Thursday in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur sees the second round matches complete in both of this week’s ATP 250 tournaments in week 39 of the 2013 season.
Play begins at 6am UK time at both venues and earlybirds might well catch the worm, with a bit of value around at the start of Thursday’s play at both tournaments.
Wednesday was a profitable day for my bets, with two of three winning and a third falling narrowly short. Joao Sousa made short work of Ryan Harrison to land an easy odds-against success, while Adrian Mannarino was also a two set winner against Nico Almagro. Carlos Berlocq fell in a tie breaker in set one against Marcos Baghdatis to foil the hat-trick.
Jurgen Melzer vs Mischa Zverev
This pair of highly experienced lefties have enjoyed some real battles in the past, with the German leading their head-to-head series 2-1 in three matches that have been played on clay, grass and outdoor hard.
This indoor hard clash appears to hold some value on Zverev, who is the more likely to have the desire to win this than the veteran Austrian. Melzer is still more than capable when he feels like it, but this kind of event at the end of the season is unlikely to hold much interest for him and Zverev, who rarely has a quarter final in his sights could take advantage.
The 27-year-old will certainly be wanting to do better than in his last ATP World Tour quarter final, when he fell 6-0, 6-0 to Roger Federer in Halle and I’m slightly torn as to side with the overs here or Zverev +2.5 games and I’m plumping for the latter. Melzer has had a shoulder injury of late and came to this event having again lost both rubbers in Davis Cup and he looks a sketchy wager at 1.57.
Gilles Simon vs Bernard Tomic
Also kicking off at 6am, but this time in Bangkok are last week’s Metz champion Simon and Aussie Tomic, whose father continues to hog the headlines from his son. John Tomic, although banned from ATP events, has been seen lurking around the venue and his presence continues to have a negative effect on Tomic junior.
Bernie was a little fortunate to get through in the last round here against Ivo Karlovic, who retired and Simon looks big to me at 1.55 to continue his run of results. The Frenchman was in fine form all week in Metz and his indoor record is infinitely better than that of his opponent, who has won just six matches on the tour lifetime in these conditions. Simon even managed to beat Bernie in straight sets on grass in Eastbourne this year, which was not a good result for Tomic given his liking for grass and Simon’s poor record on the surface.
Gilles is enjoying life at the moment having just become a father again and recovered his fitness and I can only see this match going one way.
Yen Hsun Lu vs Lukas Rosol
Finally on Thursday this 7am UK time clash between Lu and Rosol looks tailor made for the Chinese Taipei player to record a victory over the Czech in Bangkok.
Rosol continues to struggle by on the tour and he just edged past the out of form Lukasz Kubot in a final set tie breaker in round one here to improve to 3-11 in his last 14 matches, but Lu’s solid, consistent ball striking should be enough to coax the errors out of the often wild Rosol.
Conditons certainly favour Lu, who spends a lot of his season playing in the Far East and his form is good too coming off the back of a Challenger win in Kaohsiung last week when he didn’t drop a set. There were reports of an ankle injury regarding Lu in that Challenger final, but he seemed fine in a straight sets round one win over Evgeny Donskoy here. For safety I think it’s worth backing the handicap here minus 1.5 games on Lu at 1.75 in case of a mid-match retirement.
Back Zverev +2.5 games to beat Melzer at 1.78
Back Simon to beat Tomic at 1.55
Back Lu -1.5 games to beat Rosol at 1.75