13th February 2015

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WTA BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, 13:00 – Pliskova v Safarova

Safarova usually starts the season well but she hasn’t done this year. yesterday’s win over Mladenovic was her first victory in 2015. She served exceptionally well losing just 2 points on her first serve and winning 69% of points on her second.

Pliskova as expected has served well in her two matches this week. She was still broken 3 times by Beck in the  last round though. Several of the women were in action at the weekend in Fed Cup matches so be careful of Pliskova running out of steam.

This is their first meeting on a hard court. Safarova starts at 1.66 but we could easily see that trading higher in the first set. Pliskova won’t want 3 sets today so is likely to come out swinging in the first few games.

Tough one to call pre match as it depends a lot on Pliskova’s energy levels but Safarova winning in 3 looks a possibility.



WTA BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, 14:30 – Suarez Navarro v Schiavone

This is the third time these two have met. Each match has been a quarter final but this is the first one away from the clay. They have one win each.

Schiavone made a poor start to 2014 but she is on fire at the start of this season. She already has 5 wins at this tournament as she had to come through the qualifying rounds. She beat the promising Dodin in the qualies and Koukalova and Kerber in the main draw. I thought she would do well against Kerber but wasn’t expecting 6-1, 6-1!

Carla struggled in her last match with Niculescu. Despite have won both their previous meetings she seemed confused by Niculescu’s slice and couldn’t find any consistency. However after the first set Niculescu received treatment for her back and wasn’t able to serve as she had been.  Niculescu won just 2 more games in the next 2 sets.

Suarez Navarro starts at 1.65 but I don’t think she will have an easy day at the office. She has started slowly in both her matches this week and that is nothing new to her. When Schiavone is confident she can be a formidable presence and if Carla is a little unsure of herself she could feel intimidated.

It should be a close one. Three sets would be no surprise but I have to favour Schiavone.




ATP Memphis Open, 19:00 – Young v Tomic

Both had good wins in the last round. Tomic came from a break down in the second set to beat Dolgopolov in straights. Young beat fellow American Kudla also in straight sets.

Young will have the crowd behind him but it hasn’t helped him much in previous years. His record in Memphis is poor.

The stats for the last 6 months favour Young in every category except service holds.

Tomic starts at 1.62 which too low but if he can maintain his current level of play he should take this. 1.85 is a fairer price on him.





11 Jan 2014 – The Finals

In Hobart I don’t think anyone expected Zakopalova to be in the final. I certainly didn’t and have been going against her all week and will be doing so again today. Some people just never learn!

Standing in her way this time is Muguruza who is in her first WTA final. Like Zakopalova she hasn’t lost a set all week so something has to give tonight.

Zakopalova has lost her last 5 WTA finals and we have to go back to 2005 to find the last time she won a WTA title.

They have played just once before which was in 2012 on a hard court in Seoul. Zakopalova won in a third set tie break. Muguruza’s game has developed a great deal since then.

I think Muguruza may suffer a few early nerves and will probably fall behind in the opening set but once she finds her feet I feel she has a game that can take advantage of the errors that Zak is bound to produce.

Muguruza in 3 sets.

Update: Zak finally played like Zak. Muguruza won 6-4, 6-0.


In Auckland Lu has already played 4 matches. He withdrew last week and he may well be hurting. His injury hasn’t affected his play so far and he knocked out David Ferrer in straight sets last night. Ferrer won’t have been winning many cheap points on his serve so Lu will have to work a lot harder for his points against Isner.

The big American performed another Houdini act yesterday. Bautista Agut served for the match in the second set but choked it away and Isner was able to take the set in a tie break and finish the job in the third.

Lu has a good record in finals but they were all in Challenger events and also mostly in Asia. Isner lost his last 2 finals to Nadal and Del Potro although pushed things really close. He won his 4 finals prior to those.

Isner’s serve stays solid even when he is exhausted or under pressure and I think this will be enough to bring him through for the title.

Update: Isner won 7-6, 7-6.


The Sydney final sees Tomic trying to defend his only ATP title. Standing in his way is Del Potro who is using this event to prepare himself for the Australian Open.

Tomic had looked pretty good up until his semi final with Stakhovsky. He made a great start to the match but couldn’t hold onto the lead and lost the opening set in a tie break. He did fight back and a late break in  the second leveled the match and he was able to hold his nerve in the third.

They have played once before and Del Potro was an easy winner but we should expect Tomic to fight in front of his home crowd to try to keep his title.

I think Del Potro will be too strong for the Aussie. I think Tomic will put up a good fight in the opening set but if it doesn’t go his way I’m not sure he has the mental strength to come back from a set down.

Update: Del Potro won 6-3, 6-1.

US Open 2013 – week 1, Monday

I almost posted “1 more sleep” last night but thought it sounded a bit sad!

I think this could be one of the most interesting slams for a while on the men’s side. Djokovic, Murray and Federer ( and Ferrer for that matter ) come into the tournament with below par recent form and Nadal has a chance to get his number 1 ranking back. I am hoping for a good week from Gulbis as I have backed him at 440. I only got peanuts matched but a 4th round performance or maybe even a quarter final would see a nice return for my pocket change.


As usual there is very little value on the match odds markets for the men with the best of 5 format making it so tough for the lower ranked players to get the win. The handicap and total game markets could be worth a look though.


Suarez Navarro‘s ability on hard courts is often played down as she is more at home on the clay. She sometime struggles on her serve on the faster courts and perhaps feels she has to put more into the serve away from the dirt courts. When she gets it right though she is tough to beat on any surface. Last week she took Halep to three sets and for a set and a half looked to be in control. Halep hadn’t found the form that she showed at the end of the week but it still gives an indication of Carla’s level. She also beat Vinci in straight sets in the previous match.

In Cincinnati Davis took Li Na to 3 sets and beat Zakopalova in 2 tie breaks and in Toronto she beat Kuznetsova…….twice.

As long as Navarro doesn’t try to serve too big I have to favour her to get the win but her SP of 1.40 is just too low. I think we will see a lot higher price  and I won’t be surprised at all if she goes an early break down.

Update: Close match! Suarez Navarro won 6-0, 6-0.


Kanepi has beaten Vania King in both their previous matches although both were on clay.

Kanepi reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon where she lost to Lisicki but she hasn’t played since. She didn’t play in Cincinnati because she claimed to want to finish the year injury free. That doesn’t make sense unless she is carrying more than the usual aches and niggles that all players have all year round.

King’s form is very up and down and she can have real problems on serve. However she took Azarenka to a tie break in Cincinnati and beat Mladenovic and Niculescu in earlier rounds ( Niculescu in qualifying) and in front of her home crowd she might be able to push Kanepi to 3 sets. Kanepi would need to be carrying an injury for King to win but I feel she will trade higher than her SP of 1.40 .

Update: Kanepi won 4-6, 7-6, 6-1.


I can’t back Tomic against Ramos at 1.30 but if he is concentrating on his tennis and isn’t distracted by the drama his Dad seems to attract he will be too strong over 5 sets. I don’t expect this to be over in 3 sets though and Ramos will usually fight well away from his favoured clay courts.

I’ll be looking to lay Tomic below 1.25 in the early games .

Update: Tomic took the opening set. Ramos then took the next 2 sets and the 4th went to a tie break which Tomic took.

Tomic won 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.


Venus will be out for revenge after Flipkens beat her in 3 sets in the recent Rogers Cup. Williams won the first set 6-0 as Flipkens was trying to find her timing after injury but the Belgian took sets 2 and 3 easily.

Williams is likely to struggle in at least 1 of the sets and I feel that Flipkens offers more value. She starts at 2.12 and if I can get a lay on Williams below 1.60 I will take it. If Williams is having problems from the service line in the early games though I may be tempted to get on Flipkens at any price above evens.

Update: Williams wasn’t struggling at all! A very strong performance from the American.

Williams won 6-1, 6-2.


Verdasco has to be a lay at 1.56 against Dodig. Dodig has been starting matches aggressively in recent weeks. Verdasco is rightly the favourite but an initial lay for a trade seems s decent place to start. I will shift any green onto Verdasco if he loses the first set.

Update: Dodig took the opening 2 sets but Verdasco pulled back to 2-2. Dodig scraped through the 5th.

Dodig won 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3.


Robredo was the comeback king at the French Open when he recovered  from 2 sets down in 3 consecutive matches. Today’s opponent Matosevic has an awful record in the slams and has lost in the first round in his last 5 majors. To put that into context though his losses were to Ferrer ( French open), Cilic ( Oz and US Open ) and Malisse ( Wimbledon 2012). Only his loss to Rufin in this year’s Wimbledon could be seen as poor.

Matosevic’s recent form on the hard courts hasn’t been bad at all. Quarter finals in his last 2 events ( Montreal and Washington ) should mean he comes into the US Open with a fair amount of confidence.

Between 2004 and 2010 Robredo only failed to reach the fourth round of the US Open once which was when he lost in the third round to Gulbis in 2007. He missed 2011 through injury and made the second round last year but wasn’t 100% fit.

I think this could be a 4 or 5 setter and am going with Robredo to come through in the end. I won’t be getting involved at the start as whilst  I can see Robredo getting caught in a late break in the opening set 1.70 is no price to lay in this one.

Update: Robredo won in 4 sets, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.