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Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (February 7th)

It is the turn of the WTA Tour to have a break from their regular tournaments as the Fed Cup First Round is played later in the week and that means the three ATP events in Montpellier, Quito and Sofia will be the focus for this week.

There wasn't much First Round action on Monday, but the matches that were played did not really appeal to me although Tuesday's action does look a little more appealing.

I am hoping for a much better week than the last one as I struggled to get in front and then stay there, but it is a long season and I am not going to be panicking over a couple of poor weeks in the first six weeks of the 2017 season.

Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 games v Gregoire Barrere: This is a rare moment for Gregoire Barrere to participate in the main draw of an ATP main Tour event and he has benefited from earning a Lucky Loser card back into the event in Montpellier. The 22 year old Frenchman is actually Ranked higher on the Doubles Tour than he is on the Singles Tour, but in both he is outside the top 200 of the World Rankings.

That means Barrere has some gap to bridge when he takes on the veteran Fernando Verdasco who has had some positive wins to open 2017 and whose two tournaments have both been ended by Novak Djokovic. It is harder to trust Verdasco these days because he tends to throw in a lot more sloppy performances than he did a few years ago when he was still guilty of having a really bad day in the office more often than a player of his ability should do.

The style of play Barrere brings to the court could extract some errors from Verdasco because he will look to loop the ball deep into the backhand wing, but the power is all going to be coming from the Spaniard. Consistency might not be his strong point, but Verdasco can get the first strike in many of the rallies which should mean he has a considerable edge over Barrere.

The Verdasco serve can be a little out of sync at times, but this is another aspect where he should be stronger than Barrere and I do think the veteran will come through with a 6-4, 6-3 win.

Benoit Paire - 1.5 games v Karen Khachanov: It isn't too often that you are going to feel good about backing Benoit Paire in a match, but he was getting some rest this weekend while Karen Khachanov was trying to find a way to help Russia get past Serbia in the Davis Cup. Khachanov was beaten in five sets on Friday and then suffered a three set loss on Sunday and that is a tough mental blow for a young player.

Khachanov is a tall player and you would think his game would work well on an indoor hard court. He is also most definitely a player on the upward curve and there is plenty to like about the underdog except the effort that he had to put in over the last few days compared with Paire who should be much more physically ready to compete.

The problem for Paire is always between the ears and whether he is going to have the focus to produce the tennis he needs to in order to win a match like this one. Shot selections have not been his strength and Paire can be passive in his attitude on the court which seems to indicate a lack of desire.

Now I don't know him personally so can't really say if there is more fire within which he doesn't show so much on the court. But the attitude can inspire opponents to feel they are always in the match and so Paire matches are rarely straight forward for him.

I don't think this one will be either, but I do believe Paire can use the home support to his advantage and find a way past an opponent who might have given too much mentally and physically just a few days ago. Khachanov is a player that looks like he could be a part of the 'Next Gen' of stars on the ATP Tour, but I think Paire gets past him 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in this First Round match in Montpellier.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Benoit Paire - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2017- 7.64 Units (298 Units Staked, - 2.56% 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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