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Saturday, 13 May 2017

Madrid Masters Tennis Picks 2017 (May 13th)

The ATP Masters Semi Final and the WTA Premier Event Final are all played on Saturday in Madrid before both Tours head to Rome for the last big event prior to the beginning of the French Open.

It looks to be a solid end to the tournament in Madrid this week with all three matches having their own storyline attached to it, although the majority of the attention will come for the renewal of the rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal which opens the days play.

Novak Djokovic + 3.5 games v Rafael Nadal: It says a lot about where Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic find themselves at this moment in their careers that the Spaniard is favoured to get the better of his rival for the first time since the French Open Final in 2014. That is also the last time Nadal beat Djokovic and the odds were much closer in that Final than they are for this Semi Final in Madrid.

A win for Nadal this week will mean he goes into the French Open as a short favourite to win the men's title, but a win for Djokovic may just be the tonic the Serb needs to get back on track. It is hard to really believe in Djokovic and think he is mentally ready to win a match of this magnitude just days after announcing he has got rid of the majority of his support team.

However there is going to be some mental obstacles for Nadal to overcome having lost seven in a row to Djokovic, who is also rested having earned a walkover in the Quarter Final when Kei Nishikori had to pull out of the event. During the seven match winning run over Nadal, Djokovic has beaten the 'King of Clay' three times on this surface and I do think he is still producing enough of his best tennis to win a set in this one.

Winning the match seems a long shot at this moment in time, but winning a set will give Djokovic every chance to cover with this number of games behind him.

It is going to show us a lot about where Djokovic's game is, but he is well rested, has the strong run of wins over Nadal behind him and is still showing enough of his old flashes of genius to go on a run of games. I do think he will win a set and I am looking for Djokovic to cover in this one.

Pablo Cuevas + 3.5 games v Dominic Thiem: There are a few tournaments a year when Pablo Cuevas is able to put his game together and he becomes a tough out in those events once he gets on a roll. He is on one of those rolls now, although Dominic Thiem is about as good a clay court player below the Rafael Nadal's of the world as you're going to get.

Nadal will go into the French Open as the favourite, but there will be plenty of those out there that will back Thiem depending on the draw. The young Austrian is a supremely talented player who is improving on all surfaces and could be a real contender on the Tour if he managed his schedule far better than he does.

I do think Thiem is the right favourite going into the match, but Cuevas has played well enough this week to think he can steal a set which should give him an opportunity to cover with his number of games behind him. The issue in backing Cuevas is clearly the fact that he has had to play three set matches in each of his four wins this week, although I do think that has proved his character and will mean he can give his all in this Semi Final to give Thiem something to think about.

Ultimately I do think Thiem will win the match, but I will look for Cuevas to force another three set match and that may be enough for him to cover.

MY PICKS: Novak Djokovic + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

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