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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (August 24th)

It looked like it might be a frustrating opening day for the picks as Sam Querrey blew a second set tie-breaker despite being the stronger player, while Marcos Baghdatis had been a set and a break up before losing the second set.

However both players turned things around in the final set with Querrey coming back from a break down to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Baghdatis saved some break points before beating Donald Young.

That made up for the Timea Bacsinszky defeat to Johanna Larsson earlier in the day but I hope for an even better day on Wednesday.

The Seeds at the US Open were announced on Tuesday and we are fast approaching the draw being released. The weather in New York doesn't look the best earlier in the week, but the good news is that they do have a roof on Arthur Ashe so there will be tennis played every day, although the First Round matches might spill over to Wednesday.

Before that we have some big days in Winston Salem and New Haven to get through, but I should have picks out for Day 1 at the US Open by Sunday afternoon or very early Monday morning.

Caroline Garcia - 3.5 games v Kirsten Flipkens: Caroline Garcia has two wins over Kirsten Flipkens in the 2016 season already and I am backing the Frenchwoman to make it three in a row on Wednesday. Both players had impressive First Round wins, although Flipkens should have more feel for the conditions having played in the Qualifiers before being the recipient of a 'Lucky Loser' spot in the main draw.

She took advantage by beating Belinda Bencic in the First Round, but the matches with Garcia have not been a good match up for Flipkens so far. The first serve is not a big shot for Flipkens and she doesn't get as many cheap points off that as Garcia does which can build pressure over the course of a match.

Some of the Garcia results on the hard courts have been very disappointing when you think of the talent she has and the power she does possess. Garcia is just 1-3 on the hard courts this summer prior to the tournament here in New Haven and I do wonder if she finds the right rhythm when playing on the faster surfaces although she did reach the Semi Final in Dubai which is one of the faster hard courts on the Tour.

The bigger concern for Garcia is that many of her losses on the hard courts have come as the favourite, but she is facing an opponent who has failed to cover this number in all her defeats on the hard courts this season. Her win over Venus Williams at the Olympic Games might be a little overrated considering how Venus has been playing and I think Garcia wins this one 75, 64.

Petra Kvitova - 3.5 games v Eugenie Bouchard: It has been two seasons since Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard have met on the Tour, but the past meetings have shown the Kvitova power to be a huge difference maker.

This has not been a great season for Kvitova in terms of consistency, but she is the two time defending Champion in New Haven and has reached the Final here four times in a row while winning three times. The conditions are clearly something she enjoys although Kvitova had to overcome a scare in the First Round before seeing off Louise Chirico.

Eugenie Bouchard is having a far better season than 2015, but she is still not quite up to the consistency you need to start moving up the World Rankings. Too many times Bouchard looks like she has lost all belief within a match when things have not gone the way she anticipated and I think mentally she will be under pressure knowing Kvitova has blown her off the court in their previous matches.

While Bouchard has played well at times, when she goes behind she struggles to fight back in matches and I think Kvitova is going to prove too strong. She clearly loves playing here and I will back Kvitova to come through with a 64, 64 win.

Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games v Stephane Robert: The return from injury has seen Richard Gasquet struggle to find his best game and that has seen all three matches he has played since Wimbledon become really competitive. Gasquet has fought through to win two of those against the likes of Adrian Mannarino and Daniel Evans, but he will be looking to pick up the play as we fast approach the final Grand Slam of the season.

It is unlikely that Gasquet will be a threat to win it all in New York City, but it does represent a chance to improve the World Ranking as well as getting closer to making the final eight who will play in the ATP World Tour Championships in London.

The match up with Stephane Robert is a difficult one for Gasquet as the veteran has come through back to back matches that have gone three sets. However those battling displays show a player that will feel he can get the better of his compatriot even if he had lost five matches in a row prior to the victories in Winston Salem.

Robert had lost five matches in a row on the hard courts though and some of those have been on the Challenger level. He has been largely competitive, but I think someone like Gasquet can we a little too good at the key points to break Robert's game down and eventually come through with a 75, 63 win.

Pablo Cuevas - 1.5 games v Pablo Carreno Busta: I am a little surprised that the layers think the match between Pablo Cuevas and Pablo Carreno Busta is going to be as competitive as they do. I have been wrong when I see a match going completely differently to how the layers believe, but I would have had Cuevas as a much stronger favourite to win this one.

He has won the last two matches between these players over the last twelve months and one of those came on an indoor hard court, while Cuevas has won all four sets played. The hard courts are not the favourite surface of the Uruguayan, but even that edge isn't there for Carreno Busta who has fewer wins on the hard courts than Cuevas in 2016.

I do think Carreno Busta's run to the Semi Final in Los Cabos a couple of weeks ago might have played a part in the pricing of this match, but he didn't exactly beat a stellar list of players before going out to Feliciano Lopez. Carreno Busta also reached the Quarter Final here in Winston Salem last season, but he was just 2-5 on the hard courts between those two strong runs and I think Cuevas will have a little too much for him.

Both players can be a little loose behind serve which is a concern as one of the players might run away with a set and Carreno Busta doing that would make it difficult for Cuevas to have any chance to cover. However I think Cuevas holds the mental edge and can find his way to a battling 75, 64 win and a place in the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Caroline Garcia - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-1, + 1.28 Units (6 Units Staked, + 21.33% Yield)

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