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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Australian Open Tennis Day 12 Picks 2017 (January 27th)

The first three Semi Final matches have gone the way I anticipated, although Stan Wawrinka came very close to coming back from 2-0 down in sets to beat Roger Federer. That means the 'dream Final' is in play at the Australian Open as long as Rafael Nadal can play his part and beat Grigor Dimitrov in their own Semi Final which is played on Friday evening.

The women's Final has been set as the Williams sisters play one another for the first Grand Slam title of the season- we all know that Serena Williams is playing for a chance to move back into the World Number 1 position as well as snapping Steffi Graf's record number of Grand Slams in the open era.

It will also put Margaret Court within her reach in what has been a stunningly good career, but I do think the Venus Williams story is the best one at this event. Venus Williams has recovered from a terrible illness which would have ended the career of most people, but she has shown the heart and determination that took her from the tough life in Compton to the very top of the women's game on her march back up the World Rankings and now back into a Grand Slam Final.

You simply cannot underestimate how good these two sisters have been- I almost feel their story is underrated when you think of the media attention Andy Murray and his brother Jamie Murray got for both reaching World Number 1 in Singles and Doubles. The Williams sisters have won multiple Grand Slam titles as Singles and Doubles players, they have won Olympic Gold Medals and they have come from a much more difficult background than so many other players on the Tour.

Their story is remarkable and I do think their successes are not given the credit they deserve because their background is perhaps not one the casual tennis fan or club member in the United States or Western Europe can understand and appreciate. Serena Williams' records have to be respected because they can't be ignored against the all-time greats, but Venus Williams deserves so much more credit for her career than I do feel she gets.

It was another really good day for the tennis picks which finished up with another winning day on Thursday and that almost certainly means solid numbers from this tournament will be had. I just hope the final three matches can keep that momentum going and conclude the Australian Open with some more positive numbers.

Rafael Nadal win 3-1 v Grigor Dimitrov: The second Semi Final takes centre stage at the Australian Open as the only Singles match on Day 12 and it looks a good one between Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov. Both men have shown considerable good form since the beginning of 2017 and I think that should mean both Nadal and Dimitrov are able to take their best tennis to the court.

It is so important for Nadal and Dimitrov to get their 2017 off to such a positive start after a couple of years when both players have had issues off the court which has hurt their chances on the court. Grigor Dimitrov won the title in Brisbane and he looked very strong in the Quarter Final when knocking off David Goffin, but this is the biggest challenge he would have faced in the Australian Open so far.

Rafael Nadal has been playing really well since the opening of the season and I think there has been an improvement in his serving at this tournament which has helped build his confidence. I have to say it feels like Nadal is playing with a lot more belief in his own game than he has at any time over the last two seasons and I do believe the Spaniard will have a little too much for Dimitrov with the pressure he will exert on the return of serve.

If he is serving well too, Dimitrov is going to find it difficult to find too many chinks in the Nadal armour and perhaps start leading to more unforced errors as he pushes a little harder to try and do that. Dimitrov did win their most recent match in straight sets in the final weeks of the 2016 season, but Nadal has a strong head to head against him to fall back upon and looks stronger now than he did a few months ago.

Dimitrov has been able to put together enough quality tennis to challenge Nadal in their previous matches and I would be surprised if he is not able to have some success in this one. While it may not be enough to win the match, I will be surprised if Nadal is able to win this one in straight sets and I will have a small interest on the Spaniard winning this one in four sets.

MY PICKS: Rafael Nadal Win 3-1 in Sets @ 3.80 Sky Bet (1 Unit)

Australian Open Update: 48-34, + 25.10 Units (159 Units Staked, + 15.79% Yield)

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