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Friday, 4 November 2016

Paris Masters Tennis Picks 2016 (November 4th)

The ATP World Tour Finals will begin a week on Sunday and we now have a seventh name who will be playing in London after Marin Cilic beat David Goffin to earn his place for the second time in his career.

One place is left as we head into the Quarter Finals in Paris, while the final two Semi Finalists at the WTA Elite Trophy will also be decided on Friday. While it won't be as busy a day as we have had over the last few days with the matches scheduled, it will be a day with plenty of big tennis matches to be played before we get to the final couple of days of the 2016 season for most players on the Tour.

The race to finish as World Number 1 also continues on Friday with both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray making their way through to the Quarter Finals. Two more wins will also mean Djokovic keeps that position going into the World Tour Finals, while Murray will be hoping Djokovic is perhaps upset in this Round and that will give him a chance to take over if he can go on and win the title here.

Petra Kvitova - 4.5 games v Barbora Strycova: These two are Fed Cup team-mates but Petra Kvitova and Barbora Strycova will try and put that to the back of the mind as they play for a Semi Final spot at the WTA Elite Trophy. Both players have beaten Roberta Vinci in this Group so the winner is going to move through to the next Round which will be played on Saturday.

Kvitova and Strycova have been named in a strong Czech Republic team that will be contesting the Fed Cup Final against France next weekend. I don't think either player will be looking that far ahead and instead will be focused on playing one another, although Strycova needs to find a way to challenge Kvitova who has won six of their previous seven matches.

Their last match was a tight one in Doha, but that had more to do with Kvitova not taking her chances on the break points compared with Strycova who was very efficient. Generally this has been a match up that Kvitova has enjoyed having a significant edge when it comes to the power off the ground and her serve is also a much bigger weapon which can make all the difference in matches like this one.

The higher Ranked Czech player also loves playing in Asia and ended the regular season in solid form which she took into crushing Vinci in her first match in the Group. Kvitova has been playing well enough to think she will have a break more in each set in this one and that can see her come through with a 64, 63 win to make it through to the Semi Final.

Johanna Konta - 4.5 games v Caroline Garcia: Caroline Garcia is another player who will be competing in the Fed Cup Final next weekend, but for now she is trying to build some confidence on the Singles Tour as she pushes for a place in the Semi Final at the WTA Elite Trophy. She has to beat Johanna Konta to do that after both players were comfortable winners over Sam Stosur.

It hadn't been the best end to 2016 for Garcia prior to that win over Stosur and she will know that she needs to serve at her best if she is going to beat Konta to reach the Semi Final. The British player has been able to really put her aggressive style to good use and I think she is going to be the better one on the court as she is also getting more out of her own serve.

The motivation at the WTA Elite Trophy has to be very high as Konta looks to underline how good her 2016 has been and she doesn't have the same fluctuations in form as Garcia does within a match. While I do think there will be moments where Garcia plays the tennis that saw her tipped to reach the World Number 1 Ranking, I also think there will be others when she starts committing too many errors as the Konta pressure breaks her down.

That could easily see Garcia drop a set by a couple of breaks of serve difference and might just lead to a 63, 63 kind of win for Johanna Konta who can move into the Semi Final.

Novak Djokovic - 4.5 games v Marin Cilic: Marin Cilic beat David Goffin and confirmed his place in the ATP World Tour Finals which means 2016 is going to end in very strong fashion for the former US Open Champion. Playing in London will be followed by the Davis Cup Final and Marin Cilic might be in a position to add a couple of big trophies to that US Open he won in 2014.

Cilic can't just be happy to get to London but surely wants to head to that tournament by winning his second Masters event of the season having done that in Cincinnati in the summer. However that means snapping a 14 match losing run to Novak Djokovic who looks highly motivated to retain his World Number 1 spot for another week.

Motivation is one thing, but Djokovic's execution has mainly been very good although there are still signs he is not completely happy with his serve. He dropped the first set to Grigor Dimitrov who also had chances in the second set, but the Bulgarian slipped away in a manner that the in-form Cilic is less likely to do.

However it is the second long week in a row for the Basel Champion which is a concern, although Cilic won't have forgotten his humiliation at the hands of Djokovic in the 2015 US Open as the defending Champion. Unfortunately that was the way matches between these players have gone more often than not and I am going to back Djokovic to find a way to a 63, 64 win if Cilic is serving as erratically as he did against David Goffin on Thursday.

Andy Murray - 4.5 games v Tomas Berdych: The head to head between Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych is 'only' 9-6 in favour of Murray, but the last five matches have been dominated by the World Number 2 since Dani Vallverdu decided to offer Berdych some advice. The relationship between Berdych and Vallverdu has concluded, but Murray's dominance of recent matches continues and I can only see one winner in this Quarter Final.

It isn't easy to dismiss the chances of a regular name in the top ten of the World Rankings, but Berdych has not been in the greatest form of late and he has lost the last 12 sets played against Murray. Add in the fact that he hasn't won more than three games in any of the last 7 sets and you begin to worry about his chances in this one.

I do think he may have a couple of big chances in this one to break serve and remain competitive as Murray has not been firing at his best this week. He has played a lot of tennis of late and that has to wear down on a player from a mental and physical perspective, but Berdych has also not been as convincing behind serve as he usually is.

A player like Murray is going to get plenty of the big first serves not only back in play, but back in play in awkward positions which begins the rally from scratch and I would expect him to win plenty of those. Murray had an easy day in the office on Thursday which should have allowed him to keep some of the energy required in store for this one and I think he is going to come through with a relatively straight-forward 63, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Petra Kvitova - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Novak Djokovic - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 14-8, + 10.94 Units (44 Units Staked, + 24.86% Yield)

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