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Monday, 10 October 2016

Shanghai Tennis Picks 2016 (October 11th)

Monday proved to be another frustrating day in a 2016 season when I have had too many of those. It is the days when you don't catch the breaks you should that really hurt because you are going to have moments when you make some bad picks.

How Mikhail Youzhny and Johanna Larsson crumbled the way they did is beyond me? Youzhny was up a set and a break while Larsson had just broken her opponent three times while taking the second set to force a decider, but both could barely win a game from that moment.

That is an annoyance to say the least, but you have to move on. Tuesday I am focusing only on the Shanghai Masters having looked through the rest of the matches on the WTA Tour and not really feeling comfortable in those to the point of being able to make a play.

David Ferrer - 3.5 games v Feliciano Lopez: The First Round match between these two veteran Spanish players will bring in plenty of spectators in Shanghai on Tuesday as both David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez will have their admirers. The two players look to be on the slide in their careers as they have begun to slip down the World Rankings so a big week in Shanghai will at least protect what they have to take into the 2017 season.

I have always had a lot of respect for Ferrer and what he has managed to do in his career, but there is no doubt he has lost some of the movement around the court which made him so effective. Ferrer did play well in Beijing but a player who has reached at least 53 Tour wins in each of the last six seasons is only on 31 match wins this season which shows the drop in standard.

Further proof might come from the fact that he is Number 19 on the Race to London leaderboard having played in the World Tour Finals every year from 2010. Ferrer has still found a way to win matches this year and he is likely to understand the match up perfectly when facing Feliciano Lopez who had to retire from a match in Tokyo last week.

Lopez might not be at 100% for this one and that won't be helpful when thinking he has lost seven in a row to Ferrer. The key for the latter is to make sure Lopez is having to earn his service games by trying to get enough balls back in play towards the backhand which Lopez will use to slice the ball more often than not.

The ability to get to the net is a strong point for Lopez, but if he is not quite at 100% he might not be as quick off the mark to attack the net which should give Ferrer chances to pass him. I think Ferrer has played well enough last week to give him some confidence to take into this one in Shanghai and I will back him to move through 63, 76 in this one.

Nick Kyrgios - 3.5 games v Sam Querrey: When Nick Kyrgios gets the kind of momentum behind him that he had in Tokyo, he can be incredibly difficult to stop. The problem Kyrgios has at the moment is he yet to find the consistency to produce his best tennis on a week by week basis although the Australian has been much better than the critics will have you believe.

It is true that there can be times you watch Kyrgios and it can be a little frustrating that he is not offering his best, or at least not perceived to be offering his best, while he can also check out of matches mentally. However he is still in with a chance of making it to the World Tour Finals in London after winning the title in Tokyo which leaves Kyrgios just 800 points behind Dominic Thiem, who isn't playing this week, with two Masters events still on the schedule before the event in London is to begin.

Now I don't really know if Kyrgios has a big motivation to play in the World Tour Finals, but I do think he can get off to a positive start when he plays Sam Querrey in the First Round on Tuesday. The American will always be known for beating Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon but it is fair to say that Querrey has struggled with his consistency since then.

The big serve can be a problem for players to deal with and Kyrgios will have to find a way to get enough balls back in play to try and break the serve. Once they get into rallies you would have to think Kyrgios is the stronger player though and Querrey doesn't show a lot of appetite to get to the net and that should give the Australian a chance to attack the backhand to good effect.

As long as Kyrgios is not serving badly, he should have his chances to come through this match with a 75, 64 kind of win.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 games v Janko Tipsarevic: Injuries have hurt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga through 2016 as he was forced to withdraw from both the French Open and the US Open. He has come back from the last injury to produce a strong First Round performance in Shanghai, but Tsonga won't be getting much sympathy for his 2016 injuries from Janko Tipsarevic who has had the last couple of years destroyed by injuries.

There have been some signs that Tipsarevic can get back to something like his best, but I do think his best days are behind him consistently. His forehand just doesn't match up with the better players on the Tour and someone like Tsonga can really make hay when the rallies develop on that wing.

The Tsonga serve is still a serious weapon compared with Tipsarevic's and I think that will give him a considerable edge in this Second Round encounter. I have to say that Tipsarevic has put together some decent results over the last few weeks, but he will have rarely dealt with the power that Tsonga is going to produce and I think that will break down the Serb over the course of this match.

If Tsonga is serving well he should be able to keep the pressure on Tipsarevic who might have to dig deep to win his service games and I think that will lead to a 64, 64 kind of win.

Gael Monfils - 3.5 games v Kevin Anderson: He might not have won the tournament in Tokyo, but Gael Monfils did reach the Semi Final which has helped him take another step to a maiden appearance at the World Tour Finals. Another strong week in Shanghai might be enough to confirm his place in London, but this is a difficult opening match for the Frenchman to face.

I don't think too many would have been surprised that Kevin Anderson has not maintained the form which saw him have a career best year in 2015. However injury and a loss of form has seen him surprisingly slip to Number 40 in the World Rankings and the big serving South African has not really shown a lot of form in recent weeks either.

That is going to be leading to trouble against Monfils who has been in hot form himself and has all of the athleticism that can give Anderson problems. It has been the case in their past matches which have all been won by Monfils and I think he is going to get more joy in the return games than you make think when going against a serve like Anderson's.

I think Monfils will be capable of getting enough balls back in play in awkward spots to get Anderson into rallies and his own serve has been working well enough. I think the Frenchman is plenty motivated too and I think he can win this match 76, 63.

MY PICKS: David Ferrer - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Nick Kyrgios - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-3, - 2.52 Units (10 Units Staked, - 25.20% Yield)

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