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Monday, 5 August 2019

Canadian Masters Tennis Picks 2019 (August 5th)

Last week was not the best for the Tennis Picks in 2019, but on a personal level the last few days have been a real reminder of what actually matters.

Of course I write these threads with an ambition to win every day, every week, every month, but ultimately there are things going on around us that matter more than anything else. I can win every day or lose every day, but those people you interact with a daily basis are the foundations for getting up and going through every day.

It's been a difficult time when you feel that someone has perhaps been let down and not just by others, but when you look at yourself in the mirror and wonder if there was more you could have done yourself. Mental health has really come to the fore in the last couple of years and I do think you have to reach out to those around you that you may feel are in a bad place and try and help them out of what can be a spiralling issue.

During emotional and intense periods of your life these issues really do come into the light, but the key is to not let everyday nonsense place them back in the darkness. If you know someone is struggling or perhaps just needs a drink and a chat, reach out to them and don't allow things to become too late to make a difference.

I've never been a fan of those who feel it is right to abuse anyone on social media when they feel the opinions being expressed are different to your own. Athletes feel it when they lose and have thousands of trolls come out of the woodwork to abuse them behind a faceless social media account. Seriously I have always understood how much of a piece of garbage you have to be to do that, but it does sadden me that so many toxic people walk around amongst us.

Personally I try and steer those people out of my life as soon as I feel their negativity and poison, but others struggle to do that which doesn't help them from getting out of any hole they feel they have fallen into. Offering to throw a rope and hoping those can remove themselves from environments that are no good for them is what you can do, although the person holding onto it has to want to recover into a better position too.

The past is the past though and when bad things happen there really isn't a lot you can do about it once it is too late. You can only hope to learn from these moments and bid to improve yourself and those around you.

The Tour moves onto the Canadian Masters this week although the ATP event is being held in Montreal and the WTA event is in Toronto which those two tournaments switching each year. After that it is onto Cincinnati in the last major tournament before the US Open begins later this month so this is a big opportunity for players to just fine tune their Tennis before the final Slam of the season begins.

With that in mind it is a surprise that the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have decided to skip this event, but both played a long Wimbledon Final and perhaps just need more time to recover mentally rather than physically. Both events being played this week still have draws filled with some big names although the majority of them won't begin until the Second Round having received byes in the First Round.

Below I have placed the Tennis Picks from the Monday matches and I have also updated the season totals.

Nikoloz Basilashvili - 2.5 games v Dusan Lajovic: Both of these players are coming off the European clay court season that follows Wimbledon and now they play their first hard court matches since the Miami Masters back in March. Out of the two players, Nikoloz Basilashvili has been the more productive and consistent on the surface and I do think he is a worthy favourite over Dusan Lajovic in this First Round match in Montreal.

That isn't to say that Lajovic should be disregarded having had a win over Kei Nishikori on the surface back in March. He has a fair few top 50 wins in the last twelve months on the hard courts so again this is a player that can be a tough out when producing his best, but the Serb has struggled with his consistency and has a serve that can be vulnerable.

In 2019 Lajovic has only held 70% of the service games he has played on the hard courts, while a twelve month look at his record shows he he has held 75% despite only having won 2% more points behind serve in the full period compared with 2019. Those numbers do put some pressure on the return of serve and Lajovic has broken in 20% of return games played on the surface over the last twelve months.

Nikoloz Basilashvili has been slightly more consistent both behind the serve and the return having held 81% of service games played and broken in 22% of return games on the hard courts in the last twelve months. He has been slightly more effective on the return when you consider just his 2019 matches and the fact that the Georgian has a 3-1 head to head record against Lajovic will help him from a mental point of view.

Their sole hard court match came almost three years ago and was won by Basilashvili who was the much stronger player on the day. You do worry when backing the higher Ranked player that he can be a little hot and cold considering he will not back away from going for his shots and has a fairly low margin of error on those shots.

However Basilashvili should have the edge in this match and I do think he is at a handicap where he can be backied in this situation. I would not be surprised to see a few breaks of serve, but I think Basilashvili gets the better of things on the day and he can win this match and cover the number too.

Grigor Dimitrov + 2.5 games v Stan Wawrinka: I have to admit I am getting to the point where I don't think I will be recommending Grigor Dimitrov too many more times until he can turn his form around or until the layers have got a better grip of where he is in his career right now. In the weeks ahead he could be someone that can be opposed when set as a big favourite, but Dimitrov might be better placed to thrive as an underdog in this First Round match.

A couple of years ago Dimitrov versus Stan Wawrinka would have been a huge match, but both have slipped down the World Rankings thanks to injuries or a loss of form. It says a lot that they have met in the First Round of both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and faced off in the Third Round at the French Open back in May with both currently Ranked outside the top 20.

All three of those matches have been won by Wawrinka and he is a strong favourite to win this match too. However over the last twelve months these two players have produced very similar levels of performance on the hard courts and I have a feeling that Stan Wawrinka may be a touch over-rated for the win.

I do think he is more likely to produce the victory as Dimitrov has been in a poor place mentally when it comes to closing out matches. However the Bulgarian can do enough to stay within this number if he is able to take the chances he gets even if Stan Wawrinka has been the superior server of the two players.

It is Wawrinka who has held 85% of his service games on the hard courts compared with Dimitrov's 79% over the last twelve months, although the overall numbers produced have been similar because Dimitrov has been the better returner. You do have to believe the stronger server will have the edge, but Dimitrov has been able to play Wawrinka pretty close outside of the heavy loss in New York City last year, and I think he can do that here too.

At least Dimitrov has played some hard court tennis since Wimbledon, even with the lack of success he has had, and this being Wawrinka's first match since Wimbledon is difficult. Stan Wawrinka does not have a great record in Canada either and he has lost his first match in Montreal in his last two visits to this tournament so I will back his opponent with the start on the handicap and look for Grigor Dimitrov to make things competitive at the least.

MY PICKS: Nikoloz Basilashvili - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Grigor Dimitrov + 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Cameron Norrie - 1.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Season 2019: + 111.15 Units (1449 Units Staked, + 7.67% Yield)

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