Philipp Kohlschreiber got the week off to a fine start in the Eternal City on Monday when the German took out number 14 seed Milos Raonic.
Kohlschreiber was not in need of the +2.5 game handicap and didn’t face a break point against the Canadian (who needs to go back to the drawing board after splitting with Galo Blanco). It was a relatively convincing win in the end.
There’s a star-studded line-up on Tuesday at the Foro Italico as the Internazionali BNL d’Italia continues in Rome.
The likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych make their 2013 tournament debuts today and there’s also a marquee clash between Grigor Dimitrov and Richard Gasquet to enjoy on Centrale Court this morning.
The big names look to have pretty comfortable starts, but one who could struggle is Gilles Simon, who may not have things all his own way against Foro Italico favourite Filippo Volandri.
Simon played well against Andy Murray in Madrid last week, but was unable to put the Scot away and that performance may have made him a little too short in the betting in this match.
Volandri may be 31-years-old and with a serve like a 12-year-old girl, but he gets results on the red dirt and he even took a set off Simon on a hard court when they met in Melbourne in January.
Pippo usually turns up at non-clay slams for the first round cheque, but this is a tournament that he loves. He doesn’t go down easily even when he does lose here, as he has shown by winning a set when he’s been beaten here every year since making the semi-finals back in 2007.
He warmed up for this by reaching the final of the Rome Challenger last week and he’ll be very much attuned to the conditions, which gives him a shot of taking at least a set against an opponent who has never been past the third round at the Foro Italico.
The Italian is around the 1.80 mark to win this with a 1.5 set start and that will be my bet when this one begins on the Supertennis Arena at around 12pm UK time today.
Best Bet: Back Volandri +1.5 sets to beat Simon at 1.80
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