Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 28th October by @DavAulak

Agnieszka Radwanska v Karolina Pliskova

I have no interest in trying to pick a winner from the first match in Singapore on Friday as it is a dead rubber in which I can’t see a reason for either Svetlana Kuznetsova or Garbine Muguruza to really want to push for the win. That looks like it could be a case of who can ‘tank’ the most effectively, but the second match has plenty on the line.

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Both Agnieszka Radwanska and Karolina Pliskova have a chance to be the last Singles player to make it through to the Semi Final in the WTA Finals and that means plenty of motivation for both. Radwanska is the defending Champion here and has a very strong 6-0 record against Pliskova and is yet to drop a set against this opponent, and it has to be said that these head to head records have proved quite decisive in a couple of the matches.

That isn’t a sole reason you can pick anyone to win a match, but I do think there has to be some concern about Pliskova’s ability to produce her best serves. That is imperative for her whole game but Pliskova struggled against Svetlana Kuznetsova to get the pop we are used to and being dragged into long rallies with Radwanska is only going to lead to one winner.

Pliskova has admitted to having some issue with the shoulder which would also have been a little more sore having played in the Doubles Quarter Final. It would take something special for the issue to have cleared up in time for this Group match and I think Radwanska can take advantage, while she is also capable of extending rallies to wear down her opponent who has already had a lot of tennis in the legs this week.

The conditions are ones that Radwanska should enjoy having won the title here last season and I think she will be able to battle through a couple of tight service games for big holds at big moments. Pliskova will be dangerous if she decides she has no choice but to hit out, but I still think Radwanska can earn her way to a 64, 63 win and a place in the Semi Final.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Agnieszka Radwanska – 4.5 Games at 2.09 with Eastbridge

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Albert Ramos-Vinolas

The head to head might read 4-0 in favour of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but that doesn’t tell you how competitive matches between the Frenchman and Albert Ramos-Vinolas have been the last two times they have played on the Tour. Both of those matches have gone the distance before Tsonga has gotten the better of Ramos-Vinolas, but I am backing Tsonga to have a slightly more routine day in Vienna on Friday.

I have to respect the fact that Ramos-Vinolas was willing to dig as deep as he did to beat home favourite Jurgen Melzer on Thursday. It also can’t be ignored that while the Spaniard might not be as keen on this time of the season on the Tour and has struggled for wins, he did reach the Final in Chengdu when he picks up some momentum, while the lefty serve is automatically going into the weaker Tsonga wing.

Those are all factors that are pointing to Ramos-Vinolas, but you have to appreciate how close he came to losing to Melzer on Thursday. Someone like Tsonga is unlikely to let him off the hook and I think the conditions will favour the heavier game Tsonga has which will allow him to push the Spaniard backwards.

If Tsonga is serving well he can also put some pressure on Ramos-Vinolas from a mental standpoint and I think it will be Tsonga who has the majority of break points in this one. Some of the Ramos-Vinolas losses since the US Open have come in comfortable fashion and I think Tsonga is capable of making life easier than usual against this opponent with a 75, 63 win.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 4.5 Games at 2.05 with Pinnacle

John Isner v Andy Murray

The chase to become World Number 1 for the first time in his career means Andy Murray is perhaps playing more tennis at the moment than even he would like to be doing. 2016 has been a long season for Murray and overcoming Novak Djokovic’s lead to become World Number 1 is a distinct possibility in the next couple of weeks, but it will mean winning more tennis matches.

There have been a couple of signs that perhaps Murray is feeling all that tennis and this might be a rare occasion when he is happy to be facing someone like John Isner. The serve is a difficult shot to deal with, but Murray won’t be taxed too much from a physical standpoint as the rallies are unlikely to develop into the long ones he had to face against Gilles Simon.

I am of the belief that Isner has lost a little bit around his game, but the indoor hard court conditions should be just about perfect for his serve. He might be even more dangerous if Murray is serving as poorly as he did on Thursday, but I think Murray is one of the smarter players on the Tour who will take something off the first serve to make sure he keeps the pressure on Isner.

I do think there is potentially a chance that Murray is going to just have some troubles again in this one and a break of serve for Isner could be crucial with the number of games he is being given. Even without that break, Isner has the kind of serve that might be tough for a mentally tired Murray to break down twice and this could easily end 76, 64 in favour of the British player and I can’t help this is too many games at odds against for Isner to have.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: John Isner + 3.5 Games at 2.17 with Eastbridge

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

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Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Thursday 27th October by @DavAulak

Angelique Kerber v Madison Keys

Both of these players are going to know their exact situation in the Group heading out onto the court and that might play a part in how this match goes. I am not going to read too much into what I expect to happen in the first match of the day, but instead focus on how I think this match will go.

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You can’t ignore the fact that Angelique Kerber has won all five previous matches against Madison Keys and I think this is the kind of opponent that the American has to learn to deal with to take the next step in her career. Like Simona Halep, Kerber has the tools to negate the big Keys serve and force the younger player to try and beat her with consistency off the ground.

While Kerber can accept that Keys will be able to penetrate the defences with the power she has, the World Number 1 will also know she can force mistakes from the Keys game by getting as many balls back in play as possible. Going into the Keys backhand from the Kerber forehand should also be a productive play to open up the court for Kerber and having to play as many balls as Keys is likely going to have to can be mentally draining.

These players have met twice in 2016 and Kerber has won all four sets and I think she will have enough of an edge in the longer rallies to wear down Keys in this one. If Madison Keys can get 75% of first serves in and just play with virtually no unforced errors she could win this match, but that is a big ask and I am looking for Kerber to put up her third win in Singapore in a 75, 63 win.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Angelique Kerber – 2.5 Games at 1.85 with Eastbridge

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Philipp Kohlschreiber

You cannot look past the fortune that Philipp Kohlschreiber got in this win over Stephane Robert on Wednesday and he will need a lot more of that to snap his nine match losing run to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It will be interesting to see if Kohlschreiber has had the time to recover physically from what was a testing match against Robert and the Frenchman he faces on Thursday is a lot more powerful and consistent.

The recent run of results have shown Kohlschreiber might not be at his full confidence level and that has seen him struggle on the serve. On another day he would have been beaten easily by Robert and being as loose as that against Tsonga is only going to result in yet another defeat to this opponent.

Tsonga hasn’t played a lot of tennis since the retirement at the US Open but he has looked solid enough in the limited time he has been on court. He was an easy winner in the First Round in Vienna where he has won the title before and I think the indoor hard courts suit his game just fine as he is able to dictate points comfortably behind the heavy forehand.

If Tsonga is serving well it will only increase the pressure on Kohlschreiber to stay with him and I think that will ultimately prove too much for the German to do. I like Tsonga to build the pressure and crack Kohlschreiber in a 63, 64 win.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – 3.5 Games at 1.84 with Pinnacle

Andy Murray v Gilles Simon

When these players met in Shanghai it was a poor day serving from Andy Murray that allowed Gilles Simon to remain competitive against him. The courts in Vienna may help Murray get a little more out of his first serve which had not been as productive as he liked in Shanghai and I think the match up is one that Murray will know exactly what to expect.

Simon is going to battle hard and he will extend rallies with his defensive movement and ability to put the ball in some awkward spots for Murray to try and do something with. The Frenchman is able to get to the net and stop Murray from just chipping the ball into play, but his weakness remains the serve which should see the World Number 2 be able to get into the rallies.

I have little doubt that Murray is going to be in a position to break serve a few times and the key will be to make sure he takes a solid percentage of those and not allow them to slip past. What is harder to guess is whether Murray is going to be able to serve well enough to prevent Simon from continuously battling back like he did when these players met in Shanghai and it does have to be said that plenty of their previous matches have been competitive affairs.

The form Murray has been in definitely gives him an edge though and I think he has taken the chances that have come his way when he does get into break point positions. He has at least been serving decently enough to help himself to a 64, 62 win in this one barring another late break when serving for the match as he had in Shanghai.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Andy Murray – 5.5 Games at 2.01 with Eastbridge

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

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ATP Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Wednesday 26th October by @DavAulak

Fabio Fognini v Albert Ramos-Vinolas – ATP Vienna

For the third tournament in a row Fabio Fognini and Albert Ramos-Vinolas will meet on the Tour and it is the Italian who has improved his head to head to 9-0. I backed Fognini to cover last week and this time he is being asked to cover another game but I can’t ignore the match up and how much the Italian has seemingly enjoyed it against Ramos-Vinolas.

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Last week showed Fognini is the stronger player when it comes to the rallies and he has a good read of what Ramos-Vinolas wants to do on the court with the serve. Negating that lefty serve and forcing Ramos-Vinolas to beat Fognini in the rallies has proven to be a huge edge for the Italian whose only serve is then backed up effectively by being the stronger player off the ground.

Fognini did reach the Final in Moscow where he came up short and he can’t always be trusted to put in back to back big weeks on the Tour. That is especially the case on the hard courts where he is not at his best, but he has had a few days to recover from Moscow and Fognini’s match up here can’t be ignored in the First Round.

I’d be surprised if Ramos-Vinolas doesn’t make this more competitive than the four games he won when they played last week. However I still think Fognini comes through with a 64, 64 win and move through to the Second Round while making it ten out of ten against Ramos-Vinolas.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Fabio Fognini -3.5 Games @ 1.81 with 888 Sport

 

Kei Nishikori v Paolo Lorenzi – ATP Basel

The place at the ATP World Tour Finals has already been booked by Kei Nishikori and he is simply looking for some form to take into the tournament in a couple of weeks time. Having a strong showing in Basel would be a good start to that end and Nishikori was an impressive winner in the First Round.

The match up with Paolo Lorenzi should be a good one for Nishikori to continue to build his rhythm to take to London as that is what the Italian will give him. The first serve is actually working very effectively for Lorenzi, but he is facing a very solid returner in Nishikori and I don’t really like his chances of winning a lot of the extended rallies against the Japanese star.

The issue for Lorenzi is going to be getting enough first serves in play to earn some short balls where he can begin to dictate the rallies from the beginning. The second serves will be much harder to protect against Nishikori and I do think we will see Nishikori get into a position where he will break serves around four times.

A key to this entire spread is Nishikori serving well enough to keep Lorenzi at bay and I think that has been an issue for him through his career. There are too many times sloppy service games means Nishikori is having to expend more energy than he would like to, but I think he should have enough to protect serve for long enough to record a 64, 62 win in this match.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Kei Nishikori -5.5 Games @ 1.93 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Robin Haase v Juan Martin Del Potro – ATP Basel

It is so much fun to see Juan Martin Del Potro not only enjoying his tennis again, but getting back into a position to challenge the very best players on the Tour. A first title since 2014 was won on Sunday in Stockholm and Del Potro has every chance to end 2016 by adding to his Silver Medal from the Olympic Games with a Davis Cup win.

Del Potro is back as the Argentinian Number 1 and is likely going to be used for two Singles rubbers in the Davis Cup Final while he is back up to Number 42 in the World Rankings. He might not have enough to be Seeded by the time the Australian Open comes around, but Del Potro has nothing in terms of points to protect for a while and that would be a great achievement for him if he can do that.

It is going to be interesting to see how much he has in the tank both physically and emotionally having won the title in Stockholm. The organisers in Basel have been good enough to give Del Potro a few days to prepare himself for this First Round match against Robin Haase who had to come through the Qualifiers.

Haase has been putting together plenty of wins on the Challenger circuit on the clay courts to help him move up the World Rankings, but he is still very inconsistent. He should have a serve that offers him more, although the problem remains backing it up with the right plays at the right times and the Dutchman can sometimes collapse in matches.

I do think Haase might be facing Del Potro at the right time though and he can stay with the Argentinian. As long as Haase serves well, he can potentially steal a set if Del Potro is not completely focused in his opening match here and that might be enough for him to make these games count.

Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Robin Haase +4.5 Games @ 2.19 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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