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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (September 28th)

It was another frustrating day for the tennis picks with the matches on Tuesday going 2-2 for the second time in a row.

A 50% hit rate is no good for the picks and keeping the momentum rolling from the US Open as I look to end 2016 with positive results and try to get the season totals back into a positive position.

On Wednesday the tournaments are beginning to move into the later stages of the events being held in Asia, but the majority of my picks will once again come from the tournament being held in Wuhan where the top WTA players have been taking part.

Madison Keys - 3.5 games v Daria Kasatkina: This has been a very good year for Daria Kasatkina but the feeling is that she might have hit the wall that many youngsters do in their breakthrough on the main Tour. She had been in poor form prior to the tournament in Wuhan, but Kasatkina should have earned some confidence having come through the Qualifiers and then won two matches in the main draw.

Kasatkina has been a pretty strong favourite in every match she has played so far this week, but that won't be the case when she faces Madison Keys in the Third Round. The American is still trying to find the consistency that will see her take the next step in her career, but she has the power to make life very difficult for Kasatkina.

When they played at the Olympic Games, it was Keys' extra ability to hit through a slow court that hurt Kasatkina in the straight sets win and I think something similar will develop here.

The Keys serve has to be firing because that builds the confidence in her entire game and her power makes her a dangerous returner on the Tour. I do think she served well enough against Caroline Garcia to suggest she will have a little too much for Kasatkina and I expect Keys will earn at least three breaks of serve in this one which should lead to a 64, 64 win for the American.

Johanna Konta - 1.5 games v Carla Suarez Navarro: It will take a couple of really big tournaments for Johanna Konta to work her way through to the top eight in the Race to Singapore, but she did make a good start to that with a comfortable win in the Second Round in Wuhan.

Finishing in the top eight places in the Race to Singapore will begin this week for Konta who faces Carla Suarez Navarro in the Third Round, the player who currently is 8th in the leaderboard. This is a big test for Konta because Suarez Navarro is capable of beating the best players on the Tour when she is finding her best tennis, although the serve remains the big hindrance to her winning a really big tournament.

When on top form, Suarez Navarro is capable of looking after the serve even if it isn't going to produce too many cheap points from that shot. She is very capable off the ground and Konta can't afford to give up too many unforced errors to the Spaniard if she is going to avoid defeat in this one.

The backhand to backhand battles are going to be beautiful to watch with both players more comfortable from that wing. There won't be much between them, but I think Konta's stronger groundstrokes and first serve can be the difference maker in this one as long as she stays emotionally and physically invested in the match. It might need three sets, but Konta can battle through to the Quarter Final behind a 63, 46, 64 win.

Angelique Kerber - 3.5 games v Petra Kvitova: After winning the Australian Open back in January, Angelique Kerber struggled with the new expectation of being a Grand Slam Champion going into any tournament she played. The German didn't have the same struggles after reaching the Final at Wimbledon, perhaps showing Kerber was ready to play at those levels consistently.

Now she comes into Wuhan as a two time Grand Slam winner following her success at the US Open, but also a new pressure of being the current World Number 1 having overtaken Serena Williams in New York City. Kerber came back from a set down to beat Kristina Mladenovic in her first match here in Wuhan and I think she is going to have a strong end to the season although her match with Petra Kvitova is going to be a real test for her.

It has been an impressive tournament for Kvitova so far which has followed some strong runs over the last couple of months. However she is still trying to find the confidence you need when taking on the very best players on the Tour and I think that is where Kvitova has fallen short more often than not.

These players met at the US Open and it was Kerber's superiority in the rallies that proved to be the difference maker on the day. If Kerber can take advantage of the second serves she will see in this one, I think the new World Number 1 can stamp her authority on the women's game with an impressive win against a big name on the Tour.

Caroline Wozniacki + 2.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: There is no doubt we are going to see plenty of breaks of serve when Caroline Wozniacki and Agnieszka Radwanska play one another in the Third Round in Wuhan. They combined for 13 breaks of serve when they played in the Semi Final in Tokyo last week and it was Wozniacki who got the better of Radwanska on that occasion.

It has been a match up that Wozniacki has enjoyed with nine wins to four and she has won the last four matches between the players over the last two years. Out of the two players, I do think Wozniacki has a little more pop in her shots which can help her wear down Radwanska and this is a match that has the potential of going into a third set where the Pole has not been at her best.

The confidence has been flowing through Wozniacki who has had three really good tournaments in a row to keep her World Ranking moving back in the positive direction she would be expecting. That confidence makes her a dangerous player this week although she has had more tennis over the last couple of weeks than most others left in the draw.

One of those is not Radwanska though and I think the mental edge belongs to Wozniacki in this one. It could easily be another match that goes the distance and that makes this number of games very appealing to back the underdog and I think Wozniacki can keep within the number even if she is on the wrong end of the final result this week.

Paolo Lorenzi - 2.5 games v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman: Both of these players are much more comfortable on the clay courts than the hard courts, but I think the veteran Italian Paolo Lorenzi can get the better of Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in this one. While both are happier on the clay, Lorenzi has at least put some more wins together on the hard courts and he did reach the Quarter Final on an indoor hard court event in St Petersburg last week.

It is also Lorenzi that has two wins over Schwartzman under his belt in the 2016 season, although both of those have come on the clay courts, and that can give him another mental edge in this Second Round match.

Even though this match is being played on the hard courts, I do think there will be plenty of long rallies and chances to break for both players. However I think Lorenzi is the more confident player on this surface at the moment and the wins he has over Schwartzman will make him believe he can win this one when the big moments come along.

There is a chance this will need three sets to separate the players, but Lorenzi is capable of winning one of the sets with a couple of breaks of serve more than Schwartzman manages. That should help him cover this number in a winning effort even over three sets and I will back Lorenzi to do that.

MY PICKS: Madison Keys - 3.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet365 (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Paolo Lorenzi - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-4, - 1.26 Units (16 Units Staked, - 7.88% Yield)

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