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Friday, 13 April 2018

Tennis Picks 2018 (April 13th)

Wednesday proved to be a really tough day for the Tennis Picks which all began with Andreas Seppi going out despite winning the first set of his match 6-1.

To be honest the two picks I made in the Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Nicolas Kicker matches were simply bad choices on the day as both underperformed.

That can happen but I am looking for a much better day on Friday as we move onto the Quarter Final matches in the four tournaments being played this week. Well that is what the tournaments in Bogota and Lugano would have been hoping but the continuous rain has played havoc on their draw and that means there are a lot of matches scheduled for Friday as players are asked to play twice in one day to get the Singles draw back on track.

I may have Picks from the ATP Houston Quarter Final matches depending on how the markets look, but for now the focus is on three of the four ATP Marrakech Quarter Final matches.

Hopefully Friday the 13th is not a horror day for the Tennis Picks.

Pablo Andujar - 2.5 games v Alexey Vatutin: This is a big Quarter Final for both Pablo Andujar and Alexey Vatutin who will recognise the chance to earn some big Ranking points in this tournament.

You have to credit Vatutin and his path through to the Quarter Final having won a couple of Qualifiers before beating a top 100 and then a top 50 Ranked player for the first time in his career. That will give the Russian some confidence, but I am still not completely convinced about his ability at this level.

At least he won't be playing someone who has been mixing in this company a lot in recent times as Andujar recovers from injury issues that have dropped him down to 355 in the World Rankings. However the Spaniard is very comfortable on the clay courts and he won a Challenger tournament in Alicante last week which will be a huge boost for Andujar.

That boost has been underlined by two dominant wins in this tournament and the numbers have been good enough to think Andujar will have the edge in this match.

Vatutin won't be short of confidence himself and he has produced some good numbers of his own, but I do think the superior clay court skills of Andujar can make the difference in this Quarter Final. I don't think it will completely his way like the win over Andrea Arnaboldi, but I can see Andujar edging two sets in a straight sets win which allows him to progress with a cover of this number of games.

Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Gilles Simon: Injury issues have been a problem for Richard Gasquet over the last twelve months, but he can still produce some strong tennis which has led to title wins in that time. On the other hand his compatriot Gilles Simon has been showing signs of decline in the last couple of years and I would expect Gasquet to get the better of him on the clay courts in Marrakech.

Out of the two players it is Gasquet who has made slightly more comfortable progress through to this Quarter Final while he will hold the mental edge having won seven of their eight professional meetings. That won't overawe Simon, but the latter is all about frustrating opponents with his defensive skills and ability to grind out points and that should not be an issue for Gasquet who is very familiar with his compatriot's game.

Gasquet has also shown himself to be the superior of the two on the clay courts by the sheer numbers, although none of their previous eight matches have been played against each other on this surface. While the Gasquet numbers on the clay courts have stayed pretty strong, Simon's have shown real signs of decline in each of the last four seasons.

While his service numbers have remained steady, Simon has just found it slightly tougher in each of the past four years to break serve on this surface where rallies can be drawn out. The Gasquet serve won't make it much easier for Simon if Gasquet is anywhere near his best and Simon's numbers also show significantly weaker when returning against top 50 Ranked players on this surface.

Of course Simon can be a frustrating character who can mentally wear down opponents, but I don't think that happens to Gasquet here. He is yet to drop a set in the tournament and I will look for him to earn a break more in each set of a straight sets win here.

Kyle Edmund - 4.5 games v Malek Jaziri: On first glance I did think this could potentially be one too many games for Kyle Edmund to cover against Malek Jaziri, but he is considerably better on the clay courts than this opponent and I am going to back him here.

Jaziri is going to be a threat if Edmund is not at his best because he won a Challenger on the hard courts last month and he also has won a couple of matches here this week. The first match was a little fortunate for the Tunisian, but he dominated Mischa Zverev even if the German is not exactly a prominent clay court player.

His confidence should be in a good place and perhaps in a better place than Edmund's who had not won a match since his impressive run at the Australian Open before he played in Marrakech this week.

Edmund did dominate Radu Albot in the Second Round and he continues to impress when facing players outside of the top 50 in the World Rankings on the clay courts. He manages to look after his serve very well in those matches which has allowed Edmund to go on the offensive when it comes to the return games and he has produced some strong numbers in that spot.

On the other hand Jaziri's numbers on the clay courts have not been as strong and is a player that struggles to hold and break serve on the surface. He has played well this week, but his performances against top 50 Ranked players on the clay have been tough and the numbers underline that.

He did win their previous match, but Edmund is a much better player than in 2015 when these two played on the grass in Nottingham. A confident Jaziri can cause problems for a while, but I expect Edmund's quality to shine through as he makes it through to the Semi Final in Marrakech.

MY PICKS: Pablo Andujar - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Boyle Sports (2 Units)
Kyle Edmund - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 4.34 Units (8 Units Staked, - 54.25% Yield)

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