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Monday, 8 August 2016

Olympic Tennis Picks 2016 (August 8th)

On normal weeks I would be suggesting that Monday is the worst day of the week for tennis picks with plenty of tournaments deciding to play one or two First Round matches on the day.

That is not the case on this Monday as the Olympic Games tennis tournament has been played over the weekend and the Second Round matches have been scheduled for Monday as the tournament moves on.

It has been a solid couple of days which have backed up another strong week on the Tour as I continue making a dent in the losing record for 2016 and I am looking for another strong week on the Tour. This week I will be putting in records for the Olympic Games picks as well as any I make from Los Cabos, the sole ATP event being played this week, and I am very much hoping the momentum of the last few weeks can keep the picks moving in the positive direction.

Picks from all of those tournaments will be added here on Monday once the full schedule for the day has been released by the organisers in Rio and Los Cabos.

Eugenie Bouchard + 4.5 games v Angelique Kerber: There are some really big Second Round matches taking place at the Olympic Games and this might be the biggest of all in the women's draw. It does have to be said that Eugenie Bouchard is not playing at the level of 2014 when she had considerable success at the Grand Slam level, but this has been a much better year than 2015 already.

The hard courts have been her best courts this season and Bouchard might feel she has every chance of earning the upset over Angelique Kerber who has not been at her best over the last few weeks.

It is Bouchard who has won their last three matches including in Rome earlier this season, while Kerber has been battling through an injury which forced her out of Bastad. The German did reach the Semi Final of the Canadian Premier Event in Montreal a couple of weeks ago, and she has had considerable success on the hard courts including winning the Australian Open back in January.

However I am not sure Kerber is totally at full tilt for the Olympic Games and she did have a tougher than expected win in the First Round. Bouchard was solid enough in the First Round to think she can make plenty of use out of this number of games and I will back her to stay within the number at the end of the match.

Daria Kasatkina - 3.5 games v Saisai Zheng: I am convinced that Daria Kasatkina is destined for the very top of the women's game in the coming years and the 19 year old has been playing well enough to keep her run going at the Olympic Games. She did come close to an exit in the First Round in a huge upset, but battling through that one should give Kasatkina a little momentum to take further into the tournament.

She looks to be the more consistent player in this one when she takes on Saisai Zheng who is coming off a big upset win over Agnieszka Radwanska in the First Round. The latter blamed a lack of preparation time for her defeat, but Kastakina should not be caught cold as Radwanska was.

Both players have put in a solid result over the last few weeks on the hard courts with Zheng reaching the Quarter Final in Stanford and Kasatkina doing the same at the Premier Event in Montreal. That should mean both are confident for this match, but Zheng has not shown the same consistency on this surface as Kasatkina has through the year.

It was a one sided win for Kasatkina when these players met in Charleston earlier in the season, but I expect this one will be closer. However I do like the youngster to come through with a 64, 64 win and move through to the Third Round.

Samantha Stosur - 2.5 games v Misaki Doi: It took a battling display from Samantha Stosur to come from behind and Jelena Ostapenko in the First Round. She dropped the first set 61, but Stosur bounced back to dominate the final two sets and the Australian moves through to face Misaki Doi in the Second Round.

This has been a strong match up for Stosur in the past with three wins in a row against Doi, although she did need three sets to beat her at the French Open in May.

A key for Stosur has been the first serve and that is a weapon against Doi who has struggled to deal with that shot in the past. That only increases the pressure on Doi to try and stay with Stosur on the scoreboard but her own serve is not as effective and it means the Australian is able to take control of the match.

It might need three sets to separate them again, but I can see Stosur winning at least one set with a couple of breaks of serve and that can see her cover this number. Stosur missed the cover by a single game yesterday which was disappointing for me, but I will back her again and look for her to come through 64, 46, 62.

Elina Svitolina - 3.5 games v Heather Watson: It has to be said that Heather Watson made life difficult for herself in the First Round win over Shuai Peng but getting through was the most important thing. Watson had been 2-8 in her last ten matches on the Tour prior to the win over Peng and this is a significant increase in terms of quality she is facing in the Second Round.

Elina Svitolina came from a set behind to beat Andrea Petkovic in the First Round and she did reach the Third Round at the Canadian Premier Event in Montreal a couple of weeks ago. The Ukrainian should have beaten Angelique Kerber in that Third Round having served for the match, and she has won a title on the hard courts in 2016.

The serve is still not as consistent as Svitolina would like, but her return game is going to put some pressure on Watson in this one. Recent matches would have knocked some of the confidence out of Watson even though she did also win a title on the hard courts earlier this year, but she will be under pressure to play the big points effectively having lost so many recent matches.

I do think Watson will have her moments in this one, but I think Svitolina is in the better form and that can be the difference maker. Both players will have their break point chances and it will be a fun match to watch, one that I believe Svitolina will eventually win and cover this number of games.

Alize Cornet + 6.5 games v Serena Williams: There won't be too many active players on the WTA Tour that can say they have won three matches in a row against Serena Williams. It has been a couple of years since Alize Cornet has played Serena Williams, and the last of those matches might have ended in a retirement, but the Frenchwoman has won the last two completed matches against the World Number 1 with both of those coming in 2014.

Cornet was a huge underdog in both of those wins and she is a big underdog in this Second Round match at the Olympic Games, but I can't help think she is being given too many games. The form has not been that impressive over the last few weeks on the hard courts, but Cornet is a player that can make Serena Williams work for a win and I do think she can win enough games to stay within this number.

Opposing Serena Williams is never easy because she can make life very easy for herself when at her very best. You have to think she will be really focused on this match having lost the last three matches to Cornet in upset defeats and knowing the kind of challenge that Cornet will bring to the court.

If Williams is serving well she is capable of blowing away anyone on the court, but the World Number 1 has not covered this number in any of her last six hard court matches. Serena Williams will likely be a fairly comfortable winner, but I will look for Cornet to win at least six games over the course of two sets to stick within the number.

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 4.5 games v Andrej Martin: Being Ranked outside of the top 100 and not playing any hard court matches of note over the last couple of seasons had Andrej Martin as an underdog in his First Round match at the Olympic Games. However he comfortably dismissed Denis Kudla, who has not been in great form, and now faces a bigger challenge when running into Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Second Round.

It took a big effort from Kohlschreiber to turn around his First Round match against Guido Pella who took the first set before the German took control. I have said a few times this season that I think Kohlschreiber might have lost a little speed around the court and so makes more mistakes than before, but I still believe he should have the winning of this match.

Kohlschreiber does look set to earn more Tour wins than in 2015, and he is back inside the top 3o of the World Rankings which might go against my feeling about him losing a little bit of his game. However he has struggled on the hard courts and is now coming back into that part of the season, while Kohlschreiber is only 5-4 on the hard courts in 2016 after his First Round win.

This is the kind of match that Kohlschreiber should still be winning as long as he is looking after his serve. He should have chances against the Martin serve through the match and I think he will eventually find the breaks of serve to record a 63, 64 win.

Gael Monfils - 5.5 games v Rogerio Dutra Silva: The home crowd will be behind Rogerio Dutra Silva in this Second Round match, but it is going to be difficult for the Brazilian to get the better of an in-form Gael Monfils. The exit of Novak Djokovic from the draw will have many players believing they can win the Gold Medal in Rio de Janeiro and Washington Champion Monfils has to believe he is one of those.

The Frenchman backed up the Washington win by reaching the Semi Final at the Canadian Masters and Monfils crushed Vasek Pospisil in the First Round.

Rogerio Dutra Silva took advantage of a kind draw in the First Round, but he is going to be given a real test by Gael Monfils. This is a player that spends almost all of his time exclusively on the clay courts and Dutra Silva has been beaten in three of his four hard court matches played in 2016.

Those three defeats have all come by the same margin of seven games and his sole win was as a very big favourite. With the way Monfils has been playing over the last three weeks, Dutra Silva will do very well to stay with him and I think the Frenchman will have enough break point chances to eventually come to a 63, 62 win which would match the scores in all of Dutra Silva's defeats on the hard courts in 2016.

Kei Nishikori - 5.5 games v John Millman: It isn't often on the men's Tour that you see a double bagel handed out, but John Millman did that to Ricardas Berankis in the First Round. As impressive as that scoreline looks, Millman is going to be given a whole different test by Kei Nishikori who will feel his recent form gives him every chance of winning a Medal at the Olympic Games.

Reaching the Final of the Canadian Masters in Toronto would have given Nishikori the confidence to take into the Rio Games and this is also a former US Open Finalist. I still wonder if Nishikori will be able to take the next step in his career by winning major tournaments with the poor serve he has, but the return game will always make the Japanese player a danger.

This match up should not be one that taxes Nishikori as he should be able to get involved in a number of rallies against Millman. From the back of the court, Nishikori will feel he has the edge in the match and I think there will be a number of break points fashioned against the average Millman serve.

Millman has lost eight times on the hard courts in 2016 and he would have failed to get within this number on five occasions. As long as Nishikori can protect the serve effectively, he should be too strong for Millman and come through with a 63, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Eugenie Bouchard + 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Daria Kasatkina - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Sam Stosur - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Elina Svitolina - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Alize Cornet + 6.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kei Nishikori - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Olympic Games Update: 8-5, + 4.02 Units (26 Units Staked, + 15.46% Yield)

Season 2016- 16.16 Units (1315 Units Staked, - 1.23% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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