The ATP World Tour has three ATP 250 events for us to consider in week 17, with clay court action in Germany, Turkey and Portugal this week.
We signed off from what was a tough week 16 with a winner for my value bet when Guillermo Garcia-Lopez just about covered the handicap of -1.5 games in a nerve-jangling 7-6, 7-6 win over Jiri Vesely in Bucharest on Sunday.
That was a double delight for me, with my outright wager on GGL also landing and this week I’m in Portugal at the Estoril Open, which is a new tournament on the tour for 2015.
I’ll be making my way over to the venue shortly and on a quiet start to the week, which features only eight round one matches across all three venues it’s probably worth being a bit circumspect on Monday with conditions an unknown quantity.
In Istanbul, where the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open is another new event on the calendar, there are only two first round matches today, while Munich also has two and Estoril has four.
Alexander Zverev vs Benjamin Becker
This 15:30 UK time clash at the BMW Open in Munich sees an up and coming German take on a veteran compatriot, with the younger man a decent favourite here.
Zverev rose to prominence in the eyes of many when he made the Hamburg semi finals last season on the clay and it’s fair to say that he enjoys the red dirt far more than Becker.
The soon to be 34-year-old veteran has played only 34 matches on the tour in his whole career and won only eight of them, which gives him a win percentage on clay of 24 percent.
On that stat alone 18-year-old Zverev looks a decent price at an admittedly short-looking 1.53 and looking closer into Becker’s eight wins on clay one will find that the highest ranked opponent he’s ever beaten was (at the time) 66 ranked Stephane Robert here in Munich back in 2010.
Of his other seven wins four have been against players ranked outside the top-150 and the remaining three were ranked 74-90.
In Germany Becker’s overall clay record reads 3-8 and this will be only his third appearance at the Munich Open.
Zverev’s progress has arguably been hindered by the amount of wild cards he’s been the beneficiary of lately and his results, as one would expect, have been mixed, but he would be disappointed to lose this one.
He shouldn’t have too many issues with Becker’s big serve, having beaten Jerzy Janowicz and Sam Groth in the last six weeks and he looks the best of the favourites today, with the possible exception of Robin Haase.
Frederico Ferreira Silva vs Gilles Muller
A new name to many, perhaps, but the Portuguese have high hopes for Ferreira Silva and in receipt of a wild card here the 20-year-old leftie should be much more motivated than Muller today.
Highly rated amongst many observers it will be interesting to see how Ferreira Silva gets on in this 17:00 UK time clash, which will be his maiden ATP World Tour match.
And he’s not without a chance against net rushing Luxembourger Muller, who hasn’t played a match on clay since the 2013 French Open and hasn’t won one at tour level since the 2012 French Open.
I’m sure Muller wouldn’t mind me saying that clay is not his best surface and similarly to Becker he’s played only 37 matches on clay since his first one back in 2000.
Since 2009 Muller has played only nine matches on clay at main level and it would hardly be a shock if Muller lost this one against a young, hungry local prospect.
Jeremy Chardy vs Borna Coric
Chardy is one of six favourites in today’s eight matches priced up between 1.47 and 1.53, which shows what a potentially tricky day of betting Monday is and I’m not sure I like the Frenchman at that price.
It’s always tough to predict a Chardy match, such can be the variance in his level from one day to the next, but I’d rather be on up and coming star Coric to win a set at 1.60 than Chardy to win the match at 1.47 that’s for sure.
Coric is still quite inexperienced on the clay, but he can play on it and matches against Sergiy Stakhovsky, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Ivo Karlovic in recent weeks all went to three sets, which is great experience for the Croatian.
He wasn’t far short against an in-form Dolgo and it would be disappointing if he couldn’t make this a really tough day for the erratic Chardy in this 15:00 UK time clash, which I will definitely be watching.
Chardy’s overall record on clay is predictably patchy and only once, at the Rome Masters (weirdly), has he won three straight matches at a tour level tournament since January 2012.
The over 22.5 games is also tempting here, as is the first set to Coric at 2.38.
Sure thing: Back Zverev to beat Becker at 1.53
Value bet: Back Coric +1.5 sets to beat Chardy at 1.60
Long shot: Back Ferreira Silva to beat Muller at 3.70