Round two completes on Thursday in Estoril, Istanbul and Munich, where we have a dozen matches to evaluate on week 17 of the ATP World Tour.
Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov are playing their first matches of the week in Munich and Istanbul respectively today, while here in Estoril Tommy Robredo, Kevin Anderson and Borna Coric are in action.
On a rainy and miserable old Wednesday in Estoril Leo Mayer let us down badly with a really feeble collapse against Nico Almagro, having also failed to serve out set one against the Spaniard at *6-5.
Mayer was broken twice in set two and went away tamely after the opener had gone as expected and overs backers would have been happy at that point, but not with the Argentine’s efforts in set two.
Robin Haase won one half of my double as underdog against Feli Lopez, but my second odds-against pick Simone Bolelli lost in a decider to David Goffin in Munich.
Richard Gasquet delivered another winner for ‘sure thing’ backers – the 14th winner from the last 15 in that category – when the Frenchman eased past compatriot Kenny De Schepper in the required straight sets.
Kevin Anderson vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
The luck has to change soon on the bigger-priced wagers and there’s every chance it could be today, with GGL looking a decent favourite against Anderson in Estoril.
Anderson was being put through his paces on the practice courts on Tuesday, doing drills on stop volleys and drop shots and he’ll need to have perfected them to have much of a chance of beating an in-form Garcia-Lopez today.
The big South African is much more at home on hard courts and against the top-50 he has a 10-18 record and two wins in his last eight against such opposition, with the two wins coming against Ivo Karlovic and Jeremy Chardy – the latter on HarTru American clay.
Garcia-Lopez is a confidence player and having enjoyed backing him to the outright win in Bucharest last week all that I’ve seen from him so far in Estoril gives the impression of a man enjoying his work at the moment.
Anderson won the two prior meetings between the pair, but neither were on clay and unless fatigue has struck GGL, which doesn’t appear to be the case, he looks the likely winner in this 15:00 start on Estadio Millennium.
The other one I considered was Dusan Lajovic as slight underdog against Ivan Dodig and those prices look the wrong way round to me, with in my view Lajovic the more likely winner of that one on clay. Also Lukas Rosol looks very short against Sergiy Stakhovsky, who has beaten the Czech four times and even though this is on clay Rosol still seems skinny.
Borna Coric vs Rui Machado
Thursday is likely to be the day that Portugal says adeus to it’s last player in the men’s singles in Estoril, with the determined Coric looking the best price of today’s ‘sure thing’ options at around 1.37 to beat Machado.
Coric has looked focused all week here and anything like a repeat of the form that we saw in the win over Jeremy Chardy that we enjoyed on Monday will see the Croatian through to the quarter finals.
Machado was able to edge past Joao Sousa in round one assisted by the latter’s nervy performance in front of his home crowd, but that is likely to be as good as it gets for Machado, who has only ever won two matches at this stage of a tour level tournament.
Those wins came in 2010 and 2011 and both against opponents ranked outside the top-80 in the world and the highly ambitious Coric would be livid if he lost this 19:30 start on Estadio Millennium.
Other options for ‘sure things’ today now include Pablo Carreno-Busta, who should beat lucky loser David Vega Hernandez, and Pablo Andujar, who looks highly likely to beat Gerald Melzer in Munich.
Fabio Fognini vs Dominic Thiem
It’s worth taking a chance on Thiem at a tempting 4.20 to beat the erratic and unpredictable Italian in straight sets in this 14:00 UK time start in Munich.
It will be the first career meeting between the pair and Fognini, who has been complaining of “a bit of nausea” in recent days could be pig sick by the end of today if Thiem finds his best form.
The young Austrian was made to struggle in his opener by Vasek Pospisil and he had to save a couple of match points to do it, but Thiem can kick on from that and his motivation could well be higher than Fognini’s today – one can never tell with Fogna.
What we do know is that of 16 matches as a 1.50 to 1.60 favourite on clay Fognini has won only eight and 12 of those matches were done in straight sets and seven of his eight losses at that price were 0-2 defeats.
Indeed, seven of his eight losses on all surfaces in 2015 have come in two sets, with the exception being the first week of the season loss to Juan Martin Del Potro in Sydney and there’s enough in this to side with Thiem, who enjoys the clay, as underdog.
He has won five of his nine matches in 2015 against players ranked higher than himself, with three of the four he failed to win coming against one player – Roberto Bautista-Agut – and the other was against Andy Murray in a good performance in Miami.
Sure thing: Back Coric to beat Machado at 1.37
Value bet: Back Garcia-Lopez to beat Anderson at 1.75
Long shot: Back Thiem to beat Fognini 2-0 at 4.20