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.