We are expecting a slow court in Metz, where they play indoors on a Greenset surface, though they have changed the balls this year. Therefore it will be a case of finding out the true conditions when play begins today.
The slow conditions definitely lent a hand to the underdog in last year’s tournament. Last year’s first round matches in in Metz saw four favourites beaten from their 12 opening round encounters.
There is just the one first round clash today and it’s a heavyweight one at 2.30pm UK time.
Sam Querrey vs Ivo Karlovic
This is just the sort of match that led to the ATP opting to slow down the courts. There won’t be much in the way of subtlety in this one and fans of big serving will enjoy this, as Ivo and Sam meet for the eighth time in their careers, with Querrey leading 4-3 currently.
It’s a 50/50 match and it’s not too simplistic to say that whoever serves the better will win. I certainly wouldn’t take Querrey at odds-on in the form – or lack of it – that he’s displayed over recent months.
The American struggled his way through to the final in Winston-Salem playing poor tennis and was beaten easily by Adrian Mannarino in New York. He has been suffering from a lack of confidence and could easily become frustrated by Karlovic today.
Dr Ivo was last seen ending James Blake’s career in a five setter in New York, followed by a tight loss to Stan Wawrinka. After coming back from viral meningitis and switching to a new racquet he’s played some good tennis.
Karlovic landed the title in Bogota and should be fresh as he’s retired from Davis Cup. The layers see this as going long, but for me the value here is to take a chance on Karlovic at 2.08.
Back Karlovic to win at 2.08
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