Round two completes in Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen on Thursday, with nine matches scheduled for day four.
David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov make their debuts on Thursday in Malaysia and similarly Marin Cilic enters the fray in China.
We managed one winner from three bets on Wednesday, with a very comfortable success for Joao Sousa -2.5 games against Michal Przysiezny in Kuala Lumpur, but Nikoloz Basilashvili was unlucky in the deciding set against Ivo Karlovic.
There was also a three set loss for Jeremy Chardy, who failed from a set up and long odds-on against Benjamin Becker in familiar Chardy style by throwing in double faults for fun at the vital stage of the match.
Marcos Baghdatis vs Vasek Pospisil
I can’t have Pospisil as a 1.70 favourite in this 10:00 UK time clash in Kuala Lumpur, with the injury prone Canadian once again being overrated by the layers.
There isn’t a great deal going for Pospisil here, with Baghdatis being rated 20 places higher in my indoor rankings, and the Cypriot also having won their only career meeting, which was on quicker hard outdoors in Atlanta this summer.
Baghdatis says that this is the best that he’s felt in three years in terms of injuries and if he is finally back to something like full fitness that would only add to my feeling that the prices are the wrong way round here.
Pospisil has done very little on indoor hard of any note and I do wonder why he is a shorter price by some distance today against Baghdatis than he was when Baggy beat him in Atlanta.
It was roughly 1.90 the pair that day and given that the Cypriot won it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to today’s pricing.
Pospisil hasn’t been past the second round in any of his last seven events on indoor hard going back to the end of 2013 when he made the semis in Basel and he would surely prefer it quicker than here, where it’s one of the slowest surfaces around.
Losses to Federico Delbonis and Juan Monaco in his last two appearances at this tournament are telling and in all on the Asian swing in seven tournaments Pospisil has only once been past the second round.
Other options that seem to have a bit of value about them include over 10.5 games in set one of Feli Lopez vs Mischa Zverev at 2.38 and Aljaz Bedene at 2.85 against Hyeon Chung, who seems to be being priced up too short for such an inexperienced player at this level.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Joao Sousa
Sousa did us proud on Wednesday and hopefully he still has enough in the tank for one more match because if so he has a fine chance as a 2.85 underdog against Dimitrov in this 13:15 UK time start in Kuala Lumpur.
The in-form Portuguese was always in total control against Przysiezny and this is about as tough as it gets as an opening match for Dimitrov, who hasn’t played since an early loss in New York to Mikhail Kukushkin.
Now working with Juan Martin Del Potro’s coach Franco Davin it will be interesting to see if anything noticeable has changed in the Bulgarian’s game, but it’s probably too early for that.
Dimitrov is on debut, having never played in KL before, while Sousa loves it here, and stated after his win over the Pole: “Mentally and physically I felt very good.”
Sousa has beaten Dimitrov in their only two career meetings – at the US Open in 2013 and in Futures on clay years ago – so he will be confident against this opponent and he looks a viable underdog for Thursday.
Marin Cilic vs John Millman
The former US Open champion has a good record in China and I like the idea of doubling the Croat with Adrian Mannarino in a 1.29 multiple for today’s ‘sure thing’.
It’s been a rare poor start to the week for this particular bet, with Ricardas Berankis and Chardy letting us down, but surely Cilic and Mannarino will put a stop to that on Thursday.
Cilic has won 17 of his 29 matches in China, with two appearances in the Beijing final and a quarter final at the Shanghai Masters, so he has no problems with conditions on outdoor hard in this country.
He faces what should be a fairly routine test against the limited Aussie Millman at around 13:00 UK time on Thursday in a first career meeting between the pair, but unless Cilic has a shocker it should be 2-0 to the number two seed.
Cilic has a fine record as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite, with a 50-6 mark overall and 20-2 on outdoor hard, with his last loss coming against Albert Ramos in Shanghai back in 2011. He’s currently on a run of 28 wins at that price.
Millman has a solid game, but he’s some way below top class, and this will be only his fifth clash with a top-20 opponent, with his one win coming on grass against Tommy Robredo.
On a quick hard court it’s likely that the greater weaponry of Cilic will prevail, while Mannarino will try and end home hopes in Shenzhen when he takes on world number 266 Yan Bai.
Bai has played against top-50 opposition three times in the past and his one win – the best of his career, surely – was against Radek Stepanek as a wild card in Shanghai back in 2010.
That’s his only win against a top-100 opponent and if Mannarino approaches this in the right way he should have few problems after cruising past Lucas Pouille in round one.
Mannarino has only been a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite twice at main level and he won both in straight sets. This would be a hell of a shock if Bai was to pull off the upset.
David Ferrer should also be a fairly safe pick at 1.22 against Stepanek, who doesn’t have enough left these days against the best and struggled against Ferrer in his heyday, losing seven of their 10 clashes.
Sure thing: Back Cilic and Mannarino in a double at 1.29
Value bet: Back Baghdatis to beat Pospisil at 2.10
Long shot: Back Sousa to beat Dimitrov at 2.85