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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Australian Open Tennis Day 3 Picks 2017 (January 18th)

After a solid start to the Australian Open, I have to admit that Day 2 proved to be a lot more frustrating. Joao Sousa losing a 2-0 lead in sets to fall down in five sets against Jordan Thompson hurt, while Mikhail Youzhny retiring at a set and a break down meant that was a voided pick.

There were some poor picks mixed in too which is more a knock on myself, but hopefully things can get back into a positive position by the end of Day 3 as we move into the Second Round.

The weather looks like it will have cooled down significantly from Tuesday which should make it easier for the players heading out for their Second Round matches.

Due to a really busy day today, the majority of my picks will be in the 'MY PICKS' section below.

Jeremy Chardy + 2.5 sets v Kei Nishikori: It was a really difficult First Round match for Kei Nishikori, but I think he needs to take some of the blame for having to go into a fifth set before moving through to the Second Round. Andrey Kuznetsov can be really tough to stop once he builds momentum, but Nishikori had the match under control in the fourth set tie-breaker and let it slip before winning comfortably in the fifth.

He will need to raise his game a little bit when facing Jeremy Chardy who only had to play a few games before progressing to the Second Round. The Frenchman had a decent serve, although it does have to be said that Chardy can really struggle when facing the best players on the Tour.

I do think Chardy is good enough to at least put things together for one set and I was a little surprised to note the layers like Nishikori in straight sets here. The Nishikori serve is one that won't overly dominate so Chardy will have a chance to get on the front foot in rallies and he is capable of playing strong enough tennis for enough time to take a set from Nishikori.

It would be a surprise if he can do more than that, but Chardy needs to serve well if he is going to have any more success than that. The key is likely to be a tie-breaker in this one and Chardy will have his chances in this one so I will take the head start on the sets and look for at least one to be taken by the Frenchman.

John Isner - 2.5 games v Mischa Zverev: It is younger brother Alexander who is getting all of the attention, but that might have inspired Mischa Zverev to put in the hard yards that have helped him get back into the top 50 of the World Rankings. He had a relatively comfortable match up in the First Round against an out of form Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, but the challenge rises a number of levels when going up against John Isner.

Now I will say that I think Isner might be on the downward slope of his career with the serve working, but not as effectively as it once did, and Isner's movement perhaps being exposed. The big man is not like Ivo Karlovic in that he doesn't get to the net after every point and make life very difficult for opponents, but I still think Isner is good enough in a match like this one.

His serve is likely to put Zverev under immense pressure and the German has a tendency to throw in a really poor service game which could be very costly in a match like this one. He is a lefty which makes him dangerous as his best shots will naturally go into the weaker Isner backhand, but the American has managed to get enough balls back in play to force Zverev to self-destruct in previous matches.

This will be a close match dominated by the server. Ultimately I think Isner is going to just do enough to pressure Zverev mentally to see him crack and help the American move into the Third Round with a solid win behind him.

Tomas Berdych - 5.5 games v Ryan Harrison: You have to respect the way in which Ryan Harrison has pulled himself back into the top 100 of the World Rankings although he remains an emotional player. That isn't always productive to playing good tennis and Harrison will have to be in control of himself if he is looking for a Second Round upset against Tomas Berdych on Wednesday.

I do think Harrison has the serve and the power to stay with Berdych at times in this match and he could be dangerous if the Czech player is not quite at the races. Berdych was the beneficiary of a retirement in the First Round which means he has avoided being out in the heat like Harrison did, although the latter was a straight sets winner and should be ready to go in this one too.

A strong serving display from Harrison will give him a chance of the upset because Berdych has had some problems looking after his own serve in recent months. I think that is partly down to age as he might just be beginning to wear down and rallying from the baseline over and over again can be difficult.

However I think Berdych can have enough success behind his serve to put himself in a strong position in this one and I can see him wearing down Harrison over three or four sets. I expect two sets to be highly competitive, but Harrison might find himself a little frustrated that he isn't in a stronger position and can start to struggle to stay with Berdych. It wouldn't surprise me if Berdych is able to come through with a 63, 46, 64, 62 kind of win in this one and I will back him to cover this handicap.

Dudi Sela - 3.5 games v Lukas Lacko: This Second Round match features Dudi Sela and Lukas Lacko and you can't underestimate how important the 6-1 head to head in favour of the Israeli player is in this one. Sela has won the last five matches between these players which suggests he is very comfortable with the match up and he has won the last 10 sets competed between them.

Lacko has come through the Qualifiers at the Australian Open which makes him dangerous, but he also needed five sets to win his First Round match. In the taxing conditions, Lacko could be a little tired in this one in what is likely to be a match with long, drawn out rallies.

The head to head is important, but Sela also has the confidence of winning a title prior to the Australian Open and reaching the Semi Final in Chennai which suggests he is in very good form. He had an impressive First Round win over Marcel Granollers and Sela should be comfortable with what he sees coming from the other side of the court.

His serve is a little bit of a weak point which might mean Lacko having some chances of his own, but I can see Sela being a little too strong over a couple of hours on the court and winning this one 63, 36, 63, 64.

Roger Federer - 8.5 games v Noah Rubin: After six months off the Tour, Roger Federer has to be pleased that he has received the draw he has over the first two Rounds of the Australian Open. The standard of opposition is expected to increase tenfold in the Third Round where Tomas Berdych is expected to be the opponent, but Federer will head out to the Rod Laver Arena focused on Noah Rubin.

The young American came through a five set match in the First Round having already won three Qualifiers, but Rubin is yet to really make a big impact on the Tour. Rubin won't ever be able to make a bigger one than knocking off Roger Federer in a Grand Slam tournament, but he has yet to show he is capable of producing that level of tennis he will need.

Rubin has a smart game, but all of the power is going to come from the Roger Federer side of the court and he should dominate most of the rallies. I expect Federer to look after his serve even more impressively than he did in the First Round for the majority of the match with Jurgen Melzer and I very much expect Federer to earn a huge number of break points.

It might take him a little time to adjust to what Rubin is bringing to the court, but Federer is a smart player who can work out any problems. From there I would expect the Swiss superstar to exert his quality on the match and I like him to come through with a 64, 62, 63 win and a place in the Third Round.

MY PICKS: Jeremy Chardy + 2.5 Sets @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
John Isner - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
Tomas Berdych - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dudi Sela - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Roger Federer - 8.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Victor Troicki - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Stan Wawrinka - 4.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Andy Murray - 9.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 William Hill (2 Units)
Ying-Ying Duan - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Eugenie Bouchard - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Monica Puig - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 6-8, - 3.94 Units (28 Units Staked, - 14.07% Yield)

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