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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Monte Carlo Masters Tennis Picks 2017 (April 18th)

The last couple of months has seen me suffer more than my fair share of hard luck losses, but I finally got a couple of wins where I could easily have ended on the other side.

That is important to get the Monte Carlo Masters Tennis Picks moving in a positive direction after the first two days at the event, but the majority of the event is yet to be played so nothing has been decided yet. I have had some positive starts which have gone south very quickly and I am just looking for another solid day from the Tennis Picks on Tuesday as we complete the First Round and move into the Second Round.

There is plenty of tennis for the visitors to the tournament to enjoy on Tuesday with some solid looking matches to be completed.

Lucas Pouille - 4.5 games v Ryan Harrison: I am still not sure where I stand about Lucas Pouille and his potential as a significant player on the Tour because I feel he might have had a couple of fortunate runs over the last twelve months which has put him in an artificially strong position in terms of his World Ranking. However he should be looking forward to the coming weeks on the clay court and Pouille has to be happy with his First Round draw in Monte Carlo.

That isn't disrespecting Ryan Harrison who has shown he can be a tough player on the Tour with a strong run of wins a few weeks ago. Harrison will have been disappointed with his lack of an impact in Indian Wells and Miami, while the clay courts do not look like the surface on which the American will thrive.

It is a chance for Harrison to build more Ranking points now that he is likely to have a direct entry into the big clay court events leading up to the French Open, but he has never really shown a lot of form on the surface. The game Harrison has is much more suited to the faster surfaces and someone like Pouille should be able to work him around the court.

One thing I can't always rely on is Pouille playing a clean match so I do think Harrison will have some chances to break serve too, but ultimately I am looking for the better clay court player to show that off.

There will be some difficult moments for the player who is likely to get plenty of home support, but I think Pouille can come through with a 7-5, 6-3 win behind him.

Karen Khachanov - 2.5 games v Nicolas Mahut: This pick has plenty to do with opposing Nicolas Mahut whose Singles performances on the clay courts have not raised too many eyebrows in his career. That should not be a surprise when you consider he is a serve-volley player which is incredibly difficult to perform with the consistency needed on the slower surface.

However it isn't a pick solely to oppose Mahut who has a decent serve which can cause problems if someone is not comfortable on the clay courts themselves. That isn't the case against Karen Khachanov who showed he can produce solid results on clay courts last season albeit at the Challenger level for the most part.

It has not been a great opening to 2017 for Khachanov as the youngster has perhaps not quite been at it mentally to secure wins when in a position to do so. The move to the clay may help him feel more at ease and this is a match up where he should know it is a winnable match against someone who has not performed effectively on the surface through his career.

Managing his emotions could be tough with the crowd likely to be against him, but Khachanov can keep himself together for long enough to come through a first set tie-breaker which can give him the momentum to go on. I will be looking for him to be a little too strong for Mahut in a 7-6, 6-4 win in this First Round match.

Jiri Vesely - 3.5 games v Mischa Zverev: These two players met in Marrakech last week and Jiri Vesely was a fairly comfortable winner on that occasion. He is clearly the player more suited to playing on the clay courts than Mischa Zverev and I expect Vesely to frank the form and come through with another victory.

Much of Zverev's issue is going to be to continue playing the attacking and aggressive tennis on a surface where patience and building a point is the key. The German will look to serve-volley on almost every point and the majority of those types of players have had issues on the clay courts to really produce their best tennis.

It is hard to trust someone as inconsistent as Vesely who can produce some top level tennis one day and then struggle to hit his marks on another. He did play well in Monte Carlo in 2016 though and the confidence from a Semi Final run in Marrakech has to make the Czech player come in with some more belief.

Zverev was beaten nine times on a clay court last season and he would have gone 3-6 against this number in those matches. While I think he will have some success against the Vesely serve, I think it will be difficult for Zverev to find the consistency he needs to win this match considering how he has struggled on the returning aspect of his game.

After a battle I will be looking for Vesely to have something similar to last week by coming through with a 6-4, 6-4 win.

Jeremy Chardy - 1.5 games v Borna Coric: Going against a player who has just won a title can be a tough choice, but Borna Coric had to dig deep to win the Marrakech tournament on Sunday and there isn't a lot of time to prepare for this event. The journey to Monte Carlo isn't going to be an issue for a young player like Coric, but the emotion of winning a title can be tough to come down from.

The manner of the title win has to play a part too as Coric had to dig deep to come from a set behind twice and also won a final set tie-breaker in another match. The win in the Final against Philipp Kohlschreiber when Coric came so close to losing the match and I do think this is all adds up to make it tough to lift his game again just days later.

The fact Coric is facing Jeremy Chardy who has shown some decent form of late will also be a problem for the youngster. Chardy is comfortable on the clay courts and he has the kind of game that can take the racquet out of Coric's hands especially if the Croatian is perhaps making a slow start to the match.

Their one previous clay court match did end with Coric winning comfortably over two sets, but I think this could have a different outcome because of the effort Coric had to put in last week.

Perhaps I am putting too much stock into that, but Chardy has played well enough over the last couple of weeks to think he can can battle through this First Round match.

David Goffin - 4.5 games v Nicolas Almagro: These two players met at the French Open last season and David Goffin was able to record his first professional win over Nicolas Almagro. He had previously lost three matches in a row against Almagro, but Goffin looks to have moved past the Spaniard at this stage of their respective careers and I do expect that to show up on Tuesday.

Both have recorded a win here in Monte Carlo so they should be feeling good about themselves, although Almagro was perhaps the beneficiary of his opponent Martin Klizan's mental weakness in their First Round match. Goffin was much more comfortable in his win and he has the consistency and mental strength to push Almagro much further than Klizan was able to despite taking the first set.

Almagro has only recently returned from an injury which has seen him miss close to three months on the Tour and he had lost a couple of matches on his return before the win in the First Round here. The Spaniard will have to find at least a couple of gears higher if he is going to challenge Goffin, although Almagro has the first serve which can get him out of a jam on this court.

Any time this match sees a rally develop you would have to favour Goffin to get the better of Almagro who might not have enough to stay with the top 15 Ranked player once we start getting into the fifth shot and longer. Goffin has served well enough to think he can keep Almagro guessing and I think he will be able to wear down the former top 20 player.

This is a fairly big number for Goffin to cover, but I think he can earn around three more breaks of serve over the course of the match that should mean he comes through with a 7-6, 6-2 kind of win in the Second Round.

MY PICKS: Lucas Pouille - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Coral (2 Units)
Karen Khachanov - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Coral (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Coral (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
David Goffin - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet365 (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 5-0, + 9.28 Units (10 Units Staked, + 92.80% Yield)

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