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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (August 2nd)

Friday is an important day for me personally so this thread will be the last one of the week.

The next Tennis Picks will come from the Canadian Masters which begin this weekend, although my first selections will be made on Monday. I will update the season totals in that thread and that will include the results from this week as I won't be updating the results from Thursday in the Friday thread.

My selections are based from the matches that have already been set for Friday in the Quarter Finals so that means there won't be anything from ATP Washington or ATP Los Cabos where the Friday line up will be completed during the night in the United Kingdom.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 1.5 games v Casper Ruud: It has been a very productive month for Albert Ramos-Vinolas between the conclusion of Wimbledon and the main tournaments in the US hard court swing beginning this weekend. The Spaniard entered three clay court events being played with the last two being on the main Tour and he has reached two Semi Finals and won a title in Gstaad last week.

He could have perhaps been feeling a little fatigued after playing as much tennis as he has and I think that was part of the reason Ramos-Vinolas struggled through his First Round win over Marton Fucsovics here in Kitzbuhel. After dropping the first set to the Hungarian, Albert Ramos-Vinolas has won six sets in a row in Austria and he has been playing some of his best tennis of 2019 over the last few weeks.

Albert Ramos-Vinolas has held 86% of his service games played on the clay courts since the start of July and he has also found his feet with the return of serve having broken in 33% of return games played. This week Ramos-Vinolas has won 64% of the service points played and he has won 41% of the return points as confidence continues to flow through the Spaniard as he looks for yet another chance to win a title this weekend.

This is not going to be an easy match against Casper Ruud who is very comfortable on the clay courts and whose best results have been on the surface. He has perhaps not been as consistent as Ramos-Vinolas when playing on the clay over the last month, but the Norwegian has been in fine form in Kitzbuhel which has to be respected.

Like Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Casper Ruud has only dropped one set which came in the First Round. His numbers have been considerably better than what he had been producing on the clay over the last three weeks, and that is both on the serve and return, but Ruud has to forget the fact that he has lost all three previous matches against Ramos-Vinolas and all of those have been on the clay courts.

Their match in Madrid in the Qualifiers was very close and Ramos-Vinolas was perhaps a little fortunate to win when you look at the way the first two sets. However he looks to be in confident mood at the moment and I think he can be backed to see off Casper Ruud in this match and he can cover the number in the victory too.

Dominic Thiem - 4.5 games v Lorenzo Sonego: You could have made a case for three of the Semi Finalists in Kitzbuhel, but I am not sure you could say the same for Lorenzo Sonego. The Italian had been on a losing run on the main Tour in clay court matches, but he has battled through a couple of Rounds where it would have taken one or two points to swing against him. A stronger win over Fernando Verdasco in the Quarter Final will be a boost for Sonego's confidence, but now he has to play a home favourite.

For someone who has the kind of clay results that Dominic Thiem has produced in recent years, it is something of a surprise that he has only ever reached one Final in Kitzbuhel and he is yet to win the title here. Prior to this tournament Thiem was only 8-7 in matches in Kitzbuhel, but he has looked to be in decent form in the first two matches he has won in the 2019 edition.

The Austrian is yet to drop a set, but he will feel he can get more out of his serve having held just 78% of the service games he has played in the tournament. It is something of a surprise when you think he has won 68% of the points played behind the serve, but Dominic Thiem has only saved 3 of the 7 break points he has faced and you would think his serve would be capable of protecting those big points a little better.

Lorenzo Sonego has been slightly better at holding serve with 79% of his games being protected so far in Kitzbuhel. However I have to point out he has won 63% of points behind serve so you would have to think he is going to be challenged by Dominic Thiem who has broken in 45% of return games played having won 47% of return points in the two matches he has won.

The return of serve looks to be a big difference between the players as Sonego has only broken in 20% of return games played. That number is only slightly better than his seasonal number on the clay courts and I do think the Italian will find it difficult to get into a lot of the Dominic Thiem service games as long as the favourite does not feel the pressure of trying to reach a home Final for only a second time in his career at this event.

Dominic Thiem is the superior returner and also has the edge when it comes to the serve and I think that should show up on the day. This is a big number if Thiem is not being a little better when it comes to the big points on his own serve, but he should have the majority of chances in this one to get ahead and I think that will see him break down the Italian who has had a surprising week.

MY PICKS: Albert Ramos-Vinolas - 1.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet365 (2 Units)
Dominic Thiem - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kristina Mladenovic - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

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