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Saturday, 17 February 2018

Tennis Picks 2018 (February 17th)

The four tournaments that have been played this week come down to the business end on Saturday with the Semi Final matches in Buenos Aires, Doha, New York and Rotterdam all scheduled to be played.

One of those Semi Finals, at the time of writing, has already been concluded with Simona Halep pulling out of the tournament in Doha and leaving Garbine Muguruza to take her place in Sunday's Final.

The rest of the matches are still set to go and I am looking to put an exclamation mark at the end of the best week of the 2018 season so far.

Petra Kvitova v Caroline Wozniacki: The Semi Final that is still to be played in Doha looks a really good one on paper as both Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki have been in fine form.

Wozniacki is playing with the confidence of having won the Australian Open and that helped her through a very tough Quarter Final against Angelique Kerber. On the other hand, Kvitova has been in dominant form since her early exit in Melbourne by winning the title in St Petersburg and looking very strong in Doha to follow that up.

Both players have produced some very strong numbers in 2018 and both have been in good form which suggests this is going to be a very close match. However I do like Kvitova as the underdog in this one having beaten Wozniacki at the end of 2017 in Beijing, while she has the power to hit through Wozniacki.

The longer match played by Wozniacki on Friday may play a part too and I am going to back the underdog to come through with the win.

Kvitova's power and superior serving should make the difference in this match, although it would not surprise me if she needs three sets to finally see off Wozniacki.

Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 games v David Goffin: There is no denying how well David Goffin has been playing to open 2018, and he is well rested for this Semi Final having seen Tomas Berdych withdraw prior to their Quarter Final.

Even with the positive results, it is hard to ignore that Goffin never seems far away from a poorer performance which makes him vulnerable to be beaten. He is also facing an opponent in this Semi Final who has had his number and who beat him twice at the ATP Finals back in November.

Grigor Dimitrov has some decent wins in 2018, although the Bulgarian has not been anything like as dominant in his wins as Goffin has been. There is a real room for improvement when it comes to the return of serve, but Dimitrov has enjoyed this match up and I expect he will feel comfortable in it.

One question mark for Dimitrov is his sole loss to Goffin in nine previous professional matches came in Rotterdam twelve months ago. That could play a part mentally, but I think Dimitrov's wins over Goffin in London in the ATP Finals will be fresh in the mind and he can find a way to get past this opponent and move onto Sunday's Final.

It could be a close match that goes the distance, but I do like Dimitrov to find a way to cover this number of games in this win.

Dominic Thiem - 2.5 games v Gael Monfils: I am adding this pick from Buenos Aires where the winner of this Semi Final will feel they are favourites to go on and win the title in Argentina.

Both Dominic Thiem and Gael Monfils have played well to get through to the final four, although the edge has to be given to Thiem for the more serene progress. That may not be a surprise as a I think he is one of the top clay courters in the world and arguably just behind Rafael Nadal when it comes to favouritism to win the French Open.

Thiem also holds a strong head to head with Monfils and I think he can show that again when they meet on Saturday.

The Frenchman has played well on the clay courts in his career, but I think his serve is not as effective as Thiem's and both players are very good returners. That means Thiem is likely to get through a few more service games without being put under immense pressure and that can play a huge part in his success in this Semi Final.

I imagine the match will be closely contested, but Thiem does hold the advantages and I will look for him to move through to the Sunday Final with a win and a cover in this one.

MY PICKS: Petra Kvitova @ 2.15 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 2.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet365 (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 14-6, + 13.48 Units (40 Units Staked, + 33.70% Yield)

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