which has given her the chance to come through her three matches without dropping a set. As I said yesterday, Muguruza definitely gets plenty of confidence when the serve is working and that makes her even more dangerous when returning as she will feel she can take plenty of swings knowing her own serve is looking after itself.

I do have to say that Pliskova has looked very good too this week, but her backhand is definitely a weakness compared with Muguruza who looks solid off both wings. If Muguruza is able to continue serving as well as she has all week, I think she will find her way to a 75, 46, 63 kind of win to move into the Final.

Simona Halep-Angelique Kerber over 21.5 games: Matches between Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber have been very competitive which isn't a surprise when you think where both players have been Ranked in the last couple of years. Both players have reached the business end of big tournaments, but Halep has just hit the wall when facing Kerber.

That might have changed with Halep's win over Kerber in Montreal earlier this month, but she had lost two in a row against the German before that including in the Wimbledon Semi Final in July. However the last two matches have been keenly contested and there hasn't been a lot between the players and I do think that might be the case again in this Semi Final.

Both players have shown considerably good form since the third Grand Slam of the season finished up at Wimbledon, but Halep is coming in on a 13 match winning run. Kerber has got to the business end of a couple of tournaments since finishing Runner Up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon, but title wins means Halep has to have the edge in terms of confidence.

However these matches have been competitive and that isn't a surprise with both players better returning players than serving ones. It will be a battle again and figuring out a winner is much tougher than looking for these players to combine to cover this total games as they have done in the last two matches they have played. I would not be surprised if we see three sets again in this Semi Final and will look for Halep and Kerber to combine to surpass these games.

Milos Raonic + 2.5 games v Andy Murray: Bernard Tomic has not beaten Andy Murray before in his career but he might not have had a better chance than Friday against a player that looked like he was suffering with a niggling injury. Someone like Milos Raonic has previous wins over Andy Murray and the court should aid him in his bid to upset the World Number 2.

Murray has won all four matches with Raonic in 2016 which includes a Semi Final win at the Australian Open and beating him in the Wimbledon Final which will give him the World Number 2 the mental edge. However the back issue was clearly bothering Murray on Friday and the quick courts in Cincinnati makes the Raonic serve that much bigger than usual.

Of course Murray is one of the best returners on the Tour, but a back problem might mean there is a little problem in terms of movement as well on the serve and Raonic is certainly a little stronger mentally than Tomic to take advantage.

It isn't a lot of games for Raonic to be given, but it is enough for me to back the Canadian to reach the Final on Sunday where he will be the favourite to win the title if he can see off Murray. I am looking for this one to remain competitive and Raonic to perhaps win this one outright.

Marin Cilic - 2.5 games v Grigor Dimitrov: For the second Masters event in a row, Grigor Dimitrov has perhaps shown he has turned a corner as he reaches the Semi Final in Cincinnati back up the Quarter Final run in Toronto earlier this month. Wins over Feliciano Lopez, Stan Wawrinka and Steve Johnson this week will have given Dimitrov more confidence, but I think Marin Cilic will still have too much for him.

Cilic came through a short match on Friday as Borna Coric pulled out with an injury at the end of the first set. However Cilic has looked very good this week as he gets ready to head back to New York City where he won the US Open in 2014.

The Croatian will also know he beat Grigor Dimitrov fairly easily at the Olympic Games tournament last week and I am looking for Cilic to frank that form. He is serving with confidence, but the aggressive returns will give Dimitrov plenty to think about and that can make a big difference in this match.

As well as Dimitrov has done so far, I am interested to see how he handles the pressure that Cilic will put on his game, especially behind his own serve. I do think Cilic is going to be clearer in thought at the big moments and he can reach the Final thanks to a 64, 64 win in this second Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Garbine Muguruza - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Simona Halep-Angelique Kerber Over 21.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Milos Raonic + 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 2.5 Games @ 1.75 Bet365 (2 Units)

Cincinnati Update: 12-15, - 9.26 Units (54 Units Staked, - 17.15% Yield)

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