There are 20 matches to go at on day two of week 17’s clay court events in Barcelona and Bucharest on Tuesday.
In Spain at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell there are 11 first and second round matches on the card, while there are nine scheduled at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Romania.
Monday’s best bets went one from two, with Daniel Gimeno-Traver winning in straight sets over Roberto Carballes Baena, but Alexandr Nedovyesov faltered from a set ahead against Inigo Cervantes.
The Kazakh will be disappointed with that, after failing to convert on nine of his 11 break point chances against an opponent, who has only played Futures tennis since returning from major surgery.
Play starts at around 10.00 UK time and the first match I like the look of from a betting perspective is a 12.30pm start in Barcelona.
Roberto Bautista-Agut 1.85, Kei Nishikori 1.90
RBA has been playing some fine tennis all year and he is worth taking a chance on today against the Japanese star, who is not at his best on the clay.
Other than a 2011 title win in Houston on American red clay, Nishikori has never made it past the quarter finals of any tour level tournament on clay and he looks vulnerable here against an in-form opponent.
Kei’s body doesn’t have the necessary stamina or physicality to play long, punishing points day after day on the red dirt and yet again it let him down at the wrong time on the last occasion we saw him on tour.
That was in Miami, when, after beating Roger Federer, David Ferrer and Grigor Dimitrov, Kei was unable to take to the court for his semi final with Novak Djokovic and it seems like countless times that I’ve written about his body failing him.
It meant he missed Davis Cup and today will be his first match on clay since the French Open last year.
RBA tuned up nicely with a very comfortable win in the opening round here yesterday over Lukasz Kubot 6-1, 6-0 and with three top-20 wins under his belt already this season he looks the pick here as 1.94 underdog.
Marcel Granollers 1.68, Dominic Thiem 2.12
Barcelona-native Granollers looks good for this 16.30 UK time clash with up and coming young sensation Thiem at a price of around the 1.70 mark.
Thiem is generally priced up a little too short by the layers at the moment, after they caught on the young Austrian’s ability and we can take advantage here by backing Marcel in his home town.
Granollers actually has a poor record here at the Real Club de Tenis de Barcelona, with three wins from 11 matches and he’ll be certain to be motivated to improve that mark today.
He came back to form at the start of the clay swing by making the final in Casablanca, losing to a very much in-form Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, and consequently was below par in Monte-Carlo last week in a three set loss to Dimitrov.
Never the most hardy of physical specimens Marcel surely had one eye on this week and has had long enough away from the match court to have rested up for today’s match.
It will be a tough one against Thiem, who edged Radek Stepanek yesterday, but I make Granollers a decent bet here at 1.70 against an opponent, who isn’t the finished article yet and will have days where his level varies markedly.
Back Bautista-Agut to beat Nishikori at 1.85
Back Granollers to beat Thiem at 1.70