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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (August 3rd)

We might only be in the middle of the week, but the tournament in Florianopolis has already reached the Quarter Final stage as they look to get that event done before the Olympic Games begin on Saturday.

The other event are taking a more recognisable course during their week as we will see half of the Second Round matches played in Atlanta and Nanchang on Wednesday and the other half on Thursday which means the final three days of the tournaments are left for the Quarter Finals, Semi Finals and Final.

I am not that interested in the Nanchang event with the lack of real quality in the field, while any picks from the matches that have not been set in Atlanta and Florianopolis will have to be added on Wednesday if they do make appeal.

For now I will concentrate on picks from the three ATP Second Round matches set in Atlanta for Wednesday.

Reilly Opelka + 3.5 games v Kevin Anderson: Backing a former Junior Wimbledon Champion whose career has been stalled thanks to injuries might be dangerous when not getting that many games against someone as solid as Kevin Anderson. However Reilly Opelka is a big man with a big serve and while there is still room for improvement in his game, that serve alone could make him a dangerous player in years to come.

It won't be often that Anderson has to look up at an opponent, but that is the case in this Second Round match and the courts are playing fast enough to make Opelka a danger to the Seeded player. I do think the Opelka return game has plenty of room for improvement, but Anderson is also a limited returner and the chances of seeing tie-breakers and few break point chance can make this number of games very appealing.

Anderson played well in Toronto last week which might be a sign of a change in his performances in 2016, but he has been inconsistent through the season. While he will also have plenty of success behind the serve, the Opelka wing span might be able to get enough balls back in play to fashion mistakes, although the key to this match in respect of this spread is how well Anderson returns.

His own size will mean he will likely get more balls back in play than Opelka is perhaps going to be accustomed to, and that can cause problems. However this is a big serve that will take Anderson out of his comfort zone and the price on the handicap makes this appealing to back the young American with the head start.

Tim Smyczek + 3.5 games v Donald Young: This might be the closest tournament at home for Donald Young but he hasn't made use of that in the past with his First Round win being only his second ever win in the tournament. He is the favourite to move through to the Quarter Final, but Tim Smyczek will have something to say about that.

Smyczek had to come from a set down to beat Tiago Monteiro in the last Round, but the American did say he was feeling good about his game. He has not been in the best form of late and Smyczek has taken two heavy losses in Washington and Toronto before heading to Atlanta in a field in which he can make hay if building up some steam.

There won't be anything that the other player has not seen before with this being the sixteenth time that Young and Smyczek will face one another. Eight of the previous fifteen have been won by Young, although it is Smyczek that has won four in a row including in both matches played in 2016 and I can see this one being another tight match between them.

That makes this number of games appealing at odds against especially when you consider it is Smyczek who has been getting the better of their recent matches. Even though Young has been in better form of the two players in recent weeks, none of his three wins on the hard courts would have seen him cover this number. Add in the poor record in Atlanta overall and Smyczek can turn this into a competitive match and I will take the games.

John Isner - 3.5 games v Adrian Mannarino: This has not been a productive time of the season as John Isner would have been hoping, but he can begin to turn things back around if he can win the title in Atlanta. He has won the title here in each of the last three seasons and Isner is looking to make it four in a row as he gets his tournament up and running against Adrian Mannarino.

Backing Isner to cover this number has not been productive for me over the last couple of weeks on the hard courts, but he has had his chances to break serve early enough to get into a position to cover. Isner created plenty of chances against the Adrian Mannarino serve when these players met in Indian Wells back in March and I think he will have the majority of chances in this one too.

It does have to be said that Isner has covered this number in two of his five wins over Mannarino and the latter can have a dangerous lefty serve which needs to be respected. However it does have to be said that the Frenchman has struggled on the hard court so far this summer and he will be under immense scoreboard pressure against Isner.

There is no doubting it is a big number when you consider the limited return game Isner possesses, but he has created seventeen break points in the last two matches against the Frenchman. If Isner can take his chances better than he did in his defeat to Ryan Harrison in Toronto last week, I do think he is capable of recording a 64, 64 win in this one.

Taylor Fritz - 3.5 games v Bjorn Fratangelo: There has been a lack of real American threats in the mens draws of recent tennis seasons ever since Andy Roddick retired and the likes of Mardy Fish, Sam Querrey and John Isner failed to fill that gap as effectively as fans would have liked. Now a new generation of American players are moving onto the Tour with some of those featuring here in Atlanta.

The leading name has to be Taylor Fritz who had a strong Junior career and has made a solid start to life on the ATP Tour through 2016. There is nothing wrong with having a losing record on the Tour in your first year and Fritz can say he has already pushed the likes of Roger Federer in matches and he has reached the Final in a tournament in Memphis.

The hard courts will be his favoured surface which is no surprise considering the nation of his birth and Fritz should be looking at Atlanta as a big chance to secure top Ranking points in what is a weak field compared to what he will see the rest of the summer.

Fritz had an easy win in the First Round, but it will be tougher against Bjorn Fratangelo although he hasn't been able to turn into a consistent performer at this level. While Fratangelo had a solid win on Tuesday evening, he has not had the best set of results on the hard courts this summer and has had a couple of poor losses in that time including last week against Andrew Whittington.

Both players will rely on their serve to put them in a position to win this match, but I think Fritz has the edge when it comes to the returning game. That should provide him the difference maker in the big moments of the match and I like the younger player to move through to the Quarter Final behind a 64, 64 win.

Irina-Camelia Begu - 3.5 games v Nao Hibino: The third Quarter Final in Florianopolis on Wednesday will be played between Irina-Camelia Begu and Nao Hibino and I do think the former is perhaps not rated as strongly as I thought she would be.

It is Begu who has had the tougher run through the weak draw having dropped the first set she played in Brazil, but she has bounced back by winning her next four sets comprehensively. There have been plenty of early losses on the hard courts for an inconsistent player like Begu, but the difference has been clear once she gets a couple of wins in an event under her belt as she uses the momentum very well.

Begu could not have asked for a better Quarter Final against an opponent who has struggled at this level through the season. Take away the two wins Hibino has had earlier this week and she would be 5-9 on the hard courts this season while her defeats tend to be one sided and that is a concern for the young Japanese player.

Looking back through her hard court losses, Hibino would have come within this number once in her last twenty-two hard court defeats. Hibino's serve is vulnerable and Begu should have the edge off the ground which is likely to lead to a 63, 64 kind of win for the higher Ranked player and a move through to the Semi Final.

MY PICKS: Reilly Opelka + 3.5 Games @ 2.50 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tim Smyczek + 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Sky Bet (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Taylor Fritz - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Irina-Camelia Begu - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-2, - 2.40 Units (6 Units Staked, - 40% Yield)

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