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Friday, 7 October 2016

Tennis Picks 2016 (October 7th)

Thursday proved to be a really poor day for the tennis picks with all three I made coming back on the wrong side. That can happen and it has also meant a turn in the weekly results from a profit to a loss, although there is still time to get this turned around.

Hopefully Friday will be a much stronger day after the way Thursday went as the Quarter Final matches are played.

Grigor Dimitrov + 3.5 games v Rafael Nadal: This is a very interesting Quarter Final between two players who have something to prove in the final weeks of the 2016 season that can give them some momentum to take into the 2017 season. Both Grigor Dimitrov and Rafael Nadal will feel they should be achieving more than they have in 2016 and will be hoping a return to form and overcoming injuries makes 2017 a much more memorable season.

There is much motivation for both Dimitrov and Nadal going into this Quarter Final and I think the match is closer than the layers believe. Of course Nadal has a significant edge in the head to head having won all seven previous matches, but the last of those came twelve months ago and many of their matches have been competitive.

It is very important for Dimitrov to serve well as he won't want to be drawn into too many rallies where his one-handed backhand takes on the Nadal forehand. Over the years that proved to be the undoing of Roger Federer in matches against Nadal and the similar style of play does mean it is an area where Nadal can have some success.

Overall Dimitrov's game has to be close to his very best in this match to make it a close match, but he has been playing some solid tennis over the last few weeks. His manner of defeat against Andy Murray at the US Open is a concern, but Dimitrov has looked better in recent weeks and finally looks to be getting over the poor form that has been blighting his game for some time.

Nadal has been looking strong so far this week in Beijing but this is the biggest challenge he will have faced and I am still not convinced he is back to his very best. His opponent has been playing well enough to take a set in this one and that might be enough for Dimitrov to keep this close enough to stay within this number.

David Goffin - 4.5 games v Joao Sousa: An injury prevented Kei Nishikori from being able to finish his match with Joao Sousa but the same thing I said about that match applies here. I made it clear that I think Joao Sousa is a little vulnerable whenever he plays matches against players like Nishikori and, in this case, David Goffin because his opponents look like they are the stronger players in the rallies.

With the first serve unlikely to provide too many easy points, Sousa has to try and out-rally these players and more often than not you would think someone like Goffin would be too good for him.

Their last match was very close, but Goffin had won two easy enough matches against him prior to that and the Belgian player is in good form this week with two impressive wins behind him. Sousa should be physically good to go having received the injury withdrawal through to the Quarter Final, but this is a player trying to end this inconsistent 2016 having lost early in a number of tournaments.

Sousa will have his moments against the Goffin serve too, but I think the latter will knuckle down at the big moments and come through with a 63, 64 win.

Gael Monfils - 2.5 games v Ivo Karlovic: There aren't too many players on the ATP Tour in better form than Gael Monfils when you put together his achievements in the summer and then at the US Open. He has looked very good this week in Tokyo as he makes his move towards a first appearance at the ATP World Tour Finals although this is a difficult match.

Monfils holds the head to head advantage over Ivo Karlovic, but there is no disguising how difficult it can be against the big serving Croatian. So much of the match is not on your own racquet and the key is making sure you remain mentally strong and are able to recognise the big moments when Karlovic looks vulnerable.

He has been in good form since Wimbledon but Karlovic has given up some chances of his own serve in this tournament although he has managed to put some returns together to make sure it hasn't cost him too many sets. Someone like Monfils is playing well enough to look after his own serve though and I like the Frenchman to cover this number.

One break may be enough for Monfils to do that and I think he can move into the Semi Final behind a 76, 64 win.

Petra Kvitova - 3.5 games v Madison Keys: This might be a blink and you miss it kind of match between Petra Kvitova and Madison Keys who are two of the biggest hitters on the WTA Tour. Both players have strong serves and heavy groundstrokes and the match is very much going to be about which of the two is able to get the first big strike in.

Both can do that behind their serve, but the form is most definitely pointing towards Kvitova who won the tournament in Wuhan and has brushed aside two opponents this week. That includes crushing Garbine Muguruza as Kvitova tries to keep alive her chances of playing in Singapore at the end of the month.

It won't be easy against Madison Keys who has a big first serve and has played well to get into the Quarter Final. She too is chasing a place in Singapore and the winner of this match might be going on to be the favourite to win the title and almost certainly make it to the WTA Finals at the end of the month.

While the Keys first serve is an incredible weapon, she has started slowly in matches and that won't cut it against Kvitova. Keys will also need to serve better than she has and I don't want to oppose Kvitova in the form she has been in over the last two weeks. There will be some big winners from both players, but I think Kvitova is in more consistent form and I can see her breaking the Keys serve late in the first set and then pulling through the second set with a 64, 63 win.

Daria Gavrilova + 2.5 games v Elina Svitolina: I am not sure where I stand with Elina Svitolina and what I am expecting of her through her career. There have been times I have watched and thought she is destined for the top, but others when I can't imagine how she ever reached the top 100 on the WTA Tour.

She has shown she can be a big match player with another win over a World Number 1 in 2016 when beating Angelique Kerber in the Third Round. Backing that up is the task for Svitolina who has failed to do that a few times in her career and now faces Daria Gavrilova who has won their last match.

That came in Cincinnati in August and the Australian only dropped four games in the match as Gavrilova dominated the Svitolina serve. She can take advantage of any emotions Svitolina may have from winning another big match in the last Round and Gavrilova has been playing well enough this week to give Svitolina plenty to think about.

The games being given to Gavrilova might not seem a lot, but I think she can win a set which will give her every chance of covering. The chances are that she will win that set with a couple of breaks of serve as Svitolina perhaps loses some focus, which is a negative about her game, and I like taking the games being given to the Australian.

Johanna Konta - 4.5 games v Shuai Zhang: This is a match up that I thought Johanna Konta would enjoy when these players met in Wuhan and the British player didn't fail to cover this number. I think she can get the better of Shuai Zhang again in this Quarter Final in Beijing and once again I am going to back Konta to get the better of this number.

There were moments in the second set last week where Konta played a little too loosely behind her own serve which allowed Zhang to stay with her for a while. However she once again showed she has a clear edge when it comes to the serve and setting up her points compared with Zhang and I like the chances of Konta progressing in this one too.

You can't take anything away from Zhang who crushed Simona Halep in the Third Round, but Konta also had an impressive win when beating Karolina Pliskova. It has been some impressive serving from Zhang which has taken her through the draw this week, but she has struggled when trying to cope with the heavy shots Konta can produce from both sides of the court.

This could be a very big week for Konta who is trying to get into the WTA Finals elite eight and I think she enjoys the match up with Zhang. I am expecting her to be too strong for her for the third time in 2016 and I like Konta finding a way to a 64, 63 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Grigor Dimitrov + 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
David Goffin - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Petra Kvitova - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Daria Gavrilova + 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-9, - 2.58 Units (34 Units Staked, - 7.59% Yield)

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