Friday is quarter finals day in Stockholm, Moscow and Vienna on week 42 of the ATP World Tour, with 12 matches scheduled for today.
It was a good day of ATP tennis betting on Thursday and only two failures to serve the opening set out by Aslan Karatsev against Philipp Kohlschreiber stopped a clean sweep on the day.
Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils brought home the ‘sure thing’ double, while all three of my proposed wagers in the Kevin Anderson vs Jiri Vesely encounter were winners, and those on the alternative ‘value bet’ of Andrey Kuznetsov at 2.75 over Mikhail Kukushkin would also have collected.
Marcos Baghdatis vs Gilles Muller
There’s a little bit of value on Baghdatis in this Stockholm quarter final in my view and especially considering the very mediocre record of Muller on indoor hard at this level.
The leftie from Luxembourg has only made it past this last eight stage at tour level twice in his 21 tournaments and in indoor quarter finals his record is 2-4, with his last success coming over Paulo Lorenzi in Vienna in 2012.
Muller’s overall record at tour level indoors is 21-21 and he’s played eight indoor events including this one without making a semi final, so I wouldn’t have him as a 1.63 shot here against Baghdatis.
Baghdatis has a good record against lefties with a win percentage of 66 in his career, compared to 59 percent against righties and the Cypriot has won 16 of his last 19 matches against left-handers going back to 2012.
He won his only career meeting with Muller, which came on a quick outdoor hard court in Atlanta in sweltering conditions this summer, and he has won nine of his last 10 matches against the big servers in my database.
The only loss was when he was injured in the Atlanta final against John Isner the nine wins include victories over Ivo Karlovic, Sam Querrey, Sam Groth and Muller, and he beaten Kevin Anderson, Milos Raonic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Feli Lopez too.
So, he handles big servers well, has a good record against lefties, beat this opponent a few months ago, and is a former winner of this Stockholm title, who holds a better record indoors (54-40) than his opponent (21-21). He'll also be very confident after beating Bernard Tomic and Querrey already this week and quite why Muller is a 1.63 chance then, I’m struggling to comprehend.
Ivo Karlovic vs Ernests Gulbis
I also like Ernests Gulbis as a 2.70 underdog against Ivo Karlovic, who also seems rather short considering his average record on indoor hard.
Dr Ivo has lost to Nick Kyrgios, Austin Krajicek, Baghdatis, and Lucas Pouille in his last four defeats indoors and he’s not an end of season player, having only made one final his whole career after the month of July – and that was back in 2007.
It doesn’t seem anything like a quick court in Vienna, which is basically what the tournament directors were hoping for and it’s not going to aid Karlovic in any way as his 36-year-old body starts to tire after a tough season.
The slow nature of the indoor surfaces on the whole on the tour is one reason why the likes of Muller and Karlovic have failed to win any titles in conditions that used to suit them and this Vienna one looks pretty slow.
Gulbis’ confidence should be on the up after the Latvian beat John Isner in the last round and outaced the American and I see no real reason why Karlovic is so short in this one against a player who can be equally as effective on serve and is a lot better off the ground.
The odds-against about Gulbis +1.5 games can be paired with Evgeny Donskoy +2.5 games to beat Teimuraz Gabashvili to make a 4.10 ‘long shot’ today.
Gabashvili has famously lost all 15 of his previous ATP World Tour quarter finals, which shows how mentally weak the Russian is, and his price is too short today against a motivated opponent.
Gaba played well against Viktor Troicki and on that form he’s a fair price, but consistency has never been easy for Gaba and he clearly struggles badly at the latter stages of tournaments.
Donskoy has been serving really well this week and that helped him a lot against Ricardas Berankis yesterday and the latter became so frustrated that he snapped his racquet clean in two.
Gael Monfils vs Lukas Rosol
I may regret this, but I’m happy to side with Monfils for a second day in a row as my ‘sure thing’ today in his 17:00 UK time clash with Rosol, who got the better of a tired Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday.
I said a few days ago that Tsonga was a likely short-priced failure against Tommy Haas, but it took one more match (and probably a quiet agreement with the tournament to play at least one match) for him to lose and Rosol was just about good enough to take advantage.
But he’s never been consistent enough to defeat the likes of Monfils and as I’ve said the slow surfaces indoors have not been kind to the big game of the Czech.
Rosol wasn’t even close to beating Monfils on the Frenchman’s hated grass surface in round one in Halle where Lamonf was vulnerable in the early summer, so on slow hard his chances are smaller.
Looking at Rosol’s record on indoor hard we find that he hasn’t been past the second round (until this week) in his last 10 tournaments since here in Vienna in 2013, but the surface is very different here now.
Indeed, Rosol has lost in round one 13 times and in round two five times in his 22 tournaments on indoor hard, which tells a tale on how his game doesn’t suit the conditions indoors these days.
There may be the usual tomfoolery from Monfils in this one, but it’s hard to see Rosol redlining his game for long enough to breach the defences of Monfils and win.
David Ferrer looked focused yesterday and he’s after that spot at the year-end jamboree in London to boost his retirement fund, so I expect him to be too determined for Fabio Fognini, who he’s beaten eight times from eight.
I’m not sure I’d be backing Roberto Bautista-Agut at 1.16 though against Lucas Pouille, who might be competitive, but Marin Cilic should win, as should Gasquet.
Sure thing: Back Monfils to beat Rosol at 1.30
Value bet: Back Baghdatis to beat Muller at 2.23
Long shot: Back Gulbis +1.5 games and Donskoy +2.5 games at 4.10