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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 19th)

There does feel like there is a distinct lack of quality out on the Tour this week which isn't a surprise days after Wimbledon came to a close. While some decent players are in action, the bigger matches are unlikely to be seen until the end of the week when those players are matched up against one another.

The Second Round matches might be better than we saw earlier in the week, but there are still enough mismatches to have some very short priced favourites on Wednesday when the first half of those Second Round matches are played at the five main Tour events.

Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 games v Renzo Olivo: I don't think I will ever forget the way the match went the last time Diego Sebastian Schwartzman and Renzo Olivo met on the Tour. That came earlier in 2017 and Schwartzman somehow failed to cover this number of games despite producing 21 break points compared with just the 9 for Olivo, but the higher Ranked Argentinian could not find the breaks easy to come by.

That does mean Schwartzman has created 37 break points in the last two matches between these players, but his conversion rate has not been anything to write home about. That is a concern because maybe Olivo has some mental strength which enables him to get out of tough spots, but I am more encouraged by Schwartzman's return numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50.

Those numbers on the clay suggest Schwartzman won't be as generous at letting his break points slip away, while his service numbers have also been more productive. Of course this is a vulnerable serve, but Olivo has struggled when playing the top players on the clay as his recent 1-5 record against top 50 players highlights.

Olivo may also have the edge of being over in Bastad over the last two weeks and so accustomed to the conditions, but I think it is Schwartzman who will have the majority of the play.

I do expect breaks of serve for both players, but Schwartzman has the numbers which point to a 7-5, 6-3 kind of win for him in this one.

Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: A knee injury ruled Pablo Cuevas out of Wimbledon the year after he had reached the Final in Nottingham on the grass. The absence from the Tour with an issue that has blighted him before is an obvious concern, but I also know that some players have previously skipped the grass in order to keep their knees from wearing down, particularly Rafael Nadal.

That is the biggest question mark about this match which should be one that Cuevas is very comfortable in. While he is one of the better clay court players on the Tour, Cuevas faces Henri Laaksonen who is still finding his feet at the highest level of the Tour.

There have been six occasions Laaksonen has played a top 50 Ranked player on the clay and he has lost all six of those matches. He was narrowly beaten by Andreas Seppi in a Davis Cup tie, but the other five losses have come in one sided fashion and his struggles on the return are likely to be a big issue here.

Cuevas has loved playing those further down the World Rankings where he is able to generate plenty of success on the return of serve. That could be a big issue for Laaksonen in this one if Cuevas is feeling good and I do think the higher Ranked player will be able to put his opponent under pressure.

The biggest question remains the Cuevas health, but if he feels ready to go in this one, I think he can come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Radu Albot: Jiri Vesely got it done when picking him in the First Round and I do think he can cover this number against Radu Albot too.

The numbers against players Ranked outside the top 100 on the clay continue to impress from Vesely who has improved to 7-1 in that spot in 2017 to add to the 9-1 record he had in 2016. The serve becomes a big weapon for Vesely at this level, but the key is the way he has been able to get his teeth into the return games which was highlighted in his impressive First Round win over Norbert Gombos.

I will be looking for that dominance to show up at some point in this match too against Radu Albot who is coming off a decent grass court showing. However he is 0-4 when facing top 50 Ranked players on the clay courts and Albot's issues begin with what is a vulnerable serve, one that I would expect Vesely to exploit in this Second Round match.

He hasn't returned well enough against the top players, while Albot's overall return numbers on the clay makes it difficult to believe he will be capable of sticking with his opponent in this match.

I would expect Vesely to be in a position to break serve three or four times in this match and a decent day behind serve should see him come through with a 6-3, 6-4 win in this one.

MY PICKS: Diego Sebastian Schwartzman - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-2, + 0 Units (8 Units Staked, + 0% Yield)

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