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Friday, 14 October 2016

Shanghai Tennis Picks 2016 (October 14th)

The last couple of days have begun to turn this week into the one I wanted with plenty of winning picks meaning a positive week is in the offing.

There is still three days left of the week though so nothing has been decided yet and I have seen plenty of times in the 2016 season when it has looked liked a strong week was about to be put together only to end up with a poor few days to blow those chances.

I just want to stay focused and keeping making the picks as I have and hope the week can be a positive one as I try to end the 2016 season with some momentum to take into the 2017 season which will begin six weeks after this one comes to a close.


Roberto Bautista Agut + 2.5 games v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Any worries about the Jo-Wilfried Tsonga health this week in Shanghai have been put to rest with the way the Frenchman has worked his way through the draw. Coming from behind to beat the in-form Alexander Zverev is an impressive performance from Tsonga and he is favoured to beat Roberto Bautista Agut in this first Quarter Final of the day.

Tsonga will be playing Bautista Agut for the third time in 2016 but he has failed to get over the hump in two defeats that have both gone the distance. Both matches have seen Bautista Agut come close to losing before managing to turn the match in his favour and I think something similar might happen here.

You would give Tsonga a significant advantage on the serve, but Bautista Agut's strength is making sure he makes as many balls back as possible and that can see him work into the weaker Tsonga backhand. The Tsonga return is also not as good as some of the better players on the Tour and that means Bautista Agut can look after his weaker serve for the most part.

I hate backing against Tsonga when he is in the form he is in, but Bautista Agut has enjoyed the challenge of facing the powerhouse from France and I will take the games in a match that Bautista Agut could potentially win outright.


Andy Murray - 5.5 games v David Goffin: Both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have reached the Quarter Final in Shanghai as they continue their duel for the Number 1 spot in the World Rankings. Djokovic is still firmly in the driving seat and with a relatively straight forward looking Quarter Final to come, especially compared with Murray who is facing David Goffin, a player chasing a spot in the ATP World Tour Finals.

However I think Murray is quite clearly the superior player in this match and I expect he is going to be able to show that over the course of ninety minutes on the court.

You know what you're going to get with Goffin- he will work hard and play some quality points, but he does lack the power and the serve to really bother the very best players. Murray is most certainly one of the best players on the Tour and his strong return game should mean he is putting the pressure on Goffin consistently and this has proven to be part of the reason Murray has won all four previous matches.

The British player also has the superior serve in terms of getting some cheap points from it and I think Murray is able to dictate more rallies than not. I am not that surprised that Murray has yet to drop a set to Goffin and many of those have seen him break down the Belgian Number 1 with double breaks of serve not uncommon. I think that will happen here in the form Murray has been in and I think he can wear down Goffin in a 75, 62 win and cover a big looking number.


Angelique Kerber - 4.5 games v Daria Gavrilova: This has been a tough road through to the Quarter Final in Hong Kong for the World Number 1 Angelique Kerber including having to win her Second Round match over two days thanks to the rain in the area. She has made it through to the Quarter Final though and will know she needs to improve her level if Kerber is going to find a way past Daria Gavrilova.

Past matches have gone in favour of Kerber as she has shown her movement and defensive skills will give her a chance to weather the Gavrilova storm. The latter can produce a very high level of tennis at times, but Kerber will know if she can stay with her during those moments that the level will drop and turn this match in her favour.

The consistent level that Kerber has produced is going to be tough for Gavrilova to match over two hours and their previous matches has seen the German prove too good even if she has to bide her time for the errors to come. I can see something similar happening in this Quarter Final with the Australian perhaps taking the lead, but Kerber to eventually start wearing her down physically and mentally by producing enough strong defensive moments to force Gavrilova to go closer and closer to the lines.

That should extract errors from the Gavrilova game and eventually I think Kerber will start breaking down her serve. As long as Kerber can protect her serve from being broken more than three times, I think she can come through this match and get over this number.



Carla Suarez Navarro - 4.5 games v Denisa Allertova: I will admit that I am not always keen to back Carla Suarez Navarro when it comes to big numbers like this for her to cover. While the Spaniard has found a way to win matches, her serve can be attacked and that makes it hard to trust her to win matches by a margin to cover this number of games.

However on this occasion I do think Suarez Navarro can cover against Denisa Allertova even though the Czech player has produced two very good wins this week. Allertova does have some strong qualities and I have watched her play at times and really respected what she can do, but I am not sure she has the consistency to stick with Suarez Navarro in this one.

Allertova's recent losses have come against players who can make plenty of balls and to players who don't have the biggest serves on the Tour either. I think this suggests that Suarez Navarro will be able to outmanoeuvre her in this Quarter Final as long as she mentally doesn't check out of the sets.

The recent form displayed by Suarez Navarro is not very encouraging, but she has played well in Linz as she tries to keep alive her hopes of making it to Singapore. Her two wins have come by comfortable margins and I think she will come through a tough first set before pulling away with a 75, 63 win and move into the Semi Final on Saturday.


Madison Keys - 5.5 games v Oceane Dodin: This has been a good week to back Madison Keys who has covered for me in both of her matches in Linz ahead of this Quarter Final. I am looking for Keys to make it a hat-trick of wins when she takes on Oceane Dodin although the Frenchwoman is someone who I feel is destined for a solid career on the WTA Tour.

Unfortunately I think there is still some developing for Dodin to do before she can really match some of the better players on the Tour. The recent form does make Dodin dangerous as she will have built up plenty of confidence, but she won't have faced the kind of firepower that Keys brings to the court too often in that run.

Once again the Keys serve is going to be so important in this match as that shot inspires the rest of her game. She will certainly also look to attack the Dodin second serve and I think trying to deal with that power is going to be eye opening for the Frenchwoman who will be able to get away with some shots at the level she has been competing in but not able to do the same against Keys.

I do think it will take Keys a bit of time to assess what Dodin brings to the court so the first set could be tight. If Keys continues to serve as well as she has in the last couple of Rounds, I do think she will put the pressure on Dodin and eventually wear her down in this one and come through with a 64, 62 win.


Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova + 3.5 games v Dominika Cibulkova: The chase for a spot in the WTA Finals has clearly motivated Dominika Cibulkova who has won both of her matches very easily so far this week. This might be the biggest challenge she has faced though against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who is the defending Champion in Linz and has played her best tennis in weeks here.

Matches between these players have been very competitive in the past and I am anticipating another one on Friday. You can see that they match up well with each other but Cibulkova's edge in terms of her movement around the court should prove to be the decisive factor in the match.

In saying that, I don't think it is going to be straight forward for Cibulkova with both players possessing plenty of power on the groundstrokes and the first strike being extremely important. If Cibulkova gives Pavlyuchenkova too many second serves to look at, I think she could be put in big trouble off the return, while generally Cibulkova's serve is not as effective as the Russian's can be.

I just don't know if Pavlyuchenkova is going to have the consistency to continue finding the big winners over two hours that these players are likely to spend on court. Winning a set should still give Pavlyuchenkova a chance to cover this number though and I am expecting her to do that, although ultimately her defence of the title her might come up short as Cibulkova battles to a 36, 63, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Roberto Bautista Agut + 2.5 Games @ 1.85 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 William Hill (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Carla Suarez Navarro - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Madison Keys - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 14-9, + 7.60 Units (46 Units Staked, + 16.52% Yield)

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