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Thursday, 27 July 2017

Tennis Picks 2017 (July 27th)

There were a number of matches on Wednesday but only one made my shortlist and then there were enough doubts when having a deeper look at that contest which put me off backing it.

It has been a pretty difficult week to find the right angles for picks this week and the only two I have been convinced about have both let me down. Both have been very, very close to success, but ultimately being close is not good enough and I am hoping for better on Thursday to get this week turned back around.

The remainder of the Second Round matches will be played on Thursday before we move onto the Quarter Final matches at the five events being played this week. On Thursday I do have five picks from the tournaments and I am looking for a really strong day to move this week into a positive position for the remaining three days.

Kiki Bertens - 5.5 games v Barbora Krejcikova: This is the second time in 2017 that Kiki Bertens and Barbora Krejcikova will be meeting on the Tour and the latter will be hoping for much better than when she earned just three games in the Final in Nuremberg. That was a special tournament for Krejcikova, but Bertens has shown she is one of the better players on the clay courts on the WTA Tour with a title there and one won last week in Gstaad.

The Bertens numbers on the clay courts have been really impressive over the last two years and she has been able to look after her serve very effectively. That is perhaps no surprise when you think how good the serve is and Bertens is able to have the patience to work the points over.

It is also shown up in her return game overall, but those numbers get stronger across the board when Bertens has played opponents Ranked outside the top 100. Those small margins can make the big difference and it is difficult to see Krejcikova snap her 0-3 record against top 20 Ranked players on the clay despite the ease of her win over Annika Beck in the First Round here.

Tiredness could be a factor against Bertens who won the title in Gstaad but she didn't show that in her First Round win over Carina Witthoeft and I think the Bertens return game can set her up for a big win on Thursday. Serving as she has means Bertens can exert plenty of pressure on Krejcikova and I will look for the Dutchwoman to win this one 6-3, 6-3 and move into another Quarter Final on the clay in 2017.

David Ferrer - 2.5 games v Federico Delbonis: The decline in the David Ferrer game may be irreversible at this time of his career, but he won another title last week in Bastad. That was an impressive title win for Ferrer and I am a little worried that he will struggle to back that up with the inconsistency he has begun to show in his game.

Last week he beat Federico Delbonis who has suffered with injury and a loss of form to fall down the World Rankings and thus take part in more Challenger events than he has been used to. Delbonis has played well in those Challenger events with some deep runs in those tournaments which will have given him some confidence.

Winning two Qualifiers before a First Round success over Carlos Berlocq will add to that confidence and Delbonis and Ferrer did play a close match last week in Bastad. Both players were dominant on the return in that match and I think that will be the case again for both, although I can see Ferrer franking his form with another victory over Delbonis.

Ferrer has won all three previous matches against Delbonis without dropping a set, which is another mental edge for the veteran Spaniard, and I will look for him to win this one 7-6, 6-4.

Jiri Vesely - 2.5 games v Horacio Zeballos: He might not have been at his best in the First Round, but Jiri Vesely should take some heart from beating an in-form Fernando Verdasco over three sets. Playing a lefty in the First Round should mean Vesely is prepared for another meeting with Horacio Zeballos against whom he has won both previous matches.

Neither of those have been on the clay courts which will be Zeballos' preferred surface, but Vesely may also be at his best on this surface. His numbers against players Ranked outside the top 50 on the clay have been very impressive and that is why I do lean towards Vesely winning this one and also covering this number.

I do have to respect the fact that Zeballos does get some pop on his serve which makes him dangerous, but his return game is not the best. Zeballos will also be challenged by the return game Vesely is able to produce against those players Ranked outside the top 50 and I think that works together to see the Czech player move through to the Quarter Final.

In their two previous matches the superior returning of Vesely has proved to be a difference and I will be looking for this match to go the same way. A tie-breaker could be the key moment of the match, but I am looking for Vesely to win that and also the match 6-4, 7-6.

Karen Khachanov - 1.5 games v Aljaz Bedene: There is much to admire about Karen Khachanov's game and the young Russian certainly looks like one of the names to look out for in the coming years. He has had a couple of solid performances at Grand Slam events over the last couple of months, and Khachanov is very comfortable on the clay courts.

He will have to be close to his best to beat Aljaz Bedene who has had a very strong run on the clay courts in 2017. Bedene has showed improvement in both serving and returning in 2017 and that has seen him produce better results.

However those have rarely come against players of the quality of Khachanov and I think that is going to be an issue. While Khachanov hasn't returned as well as he had been in the last couple of years, that has something to do with taken a step up in class when playing regular ATP events and Khachanov has produced better numbers when facing those players Ranked outside the top 50.

Khachanov beat Bedene twice on the clay courts in 2016 and I think he can produce another win over him here in Hamburg. While Bedene has played better tennis on the clay since his last match with Khachanov, I also think the latter is much improved and I can see him being too strong in a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win.

MY PICKS: Kiki Bertens - 5.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Karen Khachanov - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 0-2, - 4 Units (4 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

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