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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Tennis Picks 2018 (April 3rd)

The early season hard court swing is over and the Tennis Tour now moves onto the clay court events as we begin the build up towards the second Grand Slam of the season at the French Open which begins at the end of May.

We have to negotiate a couple of slower weeks on the Tour for both the ATP and WTA with Davis Cup and Fed Cup ties scheduled for this part of the year, and we also have to accept that some of the clay court events in April have a different feel to those played in the weeks ahead of the French Open.

For example in Charleston this week we have a green clay court tournament and next week in Houston we have clay courts that don't play as slowly as those in Europe.

Those tournaments aside, we will move onto the red clay events in the build to the French Open and I do love this part of the season. After a decent enough first three months of the season, I am hoping to kick on in the weeks ahead as we see some big events played before the next Grand Slam and then there is a relatively short grass court period in the lead to Wimbledon which begins in early July.

This week I will have Tennis Picks from the two WTA events being played and then hopefully from the Davis Cup Quarter Final ties taking place on Friday through to Sunday. It doesn't necessarily mean there will be picks every day this week as shown by me bypassing Monday's schedule, but only if I find the matches that have hit my marks.

On Tuesday I have a couple of matches that seemingly are attractive enough to try and find a winner.

Irina-Camelia Begu - 3.5 games v Georgina Garcia Perez: Any time a player comes through the Qualifiers for a tournament I do have to respect they are feeling confident and that is the case for Georgina Garcia Perez.

The Spaniard should be comfortable on the clay courts, but this is a big step up for her as she faces a player Ranked in the top 100 and one who has shown she is very comfortable on this surface herself.

I do think Irina-Camelia Begu has sometimes flattered to deceive and perhaps should be higher up the World Rankings with the ability she has. However Begu can struggle for consistency, although her best results have been on the clay courts in her career.

Begu has also played well in Charleston in recent years with plenty of wins at this opening clay court event after the back to back hard court Masters events in North America.

Her return is effective enough to think she will have success against Garcia Perez and the key for Begu is trying to work out what an unfamiliar opponent wants to do as quick as possible. That might mean Begu starts a little slowly, but she should have the returning ability to put Garcia Perez under pressure and the Romanian has a serve which can be very effective on the clay courts and I will look for her to win this one and cover the number.

Caroline Garcia - 3.5 games v Varvara Lepchenko: The hard court events in Indian Wells and Miami were disappointing for Caroline Garcia but she is still enjoying a solid twelve months as her improvement has been hard to ignore.

There is still room for better, but Garcia is a comfortable player on the clay courts and I do think she can improve.

While the serve is a decent weapon for Garcia, I do want to see a little more out of her return and that is going to be tested by Varvara Lepchenko who has a decent First Round win in Charleston already this week.

However Lepchenko is not at her best on the clay courts and is a player who can see her own return fail to fire in the manner she would like. When that happens the American can see her own serve just stumble at times and I think Garcia has the kind of game that can take advantage of those problems especially if she is serving to the standard she can reach.

Having a first match on clay against someone who has experienced the conditions can be difficult and is a slight concern for me. Even with that in mind I think Garcia will be able to do enough to earn a break more in each set in a straight sets win and I will back her to cover the number in this one.

MY PICKS: Irina-Camelia Begu - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Bet Victor (2 Units)

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