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Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Olympic Tennis Picks 2016 (August 10th)

The World Number 1 on the ATP Tour has already been knocked out of the Olympic Games and he was joined by the World Number 1 player on the WTA Tour and defending Olympic Champion Serena Williams on Tuesday.

That was another big upset in the tournament as Williams was beaten in straight sets by Elina Svitolina and she can now head back to the United States to get ready for Cincinnati and the US Open later this month. Serena Williams has not looked at the races in her three matches in Rio and she has also been beaten in the Women's Doubles with her sister Venus Williams and her Singles loss has opened up the Gold Medal prospects for the remaining eight players in the draw.

Those Quarter Final matches are due to be played on Wednesday along with the Third Round men's matches but the weather doesn't make it too promising for tennis. That might be good news for British hope Johanna Konta who spent a long time on court on Tuesday and will need to be at her physical best if she is going to get past Angelique Kerber in the Quarter Final.

So far it has been a very good tournament for the picks after a strong day on Tuesday moved the totals in a positive direction. I hope I can keep this momentum going and finish this week on a high to take into the Cincinnati Masters and Premier Event which is going to be played next week.

Another dent in the season totals would be very good to keep the positive trend going as we head towards the US Open.

Angelique Kerber - 3.5 games v Johanna Konta: The rain might be the big equaliser for Johanna Konta in this Quarter Final against Angelique Kerber and the British Number 1 could do with a delay in proceedings. Konta was forced to spend a lot of time on court on Tuesday which has to have had a physical effect on her and someone like Kerber can play enough balls to expose any tiredness that might be in the legs.

While Konta was spending over three hours on court, Kerber came through what looked a testing match very comfortably against Samantha Stosur. With Serena Williams and Garbine Muguruza exiting the tournament on Tuesday, Kerber is going to be a big favourite to add the Gold Medal to the Australian Open title she won earlier this year.

The German has been serving well enough, but she has been particularly good when it comes to the big points which has helped her come through the draw without dropping a set. I do think the Konta first serve is arguably better than Kerber's but the latter will make plenty of returns and has the consistency around the court to earn her second win over Konta in the 2016 season.

I just think Kerber won't make the same number of unforced errors in this one and physical tiredness does lead to mental mistakes. The Australian Open Champion can win this one 64, 64 with a half decent serving display and move through to the Semi Final.

Petra Kvitova - 3.5 games v Elina Svitolina: It has been a difficult 2016 season for Petra Kvitova who hasn't had the consistency that she would have liked. However her win over Ekaterina Makarova in the Third Round at the Olympic Games and Kvitova is now favourite to reach only her second Semi Final of the 2016 season.

She will need to be wary as she goes up against Elina Svitolina who has been in good form and earned the stand out win of the tournament when beating Serena Williams on Tuesday. Backing up that win might be tough from a mental perspective as it can be for any upset winner and Svitolina will do well to put that victory to the back of her mind.

Svitolina was helped by a lot of mistakes from Serena Williams who didn't look comfortable in the conditions, but I do think Kvitova has enjoyed the courts here. The issue I am having in backing Kvitova is her inconsistency which makes this a difficult number of games to cover, but I still believe Svitolina is more likely to drop a set with a couple of breaks of serve going against her.

It is difficult to back up a monumental win like the one Svitolina only had on Tuesday and I think the draw has opened up for Kvitova to have her best result of the year. There should be a few breaks of serve but I think Kvitova will eventually wear down Svitolina in a 46, 64, 62 win.

Steve Johnson - 3.5 games v Evgeny Donskoy: Steve Johnson has made it comfortably through the draw into this Third Round match and I think he is a deserving favourite to see off Evgeny Donskoy. The Russian had a memorable win on Tuesday as he came from a set and a break down to beat David Ferrer in three sets, but that took a big physical effort and little time to recover makes it difficult for Donskoy.

I have to give Donskoy credit for taking his fine recent form at the Challenger level into the Olympic Games, but this is a significant test for him. Steve Johnson has been serving very effectively and does just enough in return games to find a couple of breaks of serve and he is a strong front runner.

If Donskoy was to slip behind in this one, Steve Johnson is playing well enough to put the foot down on the accelerator and really put the pressure on the Russian to get back into the match. As well as Donskoy has played, he has offered up break point chances and doing that against Johnson will be costly as the American is not giving up so many opportunities on his own serve.

I do think Johnson has the bigger game and that can come out in this Third Round match. Both players will be confident, but Donskoy has a lot of tennis and travel in his legs of late and I will back Johnson to find a way to a 63, 64 kind of win.

Roberto Bautista Agut - 2.5 games v Gilles Muller: With Novak Djokovic out of the draw, both Gilles Muller and Roberto Bautista Agut have to feel they have every chance of earning a Medal at the Olympic Games. Juan Martin Del Potro is a threat in the top half as is Rafael Nadal, but both Muller and Bautista Agut might feel there are vulnerabilities they can expose if they can get past this Third Round encounter.

It is a match up of styles that should blend together for a very good match.

Muller will look to use a big serve and plenty of aggression from the forehand and at the net, while Bautista Agut might believe his returning ability and defensive skills can force mistakes from the big lefty. Their last two matches have been tight with little to separate them and it will take one or two opportunities being taken to make all of the difference.

I am favouring Bautista Agut as I think the courts are playing a little slower, while he has had the better hard court results this season. The Gilles Muller win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has to be respected, but Bautista Agut is a little more solid than the Frenchman and I believe he can come through with a repeat of his win in Sofia earlier this year and move through 76, 64.

Rafael Nadal - 4.5 games v Gilles Simon: It has been a positive return to the Tour for Rafael Nadal who has made it through to the Doubles Semi Final in Rio and now looking to do the same in the Singles. There is no doubting that Nadal is playing a lot of tennis on his comeback from a wrist issue and he will have three more matches on Wednesday with one of those coming against the defensively strong Gilles Simon.

There will be some soreness that Nadal is feeling, but he has looked strong around the court in his first two wins in the Singles tournament as well as his performances in the Doubles. The serve has been working well for the most part, while I think the speed of the court is suiting the former World Number 1 who might be the favourite to reach the Final from the top half of the draw now Novak Djokovic is out.

Nadal won't be paying any attention to that though as he will know how difficult Gilles Simon can make things on the court. It should be a court on which Simon can be able to use all of his defensive skills, but the key for the Frenchman is going to be getting a little more out of his serve.

It has been a more difficult path through the draw for Simon but he remains a threat if Nadal is slightly off his game. However it is Nadal who has won seven of their eight previous matches and I think he has returned well enough to expect him to have plenty of break points going his way too. They have played some competitive matches in the past, but I think Nadal can come through this test with a 75, 63 win.

Kei Nishikori - 5.5 games v Andrej Martin: John Millman gave Kei Nishikori plenty to think about in the Second Round, but the Japanese top 10 player found a way to battle past the Australian. He is a big favourite to win this Third Round match against Andrej Martin who was the beneficiary of Philipp Kohlschreiber's withdrawal from the tournament.

You can understand why the layers have the prices as they do because Martin spends almost all of his time on the clay courts. In fact he had not played on the hard courts for just under twelve months and his serve is not one that will offer up too many cheap points.

That means trying to rally with Nishikori who should be the better player off the ground, although his own serve is not exactly a big weapon. Failing to earn too many cheap points on serve means Nishikori will likely offer up chances to break which also makes these big spreads tough to negotiate.

However I think we will see a much better performance from Nishikori than he produced in the last Round and that should see him hold a significant edge in this match. He might need to come through a tight first set, but Nishikori can then begin to wear down his opponent with a 75, 62 win.

David Goffin - 4.5 games v Thomaz Bellucci: The home crowd will certainly inspire Thomaz Bellucci who has moved through to the Third Round, but this has been a difficult season for him. His best results have come at Challenger level and Bellucci is far short of the 29 main Tour wins he had last season, while his match against David Goffin looks a very difficult one.

It has been a comfortable path through the draw for Goffin so far and the Belgian has won the last two matches against Bellucci including earlier this year in Brisbane. While the lefty serve that Bellucci possesses is a big weapon, Goffin is a very effective returner and I think the key to the cover will be how well the Belgian Number 1 serves.

The serve can be a weakness at times as Goffin doesn't have the same pop as the very best players, but he will feel he can out-rally Bellucci in this one. I do think the home crowd will get firmly behind Bellucci, but Goffin has played plenty of Davis Cup and should be aware of the kind of atmosphere he could be facing.

Bellucci has had some very one sided defeats on the hard courts this season and will have to be at his very best to make this one a competitive match. Unfortunately I don't think Bellucci has the confidence to do that against some as consistent as David Goffin and I will look for the latter to move into the Quarter Final behind a 63, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Angelique Kerber - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Steve Johnson - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
David Goffin - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Olympic Games: 18-10, + 10.80 Units (56 Units Staked, + 19.23% Yield)

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