It was another good night at the Farmer's Classic yesterday, with both of my recommended bets proving successful. Ricardas Berankis got the evening off to the perfect start when he took out Nicolas Mahut in straight sets before Sam Querrey had an even more comfortable passage to the final when Xavier Malisse retired when 6-2, 3-1 down.
That's it from LA; London 2012 is underway and the Olympic tennis tournament at the All England Club looks set to be the best yet. It also offers numerous betting opportunities on the first day. My opening wager concerns the match on court 14 between Ryan Harrison and Santiago Giraldo.
Harrison has flown back to the UK after a mixed few weeks back home in the USA at Newport and Atlanta but he should have too much game for clay court specialist Giraldo. The 20-year-old is an improving player on all surfaces, but he seems to particularly enjoy the grass court swing and he can count himself a little unfortunate that he ran into Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon and John Isner in Newport.
Giraldo, on the other hand, is not exactly a grass court lover, with two defeats to Britain’s Richard Bloomfield on his record. He’s never won a match in the main draw at Wimbledon and has just the one win on grass over a top-50 ranked opponent. The last time he won a match on grass was at s’Hertogenbosch a year ago.
Giraldo did win the only match between he and Harrison, but that was two years ago and a lot has changed since then. I expect Harrison to prevail in this match at around 1.50
The first match on Court 1 on Saturday is a brutal match-up and repeat of the Wimbledon first round meeting a few weeks ago between David Nalbandian and Janko Tipsarevic. The Serbian won that day, but I suspect that the Argentine will view this as a last chance for a major title now that his chances of winning a Slam are all but gone.
Nalbandian, who has the better record on grass, has taken a break from competitive play since that loss to Tipsarevic. The Serb has been busy winning the title in Stuttgart and reaching the final in Gstaad, both on clay.
That sort of form makes Tipsarevic favourite for this, but he’s had a lot of tennis lately and it should be noted that this pair played each other in consecutive tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami earlier this year with differing results. At a price of around 2.52 it’s worth taking a chance on Nalbandian to turn things around.
As far as big upsets go, one that stands out to me as a possible shock has to be Ivan Dodig against Juan Martin Del Potro. The price of 1.07 on the big Argentine is one that I wouldn’t take in a million years given Delpo’s generally poor performances on grass and apparent dislike for the surface. The fact that this will be played over the best of three sets brings the likelihood of an upset to the fore and especially with Delpo who has been known to take a set to warm up.
Dodig is no grass court god, but he did take down Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Queen’s Club this summer and he was an even bigger price that day than the 8.50 that he’s marked up at today. The over 20.5 games looks likely at 1.90, but it’s worth having a small investment on Dodig to either take a set at 3.50 or win outright at that 8.50.
Back Harrison to beat Giraldo at 1.50
Back Nalbandian to beat Tipsarevic at 2.50
Back Dodig +1.5 sets to beat Del Potro at 3.50