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Saturday, 29 October 2016

WTA Finals Picks 2016 (October 29th)

The Semi Finals in Basel, Vienna and the WTA Finals take place on Saturday as the tournaments from this week have reached the business end of the events. The 2016 season is fast coming to a close and there is less than a month left now before we get to the off-season.

After a really poor Wednesday, the picks have turned around the last couple of days and that has put the week back into a positive position. With two days left of this week, I am looking to get a couple more wins on the board and really get the week ended in a strong manner before the Paris Masters gets going.

We also have the WTA Elite Trophy being played next week, which is strange timing to say the least, and the run to the ATP World Tour Finals will be the big headline maker in Paris.


Dominika Cibulkova v Svetlana Kuznetsova: I am not reading too much into Svetlana Kuznetsova's loss to Garbine Muguruza in her final Group match when her place had already been assured in the Semi Final. There had to be some form of not giving it her all as Kuznetsova looked to save energy for this Semi Final and I think it is more unfortunate that she is in the first Semi Final rather than the second.

Her match with Dominika Cibulkova looks a difficult one as the Slovakian looks to do what Agnieszka Radwanska did last season and that is lose her first two matches in Singapore but still go on and win the tournament. I do think Cibulkova looks very strong at this moment and can look to take advantage of any lingering fatigue that Kuznetsova is trying to avoid.

There is something different about Cibulkova compared with Karolina Pliskova and Agnieszka Radwanska who both served for the match against Kuznetsova already this week. Both lost, but Cibulkova has a little bit more weight behind her shots on both wings which will see her able to dictate points against Kuznetsova at times, while she can also fatigue her opponent further by extending the rallies behind her quality.

It is Cibulkova who has won the last five matches these players have played against one another which includes a three set win in Wuhan earlier in the month. There wasn't much between them on that day, but Kuznetsova is a lot more battered at this point and I don't think Cibulkova lets her off the hook like Radwanska and Pliskova did and I will back the 'Pocket Rocket' to earn her place in the Final.


Angelique Kerber - 3.5 games v Agnieszka Radwanska: This is going to be the first time in the 2016 season (and the only time) that Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska will play one another on the Tour. Surprisingly it is Radwanska who holds the 6-5 head to head advantage and won their most recent match in Beijing in October 2015, but Kerber is the new World Number 1 and has proved to be a markedly improved player in 2016.

That can be seen in comments about the performances in Singapore twelve months ago and has given Kerber the motivation to underline her fantastic 2016 season. There is a lot to admire about Kerber's game which has moved on from being very defensive, but also one that can quickly go on the offensive and make things happen.

It isn't always easy to do that against someone like Radwanska who is happy to stay out on court all day until the errors come. I do think that style is beginning to take its toll on her body and Radwanska perhaps fatigues more these days than she did in her prime and I can see that being a difference maker in this match. The Radwanska serve is very inconsistent too, although this looks like the kind of match that will feature plenty of break points.

Out of the two players I do trust Kerber to play the big moments better than Radwanska at this moment in their careers. Winning the big matches Kerber has should give her the confidence to make the big plays when necessary and although it might take some time to take complete control of this match, I do think Kerber can eventually come through with a 75, 64 win and a place in the Final on Sunday.


Andy Murray - 5.5 games v David Ferrer: I couldn't be anything but impressed with the way that Andy Murray dealt with John Isner in the Quarter Final in Vienna and it was the kind of easy night he would have appreciated. That is down to some of the fatigue issues he might have having played a lot of tennis of late, but Murray is now a big favourite to go on and win the title here and put pressure on Novak Djokovic in the World Number 1 position.

Andy Murray will be very happy with the match up with David Ferrer who is definitely not performing at the same level as he was in his prime. This is not someone who is going to overpower Murray and Ferrer no longer is able to hold himself in rallies as long as he used to be able to against some of the better players on the Tour.

Unforced errors have become an issue for the Spaniard and a player like Murray will look to expose that, while Ferrer also had to dig down deep to win his Quarter Final match against Victor Troicki. That might have taken something from the Ferrer tank who has slipped down the World Rankings and who was beaten very easily by Murray when they played Shanghai.

Ferrer is still able to have some success against the Murray serve which can be a little erratic at times, but the problem has been winning points consistently on his own serve. Some of the rallies could be epic and really fun to watch, but I think Murray is able to get into a position to win more than he loses and I like the British player to take another step towards the World Number 1 spot with a 64, 62 win.


Mischa Zverev + 3.5 games v Marin Cilic: I wanted to add this pick yesterday but the markets had not been released and I was also waiting to see if Mischa Zverev was going to be given enough games to be attractive to back. I would say this is enough games for me.

Marin Cilic has played really well this week and looks like a player rounding into form to end 2016 with some strong results. He has some big matches left to play and is playing well enough to win this match with some comfort. However, I don't think Zverev is going to roll over for him despite all the tennis he has played having to come through the Qualifiers to earn his place in the main draw.

You have to respect the results that Zverev has produced with only one set dropped and that coming against Stan Wawrinka. There is no doubting the talent he does have with injuries being a bigger factor in his Ranking than performance and Zverev also pushed Novak Djokovic all the way in a loss to the World Number 1 in Shanghai.

Matches between Cilic and Zverev have been competitive for the most part and a good serving day from Zverev should make these games very appealing.

MY PICKS: Dominika Cibulkova @ 1.80 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Angelique Kerber - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Mischa Zverev + 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 17-15, + 1.92 Units (64 Units Staked, + 3% Yield)

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