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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (September 29th)

It has been a frustrating week for the picks with a lot of early winners followed by poor afternoon results.

The same happened again on Wednesday with the first two picks coming in as winners before the final three picks circled the drain. It is a little annoying, but that is the way it goes sometimes and it can quickly be turned around over the last four days of the events taking place this week.

Like the majority of the rest of the picks that I have made this week, I am going to be sticking with the event in Wuhan which has reached the Quarter Final stage. One of those Quarter Final matches are yet to be set thanks to the rain in the area, but all four will be played on Thursday as this tournament reaches the final couple of days.

Simona Halep - 3.5 games v Madison Keys: These players met in the Final of the Canadian Premier Event and Simona Halep was not as favoured to win that Final as she is in winning this Quarter Final against Madison Keys. A part of the reason was the form that Keys had shown that week in reaching the Final and Halep had also had a very difficult Semi Final against Angelique Kerber, but I think the Romanian is much fresher for this match and so the layers are asking her to cover an additional game.

I do think Halep is able to do that against a player she has beaten twice already this season including on the grass courts of Wimbledon where most would have expected Keys to come through. In both wins Halep has been able to cover this number with her superior movement and ability to make Keys play more balls than normal has helped her break down the power of the American.

Halep is capable of putting Keys in some really awkward positions on the court and I am still not convinced Keys has enough planning in her game to win a really big title. We know what we are going to get from Keys and that is some big time tennis beginning with a powerful serve and followed by heavy groundstrokes.

When that is a tactic that isn't working as effectively as usual, Keys can struggle to move to Plan B and I do think that is why Halep has got the better of her in their recent matches. Halep will know that her serve can be attacked by someone with the power Keys has, but she won't get too down on herself and will try to drag Keys into the longer rallies that Halep will expect to win more often than not.

Both wins have seen Halep cover this number against Keys and I also think she has shown much more consistent form over the last couple of months so I will back the World Number 4 to have a little too much in her locker in this one.

Svetlana Kuznetsova + 2.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: This Quarter Final looks to be a very good one between Svetlana Kuznetsova and Agnieszka Radwanska and I think it is going to be a close and competitive match.

Picking a winner is difficult with Kuznetsova having a clear edge on the head to head, but the last of those matches taking place last year. Going back to 2009, Kuznetsova has won seven of the last eight matches between these players, but Radwanska might feel she is the better form over the last couple of months which will give her the edge.

The match up is going to be Kuznetsova's power and aggression against Radwanska's ability to get around the court and make plenty of defensive plays and try and extract errors from the Kuznetsova game. There will be times when the Pole is very successful at doing that, but I think at other times it will be Kuznetsova dominating rallies and forcing breaks of serve.

I got it wrong yesterday when backing Caroline Wozniacki as the underdog with the games against Radwanska. However Wozniacki might not have been at 100% and had plenty of chances to get ahead in the match and Kuznetsova is in stronger physical condition at this moment with a solid couple of wins behind her.

Taking the games in this one should be important if Kuznetsova can win a set as I think that can inspire her to win this one outright too.

Johanna Konta v Petra Kvitova: Johanna Konta is the slight underdog in this match against Petra Kvitova and that has got to have something to do with the fact the latter was playing for over three hours in an epic match with Angelique Kerber on Wednesday. While Kvitova has been given twenty-four hours to get ready for this match, I can't help but feel that something has been taken away from Kvitova from that Third Round win.

This is a player that has won big tournaments before so I know Kvitova won't be unfamiliar with the situation of back to back matches, but she won't have spent that time on court too often. Kvitova has to be feeling it physically and mentally having come from a set down to beat the World Number 1 and I do think Konta has a chance to 'pick the bones' of the player that does come out to face her on court.

Konta can't just think she has to turn up to win this game as a tired player might be more likely to hit out when the short ball comes their way. A player like Kvitova is happy to play with that aggression in mind and she is more than capable of blasting off anyone when on her day so Konta will have to be smart with the way she plays this match.

If she can put together a game plan where Konta executes by serving well and forcing Kvitova to move from side to side I think she has a great chance of winning this match. That should open up the drop shot that Konta loves to play and she has to play tight and not give away too many unforced errors to make Kvitova feel the match pressurising her from a mental point of view as well as extending the rallies to physically wear her out.

I do think Konta is able to do that and move into the Semi Final where she is earning the Ranking points to challenge for a top eight place in Singapore at the end of October.

MY PICKS: Simona Halep - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)
Svetlana Kuznetsova + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Johanna Konta @ 2.00 Boyle Sports (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-7, - 3.98 Units (26 Units Staked, - 15.31% Yield)

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