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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Monte Carlo Masters Tennis Picks 2017 (April 22nd)

The Quarter Final matches were played at the Monte Carlo Masters on Friday, but I will admit that I had a couple of picks which ultimately didn't convince me to pull the trigger on them. I would have only gone 1-1 if I had picked both matches anyway so it worked out for the best that I ended up taking the side of caution.

In what has been a good week for the tennis picks, I am not keen to give too much back and taking a more cautious approach to the week has been my policy all week. I want to get some momentum behind the picks after an awful Indian Wells tournament when I didn't have any sort of luck and moving onto the events in next week may have been my decision if I hadn't liked anything in the Semi Final matches either.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas v Lucas Pouille: This is an interesting Semi Final and neither Albert Ramos-Vinolas nor Lucas Pouille may have realistically believed they would be competing with one another for a place in the first Masters event on the clay courts this week. However both may think they are amongst the better clay court players out there and Ramos-Vinolas and Pouille will believe they can make it through to the Final on Sunday.

There isn't a lot to separate them and the oddsmakers feel the same way, although the eye-catching wins have been produced by Ramos-Vinolas so far in Monte Carlo. Wins over Andy Murray and Marin Cilic surpass Pouille's win over Pablo Cuevas and the Spaniard is looking like he could produce another big clay court season going into the French Open.

Last year Ramos-Vinolas reached the Quarter Final at Roland Garros and while he didn't have the solid results going into that Grand Slam event, the success there has been carried on in other events. Since that Quarter Final, Ramos-Vinolas has won the clay court event in Bastad and the Spaniard has reached three Quarter Final, two Semi Final, one Final and one title win in his seven tournaments on clay since the French Open.

Now he can add a Semi Final run at a Masters event in Monte Carlo to that run and I am surprised that he is the underdog in this match against Lucas Pouille. The Frenchman has produced some really good clay court results too in the last couple of seasons and he did reach the Semi Final at the Rome Masters last season and that experience could help him at key moments in this Semi Final when you have to expect nerves will play a part.

This is going to be close and I wouldn't be surprised if we have to see a third set to separate the two players. However I think Ramos-Vinolas might just be the superior clay court player who has the confidence of two wins behind him and I am going to take him to narrowly get the better of Pouille in this Semi Final.

David Goffin + 4.5 games v Rafael Nadal: I hope I am not catching Rafael Nadal at the wrong time having opposed him on Thursday and watched him demolish Alexander Zverev before struggling for long periods of his Quarter Final win over Diego Sebastian Schwartzman. I would still 100% think Nadal would have a much easier time against the latter than the young German, while he has also had his difficulties against Kyle Edmund this week.

The defending Champion is a strong favourite to win the title for the second season in a row at Monte Carlo now his main rivals have exited the tournament, but David Goffin is a very good player on his day. It was definitely his day on Friday as he recovered from dropping the second set and then going down an early break in the decided to come back and beat Novak Djokovic.

Now it is clear that Djokovic is not at the same level as he was at around this time in 2016, but beating the former World Number 1 is not an easy feat and not the way Goffin played. He looked good and confident and I imagine the Belgian Number 1 is going to have a lot of belief in his first ever meeting against Rafael Nadal, although he needs to remain mentally strong when taking on the Spaniard on the clay courts.

There should be plenty of breaks both way with the serves of both men relatively vulnerable on the clay courts, but I like the Goffin movement on this surface and I think he is a player capable of making some big time shots. On the faster surface his lack of real punch through the court can be a problem, but he has consistency off the ground, can move wonderfully and the patience to perform on the clay courts which I consider to be Goffin's best surface.

Again I will say beating Nadal on clay is a huge test both physically and mentally, especially as Goffin has not actually played him before. However the performances so far this week have been positive enough to believe this is a huge number of games for Nadal to cover and I will back Goffin with the games to keep this close even if not able to complete the upset.

MY PICKS: Albert Ramos-Vinolas @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
David Goffin + 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Monte Carlo Update: 11-4, + 12.36 Units (30 Units Staked, + 41.20% Yield)

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