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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)

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