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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (August 2nd)

I didn't make any tennis picks from the Monday offerings because I simply didn't find any value from the limited matches on offer.

On Tuesday the remaining First Round matches in Atlanta will be completed, while the tournament in Florianopolis will move onto the Second Round as they look to get that event completed before the Olympic Games tennis begins on Saturday.

After a solid month of July, I am looking for another good week of picks to put into the books and keep the momentum rolling as we move further into August.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez - 2.5 games v Horacio Zeballos: Last year was a rarity for Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in recent seasons on the Tour as he finished 2015 with a winning record. That is the only winning record he has had in the last five years on the Tour, but the Spaniard is in a position to make it back to back years with a winning record for the first time since 2010.

Recent weeks have been difficult for Garcia-Lopez who will be hoping a move to the hard courts can help him change his form. It hasn't been the best surface for him in recent years and he has a losing record on the hard courts since 2010, but there is enough to like about his game against Horacio Zeballos who hasn't had much joy on this surface.

The latter hasn't played a lot of hard court tennis in recent years and is coming off the clay courts to take in this tournament in Atlanta. Horacio Zeballos is dangerous thanks to the lefty serve which can be difficult for players to read, but he can struggle with the consistency and speed coming through the courts.

I will admit it is hard to fully trust Garcia-Lopez considering the relatively weak serve and poor form he has been in. The hard courts are also not his favourite surface, but he does enjoy more success on these courts than Zeballos and I think that can be a key in a very tight match that can see Garcia-Lopez edge through 76, 64.

Sergiy Stakhovsky - 1.5 games v Ivan Dodig: The withdrawals from the Olympic Games meant there were late invitations for other players who had missed the cut. One of those was Sergiy Stakhovsky but he decided he won't make changes to his schedule and will play in Atlanta for important Ranking points rather than accept the chance to play in Rio de Janeiro.

The only way it will be seen by him and his team in being the right decision is if Stakhovsky can have a decent week in his first tournament back on the hard courts. It won't come easy as he will be faced by Ivan Dodig in the First Round, although the latter has lost six of his last seven matches including on the hard courts this summer.

That means Dodig has lost his last six matches on the hard courts and it is hard to stem that poor trend if the Croatian is not quite at full health. Dodig did play Borna Coric tough last week in Toronto, and his serve can be a dangerous weapon when firing at full potential.

Both players will look for their serve-volley game to dominate the other and it looks like it will be a close match between them. Like Dodig, Stakhovsky doesn't have a strong record on the hard courts at the main Tour level, but he has won a Challenger title on the surface in 2016 and I think he will have a slight edge from a fitness level to come through 64, 67, 63.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Dusan Lajovic: Both Fernando Verdasco and Dusan Lajovic have had some solid results since the end of Wimbledon, but those have come on the clay courts in Europe and now they play one another on the North American hard courts.

I can see both players coming into the match with confidence, but there is a clear difference in the results each has produced on the hard courts. Over the last three seasons, Dusan Lajovic is just 7-17 on the hard courts at the main Tour level and just 12-8 in either Challenger or Qualifiers level.

That isn't to say that Fernando Verdasco has been dominating on the hard courts, but he is 26-25 over the same period as the Lajovic results with all of those matches at the main Tour level. While it was Lajovic that won their previous match on a clay court, the hard courts should give Verdasco the edge with his power being able to hit through the courts and taking away some of the defensive work the Serbian can produce.

This is still a lot of games for Verdasco to cover, especially when you look at the results and see that the Spaniard struggles with this number on the hard courts. However I have seen Lajovic have a hard time staying with opponents once they pick up his serve, which is not the biggest, and Verdasco can have enough joy to find a 63, 64 win out of this one.

Monica Puig - 5.5 games v Olga Savchuk: The way Monica Puig plays her tennis means she is always liable to producing games filled with errors. There is plenty of aggression to like from the Puig game, but being slightly out of sync means a host of errors occur which will give her opponents confidence to upset her.

It will be a huge upset if Olga Savchuk is able to get the better of Puig when they meet on the hard courts of Florianopolis on Tuesday. This is a player that hasn't shown much form in recent weeks with plenty of losses behind her, while Savchuk has taken some heavy losses on the hard courts as players break down her game.

Savchuk would be 1-9 in her last ten losses on the hard courts when it comes to getting within this number and she is just 1-6 overall on this surface in Qualifiers or lower level tournament than the main Tour through 2016. The Ukrainian has taken some heavy losses to players that are not of the same level of Puig, although the latter is just 2-3 on the Tour since her surprising run to the Eastbourne Semi Finals.

However Puig has had the majority of her wins on the hard courts and she was an impressive winner in the First Round. As long as Puig is serving well, she should have her chances in this one to break serve consistently and I think she will eventually wear down a player that doesn't face opponents of this level too often. After a battle in the first set, I look for Puig to move through the gears and see off Savchuk 64, 62.

MY PICKS: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Sergiy Stakhovsky - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Monica Puig - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)

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