It was a winning start to proceedings in Russia on Monday when Andrey Golubev recovered from losing the opening set to ease past Jan-Lennard Struff in St Petersburg.
There are six matches on the card for Tuesday in St Petersburg, where the first round matches continue this morning.
Jurgen Zopp vs Daniel Gimeno Traver
I expected a shorter price about the Spaniard here against the Estonian, who is playing off a protected ranking this week after a long struggle with a back injury.
Gimeno-Traver had traditionally struggled away from his beloved clay, but made the semi finals in these slow conditions 12 months ago, which will see him keen to defend those ranking points. Daniel is in fine form too at Challenger level, having won back-to-back titles on the red dirt in the last fortnight, dropping just one set in the process.
Zopp won’t have such good memories of St Petersburg, this being the place where he first picked up the back injury a year ago and he hasn’t been able to find any form since. He came back to the tour last May and lost five straight matches before dropping down to Challenger level and he hasn’t won a match at tour level since beating Pablo Andujar on indoor hard almost a year ago.
This looks a good opportunity for DGT in conditions that suit and he looks worth backing at 1.85. That price has drifted a fair bit, so I’m hoping there are no injury concerns, but this is St Petersburg, where anything is possible.
Adrian Mannarino vs Evgeny Donskoy
I’m going to take a chance on Mannarino to continue his decent run here against an opponent who has struggled for results here in St Petersburg and who has a questionable record against lefties.
Donskoy has only ever won one match in the main draw here and he’s already been moaning about the playing conditions here this week, which isn’t a great sign.
Mannarino on the other hand has been tweeting about his love for St Petersburg and I get the impression that Donskoy feels the pressure here in front of his home fans. There is also Donskoy’s awful indoor hard court record to factor in, with the Russian’s sole win in these conditions at tour level being that one victory here, which was against Andrey Kuznetsov back in 2010.
It’s priced up as a pick ‘em and I’m very much on the side of Mannarino, who made the last eight on his one previous appearance in St Petersburg, here at around 1.80.
Back Gimeno-Traver to beat Zopp at 1.85
Back Mannarino to beat Donskoy at 1.92
Follow Sean Calvert's daily betting tips.