It’s quarter finals day in Dusseldorf and Nice in our two ATP 250 clay court events on week 21 of the ATP World Tour.
And it was a comfortable winner for my sole best bet of Wednesday when Juan Monaco cruised past Marcel Granollers for the loss of just three games.
It was excellent tennis again from Pico, who looks very much up for defending his Dusseldorf Open title this week and on this form he’ll take some stopping.
Over in Nice it’s set to be another windy day today and given the proximity of the French Open six of the seven quarter finals in Nice and Dusseldorf were done in straight sets last year, which isn’t that surprising, and should be a good guide to today’s matches.
Leonardo Mayer vs Albert Montanes
This match has the look of an upset about it to me, with the veteran Spaniard looking most of his 33 years these days and it’ll be very tough for him to defend his title in Nice this week.
Aided by the withdrawal of Gael Monfils, Monty edged past lucky loser Sam Querrey yesterday and looks a shaky favourite to beat Mayer, who has been producing some decent tennis lately.
The Argentine had to overcome a break deficit in the deciding set of his match with Edouard Roger-Vasselin on Wednesday and the Frenchman never really looked like the had the match won at any stage, despite that break lead.
Mayer’s big serve has been working well here and he has had few problems dealing with Montanes in the past, although both of their meetings came on hard courts, where Monty is not exactly at his best.
The ageing Spaniard still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve on the red dirt, but this is only his second quarter final of the season and the first was achieved with the aid of a retirement back in week nine.
Mayer has been backed overnight in to 1.94 from 2.25, so it seems that punters have latched on to the vulnerability surrounding Montanes, but it still looks a decent choice if poorer value.
Gilles Simon vs Carlos Berlocq
Usually I’d be looking at the overs in this one due to the presence of the master pusher Simon, who assumed that role again yesterday after briefly coming out of his shell against Rafa Nadal in Rome.
But the timing of this event means that the overs is unlikely and instead I’ll side with Berlocq, who has won three of his last four against Gillou and looks much more of a man in form than Simon right now.
Gillou just about made it past Dominic Thiem yesterday in three sets and much of that was due to Thiem running out of gas after much of the last fortnight struggling with sickness.
Charly is looking for a third straight win over a Frenchman here in Nice after taking down Julien Benneteau and Nicolas Mahut and he’s looking the more solid of he and Simon at the moment.
Full of confidence after winning in Oeiras the Argentine has had few problems combatting the Simon game in recent meets and he looks a good underdog here at 1.95.
Elsewhere in Nice John Isner looks slightly shaky as favourite against Federico Delbonis, but I’m not convinced that the Argentine’s break point conversion percentage is good enough against someone like Isner.
Over in Dusseldorf this may be the one occasion in the year not to back the overs between Andreas Seppi and Denis Istomin, who have a tendency to play very long matches against each other usually.
I’d probably side with Seppi today, but I’m sure he’ll find a way to make it tough for himself against an opponent who he is very closely matched with.
Monaco should have few issues Ivo Karlovic and the 2-0 looks good there, as it does in the Philipp Kohlschreiber match, but Jurgen Melzer may have a few problems with Jiri Vesely.
The latter has only played a top-100 ranked fellow lefty once in his career at tour level and lost it to Feli Lopez, while Melzer has a 57% win ratio lifetime against fellow left-handers and has won his last three.
Back Mayer to beat Montanes at 1.95
Back Berlocq to beat Simon at 1.95