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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (August 25th)

It was a mixed bag of results for the picks on Wednesday, but that does mean they remain in a positive position for the week so far.

The focus is beginning to shift towards the US Open which will begin on Monday, but before that the tournaments in New Haven and Winston Salem will ensure they have completed their event on the Saturday to give players a little time to recover for the final Grand Slam of the season. That should mean every player remaining in the two tournaments will be focused to try and win the title, especially as the majority of them are not expected to challenge for the US Open title.

On Thursday the Quarter Final matches will be played through the day and I have picks from some of those matches as I look for a strong Thursday to ensure a strong week on the Tour which should give some momentum for the US Open picks that will begin next week.

Ekaterina Makarova + 3.5 games v Petra Kvitova: This is the fourth time Ekaterina Makarova and Petra Kvitova are playing one another on the Tour and it is the Russian underdog who has come through with two wins. However the most recent of those matches was at the Olympic Games and that was the one Kvitova won, while she hammered Makarova here in New Haven two years ago.

Each of the matches have been competitive in 2016 though and I think Makarova getting this many games has to be backed and I have backed her the previous two times she has played Kvitova at Wimbledon and at the Olympic Games. Both times I backed her with this same number of games being given to her, although my one concern is how well Kvitova has played at New Haven in the last few years.

Clearly she favours the conditions in Connecticut and Kvitova destroyed Eugenie Bouchard in the last match on Wednesday to show she is feeling her game perfectly. That match up is a good one for her though, while Makarova seems to be able to put Kvitova in difficult positions around the court which leads to competitive matches.

Makarova has won three of the last five matches outright, while Kvitova would only have covered this number once in their eight completed matches. The fact that the only cover came in New Haven bothers me a little with the form Kvitova has here in recent seasons, but I am taking the games in what has regularly become a battle on the court between these two lefty players.

Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v John Millman: It has to be said that John Millman is making the best out of his attributes which is keeping him in the top 100 of the World Rankings. It means direct entry into Grand Slam events and has to be respected and the Australian has plenty of heart as he has shown all week in Winston Salem.

Millman has come back from a set down in each of his first three matches in Winston Salem and battled through in three sets. At some point you would guess that is going to have a physical impact on his play, especially as Millman has to work hard to hold serve with not many cheap points coming off that shot.

The hard work does make Millman a danger in this match against Richard Gasquet who has been trying to regain his fitness after an injury forced him out at Wimbledon. The Frenchman was a fairly comfortable winner on Wednesday, but his serve is not at the peak of its powers and that meant Stephane Robert had a few break point chances of his own.

However I think Gasquet has returned well enough to give Millman some problems and I think he will prove a little too good on the day. I am looking for Gasquet to break late in the first set and early in the second to come through with a 64, 64 kind of win in this one.

Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 games v Yen-Hsun Lu: There are a few players on the Tour who can regularly play better than their World Ranking would suggest and Yen-Hsun Lu is one of those for me. He might be Number 72 in the World Rankings, but Lu has always enjoyed playing on the hard courts and he has backed up being a favourite in his first three matches in Winston Salem by winning all without dropping a set.

The mindset will be a little different in the Quarter Final as Lu is the underdog for the first time when he takes on a top 20 player in Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard has won their previous two matches but the last one in Chennai in 2015 was a very close match that was decided by a few key points here and there.

It has been a more difficult path through to the Quarter Final for Bautista Agut who has had to come from a set down to win the last couple of matches. Dropping the first set has not stopped Bautista Agut from covering this number in his two wins here and he does look to be in slightly stronger form than Lu.

The latter has reached the Quarter Final twice and the Semi Final once in the last three years in Winston Salem so Lu will be confident of his chances to win this Quarter Final. However I think Bautista Agut will be a little too solid the longer the match goes on and can win this one 46, 63, 63.

Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 games v Victor Troicki: It has been a good tournament already for Victor Troicki who has beaten Kyle Edmund and Sam Querrey to get into this Quarter Final. He has recovered from a run of five consecutive losses on the Tour which has to have dented some of his confidence and I think Fernando Verdasco can prove too good for him in this match.

Verdasco has beaten one American youngster with a lot of potential to reach the top of the ATP and also beaten the current Number 1 American player. There have been spurts of good form from Verdasco coupled with some disappointing performances from the veteran Spaniard, but he is in better all around form than Troicki coming into this one.

The Troicki losses to Marin Cilic and Andy Murray would have been expected, but defeats to Kevin Anderson and Ryan Harrison were much more disappointing. The Serbian player has been serving well this week though which makes him dangerous but he doesn't have the best set of results on the hard courts this season even though he won the title in Sydney.

I can see Verdasco giving Troicki more trouble in the return games and he has also been serving effectively. Verdasco is not as consistent as he would like to be, but he has had the better all around results on the hard courts than Troicki and I think he can break down his opponent in a three set win while covering this number.

MY PICKS: Ekaterina Makarova + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Roberto Bautista Agut - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 William Hill (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-3, + 0.70 Units (14 Units Staked, + 5% Yield)

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