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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Australian Open Tennis Day 7 Picks 2017 (January 22nd)

You remember I said I was disappointed about Day 5 despite finishing with a winning record on the day because I felt I should have had at least a couple more winners? And that would get this tournament back on track after a poor few days? Well it all came together on Day 6.

I can still point to Milos Raonic blowing a very strong position in his non-cover against Gilles Simon, but had fortune on my side with Dominic Thiem which cancelled that out. The two set scoreline I picked both failed to materialise, but it was a day full of winners other than that.

That has helped move the week from a pretty big hole back into a positive and now I am looking to build on that in the Fourth Round.

The matches should become even more competitive in the business end of the tournament and there are some top matches taking to the court on Sunday as the second week begins.

Stan Wawrinka - 6.5 games v Andreas Seppi: It was a dominant win for Stan Wawrinka in the Third Round once he weathered an early storm from Victor Troicki and I think he should have too much for Andreas Seppi in the Fourth Round. The Italian needs to be given credit for reaching this Round having seen off Nick Kyrgios in the Second Round in a long five setter, but he can't expect Wawrinka to have the same mental collapse as the Australian.

It has been a tough path through the draw for Seppi and you have to think that will have worn on the veteran a little bit.

Seppi can still produce some moments of class and Wawrinka cannot overlook him, but the Swiss player is very dangerous once he gets into the second week of a tournament. There is every chance he can win his second Australian Open next weekend and I think Wawrinka will work out the Seppi game and start controlling things the longer this goes on.

They haven't played each other since 2014, but Wawrinka was a dominant winner the last time they met. I can see a situation where Seppi perhaps even steals a set in this one, but Wawrinka can win one or two sets by a wide margin which helps on his road to the cover.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 5.5 games v Daniel Evans: This has been a memorable tournament for Daniel Evans who has reached the Fourth Round of a Grand Slam event for the first time in his career. After playing so well in reaching the Final in Sydney, Evans is playing the best tennis of his life, but he might not have enough to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Frenchman has been in great form all week and he is serving very well which makes him a big threat for Evans. The British player has managed to look after serve just well enough to manage his way past the likes of Marin Cilic and Bernard Tomic, but I am not sure he will get away with it in the form Tsonga is in.

The conditions seem to suit Tsonga very well in Melbourne and I am looking for him to not allow Evans to earn enough break points of his own to stay in the match in the manner he has been able to do in the whole tournament. Gilles Muller broke down Evans in the Sydney Final and I think big-serving Tsonga can exert enough pressure with quick holds to force mistakes from Evans.

All respect to Evans for the run he has had, but I will look for Tsonga to find a 76, 64, 63 win.

Roger Federer-Kei Nishikori over 40.5 total games: This is the best Fourth Round match of the day as Roger Federer looks to prove he is fully over his injury from six months ago with a win over Kei Nishikori. Federer has already shown something special in a convincing win over Tomas Berdych, but this one is going to be a bigger challenge with Nishikori capable of exerting some pressure off his return and movement around the court.

Look for both players to have some big moments in this one and I was leaning towards Kei Nishikori having a little too much in the match and come through in a battle. However going up against Federer in the form he was in two days ago is a big ask and instead I am looking for these players to combine for another games to cover this line.

It would be a big surprise to me if Nishikori or Federer are able to win this match in straight sets and their last match against one another at the ATP World Tour Finals in 2015 was a very competitive three set match. My concern about the games is that Nishikori has the potential to lose a set very easily as his serve can be a vulnerable part of his game, but he is the kind of returning talent that will test Federer far more than Berdych was able to do.

I expect to see four sets in this one with a tie-breaker in one of them and it should mean we see enough games to cover this line.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova + 2.5 games v Svetlana Kuznetsova: I am not going to put too much stock into the incredibly long and gruelling Third Round match that Svetlana Kuznetsova battle through as a factor in this one. For most players I would say being out on the court for near enough five hours would be a real problem, but Kuznetsova won a lot of matches in a short space of time to get into the WTA Finals a few months ago and tiredness was seemingly not an issue for her.

A bigger problem for her in this match is the form of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who managed to weather the Elina Svitolina storm and power her way through to the Fourth Round. When she is serving and hitting the ball as well as she is, Pavlyuchenkova is a dangerous player and she crushed Kuznetsova when they met in Sydney just last week.

It is Kuznetsova who has won five of the seven previous matches and I think that is the reason she is favoured in this one, but she has not produced her best in the Grand Slams over the last couple of years. The first strike in the rallies is going to be huge for both of these players, but I do think Pavlyuchenkova is serving well enough to keep her compatriot under pressure.

A fast start will be needed by Pavlyuchenkova just to stay in this one mentally, but she does have every chance of the upset in my opinion. I will take the games with the underdog in case it is a tight match and a narrow defeat is the outcome for Pavlyuchenkova.

Venus Williams - 3.5 games v Mona Barthel: This has been a really good tournament for Mona Barthel who has had a tough couple of years on the Tour and needed to Qualify for the main draw. Her performances will give her confidence, but now she faces veteran Venus Williams who still produces a big enough game to win matches like this one.

The serve is the key for Venus Williams- serve well and the rest of her game operates much more smoother and will give her an opportunity to win fairly comfortably. I do think Barthel will have some questions for Venus to answer, and she can hit the ball very well which makes her dangerous, but the German does not have as consistent a serve and I think that makes a difference in this match.

It has already been a long tournament for Barthel and you have to think she will feel that in the legs at some point, while the mental aura of playing one of the Williams sisters can also play a factor.

The feeling I have for this match is it is going to be very close in the first set, but Venus Williams will start exerting some pressure which she can take into the second set. Barthel will have some opportunities to break serve herself, but eventually I do think Venus Williams prevails 75, 63 and moves into yet another Grand Slam Quarter Final.

Garbine Muguruza - 4.5 games v Sorana Cirstea: Over the years it was considered that Sorana Cirstea would be the next player who could breakthrough and really have an impact on the WTA Tour. There was a lot to like with her game, but mentally I think the pressure may have worn her down and she has been on the outskirts of people's minds in recent seasons.

It has been a long time since Cirstea had a run like this in a Grand Slam event and she was beaten in the First Round of all three Slams she played last season. In fact this is her best run in a Grand Slam since reaching the Quarter Final of the French Open in 2009 and matching what Garbine Muguruza is going to bring to the court is going to very difficult.

Cirstea has some power, but Muguruza has even more and a little more consistency with it. All week I have been watching the Spaniard who seems to have looked better in her last two matches after some health scares going into the Australian Open. I don't think they have full cleared up but the Spaniard could have a big serving day to ease the pressure on her and shift it all to Cirstea.

I have little doubt that Cirstea can hit with Muguruza through a set, but doing it for over an hour might be a little too much to ask for her. Eventually Muguruza should be able to wear down her opponent for a 75, 63 win and I will look for her to cover this number.

Coco Vandeweghe + 4.5 games v Angelique Kerber: When Coco Vandeweghe is hitting the ball as hard and as consistently as she was in her match against Eugenie Bouchard, it can only be the very best players on the Tour who can stop her. Unfortunately she is going up against the World Number 1 in this Fourth Round match at the Australian Open and I think Angelique Kerber will win the match.

In saying that, I only believe in Kerber because I think she will make enough balls to extract errors, but I also think this is going to be a very close match.

Vandeweghe can serve very big which means she should have chances to end rallies on the short ball much quicker than opponents usually have a chance to do against Kerber. Volleying skills at the net also help the American, while Kerber's own serve has been vulnerable this week and will give the big hitting Vandeweghe a chance to tee off on it and bring up some break points.

I imagine Vandeweghe has enough break points to stay within the number in this match as long as she takes those chances when they come her way. After a classic match up style of Vandeweghe's aggression and power against the counter punching and defensive skills of Kerber, I think the American player penetrates the defences enough times to stay within this number.

MY PICKS: Stan Wawrinka - 6.5 Games @ 1.73 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 5.5 Games @ 1.80 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Roger Federer-Kei Nishikori Over 40.5 Total Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova + 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)
Venus Williams - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Garbine Muguruza - 4.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Coco Vandeweghe + 4.5 Games @ 1.85 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Australian Open Update: 28-28, + 0.56 Units (107 Units Staked, + 0.52% Yield)

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