Ivan Dodig has been below par this year and it's worth siding with Albano Olivetti to take at least a set, writes Sean Calvert...
The action steps up a notch in Marseille on Tuesday, as the Palais des Sports has five first round matches on the card in the Open 13 and there’s action also in Rio and Delray Beach.
Monday’s bets went one from two, as Feli Lopez and Sam Querrey produced the expected overs in Delray Beach, while Jack Sock threw in a very poor performance against Adrian Mannarino in which he pretty much gave up early on.
Kicking us off at 10am in Marseille there’s an intriguing clash between Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Sijsling, in which the Dutchman’s bustling, aggressive style should be perfect against Davy, who doesn’t like to be bullied, as his awful head-to-head against James Blake shows.
That said, Sijsling comes into this a little short in the betting after a run to the semi finals in Rotterdam last week and he was complaining of a shoulder problem there, which is another negative.
Britain’s Dan Evans stands a very decent chance of progression in Marseille after coming through qualies and he’d be a good choice as underdog against Sergiy Stakhovsky, but I don’t see any value in him as a 1.83 favourite.
Albano Olivetti vs Ivan Dodig
This battle of the big servers looks one for the overs and also one for a chance to back the underdog at around 5.30pm UK time.
Olivetti made the last eight here two years ago and did the same in Montpellier two weeks ago. His huge game clearly suits fast conditions and the Gerflor surface here at the Palais des Sports will help him.
The 22-year-old’s progress was hampered by injuries after that initial breakthrough here in 2012, but he looks like he’s getting back to his best form and fitness right now, which is more than can be said for his opponent today.
Dodig has struggled with a back injury this year and he’s looked below par in both singles and doubles, with his partnership with Marcelo Melo posting some poor results and this is a good opportunity for Albano.
Ivan generally utilises serve and volley tactics when facing Ivo Karlovic and so we may see an old fashioned match here where both players will try and get control of the net, which is very rare these days.
The Olivetti +1.5 sets or the Frenchman to win the first set at 2.80 appeal here, as does the outright win at 3.25.
Juan Monaco vs Horacio Zeballos
Over on the red dirt of Rio de Janeiro at around 5pm UK time there’s a clash between to Argentines who are both very much out of form, but we have one of them as a 1.38 favourite.
Monaco hasn’t won a match in singles or doubles since beating Nicolas Mahut in Winston Salem back in August of 2013 and he’s been forced to deny rumours that he’s about to retire.
The former world number 10 has been struggling with a wrist problem and it’s not the sort of injury that will go away any time soon if that information is correct and Zeballos can at least make this one closer than the odds suggest.
Zeballos too has had a poor year ever since beating Rafa Nadal in Vina del Mar 12 months ago and has made just two quarter finals since, but he did pick up a Challenger on the dirt at the end of last year and he can take a set today.
Leonardo Mayer vs Albert Ramos
This 3pm UK time clash pits one very much in-form player against one who has been struggling for some time and I like the idea of siding with Mayer minus 2.5 games at 1.83 here.
Leo has been in fine touch on the Golden Swing so far with his only losses coming to Fabio Fognini, while Ramos has 12 first round exits from his last 15 tournaments in all competitions and was easily handled by Mayer 6-1, 6-3 when they met on the clay of Umag last summer.
Over in Delray Beach the only value I can find there might be Teimuraz Gabashvili to beat the awful Matt Ebden. I can’t have the Aussie as favourite against anyone half decent and Gabashvili comes into that category.
Back Olivetti +1.5 sets to beat Dodig at 1.75
Back Zeballos +1.5 sets to beat Monaco at 1.83
Back Mayer –2.5 games to beat Ramos at 1.83