Wednesday’s wager at the Grand Prix Hassan II was lost in a tight three setter when Roberto Bautista-Agut fell 7-5 in the third to Robin Haase.
After an awful opening set, which could perhaps be attributed to the first match on clay of the year, the Spaniard found his range and looked to have gained control of a topsy-turvy encounter, but he threw in a shocking service game at 5-6 and handed the match to Haase with a missed drop shot.
Elsewhere there was another turn up for the books when Kenny de Schepper took down Steve Darcis in straight sets, while Stan Wawrinka was made to work by Blaz Kavcic, as was Stan’s pal Benoit Paire, who also came from behind to beat Aljaz Bedene.
Over in Houston a rain affected day saw two early upsets as the fancied Somdev Devvarman failed to land the move on him to beat Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, while Martin Alund took down Lleyton Hewitt. Both defeated players made long journeys to Texas after Davis Cup duty, which no doubt was a factor.
There was no further play in Texas, so it’s going to be a busy day there today, with Juan Monaco looking a shaky favourite at 1.22 given his poor form and the journey from Davis Cup to take into account. Tim Smyczek is hardly a great clay courter though and Monaco may get through that one, but he won’t be carrying any of my cash at that price.
I prefer taking one bet from Casablanca and one from Houston today and I’m going to take a chance on Filippo Volandri against the out of form Martin Klizan in their clash in Morocco today.
Klizan has been awful since winning St Petersburg late last year and he’s posted a 4-12 record in the 16 matches since landing that title, with most recently a 6-2, 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Jarkko Nieminen on slow outdoor hard in Miami.
He does have a good record against Volandri in Challengers, but he just can’t be backed at 1.62 against a man who plies his trade solely on clay and who’s won four matches already in Casablanca, thus is attuned to the conditions.
Pippo can still be a tough opponent on clay on his day, despite his feeble serve and at 2.25 he clearly is the value pick against an out of sorts opponent.
For my other bet I’m sticking with Robby Ginepri, who is a tempting 2.05 to take down Argentine Martin Alund tonight.
Ginepri impressed in defeating Michael Russell, who later admitted to have been suffering from food poisoning. Nonetheless it was good hitting from Ginepri, who I think should be favourite against Alund, who defeated a tired Hewitt in round one.
The layers have overreacted to that win and Ginepri can take this one at odds-against.
Back Volandri to beat Klizan at 2.25
Back Ginepri to beat Alund at 2.05