The opening round of the 2014 ATP Sony Open completes today at Crandon Park, with the remaining 16 matches on the card for Thursday.
Wednesday’s wagers in Miami went one from two, with a comfortable winner in the form of Thiemo de Bakker, who defeated Victor Hanescu in straight sets, while Andrey Golubev failed to see out his final set decider with Ivan Dodig.
Golubev was a break up and had points for a 3-0 lead in that deciding set, but didn’t press his advantage home, which was disappointing.
It’s not exactly the most appealing of schedules of play I’ve ever seen at a Masters 1000 today, with some dreadful-looking matches set for Thursday and it looks a day to be a little circumspect.
I’m tempted to take on Jack Sock here at 1.32 and Daniel Gimeno-Traver at 1.28, as both look much too short, but Guido Pella has no sort of record against big servers and on hard courts generally and Karen Khachanov hasn’t pushed on yet since bursting onto the scene in Russia last autumn.
Denis Istomin and Nico Mahut both have poor records here and face each other today, as does Ryan Harrison, who stands a good chance to improve that today against the hard court averse Federico Delbonis.
Lleyton Hewitt would be a decent choice on the handicap against Robin Haase, who also does not do well here in Miami, but the veteran Aussie has been struggling with a shoulder problem and at his age it doesn’t seem worth the risk at a shortish price.
Fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic makes his return from bilateral hip surgery today against Jarkko Nieminen and consequently the Finn is a 1.40 shot, which doesn’t look fabulous value given the unknown condition of Tomic and the all too well known lack of mental strength of Jarkko.
Lukas Lacko 1.37, Kenny de Schepper 2.95 - starts at 16.05 GMT
Incredibly, given his general lack of application much of the time to his tennis career, Lacko has a superb recent record against left-handers, with 13 wins from his last 15 matches against lefties in all competitions.
The Slovak seems to play when he fancies it, as one look at his results over the years will testify, but he’s worth siding with today after showing decent form in the qualies, with wins over Andrej Martin and Dusan Lajovic in straight sets.
Could it be a coincidence that Miami being a party town has awoken something in Lacko? Quite possibly, but it’s never manifested itself in his tennis before, as he holds a 1-3 record in the main draw here. Today looks a fine chance for him to alter that situation.
De Schepper dropped down to Challenger level during week nine of the tour to arrest a slump in form that saw him lose six of his seven tour level matches this season and he went on to win that Cherbourg Challenger on indoor hard.
Those are much more favourable conditions for the big serving Frenchman though and his serve shouldn’t be anywhere near as effective here in Miami on much slower Laykold courts.
He’s going to have to out rally Lacko to win this and it’s hard to see that happening. The minus 2.5 games on the Slovak at 1.68 looks the call here, as he seeks to continue that great record against lefties.
Back Lacko –2.5 games to beat De Schepper at 1.68