Round one completes and round two begins in our two ATP 250 tournaments in China and Malaysia on Wednesday, with nine matches in total on the schedule.
Tuesday’s bets brought us two winners from three, with a very disappointing showing from Ricardas Berankis spoiling the clean sweep on the day.
Berankis was poor in a surprise loss to Hiroki Moriya in Shenzhen, but there was success for the ‘value bet’ and ‘sure thing’ wagers when Victor Estrella Burgos and Zhizhen Zhang both won at odds-against.
Estrella needed to come from a set down to defeat Matt Ebden as a 2.18 chance, while Zhang was a straight sets winner over Go Soeda at 3.55.
My other ‘value bet’ suggestions of Aljaz Bedene and Tatsuma Ito also, annoyingly, were winners in straight sets, so Berankis apart it was a decent day’s tennis betting.
There’s a couple of round one matches left to complete in Kuala Lumpur, but otherwise it’s round two action, where only two slight underdogs won from eight matches at that stage a year ago.
In Shenzhen’s inaugural tournament in 2014 there were three odds-against winners in round two, with Viktor Troicki’s 4.46 victory over David Ferrer easily the best of them.
Joao Sousa vs Michal Przysiezny
Former Kuala Lumpur champion Sousa has been given a Wednesday start to his 2015 Malaysian Open campaign by the organisers and the super fit Portuguese should have enough in the tank to win this one against Przysiezny
Sousa has played a lot of tennis in the last week or so in Davis Cup and a run to the final in St Petersburg, but he’s had a few days off since his loss to Milos Raonic in Russia and conditions suit him well here.
Kuala Lumpur is one of the slowest indoor hard courts on the circuit and if Sousa is anything like fit he should be far too good for ‘the Polish Federer’ for whom this is a first main draw appearance at tour level for a year.
Przysiezny was ranked just outside the top-50 at the start of last season, but he’s been dire since then and is now 100 spots lower in the rankings and hasn’t featured since Tokyo in 2014.
Bizarrely, his last win on the tour was one of his best, with a final set tie break success over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at that Tokyo tournament, but he hasn’t made it back to ATP Tour level since.
Other than some decent performances in Davis Cup this season has been poor for the Pole, who lost to Albert Montanes in US Open qualies and he’s enjoyed a very easy qualies draw here to make the main draw.
Wins over opponents ranked 2058, 456 and 252 perhaps explain Przysiezny’s presence here and his attacking game will need to be at its absolute best to beat Sousa in these conditions – and we haven’t seen his best for a long time.
The -2.5 games on Sousa at 1.79 looks decent value in this 10:00 UK time start in Malaysia.
Benjamin Becker vs Jeremy Chardy
Chardy has a surprisingly good record in recent times as a 1.30 to 1.40 favourite, with 11 wins from his last 12 matches going back almost four years to the autumn of 2011.
The one loss was on clay to Martin Alund in a final set tie break in Rio in 2013, but Chardy has won all the rest and he looks highly likely to overcome the challenge of Becker in this 08:00 UK time clash in Kuala Lumpur.
This pair of big servers have only met once on the tour and that was on clay at the French Open back in 2013 when Chardy was a 1.1 chance and he duly won in straight sets.
Chardy has been in good touch this summer and he really should be looking to win these sorts of tournaments as a top-30 player, but he has only two appearances in finals at this level – both in 2009 – and just the one title.
Becker’s record against top-30 opponents is poor, with two wins from his last 14 matches, and his big serve and forehand routine is not usually enough for the best in the game.
Chardy’s strengths are very similar to Becker’s – he’s just a bit better at it – and the slow nature of this court surface should allow the Frenchman to shuffle around his backhand and wallop that big forehand often enough to win this one.
There are plenty of short-prices around on Wednesday, but this looks the most appealing at 1.30, and is my ‘sure thing’ for the day.
Tomas Berdych at 1.06 should win against Austin Krajicek, but would you back him at that price after recent losses? Probably not, and likewise Jiri Vesely against Zhang at 1.11, with the Czech only having played two prior matches at that price in his career (he won both).
Tommy Robredo is perhaps the best pick if sub-1.10 shots are your thing, with the Spaniard holding a 15-1 record as a 1.01 to 1.10 favourite, and his only loss was to Greg Rusedski on clay in Rome in 2006.
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Ivo Karlovic
Dr Ivo hardly ever bothers much with the Asian swing of the tour and he’s never played in Kuala Lumpur in the six years of the existence of this tournament.
The Croatian has dipped his sizable toes into the waters of Bangkok a few times to very little effect and his visits to China have been few and far between, with preference sometimes being for playing Challengers in the US at this stage of the season.
Karlovic has played only 11 matches in China since his debut there in 2003, which was also the year of his only quarter final in that particular country on this Asian swing.
The slow conditions won’t help the Karlovic game either and the veteran’s record as a 1.30 to 1.40 favourite isn’t great either at 29-12, with his most recent defeat being one tipped in this column to Vesely at the US Open.
Basilashvili has a big game and the tools to perhaps nick a tie break or two against Karlovic and the Georgian looks the most likely of the underdogs on Wednesday on a day full of short-priced favourites.
Karlovic won their only prior career meeting, but that was in much quicker conditions in Doha at the start of the year, at a time when Ivo had a lot more in the tank than he probably has now.
Sure thing: Back Chardy to beat Becker at 1.31
Value bet: Back Sousa -2.5 games to beat Przysiezny at 1.79
Long shot: Back Basilashvili to beat Karlovic at 3.40