Tuesday is a busy day as ever on the ATP World Tour, with 24 matches scheduled for today across week six’s three tournaments.
The week didn’t start in the best of fashions when an atrocious showing from Lukas Rosol allowed Simone Bolelli to record his eighth straight 6-3 opening set and take down my set one overs bet.
Rosol began to play at 1-4* down, but still served for the bet to come in only to fail miserably, before I got the match I expected, but not the result between David Goffin and Gilles Muller.
My 4.0 long shot of Goffin to edge it 2-1 went the other way, with Muller taking the only break of the match in the decider.
Nico Almagro shook off his match rustiness to land my ‘sure thing’ late on in Sao Paulo to make it 1/3 on the day.
Joao Sousa vs Gilles Simon
If you’ve backed against him Sousa is like an annoying wasp that simply won’t go away and I would imagine that he’ll give Simon more of a run for his money than his match odds of 2.95 suggest.
On slowish indoor surfaces it takes power to get past the Portuguese scrapper and Simon will need to be at his best to get through this tricky-looking first round encounter in Rotterdam.
Indeed, Sousa defeated Simon in their only prior career meeting, which was on slow outdoor hard in Miami last summer and he’s in the form and mood to annoy Gillou again today.
Despite lacking the weapons to be a force in the game he’s incredibly fit and tenacious and won’t let up until he’s beaten, which should make for a lengthy encounter when this one starts at around 12:00 UK time on Centre Court.
The +1.5 sets on Sousa at 1.76 appeals, but I like the over 21.5 games here at 1.87.
Only one of Sousa’s matches this season has ended in fewer than 22 games and I expect it to take longer than that for Simon to break him down.
Maximo Gonzalez vs Fernando Verdasco
It’s not often that Verdasco loses to players ranked in the 80-120 category, such as Gonzalez and the Spaniard has won eight of his last 11 such matches.
The three losses could reasonably have been foreseen, with one to Pablo Cuevas in Bastad at a tournament that Cuevas ended up winning and one in a final set tie break to the dangerously unpredictable Dustin Brown.
Cuevas was in a false ranking position at the time and Brown can be anything on his day, while the final loss was a five set defeat to Andrey Kuznetsov at the US Open.
Being his first match in these Sao Paulo conditions for three years it might take a bit of time for the Spaniard to get on top, but he played well on the clay at altitude last week in Quito, so it isn’t a huge adjustment.
My long shot bet today is a Sao Paulo double of two players I fancy at decent prices.
I like Thomaz Bellucci in the late match in Sao Paulo against Martin Klizan with all the motivation here being with the Brazilian over the generally reluctant Slovak.
Both of Bellucci’s wins over Klizan have come in this city and the Sao Paulo resident attuned himself to the altitude nicely with a run to the semi finals in Quito before losing to Victor Estrella Burgos (as did Klizan).
For me, Klizan is more effective in slower European conditions and the control and consistency needed at altitude is often missing from the Slovak’s game.
To be fair it’s often missing from Bellucci’s too, but he’s much more likely to battle here than Klizan, who was once again moaning about conditions last week.
He wasn’t happy about the courts in Quito after complaining that it was too hot in Melbourne, despite their being only four retirements in the men’s draw this year in what was a much cooler fortnight than usual.
The second leg is to take a chance on the in-form Thiemo De Bakker, who has been using the altitude very nicely in his three qualifying matches here so far.
The Dutchman is a streaky sort, who is worth following when in the mood and today he faces a man who has talked of giving up the game in recent weeks.
Juan Monaco has been plagued by injuries and after losing to Bolelli in Melbourne the Argentine spoke of “not playing much longer”.
He hasn’t won a match since last October and it has to be questioned whether the Argentine still has the fitness to play top-level tennis these days.
Pico looks a shaky favourite here with De Bakker being broken just once here in three qualifying matches and attuned to the conditions, as well as Monaco’s highly questionable fitness.
Sure thing: Back Verdasco to beat Gonzalez at 1.30
Value bet: Back over 21.5 games in Sousa/Simon at 1.87
Long shot: Back De Bakker to beat Monaco and Bellucci to beat Klizan at 4.08