Wednesday on week one of the 2016 ATP World Tour features 16 matches across our three tournaments in Brisbane, Doha and Chennai.
And we’re in good shape for the week after a clean sweep of three winning bets and five successful selections on Tuesday saw the ‘sure thing’, ‘long shot’ and ‘value bet’ all land.
Bernard Tomic was a straight set winner for short-priced backers, while Pablo Andujar landed a 2.02 gamble with a victory over Paulo Lorenzi and ‘long shot’ punters were happy when James Duckworth +1.5 sets, Aljaz Bedene +1.5 sets and set one overs in Viktor Troicki’s match all won.
Moving on to Wednesday and it’s second round day in our ATP 250 tournaments and looking back at last year’s round two clashes we saw two underdog winners from eight matches in Brisbane (the same as in Chennai), and only one from eight in Doha in 2015.
Kei Nishikori vs Mikhail Kukushkin
Wednesday’s ‘sure thing’ is the 1.18 about Japanese star Nishikori, who takes on Kukushkin in Brisbane at around 03:00 UK time, and he brings a fine record as a short-priced favourite into this match.
Nishikori has won 35 of his 37 matches as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite, with no losses since a defeat to Dan Evans at the 2013 US Open, so he’s on a run of 28 victories in that price range at main level.
He’s also won all four matches against Kukushkin, who might provide a decent test in Kei’s opening competitive match of the season, but it seems unlikely his game will have the power and consistency to get over the line against Nishikori.
The Kazakh has a record of 2-22 against top-10 opponents and looks set for another loss against top class opposition on Wednesday.
I was initially tempted by the 1.41 on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez against Ante Pavic in Chennai as a bigger-priced ‘sure thing’, but the Spaniard has pulled out of the doubles with a calf problem, so I’ll give that one a miss.
Stan Wawrinka hasn’t dropped a set in Chennai since losing to Bedene back in 2012, but I still don’t really trust him in ATP 250s at a price like today’s 1.11 against the talented Russian youngster Andrey Rublev.
Tomas Berdych should have few problems against Damir Dzumhur though, while Rafa Nadal is unlikely to lose to Robin Haase, and likewise Novak Djokovic against Fernando Verdasco.
Marin Cilic vs Hyeon Chung
This looks a tough opening match of the season for Cilic, who has done nothing ahead of the Australian Open since winning Chennai back in 2010, and the Croat could easily drop a set to up and coming Chung in this 06:00 UK time clash in Brisbane.
Chung and Cilic have met twice already in the former’s fledgling pro career and both meetings were very similar, with Cilic nicking a tight opening set and going on to win in two sets, but it’s been far from easy for Cilic.
Chung could easily have taken at least one set from Cilic and with one match under his belt here in Brisbane already against a big server in Sam Groth he could be capable of exposing any rustiness in the game of the former US Open champ.
The 2.95 about Chung taking the opener looks a viable ‘long shot’ on Wednesday, while other underdogs who may cause problems include Radek Stepanek, who has a 3-0 career series lead over Bernard Tomic, and perhaps Paul-Henri Mathieu.
PHM edged out my pick Albert Ramos, saving a match point, in a final set tie break on Tuesday and if that hasn’t taken too much out of him he can test Chardy, who often flops when the draw opens up for him, as is has in Doha thanks to David Ferrer’s shock defeat.
Borna Coric vs Austin Krajicek
I’m not sure who’s coming up with these prices about Coric these days, but 1.28 is daft on the 19-year-old in hot conditions against Austin Krajicek in the humidity of Chennai.
Coric had to work very hard indeed to beat Marcel Granollers in three sets on Monday and now he has a 17:00 local time (11:30 UK time) clash in 30C heat (in the shade) with 60 percent humidity.
The Croatian will face an opponent in Krajicek who also had to go three sets in his opening round, but hailing from Florida the American is very much used to heat and humidity.
Coric should be winning this match, but this is only the second time in his career that he’s been a sub-1.40 favourite at main level, and 1.91 on Krajicek taking a set seems far better value than 1.28 on Coric winning this match.
It’s a first career meeting between the pair and in these brutal Chennai conditions the price on Coric looks much too short again.
Sure thing: Back Nishikori to beat Kukushkin at 1.18
Value bet: Back Krajicek + 1.5 sets to beat Coric at 1.91
Long shot: Back Chung to win set one at 2.95