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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 31st)

With some of the tournaments being played in North America and Mexico this week, it does mean that the layers are perhaps taking some time to formulate their markets. This week in particular is an issue because the tournaments are trying to be completed before the Canadian Masters begins this weekend and that means players are being asked to play on consecutive days from very early in the week.

Matches are being played through the night and the winners are going to be playing in the next Round on Wednesday. I will add any Tennis Picks from those matches to this thread and I will also update the weekly totals at that time too.

Roberto Carballas Baena - 1.5 games v Lorenzo Sonego: On Monday both Roberto Carballas Baena and Lorenzo Sonego had to come through difficult First Round matches and their progression came after needing three sets to see off opponents. Tough wins can build character though and there is a chance to build some momentum as they play each other for a place in the Quarter Final in Kitzbuhel on Wednesday.

Winning matches is clearly important, but both players will know they could have easily been beaten in the First Round too. It does mean there needs to be an improvement if Carballas Baena or Sonego are going to make it through to the next Round and this match could easily come down to which of the players is able to find that improvement the best.

Out of the two players Carballas Baena has been the more consistent, although the Spaniard has a serve that his opponent's will all feel like they can get into. He is holding 76% of the service games he has played on the clay courts in 2019 and he wins 61% of the points played with both numbers being pretty steady over the last five seasons.

The Spaniard will be expecting to have a little more success when facing Lorenzo Sonego who has struggled with his return on the clay courts having won 36% of return points and breaking in less than 20% of return games played. It does put some pressure on Sonego to make sure he is finding the big first serve with some regularity, but for the most part he has been successful doing that having held 83% of service games played.

It was the serve that got him out of trouble in the First Round against Federico Delbonis with all eight break points saved in the final set decider. However Lorenzo Sonego had a pretty good record against Delbonis which may have helped him from a mental standpoint, but that is not the case against Carballas Baena with three defeats to this opponent.

One of those came earlier this year on the South American Golden Swing, and all have been on the clay courts. Roberto Carballas Baena has found a way to break in 36% of return games played against Lorenzo Sonego and restricted the Italian to 58% of service points won which is someway down on his numbers overall.

I do think Sonego may have more success on his return than he does generally considering Carballas Baena remains at a steady 76% of service games held against the Italian. However Carballas Baena wins a few more service points and I think he will position himself to get the better of Lorenzo Sonego for a fourth time that they have met.

Prior to the win over Delbonis, Lorenzo Sonego had lost six matches in a row on the main ATP Tour on the clay. He will be boosted by snapping that run, but this looks a tough match up for him and I think Roberto Carballas Baena can be backed to win and cover the number.

Pablo Cuevas - 2.5 games v Dennis Novak: As one of the higher Ranked players at the ATP Kitzbuhel tournament, Pablo Cuevas was given a bye into the Second Round of the draw. This could be an important week for Cuevas as it is the last clay court event with significant World Ranking points attached to it in the 2019 season, although it comes at the end of what has been a poor month for the Uruguayan.

He would have been hoping for much better from appearances in Bastad and Hamburg, but Pablo Cuevas did not receive favourable draws in defeats to Federico Delbonis and Dominic Thiem at those tournaments. This Second Round match looks much more winnable, although Cuevas has only played in Kitzbuhel once before and was upset by a home player in 2017.

Now he has to face Dennis Novak who came through his First Round match very comfortably although he has yet to move beyond the Second Round here. The majority of Novak's time is spent away from the main ATP Tour and the 25 year old Austrian has to be wondering whether he can find the consistency to crack into the top 100 of the World Rankings which would open the door to main Tour events in the future.

Dennis Novak has to be feeling good about the way he has performed when playing on the main Tour in 2019 even though he is only 3-3 on the clay in those matches. He has been holding 83% of the service games he has played in those matches and Novak is also breaking in 21% of return games, but I have to note that in his career Novak only holds in 73% of service games played on the clay courts against top 100 Ranked opponents.

He may have a bit more joy against Pablo Cuevas who can be a little erratic when it comes to his return of serve, although the Uruguayan has some strong numbers to fall back upon. He has broken in 30% of return games played on the clay in 2019 and Cuevas has been particularly strong when facing opponents Ranked outside the top 100 as shown by his percentage improving to 38% in that category.

Pablo Cuevas also does possess a strong serve and he does hold 81% of service games played on this surface against players Ranked outside the top 100. It can be difficult for players when they go up against an unfamiliar opponent for the first time, especially one that won't have a lot of film on him like Dennis Novak, but I expect to see Cuevas having a bit too much for him.

It may even need three sets to get it done, but I would expect Cuevas to find the big return games to earn the edge in the match and he can use that return to cover this number.

Hubert Hurkacz-John Isner over 10.5 games first set: A strong First Round win produced by Hubert Hurkacz over Donald Young has set him up with this match against John Isner. The American was one of a number of Seeds who received a bye through to the Second Round in Washington, although a big six weeks are coming up for Isner if he wants to avoid another drop down the World Rankings.

Last year John Isner reached the Quarter Final at the US Open so there are plenty of points he is going to have to defend there. He can make up for it having lost early in both Canada and Cincinnati, but Isner needs some momentum in what has been a difficult year for him.

The serve is always going to be a potent weapon for Isner and we have seen 40 year old Ivo Karlovic continue to be an effective player on the Tour thanks to the serve he possesses. The same is likely going to be the case for Isner who is winning 76% of the points played behind his serve and holding 94% of his service games on the hard courts in 2019.

Suffice to say it will be a huge challenge for Hubert Hurkacz to get his teeth into the return games especially as the Polish player is only winning 35% of return points on the hard courts this year. He has struggled to find the breaks of serve in general and now faces one of the top servers on the Tour.

It does mean there is some pressure on Hurkacz knowing one slip on serve would likely prove to be fatal, but he will be confident he can keep the scoreboard ticking along. Hubert Hurkacz has held 85% of the service games he has played on the hard courts in 2019 and John Isner is an even more limited returner with breaks of serve in just 10% of return games while he wins less than 30% of the points played on an opponent's serve.

You would think the serve is going to be strong for both players at the outset of this match and five of the last seven John Isner matches have needed a tie-breaker to determine the first set. It has not been as common in Hubert Hurkacz matches, but he is likely going to need to serve well to stay with the American and backing the first set to at least reach 5-5 is the play in this one.

Kevin Anderson - 3.5 games v Adrian Mannarino: Over the last two years Kevin Anderson has played some of his very best tennis on the US hard court swing which concludes with the final Grand Slam of the season. He will be looking for another strong run over the coming weeks and the opening match in Washington looks like being a good one for the big South African.

Kevin Anderson is the Number 4 Seed in Washington and that does mean he received a bye through to the Second Round. That could give Adrian Mannarino some encouragement having put a straight sets win on the board in the First Round, but the Frenchman has to get over the mental obstacle of a really poor head to head with Anderson.

It is Anderson who has won their last four matches head to head on the hard courts including a First Round win at the Australian Open. The South African has held 90% of the service games he has played against Mannarino in those four matches and that is vastly superior to the latter who has only managed to hold 67% of his own service games in that time.

In 2019 Kevin Anderson has held 87% of his service games played on the hard courts and he will feel he can keep Adrian Mannarino under pressure. The Frenchman has been struggling with his return on the hard courts through the season and that increases the pressure on a player who does not have the most effective serve with 76% of his service games being held.

That has contributed to the Mannarino only securing a 5-10 record and I do make Anderson a strong favourite. There are some concerns that covering such a number like this is difficult for a player who has a limited return like Anderson, but even the breaks in 18% of return games might not be such an issue when you think of the way he has matched up with Mannarino.

During the course of this match I think Kevin Anderson can find a couple of breaks of serve more than Adrian Mannarino and he should have enough to cover this handicap mark.

MY PICKS: Roberto Carballas Baena - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Hubert Hurkacz-John Isner Over 10.5 Games First Set @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Kevin Anderson - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas @ 1.95 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Monica Puig - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Miomir Kecmanovic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Felix Auger Aliassime @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-6, - 2.40 Units (22 Units Staked, - 10.91% Yield)

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 30th)

There are plenty of matches scheduled for Tuesday at the various tournaments being played and you can read my selections from the First Round below.

I have noted that the ATP Washington event will move onto the Second Round on Tuesday too, but those markets have yet to be formulated and any Picks from those matches scheduled for the day will be added to this thread on the day around lunchtime.

At that point I will also update the weekly totals after a mixed start to the week with two of the three underdogs I picked outright losing in the final set. Hopefully Tuesday will prove to be a much more productive day and get this week moved back into the black.

Cori Gauff - 2.5 games v Zarina Diyas: A huge spotlight shone on Cori Gauff at Wimbledon earlier this month as the 15 year old Qualified for the main draw and then reached the second week of the third Grand Slam of the 2019 season. The potential the young American has shown seemed to come to fruition in SW19, but the new expectations and exposure Gauff had means expectations have been raised and her own fanbase has also increased tremendously.

Cori Gauff is still at an age where she is not allowed to join the Tour full time unlike in past years and that means she has to pick and choose her events. It also means it is difficult for Gauff to improve her immediate World Ranking to ensure automatic entry into some of the tournaments to be played this summer, but Gauff was high enough to enter the Washington Qualifiers and made light work of her two opponents to reach the main draw.

Her peak World Ranking came at the end of Wimbledon, but Cori Gauff is almost certainly going to move above that mark as long as she can win at least one match in the main draw in the nation's capital. She is favoured to see off Zarina Diyas, but the veteran is someone that has to be respected in this First Round match.

There have been some solid numbers produced by Diyas on the hard courts in the last couple of years, but she has not been as strong on the surface at the main WTA level in 2019. Zarina Diyas has played well in a couple of ITF events which have seen her reach 17 hard court wins for the season, but only 6 of those have come at this level as the Kazakhstan player has seen her numbers drop on both the serve and the return compared with 2018.

This is only the second top 100 Ranked player that Gauff would have played on the hard courts in 2019 and she was comfortably beaten by Daria Kasatkina in the Second Round in Miami back in March. It has to be a concern when backing her as the favourite as there is limited numbers that we can look at considering the lack of main Tour tennis the young American has played.

We do know that Cori Gauff has a very good serve that should be very effective on the hard courts if Zarina Diyas is not quite up to her best level on the return. The latter has also been beaten by a couple of young, up and coming opponents already on this surface in 2019 although Diyas has only lost one match out of six played against someone Ranked outside the top 100.

I do think Gauff is going to be over-rated by the layers on the form she showed at Wimbledon, but I think this is a good chance for her to come through the First Round in Washington. The veteran won't roll over easily, but Zarina Diyas has lost to some of the younger players on the Tour who are looking to make their step up onto the main Tour level and I think Gauff can add to that list against her.

Monica Puig - 3.5 games v Allie Kiick: There are some really talented players coming through the ranks in American tennis, but Allie Kiick has been given a Wild Card into the Washington main draw despite not really being amongst the players with big expectations on their shoulders. She is Ranked at Number 130, although Kiick would likely surpass her career best mark of Number 126 if she can win this First Round match.

It won't be easy for the American considering the lack of tennis she has played at this level. Allie Kiick was beaten in the opening Qualifying Rounds in Brisbane, Indian Wells and Miami and also failed to get through the Qualifiers to reach the Australian Open main draw.

A couple of solid runs at the level below the main WTA Tour would have given Kiick some belief, but now she faces a quality operator in Monica Puig in the First Round in Washington.

To be honest this has not been a great season for Puig who won the Olympic Gold Medal on a hard court in 2016. In each of the last three seasons Puig has produced at least 22 wins on the hard courts, but she is 4-7 in 2019 and her service numbers are considerably down on the standards she has set between 2016 and 2018.

Even the return of serve is slightly down on her numbers, but Puig has felt the pressure of not being to get through her service games as effectively as she has previously. It does make her a vulnerable player to back, especially as she has not played any competitive tennis since going out in the Second Round at Wimbledon, but the Puerto Rican should be happy with the match up here.

The Allie Kiick return could be a big weapon for her if the upset is going to be secured, but I also expect her own serve to be challenged by Monica Puig. The key for the latter is to not give her opponent too much confidence by making a slow start in this match and as long as she can avoid doing that, I think Puig can win and cover in this one.

Donna Vekic - 4.5 games v Misaki Doi: At 23 years old it may be something of a surprise to read that I think Donna Vekic needs to start making serious inroads with her career if she is going to fulfil the potential so many believed she had. It does feel like Vekic has been on the Tour forever, but there might not be a big window for her to develop into a top 10 player with a new crop of talented youngsters making the headlines in 2019.

The Croatian is playing arguably her best tennis on the hard courts in her career and she did reach a peak Ranking last month, although the Donna Vekic fans will be disappointed that their player has not been able to crack the top 20 yet.

There has been a clear improvement in the level of performance produced by Vekic in each of the last four years. Her serve has been one that has produced a higher percentage of points on both the first and second serve in each of the past four seasons and Vekic has also improved the percentage of points won against the opponent's serve in each of those years too.

Donna Vekic is winning 46% of return points on the hard courts in 2019 and that is the kind of returning which should put plenty of pressure on Misaki Doi. The Japanese left hander has been pretty average on the hard courts in 2019 and was hammered by Vekic when these players met in Acapulco earlier this year.

A lot of the positives have come against players much lower down the Rankings, but Misaki Doi is only 2-6 on the hard courts against top 100 Ranked opponents in 2019. The serve is not as effective in those matches, but the real slippage comes on the return of serve and I do think Donna Vekic is going to be someone that should be able to run through the majority of her service games without being under immense pressure.

It happened when they met in Acapulco where Vekic did not face a break point in her dominant win over Doi. On that day the Croatian also won 53% of return points played and I think she will have the edge in this one on both sides of the court which should give Donna Vekic a chance to win and cover in this First Round match.

I would be surprised if Vekic only loses three games again, but I think she will still do enough to cover the mark set by the layers.

Miomir Kecmanovic - 1.5 games v Alexei Popyrin: These two players both turn 20 years old in the next month and both have entered the top 100 of the World Rankings thanks to some positive performances in 2019. Both Miomir Kecmanovic and Alexei Popyrin have played plenty of tennis on the hard courts on the main ATP Tour, but it is the Serbian who has perhaps been the more consistent.

I backed Kecmanovic a couple of times with success last week and I do believe he is rightly favoured in this First Round match. That isn't a disrespect to Popyrin who reached the Quarter Final in Atlanta last week along with Kecmanovic, but it is Kecmanovic who has been the more consistent player of the two.

Both have played a fair few matches off the main Tour, but there is enough data to take away from their performances in hard court matches at the highest level. The serve has been key for both Kecmanovic and Popyrin and I expect it is going to be an important part of their success or failure on Tuesday too.

Miomir Kecmanovic has held 85% of his service games played on the hard courts in main Tour events, while Alexei Popyrin is at 83%. The narrow edge also belongs to Kecmanovic as far as service points are concerned having won 67% of the points played behind his serve compared with 66% for Popyrin.

Where the match could be won and lost is the success the two players can have on the return of serve with break point chances expected to be few and far between in hot conditions in Washington. This is an area where Kecmanovic has had a significant edge over Popyrin having broken in 21% of return games on the surface compared with the Australian's number of 15%.

You can't always factor in how a player will perform on the break points, especially when there are not expected to be a host of them either way, but the slightly more productive return of Kecmanovic could be the key to the outcome of this match. It will likely be close and I would not be that surprised if three sets are needed, but I will back the slight favourite to cover in this one.

Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 games v Steve Johnson: On the face of things it is quite stunning to see Grigor Dimitrov outside of the top 50 of the World Rankings, but it says a lot about how his last eighteen months have gone. Another upset last week saw Dimitrov beaten in the First Round in Atlanta, and he really has become a player that I will not back too often as he is over-rated by the layers.

In saying that I do think he could be potentially under-rated in this First Round match against Steve Johnson. The two players have met six times on the Tour and it is Grigor Dimitrov who has won four of those matches, which also includes winning their last three matches on the hard courts.

The last of those was in 2017 and things are much different for Dimitrov these days, although his numbers on the hard courts in 2019 suggests he should have had better than a 6-4 record that he holds. In 2018 the Bulgarian won 16 matches on the hard courts, but he won a fewer percentage of points played behind both serve and return than Dimitrov has in 2018. That suggests he is not playing the big points as well as he should be when seeing he is holding 81% of his service games compared with 83% last year, but he has been much more successful when it comes to breaking an opponent's serve.

The return game is going to be tested by American Steve Johnson who has surprisingly chosen to play in Los Cabos rather than Washington this week. Johnson is playing his first hard court match since the Miami Masters in March and he is just 4-7 on the surface this year, although Johnson has not been playing as poorly as that losing record would suggest.

The American has held 83% of his return games, but Johnson's struggles on the return of serve continues to blight him. Steve Johnson has won 33% of return points played and he has broken in just 15% of return games played compared with Grigor Dimitrov who is at 39% and 25% in those categories respectively.

It is that edge on the return which makes me favour Dimitrov in this match and in their past meetings on the hard courts we have seen the Bulgarian hold 89% of his service games compared with Johnson at 75%. That might not seem a huge difference, but it is significant enough to give Grigor Dimitrov the edge in this one.

He is a vulnerable favourite when you consider the inconsistent results Dimitrov has earned all season, but I think he can edge out Steve Johnson here. I will look for him to cover in very hot conditions in Los Cabos on Tuesday in this First Round match.

Kyle Edmund - 3.5 games v Lloyd Harris: Injuries have been blighting Kyle Edmund's season and it was a factor in his defeat at Wimbledon to Fernando Verdasco when blowing a 2-0 lead in sets. He has had a few weeks to recover and get ready for the hard court season as Edmund looks to reverse his slip down the World Rankings and receiving a bye into the Second Round at Washington means he has had a few more days to get used to the hot conditions at this event.

Having a bye does mean that Edmund is facing an opponent who has the confidence of winning a First Round match and Lloyd Harris will be looking to take advantage of the British player if he is not at 100%.

Kyle Edmund has been able to play some strong hard court tennis in 2019, although his best result has been winning a Challenger event played at Indian Wells at the end of February. When he has played at the main Tour level Edmund has pretty consistent kind of results on the surface with a strong hold percentage but perhaps not being as strong on the return of serve as he would like.

However he should have the edge over Lloyd Harris who has not had as strong a year on the surface as he may have expected, especially as much of his time is still spent below the main Tour level. The South African came from a set behind to beat Ricardas Berankis in the First Round to improve to 2-4 in hard court matches on the ATP Tour, but Harris has only been holding in 63% of service games played and that number is not that much better at 78% overall in 2019.

Like Edmund, Harris is not the best returner on the surface and I do think the British player's superior serve can be the difference on the day. These two players met earlier in the season and it was Edmund who dominated the match despite needing three sets to beat Harris. The difference in serve proved to be the big factor on the day and I think the same may happen in Washington on Tuesday.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Karen Khachanov: At 34 years old you would have to guess that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's best days are now behind him, but he should be able to vastly improve his current World Ranking in the weeks and months ahead. There are very few points for Tsonga to defend from 2018 and he is playing well enough to at least make an impact at the next few events to push up the Rankings from his Number 70 spot.

He was a solid First Round winner on Monday and Tsonga is back in action on Tuesday as a slight underdog in a virtual pick 'em Second Round match against Karen Khachanov. These two players have met twice before, but not since 2017, and Tsonga will be looking for a third win over the young, improving Russian.

Karen Khachanov has seen his numbers drop significantly from the level produced on the hard courts in 2018 compared with 2019. He is just 7-7 in matches on the surface, while Khachanov has seen his percentage of games held behind serve drop from 88% to 83%. The Russian has also seen the return of serve decline with breaks earned in 22% of return games in 2018 dropping to 17% in 2019.

Now he has to face an opponent in Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who has been able to produce some big serving and who can expose some of the limitations Khachanov has had on the return of serve. The Frenchman is also a fairly limited returner, but he may have the edge on the serve which can be the difference when it comes to what looks like being a close match.

It can't be ignored that Tsonga is 0-3 on the hard courts against top 20 Ranked opponents in 2019, although he has only faced Daniil Medvedev (twice) and Novak Djokovic. Both of those players are significantly better returners than Khachanov though and I think Tsonga will enjoy this kind of match up a bit more with the aggression coming from the other side of the net meaning points are going to be relatively short.

This Second Round match going the distance would not be a surprise, but I think Tsonga may have the edge with the match under his belt in these conditions. In each of the last two seasons, Karen Khachanov has lost his first hard court match played between Wimbledon and the US Open and a strong serving day from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will give him a chance to add to that run here.

MY PICKS: Cori Gauff - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Monica Puig - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Donna Vekic - 4.5 Games @ 1.85 William Hill (2 Units)
Miomir Kecmanovic - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kyle Edmund - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga @ 1.95 Bet Victor (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 3.60 Units (8 Units Staked, - 45% Yield)

Monday, 29 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 29th)

Leaving last week with a positive number was a surprise considering how the week had developed and it keeps the Tennis Picks chugging along in 2019. Being able to add to what has been a successful season is a good thing and this week we move on to more events ahead of the really big hard court events that take place in early August.

Those events in Canada and Cincinnati are the big warm up events for the top names on the Tour as we approach the final Grand Slam of the 2019 season at the US Open in New York City. That Slam begins in just under a month from now, but there is quite a bit of tennis to get through even though Novak Djokovic announced he won't be playing too much warm up tennis ahead of the US Open.

This week the Tour moves to Washington, San Jose, Los Cabos and Kitzbuhel with the last of those the only one being played on the clay courts. The rest of the tournaments are hard court events and there are a number of players who have shifted from the clay of Umag, Bastad and Hamburg to the hard courts so that is something to be aware of this week.

With the differing time zones of the various events being played, it does mean that the thread is going to have some selections added to it after it has been posted. Those selections will mainly be from Los Cabos and San Jose which are being played at least seven hours behind the London time zone so markets and order of players will be coming out much later than the ones for Kitzbuhel or Washington.

I am looking for a more consistent week than the last one, although I am always pleased if a winning record is produced. That is the minimum I look for in each week as I look for my own momentum to take into the final Grand Slam of the season which begins at the end of next month.

Monday is usually a quiet day compared with Tuesday in these weeks- there are some First Round matches scheduled for Monday, but the majority of them will be played the following day. I do have some selections from the Monday offerings though which can be read below.

I have also updated the season totals at the bottom of this thread.

Lorenzo Sonego v Federico Delbonis: He might have reached a career high Ranking ahead of Wimbledon, but Lorenzo Sonego has not been able to build on that in the last month. A First Round loss in Gstaad last week means the Italian has actually lost his last six matches on the main Tour on the clay courts and it does make Lorenzo Sonego a hard player to back.

However I do think he can find a way to get back to winning ways when he faces Federico Delbonis in the First Round in Kitzbuhel. He has shown better form than Sonego over the last month with a Challenger title secured as well as a run to the Semi Final in Bastad and a tight loss to Alexander Zverev in Hamburg last week.

On the pure numbers you would have to say that Delbonis deserves his spot as the favourite as well as the fact that Sonego has been on the losing run on the clay courts at the main ATP level. The Argentinian has been holding in 76% of his service games played on the clay courts while he has broken in 29% of return games and it is the success on the return that does give him an edge in this one.

While Lorenzo Sonego is a very good server who can build pressure with that shot, he has struggled to breaking in just 19% of return games played on the clay courts. It is a big difference between the two players, but Sonego has been much more comfortable when he has faced Delbonis.

These two players have met twice on the clay courts since September 2018 with the last of those matches coming earlier this year. In those matches the Lorenzo Sonego serve has been the bigger weapon with 95% of his service games being held compared with Federico Delbonis being down at 75%. The Italian has also kept Delbonis under pressure in those return games with 42% of the points won on the Delbonis serve and I do think Sonego will feel his serve can keep his opponent feeling the pressure in this one too.

I think this is going to be a close match and it looks to be one that Sonego will feel comfortable with. That makes the underdog appealing considering how he has played against Federico Delbonis and a strong serving day will give the Italian every chance of earning the upset.

Hugo Dellien v Roberto Carballas Baena: Coming through the Qualifiers to make the main draws of Hamburg and Kitzbuhel will certainly give Hugo Dellien some confidence, but he has not been able to have a deep run in any of the events played since Wimbledon concluded. The draws have not been that kind to the Bolivian who has been beaten by Juan Ignacio Londero in Bastad (who reached the Final there, and then Nikoloz Basilashvili in Hamburg (who won the title there).

Both defeats have been competitive enough to believe Dellien is feeling pretty good about his game and he is looking to surpass his career best World Number 74 position which was earned earlier this year. It will mean Hugo Dellien needs to have a big week to put some strong Ranking points in the bank, but this looks to be another difficult early match in the main draw.

Hugo Dellien has been very comfortable on the clay courts with some strong results, but the majority of those have come under the main Tour. The same can be said for Roberto Carballas Baena, although back to back Quarter Final runs in Bastad and Gstaad will make the Spaniard feel pretty good about his level going into this event.

On the numbers the slight edge has to be given to Carballas Baena who has held onto his serve in 76% of games played on the clay courts in 2019, while Hugo Dellien is at 73%. There is also a slight edge in terms of the return on this surface with Carballas Baena breaking in 33% of return games compared with Dellien being at 32%, but the percentage of points won by the two players are virtually identical.

It is the Bolivian who may hold the mental edge having beaten Carballas Baena in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year in a match where he created three times as many break points as his opponent. Roberto Carballas Baena really struggled with his serve on that day and I do think Hugo Dellien could frank that win having put a couple of wins on the board in the Qualifiers to become accustomed with the conditions in Kitzbuhel.

With very similar numbers, the value seems to be with Hugo Dellien here and I am going to back the underdog to win.

Ivo Karlovic v Bjorn Fratangelo: No one will be doubting that Ivo Karlovic is on the downward slope of his career, but he still possesses a big serve which will give him chances in matches. That is especially the case in matches like this one in the First Round in Washington, and I am not entirely sure Karlovic should be the underdog.

He might be 40 years old, but Ivo Karlovic has held 95% of his service games played on the hard courts and that is a number that surpasses the 2016, 2017 and 2018 season totals on the surface. The return of serve continues to be an issue for Karlovic, but he will be hoping he can build some scoreboard pressure in this one by trying to run through his service games and make Bjorn Fratangelo feel like he is serving all the time.

This has been a difficult season for Fratangelo who has held 81% of the service games he has played on the hard courts while he has broken in 18% of return games. The American will receive the support from the fans, but he has also struggled in his two previous matches against Karlovic and will need some luck to get through this match.

Ivo Karlovic has held in 90% of his service games played against Bjorn Fratangelo in their two previous matches. At the same time the Croatian has broken in just under 20% of return games played and I think that is a significant edge considering the last match between them was less than twelve months ago.

The feeling is that Karlovic can use his serve to edge out Fratangelo in this one and I am not sure he should be the underdog in the match. At the prices I will back Ivo Karlovic in this opening Round match in Washington.

MY PICKS: Lorenzo Sonego @ 2.20 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Hugo Dellien @ 2.37 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ekaterina Alexandrova + 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2019: + 117.55 Units (1389 Units Staked, + 8.46% Yield)

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 28th)

A really poor start to the week with some poor luck afflicting the selections was a bit of a blow, but a strong Saturday has turned things around and put the Tennis Picks in a position to return another profitable week on the Tour.

All three selections made on Saturday returned winners and on Sunday we conclude the tournaments played with all of the Finals scheduled to be completed. On Monday the Tour moves further into the US Open Hard Court Series with stops in Washington and San Jose, while there is one more clay court event to go for those who like to take in the red dirt between Wimbledon and the final Grand Slam of the season being played.

My focus in this thread is from the Final being played in Hamburg. Any selection from Atlanta will be made on Sunday once the two Semi Final matches and market for the Final have been formulated, while I have also updated the totals from this week below.

Andrey Rublev v Nikoloz Basilashvili: There has not been a player that has been able to defend the Hamburg title since 2005 when Roger Federer was able to do that before the tournament lost its status as a Masters event. That run might come to an end on Sunday when Nikoloz Basilashvili looks to defend the title he won twelve months ago.

The Georgian was able to beat home favourite Alexander Zverev in the Semi Final, although Basilashvili needed a final set tie-breaker to overcome his opponent. In fact Basilashvili was arguably the inferior player on the day, but he was able to win the big points much more effectively than Zverev who had 12 more break points on the day, but both players were able to earn four breaks of serve each.

This week we have seen Nikoloz Basilashvili produce much better numbers than he has been able to generate on the clay courts throughout his career. The serve has been important for Basilashvili who has won 64% of points played behind serve and held 83% of the service games, but it is the performance on the big points against the serve which have proved to be key for him.

Nikoloz Basilashvili has broken in 31% of return games played this week, but it will be a test to get the better out Andrey Rublev who is another player that has perhaps produced the best possible clay court tennis he can. The youngster has won 66% of the points he has played behind serve and backed that up with 41% of return points also being won and I think I am giving him the slight edge in this match, although the layers are of the same opinion too.

It could be argued that Rublev has not been as strong on the big points as Basilashvili considering he has held in 79% of service games and broken in 29% of return games compared with the 83% and 31% numbers in the same category his opponent has managed. Those are numbers that surprise considering Rublev is winning a higher percentage of points on both the serve and return.

I could say Basilashvili may also hold a slight mental edge having beaten Andrey Rublev on the hard courts in the very first week of the 2019 season. Both are off emotional wins in the Semi Final, but I think Andrey Rublev might be in a better place mentally having pulled away from Pablo Carreno Busta compared with Basilashvili needing a final set tie-breaker to get into the Final.

This Final could be a good one and I won't be surprised if we need to see three sets to determine a winner. However my edge is with Andrey Rublev as he perhaps sees Nikoloz Basilasvili fade following his Semi Final win which lasted over three hours on Saturday and I will back the young Russian to win his second career title at the main ATP level.

MY PICKS: Andrey Rublev @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 10-7, + 3.32 Units (34 Units Staked, + 9.76% Yield)

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 27th)

Friday has been a long day which means I am ready to get on with the selections from the Semi Final matches.

Those can be seen below after what was a positive day to begin to put a better slant on what has been a difficult week for the Tennis Picks.

Andrey Rublev v Pablo Carreno Busta: The Semi Final in Hamburg may not have been one that too many would have tipped up at the start of this ATP 500 event, but both Andrey Rublev and Pablo Carreno Busta deserve their place in the final four. Both players have knocked off a couple of Seeded players in their run to the Semi Final, but Andrey Rublev's win over Dominic Thiem looks the best either player has produced.

In saying that, Pablo Carreno Busta will be feeling very good about his level of performances which have helped him get past both Jan-Lennard Struff and Fabio Fognini in the last two matches. The Spaniard made life a little difficult for himself in the win over Fognini having failed to take sixteen break points, but he came through a final set tie-breaker and the only downside is that there is a potential fatigue worry for him ahead of this Semi Final.

Part of the problem for Carreno Busta is that his serve is still not firing as well as he would like which means having to work hard to recover deficits in sets. He did manage to do that in set two and set three of the win over Fabio Fognini in the Quarter Final and also in the second set of his win over Jan-Lennard Struff, but that does mean he is giving up more emotionally and physically than he perhaps would like.

In this tournament Pablo Carreno Busta has won 60% of points behind serve which has led to 74% of his service games being held. The reason he has managed to turn matches around is because the Spaniard has won 45% of return points played, which has led to breaks in 37% of return games, but now he has to deal with the Andrey Rublev serve which has been about as effective as it can be on the clay courts with 67% of points won behind that shot.

Where Pablo Carreno Busta has been returning much better over the last week than in 2019 in general, Andrey Rublev has been a little more solid behind serve than his overall numbers. The Russian has broken in 29% of return games and he has played well enough to believe he can challenge the Pablo Carreno Busta serve which has not been firing at a high level.

These two players have not played since 2015, but Andrey Rublev won both matches between them on the Tour. He has been the superior server in those matches and I believe it is going to be the serving that can see the youngster surprisingly make his way through to the Final in Hamburg.

MY PICKS: Andrey Rublev @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Reilly Opelka-Alex De Minaur Over 23.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 1.5 Games @ 1.72 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-7, - 1.38 Units (28 Units Staked, - 4.93% Yield)

Friday, 26 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 26th)

It has been the kind of week where a player serves for the match, and the cover, but fails to do that and misses out by one game.

At the time of writing the final Tennis Pick from Thursday has yet to be played. I will update the weekly totals on Friday morning, but the selections from Friday Quarter Final matches can be seen below.

Any selections from Atlanta will be added once the full Quarter Final markets have been formulated.

Dominic Thiem - 4.5 games v Andrey Rublev: Twelve months ago Dominic Thiem was beaten in the Quarter Final of the Hamburg Open and he is looking to move at least one step further in 2019. The Number 1 Seed is the big favourite to beat Andrey Rublev on Friday, but Dominic Thiem will know he will need to be a lot more effective when it comes to the break points if he is going to make this match go his way.

On the face of things you would make the Austrian a big favourite anyway when you consider Rublev's history on the clay courts, but the young Russian has been in good form so far this week.

Both of his wins have been solid as Rublev has got his eye in when it comes to the return of serve. This has been a relatively strong part of his game anyway, but Rublev has to be pleased with his run at Hamburg having won 43% of return points and breaking serve in 30% of return games played.

The serve is perhaps not as strong as Rublev would like, but he has won 65% of points played behind that shot. That is a few clicks higher than his overall clay court numbers in 2019, but Rublev has still had a few issues getting through all of his service games with holds in 76% of service games played this week despite the improvement as far as points won behind serve are concerned.

Now he has to play someone like Dominic Thiem who is at his most comfortable when it comes to playing tennis on the clay courts. Two wins over Pablo Cuevas and Marton Fucsovics has seen Thiem win all four wins sets played, and his serve has been a potent weapon with 95% of service holds secured in those victories.

Dominic Thiem was not as effective on the break points as much as he would have liked in the Second Round win over Fucsovics, but he has still broken in 26% of return games played. He has been able to put enough pressure on the return of serve to break his opponent's down, but Thiem will have to be a little more productive at the big points to ensure this is not another tough battle.

These two players met in Monte Carlo eighteen months ago and it was a close, competitive match between the players on the clay courts. Dominic Thiem edged that one, but he can make this a little more simple as long as he can take a couple more of the break points in this match than he has in his last couple of matches.

Pablo Carreno Busta v Fabio Fognini: Both Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini are very comfortable playing on the clay courts and they meet for a place in the Semi Final of Hamburg on Friday. Both players have won all four sets they have played in the first two Rounds so confidence should not be a big factor, although Carreno Busta may have the mental edge.

The Spaniard has won all six previous matches against Fabio Fognini and that includes three wins on the clay courts, although they have not played on this surface since 2017. Fabio Fognini has had slightly better fortunes playing Carreno Busta on the clay compared to their overall record, but the latter has had the edge with 77% of service games held compared with Fognini's 65%.

Pablo Carreno Busta has had a slight edge on the service points won too, which won't be a surprise considering those hold numbers, and I think mentally he may have the advantage in this one.

It does have to be said that Pablo Carreno Busta's return of serve has been very important for him in his two wins this week and he is playing at a significantly higher level than what he has managed in 2019 on this surface overall. This week he has won 44% of return points and broken in 35% of return games which is a significant improvement on his 2018 and 2019 numbers on the surface.

Maintaining that level will obviously be a challenge for Carreno Busta considering the numbers set in the last eighteen months, but he will be playing with some belief considering the success he has had against Fognini.

The Italian has had some strong runs on the clay in 2019, but he has been inconsistent with his level of play. This week it looks like we have got Fabio Fognini in some of his better form with 85% of service games held and breaks of serve in 33% of return games played. The serve has been a slight weakness for Fabio Fognini in general though and I expect Carreno Busta to challenge him in that regards.

Both players will be full of belief that their level can see off the other, but I am favouring Carreno Busta thanks to the head to head advantage and his general play on the clay courts. This week we have seen both players win their matches with some relative comfort, but I think Carreno Busta deserves the credit for having the best win of the two having seen off Jan-Lennard Struff in the Second Round.

At close to pick 'em prices, I will back Pablo Carreno Busta here.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem - 4.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Pablo Carreno Busta @ 1.83 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Pablo Andujar @ 2.15 Betfair Sportsbook (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 4-6, - 4.94 Units (20 Units Staked, - 24.70% Yield)

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 25th)

This has not been a great week for the Tennis Picks and some of the frustration is down to the poor conversion of break points between the players I've picked and those they are playing.

It was the case on Wednesday as Casper Ruud blew a set and a break lead before going down in three sets. Dominic Thiem then missed his first eight break points before finally converting some and the day was wrapped up by Juan Ignacio Londero missing five break points before dropping the first set in his eventual three set defeat.

This week has thus been one of the worst of the 2019 season, but there are still four days to come before the tournaments are completed in Hamburg, Gstaad, Atlanta, Jurmala and Palermo. If Thursday is a really poor day I am thinking I might put a pin in the week, but I am looking for better results from the three selections made below.

Alexander Zverev - 3.5 games v Federico Delbonis: There were high expectations of Alexander Zverev going into the 2019 season after his success at the ATP Finals last November. Ultimately he has underwhelmed and Zverev was very critical of himself after another early Grand Slam exit at Wimbledon earlier this month.

He is clearly searching for a level of confidence and that has meant Zverev has taken an entry into the Hamburg Open where the ATP are running a 500 level event this week. The home favourite earned a solid win over Nicolas Jarry in the First Round, although that was against an opponent who was winning a title on Sunday and could have been a little fatigued.

In the Second Round Alexander Zverev takes on Federico Delbonis who was a Semi Finalist in Bastad before his run was ended by Jarry and who has followed up with a solid looking win over Marco Cecchinato in the First Round here. It has been a good month for the Argentinian who has won a Challenger title in Perugia before the run in Bastad and who continues to play his best tennis on the clay courts.

A solid month of clay court tennis has seen Federico Delbonis really improve the way he has been returning serve with 44% of points won against an opponent's serve. That has seen the Argentinian break in 36% of return games played and he will feel he can put Alexander Zverev under pressure with what has been a vulnerable confidence in matches over the last few months.

In 2019 Alexander Zverev has seen his numbers drop being serve and return on the clay courts, and that has seen him offer up seven fewer wins this year compared with 2018. He might be able to close that number in what is a relatively weak field for an ATP 500 event, but this is going to be a tough match for Zverev.

These two have some similar numbers which does make it difficult to back Zverev here, but I think a couple of factors could favour him. He should be the fresher player considering how much tennis Delbonis has played over the last few days, while their match at Geneva ahead of the French Open on the clay courts there will stand him in good stead.

Alexander Zverev held 81% of his service games played compared with Federico Delbonis who was at 64% in the same category. There was a marked difference in the percentage of service points won by each player and, while Delbonis is playing with more confidence now, I do think we will see the service edge with the German in this one too.

This is a big spread on the handicap considering how vulnerable Alexander Zverev's confidence seems to be, but I think the home crowd can carry him through this one. Federico Delbonis can cause problems, but I think Zverev is going have a little too much for him and can win and cover here.

Bernard Tomic v Matthew Ebden: Falling out of the top 100 of the World Rankings has not exactly humbled Bernard Tomic who still seems to have a strained relationship with the rest of the world. He is not in the mix when it comes to the Australian Davis Cup team, while Tomic has perhaps been enjoying the spoils of his career rather than looking to really make the most of his potential.

His come from behind win over Frances Tiafoe in the First Round is a big result, but it will be meaningless to Tomic if he is not able to take advantage of opening up the draw. However I have no doubt the fact that Tomic is so erratic day to day that the layers are not convinced he will be able to do that when facing compatriot Matthew Ebden.

The latter was a solid winner in the First Round too, but in general Matthew Ebden has had a difficult time on the hard courts. He only improved to 3-9 on the hard courts with his win over Kamil Majchrzak and Ebden has seen his numbers decline significantly from 2018 to 2019 on this surface.

In those years Matthew Ebden has seen his number of service games held drop from 78% to 73% on the hard courts and that has only made it more difficult to hide the relatively weak return numbers. It will be an issue for him against someone like Bernard Tomic who has been holding 84% of his service games played on the hard courts in 2019 and who continues to be as good as his serve allows him to be.

Bernard Tomic has also been a lot more effective than Matthew Ebden when it comes to the return of serve and I do think he is someone that can be backed at the prices on offer. The 3-0 head to head in favour of Tomic is not entirely relevant as their last match against each other came back in 2014, but compatriots playing each other can produce something of a hierarchal issue for the supposed underdog to overcome.

I do think Matthew Ebden will feel like that even though this is a virtual pick 'em on the day. Backing Bernard Tomic is not an easy decision, but I think he can use the stronger serve to edge out his fellow Australian.

Miomir Kecmanovic v Ugo Humbert: Two very young players on the Tour have begun to make an impact at the main ATP level which has seen Miomir Kecmanovic and Ugo Humbert both reach peak World Rankings going into this tournament in Atlanta. Another strong run will see them improve further and the layers have set this up as a pick 'em with both having very similar numbers for the 2019 season.

These two actually met in Antalya on the grass courts when Kecmanovic managed to beat Humbert in straight sets back in June, but the hard court form also seems to suggest that the young Serbian can be backed here.

Miomir Kecmanovic reached the Quarter Final in Indian Wells earlier this season and, while he has yet to really put together some consistency on the surface, he is someone who has produced some decent numbers. The Serbian has held 85% of the service games he has played on the hard courts at the main ATP Tour level and he has also broken in almost 22% of return games which does make him a credible player on the surface.

Those numbers stay steady on the serve when only considering the Kecmanovic performance against players outside of the top 20 of the World Rankings on this surface. However Kecmanovic will be confident going into this match considering he has upped his return numbers to finding breaks in almost 28% of return games played.

I do have to admit the return numbers are in for a strict test from Ugo Humbert as the young, lefty Frenchman has held 87% of service games played on the hard courts. The serve has been a massive weapon for Humbert who has won 67% of points played on the hard courts in his matches on the main Tour and that is going to give him every chance of trying to build some scoreboard pressure on Kecmanovic.

The issue for Humbert has been trying to get enough out of his own return of serve and against a server like Kecmanovic he can't expect to have a lot of joy. Ugo Humbert has only broken in 13% of return games played on the main Tour, but even adding the Qualifiers and Challenger events in 2019 and he has broken in less than 20% of his return games played on the hard courts.

With similar levels of serving, I do think the Kecmanovic return can give him the edge when it comes to facing someone like Humbert. Both should be confident that the serve can set them up for success, but I favour Kecmanovic to earn the win and place into the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Alexander Zverev - 3.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Miomir Kecmanovic @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-5, - 6.36 Units (14 Units Staked, - 45.43% Yield)

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 24th)

I won't lie, I do feel I left a few options out there on Tuesday and that felt pretty rubbish when the one and only Tennis Pick made was as poor as it was. At the end of the day the reason my season totals have been as strong as they are is because I have removed matches that have created some doubt, although picking Philipp Kohlschreiber and Tommy Robredo this week have not felt like great calls.

There was enough to believe in both players, but it has been the part of a frustration week through the first couple of days at the events being played. Hopefully things can begin to be turned around on Wednesday as we move through to the Second Round of the draws as I look to keep the positive run going after the conclusion of Wimbledon.

Casper Ruud - 1.5 games v Andrey Rublev: Two young players on the Tour are looking to use their week in Hamburg as a chance to add some significant World Ranking points to boost their current standings in the top 100. Wins in the First Round have put Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud on a collision course on Wednesday and the layers are having some difficulty separating these two.

I can see why that would be the case with Rublev having had the more successful set of results in his career than Ruud, but I like the latter in this match as I consider him the superior clay courter.

Earlier this year Casper Ruud had some real successes at the South American Golden Swing, and followed that up with a Third Round run at the Rome Masters and French Open. The serve is beginning to be a strong weapon for the 20 year old and Casper Ruud has been holding 80% of his service games played on the clay courts in 2019. The Norwegian player has also found a way to break serve in 27% of return games played and he is very comfortable on the surface and especially more than Andrey Rublev has been in his career.

That is not to say that Rublev is not capable of performing on the clay courts, but he does have a losing record on the main Tour on this surface. Andrey Rublev has to be respected considering he has won more points than he has lost on the clay courts in 2019, although his numbers are generally slightly weaker than Casper Ruud's.

The Russian has held 73% of his service games played on the clay and has broken in 28% of return games and I do think the Casper Ruud serve can prove to be a difference maker on the day.

I don't think it will be an easy match for either player and it may even need three sets to decide it, but my edge goes to Casper Ruud. I thought he might be a slightly stronger favourite than what are seeing here, and I am going to back the younger player to edge through and with a cover of this handicap mark.

Dominic Thiem - 4.5 games v Marton Fucsovics: 2019 has not been the kind of year that Dominic Thiem has usually enjoyed on the clay courts, but he did reach the Final of the French Open for a second year in a row. His numbers have taken a slight decline from the last couple of years on the Tour, but Thiem remains amongst the best tennis players in the world when it comes to playing on the clay.

He is a big favourite to see off Marton Fucsovics after Dominic Thiem produced a relatively straight-forward win over Pablo Cuevas in the First Round. Opponent Fucsovics was also an impressive winner as he saw off Philipp Kohlschreiber for the loss of just three games.

However I still can't ignore the fact that Fucsovics has had a mixed time on the clay courts and now has to face an elite player on the surface. The Hungarian snapped a four match losing run on the clay with his win in the First Round, but I still think it will be difficult to back that up when you consider the general troubles he has had on the serve.

I can be critical of where Dominic Thiem stands when it comes to the return on any surface, but he has produced his best return numbers on the clay courts. That might not be a surprise when you think of the longer rallies that players tend to have to play when on this surface and I do think the Austrian will feel he can out-rally the majority of players he faces.

He is someone whose own serve can be important with over 80% of his service games being held and that is going to put some pressure on Marton Fucsovics. Dominic Thiem has won 40% of points played against his opponent's serve on the clay courts in 2019 and he should be able to get into the Fucsovics' service games which will give him the chance to find the breaks of serve he will need to cover this number on the handicap.

Marton Fucsovics has only produced a 1-6 record against top 20 opponents on the clay courts and his numbers take a slight dent on his overall figures on the clay in 2019. He can be a quality operator on his day, but Dominic Thiem should be the player with the majority of chances in this one and I expect he will be able to take them.

Juan Ignacio Londero - 1.5 games v Nikoloz Basilashvili: These two players met at the French Open back in May and it was Juan Ignacio Londero who stunned Nikiloz Basilashvili with a very comfortable straight sets win. On that day Londero held 92% of the service games he played and he had Basilashvili under constant pressure having won almost 49% of points played on the Georgian's serve.

The surroundings should be more comfortable for Basilashvili who won the title in Hamburg twelve months ago, but he is not someone who has been able to find his consistent best tennis on the clay. His win over Hugo Dellien in the First Round means Nikoloz Basilashvili has improved his record to 6-6 on the clay, but he will need significant improvement to retain his title here this week.

The one consistency that Basilashvili has had is the struggles to win points on his serve and he has not won more than 59% of points behind serve in any of the last five years on the Tour. This year Basilashvili is only holding 74% of service games played on the surface and that does put some pressure on his return of serve.

We already saw that issue when these two players met in Paris a couple of months ago, but Juan Ignacio Londero is coming off a long week in Bastad when he reached the Final. The Argentinian was a comfortable winner in the First Round and he is holding in 81% of service games played on the clay in 2019.

It does have to be said that there is room for improvement for Londero when it comes to the return of serve, but he has broken in 25% of return games compared with Basilashvili whose number is 23% in the same category.

With a superior serve I do think Londero can come through this match, although he has played a lot of tennis over the last ten days. Nikoloz Basilashvili has the motivation of being a defending Champion here, but I think his reign could come to an end on Wednesday as I look for the lower Ranked player to win and cover.

MY PICKS: Casper Ruud - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Juan Ignacio Londero - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 4.18 Units (8 Units Staked, - 52.25% Yield)

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 23rd)

It wasn't the best start to the week with the Tennis Picks going 1-2 on Monday.

Tuesday is a much busier day with a lot of First Round matches scheduled to be played across the five tournaments taking place, but only one match has stood out and made it into my selections.

I am sure there will be more options as the tournaments move into the Second Round on Wednesday and Thursday, but hopefully the Pick below can get the season moving back towards a positive number.

Tommy Robredo - 1.5 games v Gian Marco Moroni: One of these players is a veteran who is surprisingly still competing on the Tour having long exited the top 100 of the World Rankings, while the other is finding his way and hoping to use his two Qualifying wins to earn some vital Ranking points in the week ahead.

Tommy Robredo has seen his best days long past by, but he still seems keen to compete on the Tour. These days the majority of the time is spent on the Challenger Tour and Robredo has won a couple of titles on the clay over the last six weeks that will give him plenty of confidence to take into this tournament.

The Spaniard is hoping to get into a position to once again move into the top 100 of the World Rankings and have all the benefits that come with that including direct entry into the Grand Slam events. Over the last eighteen months Robredo has been pretty consistent as far as his return of serve goes and the better performance behind his own serve has helped Robredo put a number of wins together.

He is facing a youngster in Gian Marco Moroni who should be familiar to Robredo as the latter won both matches against him in 2018. Both came on the clay courts and it was Robredo's serve that proved to be a difference maker for him, while Moroni has not been able to have the same consistent success when it comes to his own return of serve.

It has to be said that the Italian doesn't have bad numbers on the clay courts in 2019 and the two wins in Gstaad will certainly help his mindset for this match. However Moroni has not served as effectively as he did in 2018 with a slight drop in percentage of points won leading to a few more dropped games.

This is a part of his game that Robredo should be able to challenge and I do think he has the edge when it comes to the serve. As a veteran it can be difficult to trust him to have the consistency to see off a younger opponent, especially with the issues Robredo has had over the last few years.

However his matches with Moroni will give him confidence and breaking serve in 47% of return games while holding in 78% of his own service games suggests Robredo doesn't mind this match up. I do think there is enough here to want to back Tommy Robredo to come through with a win and a cover.

MY PICKS: Tommy Robredo - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-2, - 2.18 Units (6 Units Staked, - 36.33% Yield)

Monday, 22 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 22nd)

Last week was a decent one with the Tennis Picks producing a profit from the three days of selections being made.

This week we move onto a new week with another five tournaments being played including a big ATP 500 event in Hamburg on the clay courts there. The US Open hard court series begins this week too with the first of those events being played on the ATP Tour in Atlanta and the run to the US Open really does begin from here.

Over the next month we have some huge events in Washington, Canada, Cincinnati before the final Grand Slam of the 2019 season begins. The top names on the ATP Tour won't be back until the Masters tournaments next month, but the WTA Tour also has a significant stop in San Jose which is going to bring together a strong line up.

The First Round matches begin at the five tournaments on Monday and I have a couple of selections from those scheduled which can be read below.

I have also updated the season totals which are at the bottom of this thread.

Philipp Kohlschreiber - 1.5 games v Marton Fucsovics: It might be a tournament played on home soil, but Philipp Kohlschreiber has rarely been able to make the impact that he would have liked in Hamburg. His 15-14 record here is average at best, although his better results have come since the tournament lost Masters status and moved to July after Wimbledon was played.

Last year he was beaten in the First Round in Hamburg, but Kohlschreiber has a decent chance to put a win on the board when he faces Marton Fucsovics on Monday. I like the latter as a player who is getting the best out of his potential, but at this stage of their careers it still feels like Kohlschreiber is the superior player on the clay courts.

The home player has a winning record on the clay courts in 2019, while Fucsovics is only 5-7 on the surface. Part of the reason for the negative record for Fucsovics has been the struggles on the serve with less than 60% of points won behind that shot on the clay courts in 2019. It means there is plenty of pressure on him to find the breaks of serve to remain competitive and, while he has been successful to some extent doing that, it is a different kind of task against someone like Kohlschreiber.

Philipp Kohlschreiber has won 60% of points played behind serve, but he has been strong enough to hold in 81% of service games played on the surface compared with Marton Fucsovics' number of 72%. The Kohlschreiber return has perhaps been a weakening part of his game, but he has still managed to break serve in 24% of return games compared with Fucsovics being at 22% and I do think the German can use his superior serve to earn the victory in this one.

The layers do think this will be a close match and I tend to think that is down to the decline we have seen from Kohlschreiber over the last few years. He is still capable of winning matches like this one, but the performances are more inconsistent these days and that does make this a slightly risky selection.

However the numbers are pointing to the narrow favourite and he has had a couple of solid runs in Hamburg since the tournament was moved to July. The tournament is not as familiar to Fucsovics as it is to Kohlschreiber and the Hungarian was beaten in the First Round twelve months ago in his only other appearance in Hamburg.

With Kohlschreiber holding a slight edge on both serve and return, I will back him to earn the win in this First Round match and also cover the handicap set for it.

Leonardo Mayer - 3.5 games v Rudolf Molleker: For the majority of his career Leonardo Mayer has been very comfortable on the clay courts and this remains the favourite surface of the Argentinian. His best event may be the ATP tournament in Hamburg having produced significant results in his previous visits to Germany and Mayer has a number of Ranking points to defend again in 2019.

Leonardo Mayer lost his first match here in 2013, but since then he has won the title in 2014 followed by another First Round exit in 2016. The last two years has seen Mayer reach the Final in both appearances in Hamburg and he has won the title once more and Mayer's numbers at this tournament are significantly higher than his overall career on the clay to underline the point about this perhaps being his favoured event.

It has not been a great season for Mayer, but he was a Quarter Finalist in Umag last week which may give him a boost going into this event. The service numbers have remained strong, but the Argentinian has struggled when it comes to the return of serve with breaks of serve in only 16% of return games played on the clay courts.

Despite winning a higher percentage of return points compared with 2018, the break percentage is somewhat down for Mayer and is an area he will want to improve if he is going to have another strong run in Hamburg. He may have an opportunity to do that in this First Round match against Rudolf Molleker who has been given a Wild Card into his home tournament.

The 18 year old is yet to make a real breakthrough on the ATP Tour and Molleker has yet to crack into the top 100 of the World Rankings. It has been difficult for Molleker to really compete in his main Tour matches when you think he has won less than 60% of points on serve and broken in just 12% of return games in the three matches played on the clay courts at this level in 2019.

He has found more joy in the Challenger matches he has played, but Molleker is going to be given a thorough examination from the veteran Leonardo Mayer. The youngster is going to have to reach a level he has yet to show in his career to compete with Mayer and I would back the veteran to win this one with at least a break more in each set played.

It is a big handicap when you think of the overall performances produced by Leonardo Mayer, but the opponent and the tournament look to give him every chance of doing that.

MY PICKS: Philipp Kohlschreiber - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Leonardo Mayer - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Thomas Fabbiano - 1.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2019: + 116.23 Units (1353 Units Staked, + 8.59% Yield)