The ATP Tour stays in Europe on the road to Paris and the French Open, with two clay tournaments in Portugal and Germany on week 18.
They play at a slight altitude in Munich at the BMW Open, which tends to favour the bigger hitters and no Spaniard or Italian has won here since Emilio Sanchez back in 1986.
A quick look at the roll-call of past winners, such as Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Ferreria and Michael Stich gives an idea that the classic clay court grinder doesn’t do well here and with the possible exception of Mikhail Youzhny in 2010 all the winners can give the ball a solid whack.
In Oeiras we’re looking for good wind players, as the Portugal Open does suffer from exposure to the elements and can be chilly and windy this time of year and also quite slow, depending upon the amount of sunshine.
Here, we’ve seen the likes of Albert Montanes and Juan Ignacio Chela lift the trophy and grinders like Pablo Carreno Busta have done well, with the latter making the semis 12 months ago.
Monday’s play features just the four first round matches in Munich and only two in Oeiras as qualifying completes, but it’s worth taking a chance on a man who has won both of these events in his career.
Nikolay Davydenko 2.80 vs vs Federico Delbonis 1.42 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 13.00
I have a feeling that although we’ve seen the best of Davydenko he isn’t quite ready to retire just yet and it would be typical of the Russian to pop up and have a good week in Munich.
Today he faces Sao Paulo winner on the clay Delbonis, who should win on pure form over the past year, but all doesn’t seem quite right with him at the moment after a really poor loss in Monte-Carlo and withdrawal from Barcelona last week.
I’m not too sure what the issue is, but to lose in straight sets to Yen Hsun Lu on clay and then not play the following week tells a tale.
Davydenko keeps grinding away and he’s not going to keep going out of events early – one week soon he’s going to have another decent tournament and why not here where he’s done well in the past?
Back in 2011 Davy lost first up in Monte-Carlo to Robin Haase and lost in round three in Barcelona before winning the title in Munich for the loss of just two sets and he certainly still has it in him to beat an out of sorts Delbonis.
Delbonis did win at altitude in Sao Paulo, but he’s never played here in Munich and I suspect it might be too much in favour of the big servers for the Argentine’s liking this week.
The +1.5 sets on Davydenko looks good here at 1.77.
Ivo Karlovic 2.65 vs Dustin Brown 1.45 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 16.05
Talking of big servers, the big daddy of them all Karlovic is in action against an opponent with a similarly large delivery in Brown, who gets a wild card here this year.
Ivo hasn’t played here since 2006 when he beat local favourite Tommy Haas, while Brown has beaten Stan Wawrinka here as recently as 2011, which are further examples of the conditions aiding big servers.
This looks likely to go past the overs mark of 23.5 considering their playing styles and their previous meeting, which involved a 28 point tie break in a three set win for Brown in Doha this year.
Ivo isn’t at his best on the clay and he’s done nothing since making the semis of Houston on American red clay in 2011, including some very poor losses this swing, but he should find this more to his liking.
Brown defeated John Isner in Houston a couple of weeks ago with a rather predictable 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 scoreline and then played a similar match with Sam Querrey, which he lost.
Last week he lost to Marco Cecchinato on the dirt in a Challenger and he’s still wildly inconsistent and I can’t see Brown winning this in fewer than 23.5 games. It's likely to become a serving contest which means that Ivo definitely has a shot.
Back Davydenko +1.5 sets to beat Delbonis at 1.77
Back over 23.5 games in Karlovic/Brown at 1.90