The remaining second round matches in the ATP Portugal Open are the order of the day in Oeiras on Thursday, with the final four games taking place there. It’s the same in Munich, where the last-16 also continues.
Wednesday was not a great day for this column, with Radek Stepanek failing to get the better of Viktor Troicki in Munich despite leading by a break of serve in each set.
There was also a really disappointing display from Marin Cilic in the opening match of the day at the BMW Open against fellow Croatian Ivan Dodig, who ran out a comfortable winner over the out of touch number one seed.
Thursday’s match of the day has to be Ernests Gulbis against Tommy Haas, which begins at 12.25pm UK time, with the unpredictable Latvian a slight favourite at 1.88 against the home hope, who doesn’t have the best of records in Munich.
I can’t bring myself to back Gulbis as anything other than an underdog and that match against Haas has the look of overs all day long. I like the chances of another German, in the shape of Daniel Brands, who is a tasty 2.65 to take down Gael Monfils in the 4pm match this afternoon.
The big serving Brands will be aided by conditions here in Munich. As he’s playing at home, you would also be entitled to expect a decent effort from him, unlike some of the shockingly lethargic displays that we’ve seen this week at both events.
Monfils is struggling to make any impact on the tour since his various knee problems and retired when losing to Brands in Bucharest last week. Brands also defeated Monfils in much quicker conditions in Doha earlier this year and the Frenchman isn’t the player he once was. He may get back to the level of his former self, but 1.47 is a dreadful price about LaMonf today.
In Portugal, another who will have the crowd’s support is Gastao Elias, who takes on the up and down Denis Istomin at 1.50pm. Albert Ramos then faces Stan Wawrinka, followed by Andreas Seppi against Alejandro Falla and later it’s Robin Haase vs. Tommy Robredo.
Seppi can’t be recommended at 1.38 against Falla given the lacklustre performances we’ve seen from the Italian in recent weeks. The Colombian leftie can be a tricky opponent, with a good win over Andrey Kuznetsov under his belt and a 3-1 head-to-head lead over Seppi.
Ramos also has a chance against Wawrinka, as the Spaniard has played Stan tough in the past. The +3.5 game handicap in Ramos’s favour is worthy of consideration in that one at 1.98.
Best Bet: Back Brands to beat Monfils at 2.65
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