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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Olympic Tennis Picks 2016 (August 13th)

A poor start to Friday ended with a couple of winners to at least limit the loss that was made, the first loss of the week at the Olympic Games.

Due to the rain on Wednesday, Saturday is going to be busier than expected with both men's Semi Finals to be played and the two Medal matches in the women's draw.

The Gold Medal will be contested by Angelique Kerber and Monica Puig after both won their Semi Final matches on Friday, while both men's Semi Finals look very interesting as Kei Nishikori takes on Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal takes on Juan Martin Del Potro.


It should be a fun day and I am hoping to get back to winning ways on Saturday with the picks. I will put those up once the full markets are up for all of the matches.


Kei Nishikori + 3.5 games v Andy Murray: From a physical perspective it can be difficult to trust Kei Nishikori when it comes to the business end of these big tournaments. He had a very, very tough Quarter Final win over Gael Monfils yesterday and had to invest the emotional effort to come from match points down in the final set tie-breaker to move past the Frenchman.

This has to be a concern going into the Semi Final on Saturday, but I still think Nishikori can make it a competitive match against Andy Murray who has come through two tough matches to make it back to the Semi Final of the Olympic Games. Both times Murray looked on the brink of being knocked out so he would have invested plenty emotionally too, but the Brit has won big tournaments and that know-how could be huge for him.

That is likely to give Murray the mental edge in this contest and could be the key to him getting past Nishikori who also has the issue of trying to hold serve against one of the best returners on the Tour. The Nishikori serve is not the best anyway and Murray should create his chances, but Murray has also not been serving as well as he could in the last couple of Rounds and that might give Nishikori his chances too.

It is Murray who has the edge when it comes to the head to head, but these players had a really tight Davis Cup match earlier this season. Nishikori's one win came indoors at the O2 Arena, but Murray dominated the Japanese player last year at the Canadian Masters, and I think he is most likely to be contesting the Gold Medal match on Sunday. However I think Nishikori can make this competitive in the form he has displayed over the last three weeks and I will back him to get within this number.


Rafael Nadal - 1.5 games v Juan Martin Del Potro: Both men's Semi Finals at the Olympic Games look like they will be very enjoyable to watch, but I think I might be looking forward to the second one more than the first. The first Semi Final might involve two top ten players, but the recoveries of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro from injuries to reach this Semi Final has to be admired.

I am not sure what either player expected from the Olympic Games, but Nadal has already won a Gold Medal having done that in the men's Doubles on Friday.

The key battle in this Semi Final is going to be the Nadal forehand going into the Del Potro backhand and how much the Argentinian can get out of that shot. His forehand has been firing but Del Potro is still not completely happy with his backhand after wrist issues and that means employing a lot of slices which will give the Spaniard a chance to dictate those rallies where he can attack the backhand as soon as possible.

The edge in serving has to go to Del Potro, but I do think Nadal will make enough balls back in play to force his opponent to dig in to win points. I can't see this being anything but another tight match between two players who have played competitive matches through their careers against each other and it was Del Potro who won their last match back in Shanghai in 2013.

That is a long time between matches and I think Nadal might have the slight edge on this court. It will be tight but I think the Spaniard will have a chance of earning a second Gold Medal at this Olympic Games by winning this one in three competitive sets.


Petra Kvitova + 2.5 games v Madison Keys: Both Madison Keys and Petra Kvitova had tough Semi Final losses, but the Olympic Games presents them a chance to at least play for a Bronze Medal rather than going home as is the norm on the Tour. Both will have suffered mentally through the night as they would be thinking about the chances they had in the Semi Final losses that they let slip.

It was Kvitova going into the third set with the momentum behind her in her defeat to Monica Puig but too many mistakes in that final set allowed her opponent to get through. On the other hand, Madison Keys had many break point chances through her match with Angelique Kerber but ultimately failed to break from the ten chances created and I do think she might be suffering slightly more having had less time to prepare for the Bronze Medal match.

There should be plenty of firepower on display as both players will look to a big serve and heavy forehand to set up their play and I think it will be a tight match. Previous meetings haven't suggested that with three of the four matches ending in straight sets, but I think there is plenty on the line which might produce nervous moments.

Keys has been in the better form so I am not surprised that she is favoured to win, but the underdog has won the previous three matches between these players. She won their match this season in straight sets, but I think she might have had the more difficult loss of the two yesterday. I wouldn't be surprised if we see three sets in this one but I am going to take the games being given to Kvitova and will be looking for a performance without the host of unforced errors she made on Friday.


Angelique Kerber - 4.5 games v Monica Puig: It was an impressive win from under the cosh for Monica Puig in the Semi Final which guarantees her a Silver Medal at the Olympic Games. This is going to be a big challenge for her though as she faces Angelique Kerber who has the confidence of two Grand Slam Finals, one Grand Slam title win, behind her.

It is also a different style of match for Monica Puig than what she has faced so far this week as she faces the best mover she has seen so far. This is a player that will use the power Puig produces and make her play an extra ball throughout the match and Puig cannot rely on the mistakes that Kvitova gifted to her in their Semi Final on Friday.

The Kerber serve won't produce as many cheap points as the likes of Kvitova and Garbine Muguruza can, but Puig will have to return just as well as Kerber is likely to get the better of the extended rallies. And I do think Kerber's serve is a little under-rated as she protects it well especially when getting the first serve in play which is going to give her a real opportunity in this one when coupled with one of the better returning games on the WTA Tour.

I also think there were times that Puig looked tired on Friday and Kerber might have a little extra in the tank which can help her add the Gold Medal to the Australian Open title with a 64, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Kei Nishikori + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Rafael Nadal - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova + 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Olympic Games Update: 25-15, + 12.02 Units (80 Units Staked, + 15.03% Yield)

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