We’re at the second round stage of this week’s three ATP 250 events in Vienna, Moscow and Stockholm on Thursday.
Wednesday was one of those days where nothing really went my way, including opting against backing Karen Khachanov, who I said yesterday could easily push Janko Tipsarevic. The 17-year-old did more than that and added more misery to the Serb’s dreadful season with a straight sets win at a very big price.
There are a fair few short prices around today that could be worth taking on and it very much depends on the favourites’ attitudes in some of the matches as to whether they can be bothered or not, as was highlighted by Gael Monfils last night.
Fabio Fognini vs Lukasz Kubot
Starting in Vienna then, this match is pretty much all about if Fogna fancies it this week and it’s quite likely that he won’t in these quick conditions at the Wiener Stadthalle. Kubot took advantage of a travel weary Florian Mayer in the first round to gain his first tour level win since Wimbledon and it’s pretty much a given that the Pole will be giving it 100 percent as he always does. It’s always a risky play betting for or against the moody Italian, but I like the 2.50 about Kubot winning the first set against the often slow-starting Fognini here.
Dominic Thiem vs Jaroslav Pospisil
We made a nice profit with Thiem the other day and I’m sticking with him here in a battle of two players at opposite ends of their careers. Pospisil got in as a lucky loser yesterday when Marinko Matosevic withdrew and he made the most of it and gained his first ever tour level win at the age of 32 over a disinterested Monfils. The Czech, it’s fair to say, is very much a journeyman pro and he’s been beaten on all three previous occasions they’ve met by Thiem. The 20-year-old is very much up for this tournament and the fast surface suits his big game, which should lead to a straight sets win today at around 2.05.
Richard Gasquet vs Evgeny Donskoy
Over in Moscow the matches look really trappy today and the only one of interest to me is to side with the local player Donskoy to grab a set from Gasquet, who has looked very jaded of late. This is the Gasman’s fourth straight week on the tour and he’s not known for his physical strength and stamina - last week he looked burned out against Vasek Pospisil. The fact that he’s chasing a spot in London for the year end championships is the only positive for Richard and today he’s up against an opponent who, having gained his first win here the other day, will be up for the fight. Gasquet should win this, but 1.15 seems very short in the circumstances. I like the 2.38 about Donskoy +1.5 sets here.
Joachim Johansson vs Milos Raonic
Finally, in Stockholm, this has to be the match of the day concerning the home favourite Pim Pim Johansson coming out of retirement to face a player of a not too dissimilar style in the big Canadian. This one kicks off at around 7pm UK time and it will be fascinating to see how a former top-10 player of around six years ago gets on just out of retirement against one the current top-10 (or thereabouts). Pim Pim has blasted his way past several decent players already, but having done little training lately it must be questioned how his body will hold up these days. The huge serve and forehand are still there and Raonic may find it tough to break the Swede, all of which leads me to the first set market where over 10.5 games at 2.20 looks a good bet.
Back Kubot to win set one vs Fognini at 2.50
Back Thiem to beat Pospisil 2-0 at 2.05
Back Donskoy +1.5 sets to beat Gasquet at 2.38
Back over 10.5 games in set one of Johansson/Raonic at 2.20
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