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Monday, 23 July 2018

Tennis Picks 2018 (July 23rd)

The run to the US Open officially begins this week when the ATP Tour moves to Atlanta, but there are some big tournaments in Europe too on the clay courts.

There is one ATP 500 event in Hamburg on the clay courts which is a big chance for players who love that surface to pick up some big Ranking points, while another ATP 250 event is played in Gstaad in another clay court event.

The main WTA tournament is played in Moscow on the clay too.

Once again the main names on the Tour are having another week getting some rest and recuperation from their exploits at Wimbledon but that gives the chance for the likes of Marco Cecchinato, Steve Johnson, Fabio Fognini, Alize Cornet and Anastasija Sevastova to build on title wins last week and earn more Ranking points.

Players of that ilk will be hoping to do that this week and my first couple of Tennis Picks from the week can be found below.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez - 1.5 games v Roberto Carballes Baena: Two Spanish players meet in the First Round of the ATP Gstaad tournament on the clay courts on Monday. Out of the two players it is Roberto Carballes Baena who is the more comfortable on the surface considering he spends the majority of his time on the clay courts, but Guillermo Garcia-Lopez has been good enough to put together plenty of wins on this surface too.

Both players have actually produced very similar numbers on the clay courts in 2018 with both Garcia-Lopez and Carballes Baena winning around 62% of points behind the serve and around 40% of the returning points. It won't surprise anyone that they have similar hold and break percentages on the clay courts too, although Garcia-Lopez has tended to play at the higher level.

There isn't going to be much between the two players on the day, but Garcia-Lopez could have the edge thanks to the superior level of competition he tends to play against on a more consistent time on the Tour compared with his compatriot.

It feels like a match that is going to see both players have plenty of opportunities to break serve and I am leaning towards Garcia-Lopez to have the edge even though he was beaten by Carballes Baena when they met in a clay court Final on the Challenger Tour in 2017.

On that day Carballes Baena was something of a fortunate winner and I think Garcia-Lopez can earn a measure of revenge with a win in this First Round match. You do have to be a little concerned that this is the first match back on the clay for Garcia-Lopez since the French Open compared with Carballes Baena who was beaten in the First Round in Bastad last week. Carballes Baena also spent a month playing clay court Challenger events rather than any grass tennis so his familiarity with the surface could give him the chance to earn the upset.

However I am not sure Carballes Baena will have the majority of the break points in this one and I like Garcia-Lopez to win and cover if he takes the chances that come his way.

Ivo Karlovic - 1.5 games v Donald Young: 2018 has been a tremendously poor year for Donald Young and his World Ranking has slipped outside the top 200. It means he will be looking for some Wild Cards to enter events during the North American hard court swing as he may be short of even entering the Qualifying for some of the Masters events coming up and confidence has to be incredibly low.

The overall record over the last twelve months has been very poor, but Young's 2018 record has seen him win just one of the nine matches played on the hard courts. It would be great to say that Young has just had some really difficult draws in those defeats, but that has not always been the case and his numbers have been very poor too.

Those have been particularly poor when it comes to the serve as Young's numbers have slipped from the standards he has set for himself in recent years on the hard courts. He is struggling to hold serve, although facing up against Ivo Karlovic may help with a long known fact the big serving Croatian is a limited returner.

While it has been a tough year for Young, Ivo Karlovic will no doubt feel his own time on the tennis court at the top level is coming to a close. The serve remains a potent weapon for Karlovic, but he is under more pressure to make sure he looks after that side of his game with the return numbers showing even more of a decline.

In each of the last four seasons his percentage of return points won have been in decline and no one should be surprised to see that his break percentage has also declined. Karlovic has broken just under 6% of the time on the hard courts in 2018 which makes it hard to trust him, but he has a strong record against Donald Young and is facing a player who is very short of confidence.

I am anticipating the Karlovic serve putting plenty of mental pressure on Young who has been known for throwing away service games on this surface in 2018. Doing that against Karlovic would be fatal in a set and I think Young will have a hard time getting the better of the Croatian in this one.

Karlovic has not exactly pulled up trees which makes it hard to trust him, but I think he can win this match and cover the small handicap.

MY PICKS: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Sporting Bet (2 Units)

Season 2018 Update+ 31.12 Units (1209 Units Staked, + 2.57% Yield)

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