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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 31st)

I had a few complaints about the way the picks went for me on Tuesday, but it was all put into perspective when I saw a poker player lose in a million dollar buy in tournament in the worst way. He had pocket aces, but faced a player that also had pocket aces and was then beaten when four hearts came out on the flop.

That's a bad beat and certainly one worth viewing here.


The tournament in Kitzbuhel was hammered by the rain on Wednesday with only two of the Second Round matches being able to be completed- that means winners on Thursday will have to do double duty, except Lukas Rosol and Maximo Gonzalez who are scheduled to play their Quarter Final later in the day following their Second Round wins.

That does put a spanner in the works for some of the picks as motivation can be hard to read when a player knows they have to win twice in the same day. Fortunately the majority of players are in Austria to improve their Rankings so I expect it will be a competitive day of tennis, as long as the rain stays away anyway.


With the rain delays in Austria, it also means that the schedule for Thursday tennis will not be available on Wednesday evening and the layers will only catch up on Thursday morning. I will update picks for Kitzbuhel then and the two tournaments in the United States after that.


Lukas Rosol - 2.5 games v Maximo Gonzalez: This is the only Quarter Final set at Kitzbuhel at the moment and I do like Lukas Rosol's chances of beating Maximo Gonzalez, despite the latter having his best week on the main Tour all season.

This is when the level does go up a notch for Gonzalez against an opponent who is comfortable on clay and is used to playing at the much higher level on a regular basis. Rosol has the serve to at least set up some of the cheaper points and I am not convinced that Gonzalez is that consistent behind his own serve.

I expect Rosol to be able to create chances and I think he should prove to be too good for the veteran Argentine as long as he doesn't check out mentally. Rosol should be looking at this as a good chance to win an ATP 250 event with the rest of the field having to play twice on Thursday and potentially fatiguing so the motivation is there for the Czech player.

Of course, Gonzalez should be very confident having won a few matches here this week, but I think Rosol has enough for a 64, 64 win.


Denis Istomin - 3.5 games v Donald Young: These two have to be part of the most erratic players on Tour category, but Denis Istomin generally plays at a higher level than Donald Young and I would expect him to move through to the Quarter Finals.

Istomin has a decent serve and is very comfortable on the hard courts, while Donald Young struggles to win matches consistently at the main level.

The American took advantage of a very comfortable draw in the Second Round to snap a four match losing run, but I think he will be under pressure in this one. Young is also perhaps thinking of qualifying for the Canadian Masters next week and may not be as focused on this match as he perhaps should be.

When this one is all said and done, I expect Istomin to come through 64, 64.


Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 games v Victor Estrella: After the way Victor Estrella was serving in his match with Feliciano Lopez on Wednesday, it might be a risk backing against a player that has a lot of confidence from recent weeks exploits.

However, I expect Santiago Giraldo to force him to play more competitive shots than Lopez managed and I do think the Colombian has a game that transfers well from the clay courts to the hard courts.

Giraldo had a solid win over Benjamin Becker in the Second Round, although the German did have a long week in Atlanta last week. That shouldn't take away from a strong display from Giraldo who will feel he has a serve and aggressive groundstrokes to cause problems for Estrella in this one.

It might need Giraldo to win a tight first set before pulling away for a 76, 63 win.

MY PICKS: Lukas Rosol - 2.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Denis Istomin - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-8, - 6.20 Units (26 Units Staked, - 23.85% Yield)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 30th)

To say I had a miserable Tuesday would be an under-statement... First a friend broke down in the morning which meant I had to take a day off to help them take their car to the garage, except the recovery truck decided to take five hours from the break down to actually picking up the car.

It was a hot day, which only adds to the frustration, as does all the road works in my area meaning any time spent in the car is actually spent in crawling traffic to get to anywhere you want to go.

Just to rub it in, the tennis picks I made on Tuesday decided to have an absolute awful day and I should have known what was coming as soon as Juan Monaco lost the first set 6-0 and so failed to cover the 3.5 games despite winning the remaining two sets 6-2, 6-1.

Chances came and went the rest of the day, but that doesn't hide the fact that some of the picks were just plain poor so I can't put it all down to bad luck.

It was a frustrating day and one that has set me behind the black ball for the week and now I am already looking at limiting the losses with some positives in the remaining days ahead of the Canadian Masters/Premier Event which begins next Monday.


Maximo Gonzalez v Albert Ramos: It has to be accepted that Albert Ramos plays much more tennis on the regular ATP Tour than Maximo Gonzalez, but the latter has won all three previous meetings between the players on the clay courts.

Both players should be full of confidence having come through the qualifiers this week, but Gonzalez has won many more matches than Ramos since the French Open, albeit at the Challenger level while Ramos has been qualifying for main Tour events.

However, Gonzalez had a win over Albert Ramos in a Challenger Final a last month and the confidence of winning matches could stand him in good stead in this one. The win in the First Round may have underlined the belief that Gonzalez is playing with at the moment and he might outlast Ramos in a three set match as the underdog.


Juan Monaco - 3.5 games v Jarkko Nieminen: I am still not sure what happened to Juan Monaco in the opening set of his First Round win over Andrey Golubev, but I expect a much better response in this Second Round match against Jarkko Nieminen.

The veteran Finn had a decent First Round win over Teimuraz Gabashvili coming off his run to the Final in a Challenger event held on clay in his home country last week. Nieminen isn't usually known for his prowess on the clay, especially with a serve that is vulnerable on the faster surfaces, although he does hold the head to head lead over Juan Monaco.

However, it also has to be said that Monaco has won their two meetings on clay and I believe the Argentine can improve that record in this one. He might have needed the first set against Golubev to get himself focused for this tournament after reaching the Final in Gstaad last week, especially as he Monaco has plenty of points to defend.

This should be another close match, but I favour Monaco simply because he should get the better of the long rallies that usually occur on clay courts and I like him to cover the games this time.


Andreas Seppi - 3.5 games v Pere Riba: One of the players that I have regularly backed against this summer, with success for the most part, is Pere Riba and I think he will again find someone a little too good for him at this level.

I expect Riba will be going back to the Challenger circuit to improve confidence and build the belief to get back to winning matches, but the Spaniard has struggled for the consistency to win at the main Tour level.

This match should feature a few breaks of serve as neither has a dominant serve, while the risk in backing Andreas Seppi is his own poor form over the 2014 season. However, the Italian has had the majority of his success on the clay courts even though he has suffered early exits in tournaments this summer.

I can see a tight first set with breaks on both sides, but if Seppi can take that, I expect him to come through 76, 63.


Lukas Rosol - 3.5 games v Andreas Haider-Maurer: The tournament is being played in Austria and should inspire Andreas Haider-Maurer to give more of an effort than he did in Poznan a couple of weeks ago.

He came through the First Round comfortably enough, but now faces Lukas Rosol who has been in decent form this summer, although not quite good enough to reach the real business end of tournaments. Rosol received a bye into the Second Round this week, but he has the game to come into this tournament and really make an impact.

The conditions in Kitzbuhel are usually a little faster than the normal clay courts which should aid Rosol's serve. The Czech player is also in far better form than twelve months ago when he lost ten matches in a row beginning at Queens right through to, and past, the US Open.

As long as Rosol brings in the form of recent weeks, he should be able to mentally hold the edge in this match and Haider-Maurer will hopefully quit as he did a couple of weeks ago.


Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 games v David Goffin: I have quite a few picks from Kitzbuhel already this Wednesday, but I can't ignore the price on Philipp Kohlschreiber winning this match against David Goffin.

The layers have factored in the brilliant run Goffin has been on as he has won three straight Challenger titles on the clay coming into this one and then dominated in his First Round win over Kenny de Schepper, but Philipp Kohlschreiber is a level above the kind of players Goffin has been facing.

Look at the list of the players beaten by Goffin- Kohlschreiber would be a favourite to beat all those names and was in decent form in Hamburg. I also think all the tennis that Goffin has played can catch up with him and I expect the German to level their head to head which currently stands 0-1 to Goffin.

So far in 2014, Goffin hasn't been able to take his form onto the main Tour and I like Kohlschreiber to win 76, 64 in two competitive sets.


Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 games v Victor Estrella: This time last year, Feliciano Lopez was persevering with the clay courts, a surprising decision as far as I am concerned considering the game he puts together on the court.

Lopez has a decent serve and loves to play aggressive tennis which would work best on the faster surfaces and I do believe he will enjoy the conditions in Washington where the surface is playing quick.

The left-hander can keep Victor Estrella under pressure, but the latter has to be respected with his run to the Bogota Semi Final earlier this month as well as the battling display he produced to see off Tobias Kamke in the First Round.

This being Lopez' first match on the hard courts this summer means he might take time to get used to the conditions, but I think Estrella will also give him chances to break serve and I like the Spaniard to win 76, 63.


Milos Raonic - 3.5 games v Jack Sock: Milos Raonic has won the last three matches played between these players since Jack Sock won the first match, and the big Canadian may just be a little too good for the American again.

The Raonic serve should be very effective in Washington, although it has to be remembered that he was beaten in the Third Round here last season and could perhaps be more focused on the Canadian Masters which begins next week.

Raonic has been playing with added aggression on the return of serve too and only needs to get it right for a short period of time to put opponents under pressure. Sock has been in good form though and his own serve will set up the cheap points, but I think the scoreboard pressure may tell as it did last week against John Isner in Atlanta.

Sock has played a lot of tennis in the last week as he keeps up with the Doubles alongside Vasek Pospisil and I do think Raonic can come through 63, 76.


Richard Gasquet - 3.5 games v Dudi Sela: Last week, Dudi Sela got the best of me through the week as he kept digging deep to pick up wins from the jaws of defeat, but I think the match up with Richard Gasquet is not the best one for him.

Sela came through another three setter in the First Round against Samuel Groth and has had a lot of tennis which could have him battle hardened compared with Richard Gasquet who suffered an early loss in the one tournament he has played since Wimbledon.

The match up isn't the best for Sela because Gasquet is very comfortable rallying from the back of the court, but has the real edge when it comes to the serve.

As long as Gasquet serves well, he can make it three wins from three matches against Sela and none of the previous five sets have been closer than 6-4. I expect Gasquet can find a break more in each set to come through 64, 64 in this one.

MY PICKS: Maximo Gonzalez @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Juan Monaco - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Philipp Kohlschreiber - 2.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Feliciano Lopez - 3.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Milos Raonic - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Sky Bet (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-6, - 8.40 Units (16 Units Staked, - 52.5% Yield)

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 29th)

It was a mixed start to a new week of events with the two picks going 1-1 on Monday, although I was disappointed with Caroline Garcia who just didn't take the chances that were presented to her.

It could have been better, but it also could have been worse and there is plenty of tennis to come this week so hopefully there will be more positives than negatives. It begins early on Tuesday with the matches in Kitzbuhel and ends very late with the final matches from Stanford and I just hope the little bit of luck lands on my side this week.


Robin Haase - 3.5 games v Paolo Lorenzi: Robin Haase has certainly been one of the happiest men on the Tour to see the return of the ATP Kitzbuhel tournament to the calendar after a three year absence. Since the return, Haase has won this tournament twice and also reached the Semi Final here last season and clearly enjoys the surroundings and the conditions in this part of Austria.

Haase showed signs of form in Gstaad last week where he reached the Semi Final and he should bring in plenty of confidence to this First Round match, although he can't under-estimate Paolo Lorenzi who is very capable on the clay courts.

However, Lorenzi hasn't had a great season on the main Tour and might already be considering a move to the Challenger level where he continues to perform admirably.

Lorenzi can be an awkward opponent and Haase is a player that loses concentration dramatically at times which is a worry for this pick. However, I do believe Haase is very happy in Kitzbuhel and should be too good for Lorenzi in a 64, 64 win.


Juan Monaco - 3.5 games v Andrey Golubev: Last week, Juan Monaco reached the Final in Gstaad and was perhaps unfortunate not to at least push Pablo Andujar into a third set decider when going down in three sets.

Monaco did at least achieve his first aim and that was to move back inside the top 100 in the World Rankings and he will be looking for another strong showing in Kitzbuhel where he was a Finalist a yea ago and so has plenty of points to defend.

It has been a poor 2014 for Monaco, but winning matches should have given him a boost in confidence and I would expect he is too good for Andrey Golubev on a clay court in this First Round match. Golubev has a decent serve, but he struggles for consistency over the long rallies that you need on a clay court and will give his opponent's chances with some of his erratic play.

Unless the last week has taken its toll on Monaco, I expect he can travel to Austria with plenty of motivation to defend his points and should come through 64, 64.


Yen-Hsun Lu - 2.5 games v Lukas Lacko: It was no surprise that Yen-Hsun Lu suffered an early exit in Atlanta after the exploits of winning a Challenger the week before, but this is a time of the year when Lu does produce positive results.

He clearly is a player that enjoys the hard courts and plays at a fairly consistent level, although his serve can be vulnerable as he doesn't win as many cheap points from that shot as some of the other players on the Tour. Lu can't really match the best from the back of the court, but playing someone as erratic as Lukas Lacko could see Lu produce enough consistent tennis to come through.

A couple of years ago, Lacko looked to be a player that could make a real impact on the Tour, but he has struggled for consistency and his own serve isn't the biggest.

Lacko goes through periods of making mistakes and I can see that being the difference in a 63, 76 win for Lu.


Bernard Tomic - 2.5 games v Denis Istomin: After winning the title in Bogota, Bernard Tomic at least moved back inside the top 100 in the World Rankings and has had ten days to get ready for this tournament in Washington.

Winning a title should have given Tomic a boost in confidence after a difficult 2014 so far, but he has virtually nothing to defend over the remaining months of the season and should be able to make significant leaps upwards in the Rankings.

Tomic has a decent serve, but he sometimes can get unbalanced between defence and attack on the court which allows opponents to get into matches, but he is going up against Denis Istomin who is extremely inconsistent, although someone who has had success on the hard courts.

The problem for Istomin is that he has lost all three previous matches against Tomic and that is a mental burden that is likely to play against him in this one. With the recent success in Bogota behind him and a First Round win here, I like Tomic to come through 76, 64.


Benjamin Becker v Blaz Kavcic: Benjamin Becker reached the Semi Final in Atlanta last week, but he will need to be at his best to see of Blaz Kavcic who has had an extremely productive summer, albeit at the Challenger level.

While most players moved onto the grass courts following the French Open, Kavcic has been playing hard court Challenger events and has won three titles, reached the Final of another event and the Semi Final last week. However, that means he has been doing a lot of travelling and has had to move from Kazakhstan to the United States' Capital city in the last few days.

Confidence plays such a huge part on the Tour, but Kavcic has yet to turn that into success onto the main Tour and now plays a player that is also comfortable on this surface.

The recent success Kavcic has had has swayed the layers with the prices, but Becker has the serve to keep himself in a good position in the court and I think his added success at this level plus the tiredness of recent weeks of tennis for Kavcic will lead to the German moving through.


Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 games v Tim Smyczek: Tim Smyczek has a win under his belt here in Washington and has played a lot more tennis than Jeremy Chardy in recent weeks and will look to use that to his advantage in this Second Round match.

However, the American has been vulnerable with his serve not being the biggest and I am a little surprised that Chardy is perhaps being under-estimated by the layers.

Granted, Chardy didn't look great when dismissed by Pablo Cuevas on the clay of Bastad in his last appearance, but Cuevas has shown his form by winning two clay court titles this summer so the defeat is not as bad as it first looked. Chardy is arguably better on the hard courts too with his decent serve and heavy groundstrokes, although he did struggle in this portion of the season in 2013.

As long as the lay off from the Tour hasn't made Chardy completely cold, I think he wins this 76, 63.

MY PICKS: Robin Haase - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Juan Monaco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Yen-Hsun Lu - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Benjamin Becker @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Jeremy Chardy - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-1, - 0.10 Units (4 Units Staked, - 2.5% Yield)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 28th)

It wasn't the best of weeks for the picks last week, but the John Isner win in Atlanta at least reduced some of the losses... However, I much prefer when a little is put into the season totals not taking some out of those and I will be looking for improved results this week.

I didn't bother with the outright picks this week with both the ATP events looking far more open than I would like, while the WTA events are bringing together some of the best players on their Tour. However, a lot of those players haven't played much, or at all, since Wimbledon so it is better to take a watching brief for the tournaments as a whole.

Next week will be the first of the two Masters/Premier Events of the summer leading into US Open which is now only four weeks away. That means the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Maria Sharapova all will be making their return to the Tour after a few weeks off and the events will certainly begin to feel more and more important.


Most people will have turned their attention to the hard court season already with events in Washington and Stanford this week, although some players are just trying to pick up a few more Ranking points by competing in the ATP event in Kitzbuhel, the final clay court event of the season.

I'll be hoping the new game this week brings in more success than last week.


Karolina Pliskova - 3.5 games v Kimiko Date-Krumm: This summer, we have seen a number of teenagers on the ATP Tour really begin to make an impact in main Tour events, but the WTA still has a 43 year old competing with all the younger players on their Tour.

Kimiko Date-Krumm has begun to slip down the Rankings and it is getting harder and harder for her to hold off the tide of younger players that are making an impact on the WTA Tour. It is tough to see how she will deal with Karolina Pliskova who is much improved from the player that was beaten in three sets by Date-Krumm two years ago in Dubai.

Pliskova can make a real move up the Rankings over the next few weeks with limited points to defend and she has been performing well on the hard courts this season. She also has more competitive tennis recently than Date-Krumm who hasn't played since Wimbledon and back to back Quarter Finals since the third Slam of the year should have given Pliskova confidence.

My only concern for her is that she can be a little erratic and doesn't change a losing game plan, but I do think she can find the win in this one, even if it takes three sets, and I like Pliskova winning 62, 46, 64.


Caroline Garcia v Varvara Lepchenko: I don't think I agree with Andy Murray in his forecast for Caroline Garcia to be a future World Number 1 on the WTA Tour, but she is certainly capable of moving far above her current Ranking of 44.

The Frenchwoman has shown some signs of being a top player on the Tour, but she is still lacking some consistency which shouldn't surprise considering she is still only 20 years old. She hasn't had the most success on the hard courts either, but I still believe Garcia can beat Varvara Lepchenko.

Lepchenko has struggled for the last eighteen months and it does seem her 2012 season might be a career-high. The worry for the American is the poor form on the hard courts, although Lepchenko did reach the Quarter Final in Stanford last season.

She has a powerful game, but inconsistencies have seen her throw in a lot of errors in matches and Garcia also holds a mental edge with two wins over Lepchenko on the main Tour. That includes last month at Wimbledon, and I think that edge may prove to be the difference in a three set win.

MY PICKS: Karolina Pliskova - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Caroline Garcia @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Final12-15, - 7.26 Units (54 Units Staked, - 13.44% Yield)
Weekly Outright1-1, + 4 Units (3 Units Staked, + 75% Yield)

Season 2014+ 48.58 Units (1185.5 Units Staked, + 4.10% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 26th)

It has been a pretty tough week for the picks, but I haven't been helped much with the little strokes of luck you need to get over the line and put some winners up. However, both Marin Cilic and John Isner have moved through to the Semi Finals of their respective tournaments in Umag and Atlanta and can hopefully ensure there isn't a significant hit to the season totals.

Of the two players, Marin Cilic has certainly looked the more comfortable on the court, although I have to say that a player like Lukas Rosol, who possesses a huge serve, shouldn't lose as many 6-0 sets as he does.

It was still an impressive win for Cilic who will feel he is the best player left in the draw in Umag, although he has to prove that against Tommy Robredo in the Semi Final.


Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 games v Pablo Andujar: If the long Friday has taken its toll on Fernando Verdasco, then it will be very difficult for him to get up for this Semi Final against his compatriot Pablo Andujar.

On Friday, Verdasco had to complete his Second Round win over Jan-Lennard Struff which had to be postponed a day earlier in the final set decider which was poised at 1-1 at close. Verdasco then needed a tie-break to win that match, but only expended more energy later in the day when he beat Victor Troicki in three sets after somehow blowing the second set in the tie-break.

He is also going against a tough opponent in Andujar who has been in decent form over the last three weeks and who will believe he can level the head to head with his compatriot.

Verdasco certainly has the power on his side of the court, but it is all about harnessing that properly and recovering from Friday's exploits. He did mention how good he felt for the majority of his Quarter Final win over Troicki and I like Verdasco to find a 63, 46, 64 win in this one.


John Isner - 2.5 games v Jack Sock: There were more negative signs at the beginning of John Isner's Quarter Final win over Marinko Matosevic with another early break of serve given away, but he fought back and got through in two tough sets.

That should have given him a shot in the arm, especially as the serve improved as the match went on, very much in the same manner as in his Second Round win over Robby Ginepri. However, his opponent Jack Sock will also feel confident he can reach the Final here having beaten Isner in Newport in two sets to snap his three match losing run to the highest Ranked American.

After winning the Doubles event at Wimbledon, Sock would love to get to his first main Tour Final by winning this match, but that would put some pressure on him too. He knows what is at stake and I think Isner can use that to his advantage in this Semi Final.

A couple of years ago, Isner beat Sock 76, 64 in the Quarter Final here and I do think he is capable of at least replicating that score.


Benjamin Becker - 1.5 games v Dudi Sela: It is Dudi Sela 3, me 0 this week, but his win over Vasek Pospisil last night was the most disappointing for the picks considering the latter won 8 of 9 games and was a break up in the final set before inexplicably falling apart.

Sela reached his first Semi Final on the main Tour for two years but he now faces Benjamin Becker who has won all four previous matches between the players. Becker has taken advantage of what has been a kind draw to this point, beating the likes of Yen-Hsun Lu (coming off a long week where he won a Challenger title) and Thiemo de Bakker (who had surprised Kevin Anderson).

As well as Sela has played at times to this point, he still gives up chances to break his serve and Becker himself has a decent serve that can set up the easy points.

With the head to head as it is and Sela perhaps riding his luck to this point of the tournament, I will back Becker to reach the Final with a three set win.

MY PICKS: Fernando Verdasco - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
John Isner - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Benjamin Becker - 1.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 11-13, - 5.36 Units (48 Units Staked, - 11.17% Yield)

Friday, 25 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 25th)

A tough week shows little sign of recovery as we reach the Quarter Final stage of the various tournaments taking place, but hopefully the outright picks can remain active and get into the winning enclosure this week.

I've not quite got the right grip on the week, but the last few days can still end the week on a high.


Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 games v Robin Haase: Robin Haase needed three sets to see off the first two opponents he has played this week and that could have built some confidence in a tournament he has enjoyed playing in the past.

However, I think he is still having too many lapses in concentration that will give Mikhail Youzhny a chance to win the match and get back to winning ways against the Dutchman. Youzhny had won five in a row against Haase, but it was the latter that won their sole meeting earlier this season, also on the clay.

They met in the Final here twelve months ago which ended with a straight sets win for Youzhny and I do believe the Russian still plays at a more consistent level than Haase. The latter can certainly raise his level at times and that might be enough to see off Youzhny, but I don't think he has been playing well enough to find that in this Quarter Final.

Both players will be desperate to advance with the points to defend from last season, but I believe it will be Youzhny who manages to do that with a 64, 64 win.


Pablo Andujar v Marcel Granollers: This is essentially a pick 'em contest in the Quarter Final, but I think Pablo Andujar should have been a strong favourite to win the match.

2014 has been a tough season for Marcel Granollers who has suffered a number of early losses and may also be concerning himself about defending his title in Kitzbuhel next week.

He has also lost three of the last four matches against his compatriot on the clay and Pablo Andujar should have a lot of confidence from reaching the Quarter Final in Hamburg last week. Andujar is also in line to have his most wins on the Tour since 2011 and may just win the big points in this one to lead to the win.

I wouldn't be surprised to see these two needing three sets to decide the winner, but I believe Pablo Andujar comes through for a place in the Semi Final.


Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 games v Teimuraz Gabashvili: In his current form, Pablo Cuevas is making leaps in the World Rankings which will help him gain automatic entrance into ATP 250 draws and not have to go through the qualifiers as he did this week.

Following his title win in Bastad, Cuevas has been dominant on the clay through the week, bar the First Round match, and he crushed Andreas Seppi in the Second Round to reach this Quarter Final.

He should be presented with more of a challenge from Teimuraz Gabashvili who has a couple of decent wins under his belt this week too, although that also saw him snap a run of three consecutive defeats. Gabashvili hasn't had a lot of success on the clay in the past, especially not on the main Tour, but he pushed Rafael Nadal and beat David Ferrer earlier this season which must have upped the belief.

However, Cuevas is playing so well at the moment that it is hard to see his run come to an end here and I believe the Uruguayan wins 64, 64.


Tommy Robredo - 3.5 games v Pablo Carreno-Busta: It hasn't been a great 2014 on the clay for Tommy Robredo as he is barely over 50% in winning percentage on the surface and his biggest problems have usually come in the 'lesser' tournaments.

However, he picked up a decent win against Albert Ramos in the Second Round and now plays another compatriot in Pablo Carreno-Busta who was the beneficiary of a Carlos Berlocq withdrawal.

This will be the third meeting between the players this season, all on clay courts, and Robredo has won the previous two in straight sets and I think he is more than capable of doing the same again in this Quarter Final.

Carreno-Busta will have to serve better than he did in his First Round match to give himself a chance, but I expect Robredo to grind him down and take a 64, 64 win through to the Semi Final.


Fabio Fognini - 4.5 games v Borna Coric: Borna Coric became the latest teenager to make an impact on the Tour this summer following the exploits of Alexander Zverev, but I think his run will be coming to an end against Fabio Fognini.

Of course the Italian is hardly the most trustworthy of players with his tendency to raise his game and also lower it depending on which side of the bed he got up. Fognini was a dominant winner over Albert Montanes after coming through a tight first set and he has the veteran experience and the defensive skills to frustrate Coric and eventually wear him down.

The next big Croatian tennis hope has had two impressive wins this week so can't be under-estimated in a sport where confidence plays a huge part in performances. He'll believe he can win this match and will be capable of doing so if 'bad Fognini' takes to the court.

The points that Fognini is defending this summer should focus him, in theory at least, and I do think he has the clay court nous to do enough to win this match. Fognini should prove a little too good in a 63, 64 win.


John Isner - 2.5 games v Marinko Matosevic: John Isner did not serve that well yesterday in his win over Robby Ginepri, but he did create plenty of break point chances in his three set win over his compatriot. Those sets should also have him plugged in to the tournament in Atlanta as he gets set to take on Marinko Matosevic.

Matosevic came through in straight sets yesterday, but he really didn't protect serve well with four breaks given up in the two sets. His erratic play can make him vulnerable, particularly as he gets into the net with his volleying still needing work.

This is all the case of whether Isner can get enough balls back into play and force a few errors from the Matosevic racquet- if he can do that, I would expect his serve to begin to frustrate the Australian and this to be a little more routine than his win over him on the clay of Madrid three months ago.

The serve will always be the key for Isner- if it is working from the beginning, I would expect him to come through 76, 64.


Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 games v Dudi Sela: I was a little surprised that these players are being considered as almost level pegging in the market, although Vasek Pospisil has struggled during 2014 in playing at the main Tour level regularly.

That will have taken away some of the confidence he built twelve months ago which saw him reach the Semi Final of the Montreal Masters and Pospisil could be taking a significant fall back down the Rankings with the Canadian Masters fast approaching.

It makes it important for him to start winning matches again and I do think the match up with Dudi Sela will suit him- while Sela is a decent returner, Pospisil has the serve to keep him on the back foot and will create chances to break serve.

They did play a titanic Davis Cup tie three years ago that was decided in a fifth set and it wouldn't surprise if there is a decider in this one, but Pospisil should have the bigger shots to come through 64, 36, 63.

MY PICKS: Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Andujar @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Cuevas - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Tommy Robredo - 3.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 4.5 Games @ 1.95 Sporting Bet (2 Units)
John Isner - 2.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Vasek Pospisil - 1.5 Games @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-10, - 7.10 Units (34 Units Staked, - 20.88% Yield)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 24th)

The tennis has been spread out over a number of hours through the three ATP events taking place this week and that also means the layers are taking a different amount of time in pricing up the full markets.

That has meant putting up the different picks at different times too with the ones from Gstaad and Umag coming out before the ones in Atlanta.

On Thursday we have reached the conclusion of the Second Round at the events to set up the business end of the events over the weekend. So far the outright picks are both still in their respective tournaments, although John Isner is making his first appearance in Atlanta on Thursday.


So far the picks have been a mixed bag through the week so I am looking for more positive momentum in the last few days.


Robin Haase - 4.5 games v Henri Laaksonen: Growing up as a young Swiss tennis player can't have been easy for Henri Laaksonen in recent years with the standard being set by Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. Laaksonen hasn't been at his best in 2014 as he struggles to improve his Ranking, but he took advantage of the Wild Card into Gstaad by winning in the First Round.

The points earned are important to him, but it might be tough to back that up against Robin Haase, even if the Dutchman looks set for his worst season on the Tour since 2010. The next two weeks are vital for Haase to prevent his Ranking falling heavily as he reached the Final here last season and also the Semi Final in Kitzbuhel which takes place next week.

It has been a tough season for Haase who hasn't been beyond the Second Round of any event since Bucharest back in April and that was only the second time he had achieved that aim all season. Now he has the chance to get into the Quarter Final with the draw looking a good one, although mentally Haase can certainly lose his way.

However, I would think he has enough experience to know what he is dealing with in Laaksonen and Haase actually crushed him last season in a qualifier so won't be overly surprised by what the youngster brings to the court. I would expect Haase to find a 63, 64 win in this one.


Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 games v Jan-Lennard Struff: It has been a poor few weeks for Jan-Lennard Struff who only saw his losing run end at four matches when his First Round opponent had to retire with an injury.

The clay courts have been a surface that Struff has been accustomed to, but I think Fernando Verdasco will have a little too much for him, even if the Spaniard is coming off back to back disappointing losses.

Verdasco's best results have come on the clay over the last three years as his abilities as a Singles players have diminished. He could conceivably have his best Singles season since 2011, but Verdasco has become more like the player he was in his early part of his career as someone who drops silly sets and loses matches unexpectedly.

These players met last year in Bastad when Verdasco used his power to complete a comfortable straight sets win, but I expect this to be closer although one that the Spaniard wins 64, 64.


Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 games v Borna Coric: Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen one 17 year old make waves on the Tour and now Borna Coric looks to do the same as he was given a Wild Card into the event in Umag.

Coric came through his First Round match in surprisingly routine fashion against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but he now plays a clay court specialist in Horacio Zeballos. However, the latter is now outside the top 100 in the World Rankings and all the memories of his fabulous run at the beginning of last season that saw Zeballos win a title by beating Rafael Nadal on the surface have now faded for casual fans.

Even with that in mind, Zeballos has won three qualifiers here and beat Ante Pavic in the First Round so I would think his confidence is going to be in a very good place. Zeballos also beat Coric here in the First Round last season and I think he is perhaps being under-rated in this one.

While the match went three sets last season, Zeballos dominated the final set and I think he will prove a little too good in this one too in a 46, 63, 64 win.


Fabio Fognini - 3.5 games v Albert Montanes: Last summer was dominated by the performances of Fabio Fognini on the clay courts as he reached the Final of three consecutive events, winning two of them.

That was always going to be a tough feat to repeat for Fognini, but it has to be considered a disappointment that he has reached one Semi Final and one Second Round so far this time around. The Italian can be so frustrating to watch with his attitude not always the greatest, but he is only five wins short of matching his tally from 2013 on clay.

The match up with Albert Montanes is awkward with the Spaniard very comfortable on clay too, but Montanes hasn't been in the best of form despite a solid First Round win. Montanes had lost four in a row on clay before that win and I am beginning to feel that 2013 was an exception for a player in the last throes of his career.

Expect a few breaks of serve for both men on Thursday, but I think Fognini will eventually prevail 64, 64 as long as he keeps his mind focused in the match. Another early defeat is likely to see Fognini drop out of the World Top 20 in the Rankings, although that is a better reflection of where he stands in the men's game.


John Isner - 3.5 games v Robby Ginepri: John Isner gets his tournament in Atlanta underway on Thursday and I would think he is going to be too good for Robby Ginepri who has seen his best days on the Tour.

Ginepri has not been in great form in recent weeks and even the win over Sergiy Stakhovsky in the First Round could be put down to the fact that the latter won a Challenger title last week. There were some tiredness issues with Stakhovsky and I don't think Ginepri will benefit from that against Isner who is very comfortable here in Atlanta.

The defending Champion has a fair few points to defend before the US Open which may prevent Isner moving into the top 10 of the World Rankings, but the form has been pretty consistent through 2014 with some disappointing results too.

The serve gives Isner a real opportunity on the hard courts against anyone and that pressure may break Ginepri as it did when the latter lost to Ivo Karlovic in Newport. A 63, 76 win for Isner looks on the cards in this one.


Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 games v Tim Smyczek: He might not like the 'Mad Dog' tag that has been given to him, but Marinko Matosevic sometimes deserves the moniker with his attitude on the court. He plays an aggressive brand of tennis with his groundstrokes and the body language, but can quickly get down on himself if he starts making consistent errors.

He had an easy First Round win over Victor Estrella who perhaps was a little tired from reaching the Bogota Semi Final last week and I expect Tim Smyczek to give him more of an examination in this one.

Smyczek plays the majority of his tennis on the hard courts and has been competing a lot more than Matosevic in recent weeks with the latter making his first appearance since Wimbledon.

However, Smyczek has had a tough season to this point and I think Matosevic can bully his way through for a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Robin Haase - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Bet365 (2 Units)
Fernando Verdasco - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Horacio Zeballos - 2.5 Games @ 1.90 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Fabio Fognini - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
John Isner - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Marinko Matosevic - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-6, - 2.46 Units (22 Units Staked, - 11.18% Yield)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 23rd)

After the positive beginning for the week on Monday, Tuesday proved to be a lot more disappointing with both picks falling.

I didn't make a lot of picks on Tuesday simply because I wasn't that confident of the options that were available, but I expected better from the two picks I did make and will be looking to bounce back on Wednesday.

The Second Round action gets underway through the three men's tournaments on Wednesday and hopefully the following picks have a better time than the two made on Tuesday.


Federico Delbonis - 2.5 games v Thomaz Bellucci: Federico Delbonis won the first three matches these two players have competed against one another, but it was Thomaz Bellucci who won the most recent match in Munich.

On that occasion, the Brazilian took the chances that came his way and won the key points in a three set win, but I expect Delbonis to get the better of him for the fourth time in five matches in this Second Round clash.

Bellucci did well to win his First Round match here in Gstaad, but he hasn't been in the best form in recent weeks and I think that lack of confidence may prove to be the difference. There are times when Delbonis can be a frustrating player to back as he can make a number of mistakes that gift matches to his opponent, but he should be in a better place mentally of the two players.

I can see both players having their chances to break serve, but the confidence of winning more matches this year may help Delbonis find a 76, 64 win.


Pablo Andujar - 3.5 games v Blaz Rola: Another player that isn't the most fun to back, but one that I will be backing on Wednesday, is Pablo Andujar.

There is little doubt that the clay courts remain the Spaniard's favourite surface and he showed that with a decent run in Hamburg last week, although there is little doubt that Andujar isn't the most consistent player.

He is going up against Blaz Rola who has had a lot of success on the Challenger Tour on the surface, but he is yet to carry that form into the main Tour level and that is where I think Andujar's experience can make the difference.

Rola did crush Andujar at Wimbledon, but the grass will never sit well with the latter and I expect Andujar to get his revenge in a 64, 64 win.


Lukas Rosol - 3.5 games v Pere Riba: I was surprised by Pere Riba's win over Jiri Vesely in the First Round, but he is going to have to dig very deep to beat Lukas Rosol in the Second Round, even if the latter was pushed harder than he may have thought in the First Round.

It has been a good summer for Rosol so far and the next six weeks gives him a great opportunity to build Ranking points and he has every chance to surpass his career high ranking of 33 with some more wins. Last season saw him lose a lot of First Round matches, but he has had good runs in Stuttgart and Hamburg and would be expected to be too good for the Spaniard in this one.

Riba does love playing on the clay courts, but he could be under immense pressure by the Rosol serve, which may make his own vulnerable serve that much more in danger of being broken. He did give Vesely chances yesterday and I don't think Riba will have it as easy to create break point chances.

In their sole meeting at the French Open last year, Rosol won comfortably in three sets and I expect a 64, 64 win in this one.


Marin Cilic - 5.5 games v Igor Sijsling: Marin Cilic has won all three previous matches with Igor Sijsling, but they have all been competitive- however, this is on the clay where Sijsling has struggled for much of the season and I think the Croatian can win this well in front of his own fans.

The one nagging doubt would be the lack of tennis Cilic has played since Wimbledon, but his last appearance at Umag came in 2012 a couple of weeks after coming off the grass and he adjusted very well.

Cilic's aggressive return of serve should put some pressure on Sijsling, particularly if the latter doesn't get at least 65% of first serves in play. That along with Cilic's own more aggressive attitude on serve plus the home support all should help Cilic come through this match.

There are times when Sijsling can throw in the towel and if that happens again, I can only see Cilic winning 75, 62.


Carlos Berlocq - 1.5 games v Pablo Carreno-Busta: With the way that Carlos Berlocq plays, there is always every chance that he will drop sets as his serve isn't the weapon that some players have on the Tour.

However, in this match, Berlocq is going against Pable Carreno-Busta whose own serve is also one that can be broken as shown in his First Round win over Paolo Lorenzi.

This is the first time that Carreno-Busta is taking on Berlocq and the veteran can be an awkward player that does get under the skin of his opponent. I can see Berlocq frustrating Carreno-Busta at times and that should give him the edge in the match.

I won't be surprised if it needs three sets though before Berlocq comes through 63, 36, 64.


Yen-Hsun Lu - 3.5 games v Alex Kuznetsov: Yen-Hsun Lu won a Challenger back home last week before travelling to Atlanta and he should have the confidence to beat Alex Kuznetsov.

The latter got into the draw as a Lucky Loser, although he is probably happiest on the hard courts, but that might not be enough against someone like Lu who is a regular at these kinds of events.

Lu also dismissed the Kuznetsov challenge earlier in the season on the indoor hard courts of Memphis and I think he has the serve to do enough damage against Kuznetsov to win this match.

It won't be as easy as Memphis simply because of the travel to Atlanta that Lu had to undertake, but I still believe he wins 76, 63.


Sam Querrey - 3.5 games v Dudi Sela: Sam Querrey was impressive in his win over Steve Johnson and perhaps should have won with a clearer margin than the 76, 75 suggested as he had the majority of the chances to break serve.

If he continues serving to the same standard he set in that match, he is going to be tough to beat in Atlanta and on the hard courts in general this next six weeks, while confidence looks to be improving after a disappointing first six months.

Like a lot of American players, the clay courts are always going to be a tough time for Querrey, but he had been performing far below the standard he wants before then. Now he is back on familiar terrain, I expect he can be too good for Dudi Sela.

Sela is a player that really plays a lot during this time between Wimbledon and the first of the hard court Masters tournaments and this is his third tournament since the third Grand Slam of the year came to a conclusion. He has surprised Querrey before so can't be under-estimated, but Sela also does give opponents chances to break serve and I can see the big American putting together a string of winners against Sela in each set to bring together a 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Federico Delbonis - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Pablo Andujar - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 3.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Marin Cilic - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Carlos Berlocq - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Yen-Hsun Lu - 3.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Sam Querrey - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-3, - 2.40 Units (10 Units Staked, - 24% Yield)

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 22nd)

Tuesday is the day that the tournaments really get underway as far as I am concerned and you still have time to read the outright picks from the week here.


With rain expected at all three men's tournaments to be played through the day, don't be surprised if there are delays within matches. Yesterday the picks went 2-1 as Donald Young fell apart in his loss to Dudi Sela and once again is on my unbackable list.

A positive result is still a positive start to the week and hopefully that can be built upon in the next few days.


Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 games v Mate Delic: After winning the title in Bastad, confidence has certainly been flowing through Pablo Cuevas who has come through three qualifiers to reach the main draw here in Umag.

It might be a little more difficult to see of Mate Delic than in a normal occasion considering he will be vocally backed by the home crowd, while the Croatian has also played well in the level below the main Tour.

He qualified for tournaments in Stuttgart and Hamburg before being beaten in the First Round and he has reached a Semi Final and a Final on the Challenger Tour on this surface. That will have given Delic the belief he can spring a surprise, but Cuevas has been performing better at a higher level.

The first set might be a tough one to separate these players, but if Cuevas can come through that, I expect him to record a 75, 63 win.


Jiri Vesely - 4.5 games v Pere Riba: Jiri Vesely has lost three matches in a row coming into this one, but I think he has every chance to win this match against Pere Riba who does look overmatched on the main Tour.

Riba is very comfortable on the clay, but he doesn't have a lot of power and his serve is vulnerable which makes him a player that is a good match up for many at this level. Even in his sole match against Vesely, Riba was crushed 64, 61 last season and I think it is asking a lot from him to keep ahead in this match.

I do expect Vesely to earn a few breaks of serve, and he should be a fairly comfortable winner as long as he can serve semi-effectively. A 64, 63 win should be on the cards at the least for Vesely in this First Round match.

MY PICKS: Pablo Cuevas - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Jiri Vesely - 4.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-1, + 1.60 Units (6 Units Staked, + 26.67% Yield)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 21st)

The month of July has a mixed bag of tournaments, but as we get closer to the end of the month, we begin to see the North American hard court tournaments getting up and running. This week we see the first of the US hard court series events beginning in Atlanta, while in Europe there are two more clay court events with one more to be played next week.

I have made a couple of outright picks from the tournaments taking place over the next seven days which can be read here.


As is the case for much of the events over the course of the season, the layers took their time to get the prices out for the Monday action, while the majority of the tennis matches in the men's events take place in the afternoon in terms of British time.

There should be a few rain delays through the week with the weather forecast calling for wet conditions at all three events in Umag, Gstaad and Atlanta. That can be an issue with the break in momentum that rain delays provide, especially when looking for players to cover any handicaps.


Pablo Carreno-Busta - 3.5 games v Paolo Lorenzi: Neither one of these players have been showing a lot of form in recent weeks, although that wasn't helped by a short move onto the grass courts which isn't a favoured surface.

Both players have proved to be a little too good for the Challenger circuit on clay, but neither Paolo Lorenzi nor Pablo Carreno-Busta have really managed to put that together consistently at the main Tour level.

They did meet a couple of weeks ago in a crushing win for the Spaniard which means he has now won all three previous matches they have had against one another on clay. Paolo Lorenzi didn't serve well in that loss and a similar display would put him under a lot of pressure in this one too, while it can be tough mentally to play someone who you know you haven't beaten on a particular surface despite a number of matches to do so.

The conditions could be slow with all the rain in the area in Umag, but I still think Carreno-Busta is going to be a little too good in a 64, 64 win.


Sam Querrey - 1.5 games v Steve Johnson: A battle between two Americans on the hard courts in Atlanta should be a fascinating match, but I do think Sam Querrey can get the better of Steve Johnson. Both players will likely be looking at the next six weeks as being a huge chance to pick up big ranking points, and both are comfortable on the hard courts.

It has been a poor 2014 season for Querrey who has struggled in too many matches, but he has shown positive signs during the grass court season that he can take forward into the North American hard court swing.

I can see both Querrey and Johnson serving effectively, but I do think that Johnson is a little more erratic off the ground and can give the former American Number 1 player more chances to break serve.

A first set tie-breaker wouldn't surprise, but I do think Querrey comes through 76, 64.


Donald Young v Dudi Sela: I have never felt good about backing someone like Donald Young who can be so up and down with his play, but this match up should be a good one for him on the hard courts.

Of course, Dudi Sela has more competitive tennis played over the last three weeks which may give him an early edge in the match, but he has struggled against Young in their last two matches including a heavy loss at the French Open.

The next six weeks is huge for Young who is up to World Number 70 and with nothing to really defend over the next few weeks where he might be pushing for Wild Card spots into the Masters tournament in Cincinnati.

Young will need to serve well and control the mistakes that can blight his game, but I do think he can move through to the Second Round here and will back him to win the match.

MY PICKS: Pablo Carreno-Busta - 3.5 Games @ 1.85 Betway (2 Units)
Sam Querrey - 1.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Donald Young @ 1.83 Coral (2 Units)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tennis Outright Picks 2014 (July 21-27)

There are another five tournaments scheduled for this week with three men's events and two women's events, although I am not going to be making any outright picks from the latter two. The way I see it, if Shuai Peng and Sorana Cirstea are the two Number 1 Seeds, those tournaments really aren't bringing the best talents to the court.

It is also still that time of the year when the biggest names in the men's game are also still getting ready for the North American hard court swing and the majority of those won't be back until Toronto in a couple of weeks time. The hard court tournament in Atlanta is dominated by the home players, while we still have a couple more European clay court events in Gstaad and Umag taking place this week.


Last week was a mixed one, but the Saturday helped to ensure it wasn't going to be a losing week with a 4-1 day in the Semi Final picks made. It's been an average couple of weeks since the end of Wimbledon, but maintaing the season totals can't be ignored especially as this can be a portion of the year when I have struggled before the hard court season begins.


ATP Atlanta
This is the fifth edition of the ATP 250 event in Atlanta which signals the official beginning of the US hard court swing and it has been a tournament dominated by the home players with all four previous titles being won by an American.

John Isner is the top seed in Atlanta this week and comes in as defending Champion, while he has also been a Runner Up twice here- Isner gets plenty of support at the event having attended the University of Georgia and I can understand why he is the favourite to win the event again this week.

He had a disappointing loss in Newport a couple of weeks ago, but Isner receives a bye into the Second Round and looks by far the strongest player in his mini-section. I would expect Isner to get into the Semi Final with few problems and then I think he is capable of getting the better of Gael Monfils or Denis Istomin.

Last year's Runner Up Kevin Anderson and Sam Querrey from the bottom half of the draw may also feel very comfortable on the hard courts with their big games working on this surface. Both will go deep into the draw I can imagine, but the trend is to back an American in this event and I think John Isner is the call this week.


ATP Umag
The two Finalists from this tournament twelve months ago are the top two seeds in Umag this week as Fabio Fognini and Tommy Robredo bookend the draw, but neither player has been in the kind of form that will get them back to the Final.

Last summer Fabio Fognini enjoyed a lot of success on the clay at this time of the year, but he hasn't produced the same in exiting the Stuttgart Quarter Final and Hamburg Second Round. Tommy Robredo is another that has struggled for form and I think that could open the door for someone like Marin Cilic who is the Number 3 Seed.

Cilic would have been the defending Champion last year, but was off the Tour serving a ban for misreading a supplement he had used. Now he is back in front of his home fans where Cilic has reached the Final in 2011 and 2012.

He has been playing well and Cilic won't be intimidated in having to go through a player like Lukas Rosol despite the form the latter has shown over the last month. Cilic doesn't shy away from the clay courts where his aggressive return of serve can pay dividends.

In all honesty, the Croatian is in the harder half of the draw and I think he would have been a much stronger favourite if he was in the top half. However, Cilic has all the tools to reclaim the title he couldn't defend last season and I will have a small interest in him doing that.

MY OUTRIGHT PICKS: John Isner @ 3.50 Coral (2 Units)
Marin Cilic @ 4.00 Stan James (1 Unit)

Weekly Final14-13, + 2.04 Units (54 Units Staked, + 3.78% Yield)
Weekly Outright0-1, - 2 Units (2 Units Staked, - 100% Yield)

Season 2014+ 51.84 Units (1128.5 Units Staked, + 4.59% Yield)

Season 2013+ 21.74 Units (1251.5 Units Staked, + 1.73% Yield)
Season 2012+ 49.21 Units (855 Units Staked, + 5.76% Yield)
Season 2011+ 82.02 Units

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 19th)

Leonardo Mayer + 2.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: I was surprised with the ease in which Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Lukas Rosol in the Quarter Final on Friday, but I expect Leonardo Mayer to give the home town favourite more problems.

It has been a good season for Mayer who is on course to surpass the number of wins he had on the main Tour over the last three years in 2014. Mayer has performed well on the clay courts which is expected of a South American and he has won the two previous meetings between these players which have both come on the surface.

Of course, Kohlschreiber will have a confidence boost by playing at home to turn that record around, but Mayer has a decent serve and won't mind getting involved in the longer rallies.

I would be looking for Mayer to win at least one set in this match which could give him every chance to get over the line with the games in hand.


David Ferrer - 5.5 games v Alexander Zverev: David Ferrer crushed Pablo Andujar in the Quarter Final played on Friday and he admitted that it is by far the best he has played this week to this point. I would argue that it was Ferrer's best performance in over two months as he has been struggling with his health.

Now he has to be careful as he takes on 17 year old Alexander Zverev who has found some very good form despite not winning a match on the main Tour before this week. He did recently win a Challenger on the clay, but this is the biggest test he has faced so far against a player that has spent a lot of time in the top five of the World Rankings.

The health of Ferrer has been a concern for me all week, but I think he can build upon his win over Andujar. As well as Zverev has done to come through the matches, he has given his opponents at least a look at his service games and I do expect Ferrer to be able to create more break point chances and actually dominate the longer rallies.

Ferrer will also have to serve well because Zverev isn't showing any nerves this week and really been in control of his emotions, but I do think the veteran gives the young player a lesson in a 64, 62 win.


Chanelle Scheepers v Jana Cepelova: She may be lower in the World Rankings and also giving up nine years in terms of age, but I do think Chanelle Scheepers can get the better of Jana Cepelova in an almost pick 'em contest.

The South African has had to battle through two Rounds in Bastad to reach this Semi Final, but she has at least shown more consistent form than Cepelova in recent weeks. Before her three wins here, Cepelova had lost seven matches in a row.

However, it does have to be remembered that Cepelova probably prefers the clay courts far more than Scheepers, although the latter has won ten of her thirteen matches this year on this surface.

Added belief from a run in Bad Gastein should help Scheepers come through the tough moments in perhaps a third straight three set win.


Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 games v Kristina Mladenovic: Caroline Wozniacki's former boyfriend may be earning all the headlines with his performance in The Open at the moment, but the Dane can move into a Final of her own by winning this match.

Wozniacki had to come through a tough Quarter Final, but she has been playing pretty well this week on the hard courts of Istanbul. She will also have a little more confidence having beaten Kristina Mladenovic earlier this year on the hard courts.

The Frenchwoman hasn't had the best of seasons to this point, but confidence can quickly turn things around and that has to be in a good place for Mladenovic. However, I think she could be frustrated by the defensive qualities of Wozniacki and I am not convinced Mladenovic has the calmness to keep in rallies if she is being forced to play extra shots consistently.

The match earlier this season ended with a 63, 64 win for Wozniacki, but she has been serving well so far this week and that may see her pick up the win with a slightly wider margin than that match in Monterrey.


Bernard Tomic - 3.5 games v Victor Estrella: There have been some strange results this week, but I really didn't see the Victor Estrella win over Richard Gasquet coming.

These are actually the first hard court wins of the season for Estrella on the main Tour, but he han't even set the Challenger circuit alight to suggest he was capable of reaching a Semi Final on the surface in an ATP 250 event.

It was a poor serving display for Gasquet to be broken three times in the Quarter Final, but Bernard Tomic has used his serve to good effect this week and I think the Australian can pick up more vital Ranking points. After some of the success he has had on the Tour, it is strange to see Tomic outside of the top 100 in the World Rankings at this point of his career.

If Tomic can look after that side of his game in this Semi Final, I would expect he can grind out chances on the Estella serve and earn a measure of revenge for a qualifier defeat to the same player in Rome earlier this season. The surface should favour Tomic more this time and I like him to win 64, 64.

MY PICKS: Leonardo Mayer + 2.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
David Ferrer - 5.5 Games @ 2.10 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Chanelle Scheepers @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Caroline Wozniacki - 5.5 Games @ 2.17 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 10-12, - 4.40 Units (44 Units Staked, - 10% Yield)

Friday, 18 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 18th)

Lukas Rosol + 3.5 games v Philipp Kohlschreiber: The last two times these players have met have both come on the clay and both of those matches have also been very competitive with each player winning one.

I am expecting this Quarter Final to have a similar feel and I was surprised that Lukas Rosol has been given as many games as this by a number of layers. He has the big serve that can cause Philipp Kohlschreiber some problems as proven when they met in Stuttgart last week and Rosol has had enough wins in the last two weeks to have built confidence to a high level.

The first serve will be all important for Rosol if he is to win this match and I also hope it is working well enough to remain competitive through the match.

Both players have played well enough this week to think this is going to go at least three sets and Rosol has performed to a level in the last two weeks that makes these games valuable in my opinion, even if he doesn't make it through to the Semi Final.


Roberta Vinci - 3.5 games v Karumi Nara: 2014 has been a contrast for these two players as Roberta Vinci has struggled while Karumi Nara is going to record a career-high wins in a single season on the main Tour.

The Vinci 13 wins and 18 losses on the season have been a real surprise considering she has almost 100 wins when combining 2012 and 2013 (94 wins), but there have been shoots of recovery over the last two weeks.

Vinci reached the Final in Bucharest before coming up short against Simona Halep and she has a couple of wins under her belt here which should improve confidence. Her style of play should match up well against Nara who is another player that could struggle with the number of slices she sees.

Nara has played well on the hard courts all season and she should be making some leaps up the Rankings ahead of the US Open, where she could certainly be a seeded player. However, Nara doesn't have a huge shot in her locker and I can see the veteran Italian using some of the knowledge she has gained to beat her 64, 64.


Richard Gasquet - 5.5 games v Victor Estrella: I have tipped Richard Gasquet to win the tournament in Bogota this week and he got off to a decent start with a straight sets victory over Samuel Groth.

It wasn't surprising that the match needed tie-breaks to settle it with the conditions in Bogota, but I am expecting Gasquet to have an 'easier' time against Victor Estrella.

If Estrella serves well, he could make it competitive as the ball flies in Bogota, but I also think he doesn't have the biggest serve and Gasquet should be able to get enough balls back in play and win the majority of the longer rallies.

There is a clear difference in terms of quality on show and I do think Gasquet can pick up a 64, 62 win.

MY PICKS: Lukas Rosol + 3.5 Games @ 1.75 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Roberta Vinci - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Richard Gasquet - 5.5 Games @ 2.15 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Picks: 9-10, - 2.06 Units (38 Units Staked, - 5.42% Yield)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 17th)

Dominic Thiem - 1.5 games v Leonardo Mayer: Dominic Thiem has openly admitted that he needs to get to grips on grass court tournaments, but being back on the clay has once again shown the potential this youngster has.

He has come through two Rounds in Hamburg and can start making serious moves up the Rankings if he can see off Leonardo Mayer in this Third Round match, although it has to be said that this will be a tough match for Thiem.

When they met in Madrid earlier this season, Thiem had to come from a set down to beat Mayer, although it could have been a different story if the latter had taken his limited chances to break serve.

Both will be looking for the first serve percentage points won to be the key to their success and I do respect how well Mayer has played through the first seven months of 2014. The Argentinian has to be full of confidence, but Thiem has a real belief in his own ability and I like him to come through in three tough sets.


Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 games v Tobias Kamke: Albert Einstein said it is an indication of madness when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

Having backed the opponents of Tobias Kamke twice already this week, I am going back to the well to go against the German player who has shown little clay court form in the past. Alexandr Dolgopolov is not the most trust worthy player to go against Kamke, but the Ukrainian seems to be showing a lot more commitment to his tennis these days.

That has paid off with some big wins through 2014 and Dolgopolov is close to returning to the World Top 20 while recording a strong win in his first match in Hamburg.

Dolgopolov has performed well on the clay courts in his career including previously winning a Tour title on the surface. If he can serve well, I would expect his variation off the ground to cause problems for Kamke and result in a 76, 63 win.


Dusan Lajovic - 2.5 games v Filip Krajinovic: Two players from Serbia ups the ante for both Dusan Lajovic and Filip Krajinovic who can boost their Ranking with the points they can earn by getting into the Quarter Final of an ATP 500 event.

Lajovic has been showing improvements in his game, especially on the clay courts where he reached the Fourth Round at the French Open and the Quarter Final in Bastad last week. He has had two more impressive wins this week and might catch Filip Krajinovic who is trying to back up a big win over Fabio Fognini.

The older of the two players has also had a lot more experience playing at this level and those can be factored in on the side of Lajovic in this match.

There has been a fair amount of success earned by Krajinovic on the Challenger Tour on clay, but I think he might just have one too many factors going against him and Lajovic should move through.


Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 games v Alexander Zverev: I was surprised by the way Alexander Zverev had control of his emotions in his straight sets win over Mikhail Youzhny in the Second Round, especially when put under pressure.

It was not what I expected from a 17 year old who has not had a lot of experience at this level and I think it might be asking a lot for Zverev to continue his run when he comes up against Santiago Giraldo.

The Colombian has had a day to prepare for this match following his win over Benoit Paire and he has the power and the performances on clay to give Zverev all he can handle. It is also clear that the youngster is very high on confidence and playing with plenty of belief so the key for Giraldo will be getting the first set in the bag.

I think he can do that and that may have Zverev feeling his exploits from the week so far and Giraldo could come up with a 75, 64 win.


Kaia Kanepi - 4.5 games v Richel Hogenkamp: There is something a little strange in Richel Hogenkamp qualifying for Bastad for the second year in a row, but it has been rare to see her attempt to get into tournaments like this over the past twelve months.

Hogenkamp must enjoy the conditions in this part of Sweden, but Kaia Kanepi has been in very strong form over the last month and proved her determination by coming back from the edge of the cliff to beat Johanna Larsson.

As I said when backing Kanepi to beat Larsson, tiredness may be a factor but she did get a day to rest for this match and that could pave the way for another win on the red dirt.

She has generally competed at a much higher level than Hogenkamp and I think that experience and the power that Kanepi has will lead to a 64, 63 win.


Karolina Pliskova - 4.5 games v Shahar Peer: I haven't seen a lot of Karolina Pliskova, but I have seen a player with potential if she can keep hold of the unforced errors that can blight her game. She has a decent serve and return and I would expect Pliskova to move up from her current Ranking of 47.

She should prove to have a little too much in the locker for Shahar Peer who has been having worse and worse years since reaching 48 wins in the 2010 season. It is likely that Peer will buck that trend this season with four more wins needed to reach the 12 win mark she had last season, but it is clear that she is a player in real danger of falling out of the top 100 in the World Rankings.

Peer has only been beyond the Second Round in four tournaments over the last twelve months and I think Pliskova will be dictating this match.

As long as Pliskova can control the unforced error count, I would expect her to be too good for Peer and win this 63, 63.


Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 games v Dudi Sela: Ivo Karlovic improved to 6-0 against Dudi Sela last week and he continues to dominate the sets too with 14 of the last 15 won by the big man including 12 in a row.

As well as Dudi Sela competes, the Karlovic serve poses too many problems for the short, relatively speaking, Sela, while his own game can allow opportunities for players to break his own serve.

That goes for even a limited returner like Karlovic who forces enough balls back in play without an overbearing serve to return and then Sela has to control his errors to hold serve.

I've said Sela struggles with his errors at times and Karlovic should prove too strong again as long as his run to the Final in Newport hasn't affected him adversely, even with three days rest since that Final.

MY PICKS: Dominic Thiem - 1.5 Games @ 1.85 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alexandr Dolgopolov - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Dusan Lajovic - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 Games @ 1.95 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Kaia Kanepi - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Karolina Pliskova - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Ivo Karlovic - 2.5 Games @ 1.80 Paddy Power (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 7-6, + 1.54 Units (26 Units Staked, + 5.92% Yield)

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 16th)

Federico Delbonis - 3.5 games v Tobias Kamke: Twelve months ago, Federico Delbonis qualified for this tournament and really announced himself on the main Tour by reaching the Final at the event, including beating Roger Federer in the Semi Final.

Since then, Delbonis has been moving up the Rankings and picked up a title in Sao Paolo earlier this season, while his run to the Quarter Final in Stuttgart last week shows his capabilities on the clay courts.

It won't be an easy match against Tobias Kamke who will be supported by the home crowd, but I do think Delbonis will be able to set up the easier points from the serve and the Argentinian is very comfortable on the clay.

Out of the two players, Delbonis has a clear edge on the surface and I think he can win this match 64, 64 as long as he isn't overly burdened by the points he is defending this week.


Lukas Rosol - 2.5 games v Joao Sousa: Both of these players are coming off successful weeks on the Tour with Lukas Rosol reaching the Final in Stuttgart and Joao Sousa doing the same in Bastad, while both also failed to win the title.

Both players are comfortable on the clay, but I would perhaps argue that Sousa is more consistent... So why have I picked Lukas Rosol to win and cover this spread? That is because I think the Czech player has a higher ceiling than Sousa if he is in form.

He didn't play well against Julian Reister in the First Round on Tuesday, but he played the big points well enough and that helped Rosol take a tight first set. His serve should be more effective than it was yesterday, and that could put Sousa under some pressure.

The match may also come down to fitness as both have a lot of tennis in their legs from last week, but I think Rosol can find a 76, 64 win in this one.


Andreas Seppi v Juan Monaco: The one factor that has Andreas Seppi as the underdog in this match as far as I am concerned is the lack of tennis he has played since Wimbledon and the move from the grass back onto the clay courts being an issue for the layers.

The Italian might not have the best serve in the world, but that shot can be hidden to some extent on the slower clay courts and Seppi will feel he can beat Juan Monaco again after doing that in straight sets at the French Open two months ago.

He is also facing a player in Monaco who has struggled for form in 2014, even if he had an impressive win in the First Round. Monaco has to work hard for the majority of his points and his consistency hasn't reached the levels of previous years.

Both players will have opportunities to break serve, but I think Seppi can make it three wins from four matches on clay against Monaco.


Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 games v Alexander Zverev: Alexander Zverev became the youngest player to win an ATP 500 Tour match since Grigor Dimitrov in 2009 when he comfortably beat Robin Haase in the First Round in Hamburg.

There is no doubt that Zverev is playing with a lot of confidence at the moment after a close loss to Lukas Rosol last week and having won a Challenger tournament on the clay a couple of weeks ago, but facing Mikhail Youzhny gives him a veteran challenge.

Youzhny is on the downhill path in his career as he reaches the final throes and he is having a tougher 2014 season. He did reach the Semi Final in Stuttgart last week which is a rare successful week in 2014 for Youzhny and I think his know-how on the court may give the younger man too many problems to deal with.

It'll be a competitive match but I do think Youzhny finds a 75, 64 win.


Klara Koukalova - 3.5 games v Kristina Mladenovic: After a poor start to her match with Donna Vekic, Klara Koukalova took control of the last two sets to book her place in the Second Round in Istanbul.

Koukalova has had a strong season on the hard courts to this point and may consider herself as a dangerous player in the coming weeks when the Tour moves to North America. Her serve can be a weakness, but I do think Koukalova gets the better of the young Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic.

Mladenovic hasn't had the same level of success on the hard courts over the last two years as her opponent and she has found the main Tour level a little tough to negotiate. Her win over Na Li at the French Open in the First Round earned Mladenovic some headlines back home, but I think she will struggle with the veteran Koukalova who has the match playing experience to win matches like this.

As long as Koukalova doesn't serve as poorly throughout the match as she started off against Vekic, I would expect this to be a more routine 64, 64 win.

MY PICKS: Federico Delbonis - 3.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Andreas Seppi @ 2.05 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Mikhail Youzhny - 3.5 Games @ 1.92 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Klara Koukalova - 3.5 Games @ 2.00 Pinnacle (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 5-3, + 3.44 Units (16 Units Staked, + 21.5% Yield)

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Tennis Picks 2014 (July 15th)

I have made just the one outright pick this week from the events that are going to really get going and that can be read here.


The first day of the week wasn't the best for the picks as they went 1-3 and a couple of those picks were pretty poor ones. Andrey Golubev should have perhaps won his match as he seemed the better player than Benoit Paire, particularly in the deciding set, but couldn't get over the line.

With a little more luck, hopefully Tuesday will turn around the poor opening day of this week as a lot of tennis is scheduled for the day in the various tournaments through the world.


Juan Monaco - 4.5 games v Pere Riba: It has been a miserable 2014 to this point for Juan Monaco and that has been highlighted by his results on the clay courts where he is struggling to reach double digit wins.

Last season, Monaco won over twenty matches on the main Tour on clay but he has seven to this point and has struggled through injuries. That has seen the Ranking plummet and Monaco is only a few places above opponent Pere Riba who comes to Hamburg despite lasting one game last week in Bastad.

Like Monaco, Riba will feel most comfortable on the clay courts and I can see this match having a number of breaks of serve as neither player has a dominate shot in that department. Both will need to work hard for their points and I do still believe Monaco has the extra quality to win more of the extended rallies and thus the match.

Monaco won their previous meeting back in 2009 and while he has had a poor season to date, I still think the Argentine can win this match 64, 63.


Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 games v Benoit Paire: Somehow Benoit Paire managed to come through his First Round match against Andrey Golubev, but it has to be said that the Frenchman still doesn't look that confident in his own game.

Paire has a decent serve but seems to lack the concentration to put together his tennis from set to set and, in some cases, even game to game.

Playing Santiago Giraldo looks a big ask for Paire considering how well the Colombian has been playing in recent months. Even his Quarter Final loss last week to Fabio Fognini is not a result that puts me off Giraldo who has the serve to make holding that much more comfortable.

There should be breaks of serve as expected on the clay, but I think Giraldo has enough to win this one 75, 64.


Lukas Rosol - 2.5 games v Julian Reister: Julian Reister has won the last two matches played by these two players and Lukas Rosol is erratic to say the least so even the run to the Stuttgart Final might not mean another decent week is in the offing.

That paragraph may make it strange to see me backing Rosol to win the match then, but Reister hasn't enjoyed any success on the main Tour on the clay this season even if he has played better at the Challenger level.

Rosol is someone who has enjoyed playing on clay courts with two appearances in Finals on the main Tour and also a Challenger title. The slower courts give him a little more time to set up heavy groundstrokes, although the Czech player is erratic to say the least.

If Rosol is serving well, it will be tough for Julian Reister in this match and I think that is where the difference will be made. It won't be the biggest surprise if we needed three sets to separate the players, but I like Rosol to come through 63, 46, 64.


Kaia Kanepi - 3.5 games v Johanna Larsson: Kaia Kanepi has had mixed fortunes on the grass courts through her career, but she has bounced back from a poor Wimbledon to reach back to back titles on clay courts, albeit at a lower level than this.

She won the title in Biarritz last week and also beat Johanna Larsson a couple of weeks ago en route to another Final and I do think Kanepi can frank that form as long as tiredness isn't playing a big factor.

That is the only real reason I can believe in why Kaia Kanepi is as big a price as she is to win this match. Her recent runs to the Finals on clay will have given Kanepi some confidence after struggles before the grass court season, but she has had a fair amount of success on the surface over the last couple of years.

Johanna Larsson has had a similar season in terms of struggles on the main Tour, but a couple of decent runs in the lower level events, but I think Kanepi has more about her game. As long as the tennis hasn't caught up with her, Kanepi should be able to come through with a 64, 63 win.


Alejandro Falla - 4.5 games v Tatsuma Ito: Last season was the first time this ATP 250 event was held in Bogota and Alejandro Falla delighted the home crowds by reaching the Final. He will be hoping to go a step further as the top Colombian player in the draw as Santiago Giraldo has decided to stay in Europe to pick up the bigger Ranking points on offer.

Falla has a decent serve that should be very productive on these courts played in the altitude and I think he will enjoy being back in front of his home supporters.

The match up with Tatsuma Ito should be a good one as Ito doesn't have the biggest serve and Falla can keep the scoreboard pressure on him, while his lefty serve might be even more productive here.

As long as Falla keeps his emotion in check, I believe he can break serve at least once more in each set and come through this match 64, 63.

MY PICKS: Juan Monaco - 4.5 Games @ 2.10 Paddy Power (2 Units)
Santiago Giraldo - 3.5 Games @ 1.84 Unibet (2 Units)
Lukas Rosol - 2.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kaia Kanepi - 3.5 Games @ 1.83 Pinnacle (2 Units)
Alejandro Falla - 4.5 Games @ 2.00 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 1-3, - 4.10 Units (8 Units Staked, - 51.25% Yield)
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