ATP Monte Carlo Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 15th April by @DavAulak

Andy Murray v Milos Raonic

There can be little doubt that Andy Murray had to dig incredibly deep to beat Benoit Paire in the Third Round. The Frenchman actually served for the match in that one, but Murray might have been given the boost in confidence he would have needed to really go a lot further here in Monte Carlo.

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The first two wins have been through inconsistent performances from Murray, but his opponent has hardly been breezing through the draw. The Milos Raonic serve remains a big shot on any surface, but his serve has not been as effective as he would have liked in the last two matches as Raonic has needed a final set tie-breaker in both wins.

Raonic has been fortunate in his last two matches as he has been unable to hold in rallies as much as he would have liked. He is likely going to be tested by Murray who is able to make a lot of returns, although the World Number 2 will look to serve better than he has in the first two matches in Monte Carlo to make sure he doesn’t allow Raonic to get away from him.

The last three matches between these players have all gone the way of Andy Murray although their Semi Final at the Australian Open was incredibly close. I am not sure Milos Raonic is playing up to that level as he was at Melbourne Park as his serve has not been up to the level expected and I think Murray will work his way through to a 64, 67, 64 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Andy Murray -2.5 Games @ 1.69 with 888 Sport

 

Roger Federer v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The Third Round match against Roberto Bautista Agut always looked to be one that Roger Federer would be comfortable with and it turned out to be the case. This should be a much tougher test for Federer on his return to the Tour as he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a player that has given him plenty of trouble in the past.

It was only in 2013 that Tsonga crushed Federer in three sets at the French Open, while their one match on the clay last season went the distance, although in favour of the latter.

A big serving display helped Tsonga beat Federer in the Canadian Masters Final last season too and another big serving day would make it a very tough day for Federer. However I am not sure that the Frenchman is playing at a very high level at the moment and I think Federer might have a chance to get into the weaker backhand wing of Tsonga on this slower clay court.

That is the key for Federer who is definitely the stronger player on the backhand wing, but he will have to make sure he gets enough balls back in play off the Tsonga first serve. I think Federer is the better mover on the court too and he has to use that to keep Tsonga off balance and force the Frenchman to move around the court and not set himself for the big forehand. Doing that should give Federer a chance to come through this tough Quarter Final with a 63, 76 win and a place in the Semi Finals.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Roger Federer -3.5 Games @ 2.00 with UNIBET

 

Rogerer Federer & Jo-Wilfired Tsonga

Rogerer Federer & Jo-Wilfired Tsonga

Marcel Granollers v Gael Monfils

Marcel Granollers might be a Lucky Loser this week but he has taken advantage of his fortune and moved through to the Quarter Final. The Spaniard has beaten two of the younger talents on the Tour but he will have to be at his best to see off Gael Monfils who has been in very strong form this week.

I have to say I am happy that Monfils finally looks to be getting his act together on the Tour and trying to win matches without looking to entertain the crowd. That part of his game will never disappear, which is a good thing, but Monfils looks more like someone who wants to win matches and titles this season.

Even with that in mind, I think Monfils will have a hard time covering this number against a grinder like Granollers who has won three of their previous four matches. Last season they played a tight three setter in Madrid which was eventually won by Granollers and I think this has the making of another close match.

Monfils hasn’t been losing a lot of games this week, but I think this might be the toughest test he has had to this point of the tournament. I can see a few breaks of serve both ways, but eventually the Frenchman will prevail behind a 76, 63 win and that is why I will back Granollers to cover this one.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Marcel Granollers +4.5 Games @ 1.93 with Pinnacle Sports

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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ARP Monte Carlo Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Thurs 14th Apr by @DavAulak

Dominic Thiem v Rafael Nadal

A win over Aljaz Bedene helped Rafael Nadal into the Third Round, but the big story out of that victory for me was Bedene’s assertion that Nadal’s forehand has become his weaker wing. There is little doubt that he is not getting the penetration through the court that the Spaniard used to get from that wing, but beating Nadal on a clay court is still a big challenge for most players.

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He did crush Dominic Thiem when they met at the French Open in 2014, but the more recent meeting came during the Golden Swing in South America earlier this season. On that occasion it was the young Austrian who got the better of Nadal thanks to a third set tie-breaker and Thiem is certainly someone who could be a threat during the next six weeks heading into the French Open.

There is plenty of strong movement that Thiem brings to the court, but he also is able to find plenty of penetration through the clay courts which makes him very dangerous. He has a decent return game which should give Thiem a chance to take at least a set in this one and I expect this is going to be a very close match that could go either way.

I think Thiem is more than capable of beating Nadal and will have that same belief having done it on a clay court already in 2016. The Nadal serve is far from unbreakable and I think Thiem can enjoy enough success to make these games count when the final score is produced.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Dominic Thiem +3.5 Games @ 1.92 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Nadal & Thiem

Nadal & Thiem

Stan Wawrinka v Gilles Simon

Last season at the French Open, Stan Wawrinka crushed Gilles Simon on his way to winning the title at Roland Garros. I would be very surprised if Wawrinka was to dominate this match in the same manner, but I do think the Swiss player is the more likely winner of this Third Round match.

You might think the slower courts would favour someone like Simon who has decent movement and can get plenty of balls back in play, but the slower courts mean his counter punching doesn’t have the same penetration as on the hard courts. That can prove a problem when Simon’s own shots will give his opponent time to earn clean hits from them and someone like Wawrinka can take advantage of that.

Wawrinka just needs to protect his serve better than he did in the win over Philipp Kohlschreiber when a couple of sloppy games made the match much closer than it should have been. However the Swiss player should get plenty of chances to break serve with Simon not having the same pop on the serve as Kohlschreiber can produce and I think Wawrinka will prove too strong in this Third Round match.

He is a former winner here and Wawrinka may be thinking of once again winning this Masters event to show he is ready to defend the French Open title he won last season. I think Wawrinka will prove a little too good in both sets in this one and come through with a 64, 64 kind of win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Stan Wawrinka -2.5 Games @ 1.72 with BET365

 

Roger Federer v Roberto Bautista Agut

Roger Federer made his return to the Tour following knee surgery with a routine win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the Second Round. He faces another Spaniard in the Third Round in Roberto Bautista Agut and Roger Federer has to be happy with the draw having won the last four matches between these two.

It is a comfortable match up for Federer who knows exactly what Bautista Agut is capable of producing- while the latter has played well in 2016, he is the kind of player that will give Federer the rhythm to build his confidence while the serve is not overpowering and will allow Federer to have his way on the return.

The key for Federer is seeing how the knee holds up after his first match since the Australian Open. If he is able to have come through that without any setbacks, Federer should have every chance of recording another fairly comfortable win over Bautista Agut having won all ten sets against this opponent in the past.

In the last three matches between these players, Bautista Agut has yet to break serve and only produced one break point. That should change on a slow clay court, but Federer should have control of this match and I think he will be too strong on the day as he produces another straight sets win over the Spaniard and covers this number.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Roger Federer -4.5 Games @ 2.03 with Pinnacle Sports

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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ATP Monte Carlo Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Wednesday13th April by @DavAulak

Stan Wawrinka v Philipp Kohlschreiber

The French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka will make his bow on the clay courts for the first time in 2016 on Wednesday. This is a tournament that will also hold a special place for Wawrinka having won the Monte Carlo Masters in 2014 and he will come into the event looking to have a much bigger impact than he managed in Indian Wells and Miami last month.

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The Second Round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber won’t be an easy one for him, but Wawrinka has won all three previous matches against the German. That includes a fairly routine win over Kohlschreiber in Dubai earlier this season, although the conditions there will have been much faster than what these players will encounter in Monte Carlo.

Kohlschreiber might have an additional edge having won a First Round match here already, but his previous lack of success against Wawrinka would have to be a concern. I also think Kohlschreiber has lost half a step in his movement around the court and Wawrinka definitely has the heavier groundstrokes which should see him penetrate the court more effectively and get his opponent on the back foot.

There is no doubt that Wawrinka will need to serve well to keep Kohlschreiber at bay in this one, but doing that should help him eventually come through with a 76, 63 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Stan Wawrinka -3.5 Games @ 2.02 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic v Pablo Cuevas

Pablo Cuevas had to dig very deep to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the First Round, but he will need to be a lot better if he is going to get the better of Milos Raonic in the Second Round. I do wonder if Cuevas is really able to produce his best tennis on the European clay courts and this is a big test for him.

The key for Cuevas will be to serve well and not give up anything too silly for Milos Raonic to get his teeth into those service games. He will also need to make hay against the second serve that he faces, especially as Raonic is likely to still dominate those points behind the first serve.

Doing those things will give Cuevas a chance at the upset, but I am leaning towards the Canadian having a little too much on the day. The slower clay court should give Raonic time to line up the return of serve while not really affecting his own service games as much as some may think and that can help him dictate much of the match.

I don’t think you can doubt the fact that Cuevas will look to extend rallies and will likely win the majority of those points, but I think he will give up a couple of breaks of serve. Against Milos Raonic that can be fatal and I think the Canadian will be able to come through with a 76, 64 win to move into the Third Round following a fairly comfortable First Round win over Marco Cecchinato.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Milos Raonic – 2.5 Games @ 1.88 with UNIBET

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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