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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Shanghai Tennis Picks 2016 (October 12th)

I really thought it might be another frustrating day for the picks as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils were both broken from 40-0 up at almost the exact same time which seemed to be sending both picks down the crapper.

That has been the case the last couple of weeks and I was preparing myself for more of the same, but thankfully both Tsonga and Monfils recovered from those mental mistakes to ensure a positive day.

Hopefully that has given me something to build upon in the coming days with a very busy Wednesday.

Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 games v Kyle Edmund: This is a lot of games and the layers have set Kyle Edmund as a short favourite to cover with the games being given to him. While he has shown some solid form on the court, I think the US Open Champion Stan Wawrinka can be backed to get the better of him by a wide enough margin to make the odds against quotes count.

Any chance of Wawrinka coasting towards the World Tour Finals and the close of the 2016 season following his success in Flushing Meadows might have gone after he reached the Final in St Petersburg. Wawrinka was a dominant force there before finding Alexander Zverev a little too good in the Final, but I expect a motivated Swiss player to take the court which should mean being a little too good for Edmund.

There will be moments when Edmund is very much in the match as he faces an opponent who will go for his shots which can lead to cheap errors at times. However the power that Wawrinka possesses will give Edmund some issues and I have found the young British player can fall away in these kind of matches even after giving a good account of himself.

Last week in Beijing he took Andy Murray to a tie-breaker before falling away in the second set and I can see something similar happening here. Stan Wawrinka might take a bit of time to appreciate what Edmund brings to the table, but once he does that he should be able to pull away in the second set too in a 75, 63 win.

Lucas Pouille - 4.5 games v Nicolas Almagro: It has been a strong year for Lucas Pouille who has made some considerable strides up the World Rankings which he will be looking to build upon in 2017. He has produced some of his best tennis at the Grand Slam events although I still think I want to see more from Pouille before I consider him as a potential top 10 player.

There is a lot to like about his tennis though and Pouille will be looking for a strong end to 2016 which could also potentially see him getting involved in the race for the Tour Final spots. It would take something special for him to do that although I am expecting him to beat a second veteran Spaniard this week on Wednesday.

Pouille saw off Fernando Verdasco in the First Round and I think he will get the better of Nicolas Almagro who had to dig deep before seeing off Mikhail Youzhny. While that is an impressive come back win and Almagro has the kind of game that can be fun to watch, Pouille is playing at a much higher level and I think he will be less likely to give up a strong position as Youzhny did a couple of days ago.

The ability to run all day should help Pouille turn some points around when defending against Almagro and I think he will prove himself to be in a much better place on the court with a 64, 63 win.

Alize Cornet + 4.5 games v Venus Williams: I am not sure anyone can really back Alize Cornet with any kind of confidence as a player whose emotions can get the better of her on the court. I think it is much harder to back her when Cornet is a favourite, but she is getting plenty of games in this one against Venus Williams when they meet in the Second Round in Hong Kong.

In the past Cornet has given Serena Williams some real difficulties on the court, but older sister Venus Williams has barely been troubled by her. Things might have changed as Venus Williams has been really struggling with her form which means her opponents will have chances to beat her at the moment.

That has seen Shuai Peng and Svetlana Kuznetsova dismiss Venus Williams very easily over the last couple of weeks and Cornet might be the latest who could take a set which would give her a very strong chance of covering with these games in hand. The concern has to be the one sided losses she has taken against Venus over the years but Cornet has had some solid results over the last two weeks.

It has to be said this feels like I am opposing Venus Williams more than I am backing Cornet with any confidence. However it does have to be said that Williams should not be asked to cover this number of games in her recent form and I think Cornet can at least keep herself within this number.

Madison Keys - 4.5 games v Camila Giorgi: The second half of the 2016 season has been a big disappointment for Camila Giorgi who has dropped down to Number 82 in the World Rankings. The season probably can't end quick enough for Giorgi who has been inconsistent through her career, but who has recently found wins very hard to come by.

The Italian will be trying to help prematurely end Madison Keys' season after the American took a Wild Card into the tournament in Linz in order to pick up the points which can earn her a place in Singapore. Keys has been in good form over the last couple of weeks which has put her on the brink of making it through to the WTA Finals, but there is still work for the American to do.

Her big game should mean she is in a position to put the pressure on Giorgi in this one, but the key will be trying to get a first strike in the return games. Both players will feel they have the power to dictate rallies, but the Giorgi serve can break down at times and that is where Keys has to try and take control of the match.

It is a dangerous match for Keys, have no doubt about that. But Giorgi's form is not inspiring and I am not sure how deep she will dig if she falls behind in this match with little time left in 2016. I expect Keys will be able to use her serve to good enough effect to win this match 63, 64 and move onto the Second Round.

Belinda Bencic + 3.5 games v Dominika Cibulkova: Players chasing their places at the WTA Finals have taken Wild Card spots this week in various tournaments to earn the points to make it to Singapore. One of those is Dominika Cibulkova who is outside of the top eight places going into this week so needs a deep effort in Linz to extend her chances.

She is a clear favourite to beat Belinda Bencic in the First Round as injuries have hurt the Swiss Miss through the 2016 season. That has to be factored into the match, but I still feel the layers might be overrating Cibulkova in this one knowing she is in a 'must win' position to get into Singapore.

The performances from Cibulkova in recent weeks has seen her produce a number of wins, but she has rarely been able to win those matches easily. Six of Cibulkova's last nine matches have ended in three sets and Bencic winning a set should have every chance of at least covering in a losing effort.

I can't ignore the fact that Cibulkova has only covered this number in one of her last eight matches which includes a run to the Final in Wuhan. Her serve can be vulnerable and someone like Bencic is capable of taking advantage if she is feeling back at 100% although I can't completely guess that she will be at full tilt. I still think this is too many games for Cibulkova to be covering though and will take the games on offer.

Sorana Cirstea + 3.5 games v Oceane Dodin: This has been a strong week for Oceane Dodin who has come through the Qualifiers and won a match in the main draw. Since failing to Qualify for the US Open, Dodin has won a title and reached the Semi Final of another at the lower levels, but also won a title at Quebec City on the main Tour.

There is no doubting the talent that Dodin has and I am expecting her to start making a significant impact on the main Tour in the next couple of seasons. The Frenchwoman is a strong favourite to see off Sorana Cirstea, but I can't help thinking she is being asked to cover too many games in this one.

Cirstea was a comfortable winner in the First Round over an out of form Kiki Bertens who has been doing a lot of losing in recent weeks. This is going to be a much more difficult test for someone who struggles at big points when facing break point against her own serve, but Cirstea has to be respected having played well below the main Tour level which is where Dodin spends most of her time too.

It is the Romanian who has shown more success on the hard courts at the lower levels than Dodin, although the latter has to be respected for the way she has been able to play indoors. I can see both players having their moments in this one and I think Cirstea is more than capable of winning a set which will make this number of games very appealing. I still think Cirstea has every chance of winning this kind of match outright and I will back her with the games to keep this one competitive at least.

MY PICKS: Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Lucas Pouille - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Alize Cornet + 4.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Belinda Bencic + 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Sorana Cirstea + 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Sky Bet (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-4, + 1.20 Units (18 Units Staked, + 6.67% Yield)

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