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Monday, 13 February 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (February 13th)

The Davis Cup and Fed Cup First Round ties have meant at least one of the ATP or WTA Tours has been missing any action for a week since the Australian Open. That isn't the case this week as we start hitting some of the third tier events that contribute plenty of Ranking points to a player's haul over the course of twelve months.

The ATP Rotterdam tournament and the WTA Doha tournament are the two big events of the week, but there is also the next clay court event in the South American Golden Swing and the first event in the United States in Memphis too.

Last week was a very strong one for the tennis picks with plenty of winners pushing the season back into the black after a disappointing time the week after the Australian Open. With four tournaments scheduled for the week, hopefully there will be enough good angles to produce another solid week and get the season moving in the direction I want.

Shuai Zhang - 1.5 games v Timea Babos: A long losing run for Timea Babos came to an end over the last few days as she won a couple of Rubbers for Hungary in the Fed Cup. Babos had lost seven matches in a row prior to those wins, although I do think it has to be noted that both wins came against players Babos was fully expected to beat and the challenges in Doha will be much tougher.

She is facing a rested Shuai Zhang in the First Round on Monday and this has all the makings of a tight and competitive match. 2017 has started slowly for Zhang compared with 2016 when she made her breakthrough on the Tour at the Australian Open, but her three losses have come against difficult opponents and Zhang hasn't been playing badly.

These two players met at the end of the 2016 season in a match that was dominated by Zhang even if that was not reflected in the final score. A lot will depend on which of these players is able to produce the stronger serving on the day and I do think there will be little between them.

However I think Zhang might be the player with the stronger mental resolve in this one as Babos tries to find her game against the better players on the Tour. Having a slight lack of belief at the big moments can be a killer for a tennis player and I think that might be the case for Babos in this one even if I am anticipating the match to go into a final set decider.

I am expecting Zhang to come through with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win to move through to the Second Round in Doha.

Feliciano Lopez - 2.5 games v Pierre-Hugues Herbert: The tournament in Rotterdam might be played on an indoor hard court, but the conditions are not as fast as some may expect. That is an issue for the likes of Feliciano Lopez and Pierre-Hugues Herbert who are very reliant on their first serve and also try to get to the net to put some pressure on their opponents.

Herbert should be confident having won two Qualifiers in Rotterdam already this week, but the level of opponent is raised in this one. The only concern I would have is that Lopez has not been playing that well to open 2017 and that could even things up between these players on the Singles court to make it a more competitive match than it perhaps should be.

The layers tend to agree with a small spread in this one, but I do think Lopez can get over the number. He beat Herbert four months ago when they met at the Paris Masters on an indoor hard court and it was the Lopez superior return game that paved the way for that success.

I do think he remains the better returner, but Lopez needs to serve better than he did in the loss to Benoit Paire in Montpellier last week. I do think it will be the Spaniard who earns the majority of break points in this one and I would not be surprised if we see a similar 7-6, 6-4 kind of win for Lopez as he had when he beat Herbert in Paris at the end of the 2016 season.

MY PICKS: Shuai Zhang - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2017+ 8.02 Units (346 Units Staked, + 2.32% Yield)
Season 2016- 5.64 Units (2013 Units Staked, - 0.00% Yield)
Season 2015- 21.81 Units (1812 Units Staked, - 1% Yield)
Season 2014+ 45.05 Units (1586.5 Units Staked, + 2.84% Yield)
Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

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