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Thursday, 9 February 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (February 9th)

After deciding to sit out on Monday, it looks like a decision that has paid off for the picks so far this week which have produced plenty of winners.

While it is a good start, we still have four more days to go this week and I am looking to make sure it is a much better one than last week by ensuring we give nothing back in the coming days.

Any picks from the tournament in Quito will be added on Thursday once the schedule of play and full markets have been released.

Alexander Zverev - 4.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: There is a lot of pressure on Alexander Zverev to become the next big star coming out of Germany and I think that may have hindered him in the Davis Cup tie at home last weekend. His surprise defeat in Rubber 4 meant Belgium were able to upset Germany, while Zverev still has some of the inconsistencies which young players do tend to display.

He reached the Semi Final in Montpellier last season and Zverev has shown he can be very comfortable on the indoor hard courts and I do believe he can win this match. His opponent Aljaz Bedene has fallen outside of the top 100 of the World Rankings, but he did produce a solid come from behind win over Borna Coric in the First Round although I do believe that says a lot more about where Coric is with his game than where Bedene is.

Bedene has just struggled to find a place on the main Tour with too many up and down results preventing him from being comfortable at this level. The British player has a decent serve and can play very well when he is allowed to, but I am not sure Zverev is going to give him a chance to completely settle.

This is a big number when you think of the inconsistent performances Zverev can produce within a match, but I think the German holds the edge when it comes to the power and the first serve. As long as he doesn't lose focus mentally, Zverev should find a way to get involved in the Bedene service games and I think he will wear down his opponent for a 6-4, 6-3 win to move into the Quarter Final.

Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 games v Paul-Henri Mathieu: The veteran Paul-Henri Mathieu had to ride out some difficult moments in his win in the First Round and will be looking to back that up on Thursday. He reached the Final in Montpellier last season, but that was an exception to the usual trend for Mathieu here as he had previously been 3-4 in matches at this indoor hard court event.

While the win over Vincent Millot was a good one, Mathieu has to know that his level of performance has to go up at least one, maybe two gears from where he was on Wednesday. The first serve was not going in as much as he would like and Mathieu is in for a big test against compatriot Jeremy Chardy who is younger and well rested having won his First Round match a couple of days ago.

It does have to be said that Chardy has been anything but flying at the beginning of the 2017 season, but his battling win over Marcel Granollers has to give him confidence. I also can't ignore the fact that Chardy does not have the best record on the indoor hard courts, but I do think he has the shot making to give Mathieu problems if he is looking a little fatigued as he did at times on Wednesday.

Chardy has to make more use out of his own serve and can be encouraged by having won four of the last five matches against Mathieu. He should be too good for the veteran, but might have to save a few break points on the way to a 7-6, 6-4 win.

Richard Gasquet - 4.5 games v Malek Jaziri: The defending Champion Richard Gasquet makes his first appearance in Montpellier this season and has to feel he has a significant physical edge over Malek Jaziri who had to battle through a tough three set First Round match on Wednesday.

Jaziri came very close to losing his First Round match before taking the final two sets 7-5, 7-6 to come from behind and beat Tristan Lamasine. There is no doubt he is going to have to be a lot better if he is going to beat another Frenchman here and one who is accustomed to producing solid results on the indoor hard courts.

The question about Gasquet is how he is feeling physically as he has only decided to play at the Australian Open in 2017. He didn't play badly at Melbourne Park, but the lack of matches can be a problem for players especially as he will be playing someone who has won a match here and also played well at the Australian Open.

However I do wonder if the First Round match yesterday has taken something out of the Jaziri tank ahead of this one. This is not a player who has had the greatest record on the indoor hard courts but Gasquet will still need to be focused and make sure he doesn't offer Jaziri too many easy ways into games and the match. I do think Gasquet will have the majority of break points as Jaziri has to work hard to try and win some of the points off the second serve and I will look for the Frenchman to come through 6-4, 6-3.

Andreas Seppi v Steve Darcis: Coming back from Argentina and Davis Cup action on a different surface might have put Andreas Seppi in a difficult position going into the Sofia main draw. However he proved his battling qualities with a three set win on Wednesday and now takes on Steve Darcis who was beaten by the Italian in four sets at the Australian Open last month.

On that occasion Seppi was a stronger favourite than he is in this one, but I think the factors of the journey from Argentina and Darcis having played a couple of days ago has influenced the prices.

Darcis had been impressive in Davis Cup action himself this week as he led a Belgium team to success in Germany despite not having David Goffin to call upon. Wins over Philipp Kohlschreiber and Alexander Zverev will have given Darcis confidence that he can reverse a tight defeat to Seppi at Melbourne Park and this one could come down to which of these players is able to get more out of the first serve.

I am anticipating a tight match here, but I think Seppi is able to frank his form from last month and come through in three sets. He does have the slightly stronger first serve which can set up a few more easier rallies, while I also believe Darcis has still enjoyed the majority of his success at the lower level than the one Seppi tends to play on. It should go three sets though and there might be a couple of key moments here and there that decides the outcome of the match, but I am looking for Seppi to knuckle down and win the big points to move through to the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Alexander Zverev - 4.5 Games @ 2.25 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 Games @ 1.73 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 6-1, + 8.76 Units (14 Units Staked, + 62.57% Yield)

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