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Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Tennis Picks 2020 (February 12th)

It could have been a fabulous first two days for the Tennis Picks this week, but I am happy enough taking two good days instead.

With five tournaments being played it is no surprise that there are as many tennis matches being scheduled on Tuesday and Wednesday as we have seen so far this week. That will continue up until the weekend with the Second Round and Quarter Final matches to be played before Saturday and I am hoping to have a stronger day on Wednesday to recover from the slightly inconsistent Tuesday.

There were no selections from the late matches to be played on Tuesday so the week update can be placed in this thread. A few of the Second Round match markets have yet to be properly put together so there my be additional Picks placed in this thread on Wednesday, but you will see them below.

As we reach the middle of the week, my selections can be seen below.

David Goffin - 4.5 games v Robin Haase: Injury and loss of form has seen Robin Haase hurtle down the World Rankings and his Number 167 means he was not able to compete at the Australian Open last month. He was not able to earn a main draw spot with that Ranking slipping well out of the top 100 and the Dutchman decided he would not play in Melbourne, but instead try and boost his Ranking by taking in lower level tournaments.

Robin Haase did reach the Final of a Challenger event prior to the Australian Open beginning, but could not complete the match in a losing effort. Subsequently he was beaten in the Pune Qualifiers last week and Haase might just be grateful for his spot in the main draw of this ATP 500 event.

The Dutchman has been given a Wild Card from one of the few tournaments held in his home country, but the field is a tough one and it is no surprise that Robin Haase has been given a difficult opener against David Goffin. The latter also had something of a down season in 2019 compared with other years, but Goffin reached the Semi Final in Montpellier last week and he already holds a win over Rafael Nadal on the hard courts in 2020.

There is some real room for improvement in the service games David Goffin has been producing, but his return game has been in good shape and helped him to a 7-3 start. His serve could benefit from going up against an average returner like Robin Haase who has broken in just 18% of the return games played in 2020 despite playing at a lower level than the main ATP Tour.

Robin Haase will look for his serve to get him out of a jam and at least put the pressure on David Goffin in this one, but he is just 1-6 against the Belgian and it has been a difficult match up for him. David Goffin has won all four previous matches between them on the hard courts and he has managed to break serve in 34% of return games played compared with Robin Haase's 18% number.

It was a long week for David Goffin in Montpellier, but putting wins together can build confidence of players. He is not someone that you can comfortably back to cover a line like the one in front of him, but Goffin has matched up well with Robin Haase and he should be the more confident player if things don't go smoothly which can see him offer more fight than the home player.

Even the 6-11 record Robin Haase has in Rotterdam is not inspiring a lot of confidence in him here. That record slips to 3-10 when playing top 100 Ranked players in Rotterdam and I will look for David Goffin to try and get a second straight week off to a good, strong start.

Gael Monfils - 4.5 games v Joao Sousa: For the sixteenth season in a row Gael Monfils reached the Final of an ATP tournament and he managed to win the title in Montpellier for the third time in his career. He will now be defending his Ranking points in Rotterdam where he won the title in 2019 having reached the Semi Final the week before in Sofia so I do think motivation won't be a big problem for the Frenchman who has been given an extra day to prepare for this First Round match.

He is a strong favourite to beat Joao Sousa who is now down at Number 68 in the World Rankings and at 30 years old it does feel like the Portuguese player is on the slide in his career.

The start to 2020 has been very difficult for Sousa who has lost all three matches played and much of the problem has been the struggles behind serve. It has put the pressure on Sousa when it comes to fighting back from behind and the last thirteen months it has been a struggle for him on the return when it comes to hard court matches.

In those thirteen months Joao Sousa is holding in 80% of the service games played on the hard courts, but he has broken in just 13% return games. Those numbers have been worse in the only three matches played this season and Joao Sousa has struggled in his previous four matches against Gael Monfils having broken in just 14% of return games played while allowing the Frenchman to find breaks in 34% of the return games he has played.

Gael Monfils has been playing some inspired tennis to open the 2020 season culminating in the title win last week. His serve has been a huge weapon and I think that can set him up for a decent win in the First Round, especially as Monfils should have a few chances to get into the Sousa service games and find break point opportunities coming his way.

There is some pressure on Monfils to try and have a strong run here to prevent dropping some significant Ranking points, but he should be able to get off to a good start. I will look for Gael Monfils to find enough breaks of serve to cover this big looking line and get his tournament moving.

Johanna Konta - 2.5 games v Oceane Dodin: A knee injury cut short Johanna Konta's 2019 season after the US Open and she has opened 2020 with two defeats in tournaments played. She returns for the first time on the Singles court since losing at the Australian Open in the First Round, but a Doubles win suggests Johanna Konta might be ready to compete a little more heartily now.

She is going to benefit from facing a Qualifier in the Second Round at the WTA event in St Petersburg, although it does mean Oceane Dodin is a little more battle hardened. The Frenchwoman reached her career best World Ranking of Number 49 back in 2017, but the last three years have been difficult for Oceane Dodin who is well out of the top 100 at the moment.

A couple of top 100 wins in the tournament here will have given Dodin a boost, and she did have a strong 29-10 record on the hard courts in 2019. However it has to be noted that the majority of those matches were played below the main WTA level and it has been difficult for her to find the consistency needed to compete amongst the top players.

Oceane Dodin has some elements to her game which makes her dangerous- the first serve can be a big weapon when she is feeling her game and it has been a key to her successes so far this week. Freeing up her arm on the return, Dodin has played very well and it is going to need a good effort from Johanna Konta to overcome this opponent.

In the last couple of seasons Johanna Konta has been a very solid hard court player and her serve is also a very important part of her game. We have yet to see that working through the first couple of matches played in 2020 as Konta is recovering match sharpness, but she is facing a relatively weak returner in Oceane Dodin and that should give the British player a real chance to feel her way into the match.

Johanna Konta is not exactly a great returner herself, but she does enough on that side of her game and she is stronger than Oceane Dodin. It might be the player that can dominate the opponent's second serve that can come out on top in this Second Round match and I do think Johanna Konta's win in the Doubles draw will help her mentally.

Her two losses have come against players significantly more consistent than Oceane Dodin has been and the latter is just 2-10 on the hard courts when playing an opponent who is Ranked in the top 50. This match will be closer because of the Johanna Konta lack of tennis over the last several months, but I think the British player can secure a first win of 2020 and she can cover this line on the way to a place in the Quarter Final.

Elena Rybakina - 4.5 games v Fiona Ferro: A Lucky Loser spot was given to Fiona Ferro and she has taken full advantage by upsetting Caroline Garcia in the First Round. The challenge gets a lot tougher in the Second Round when Ferro faces Elena Rybakina and she has to make sure she is in a good place both emotionally and physically to compete against the home player.

Fiona Ferro is up to Number 58 in the World Rankings which is something of a surprise when you see that she has a losing record on the hard courts in main WTA tournaments. The Frenchwoman has better numbers on the serve from her small sample of matches in 2020 compared with the last couple of years, but Ferro won't have played too many players in the kind of form Elena Rybakina has been in.

The 20 year old Russian is at her career best Ranking mark and she has opened 2020 with a 12-2 record and both losses to Ekaterina Alexandrova and Ashleigh Barty are against solid opponents. Elena Rybakina has already reached two Finals on the hard courts in 2020 and she has a title already under her belt with signs that she is going to continue her improvement and crack through the top 20 in the World Rankings sooner rather than later.

Her serve has been very important to her successes and it means Rybakina is not being asked to dominate on return to win matches. The pressure being put on her getting through her service games is helping to crack opponents and I do think that could be a key to the outcome of this match.

I do think Fiona Ferro will test Rybakina with her own game looking in decent nick to open 2020 and having some confidence from her win over Carolina Garcia. However I think eventually it is going to be Rybakina who breaks through and she can get on top of a big number here.

Both players will believe they can serve out of trouble, but it is Elena Rybakina who looks to have the stronger shot and that can help her come through with a good win.

MY PICKS: David Goffin - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Gael Monfils - 4.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet365 (2 Units)
Johanna Konta - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Elena Rybakina - 4.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Ajla Tomljanovic - 1.5 Games @ 1.83 Bet365 (2 Units)
Steve Johnson - 2.5 Games @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)
Jozef Kovalik - 3.5 Games @ 1.91 William Hill (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 8-4, + 6.08 Units (24 Units Staked, + 25.33% Yield)

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