The German Open in Hamburg completes its second round of matches at the Rothenbaum on Wednesday after a day of fluctuating fortunes on Tuesday.
Alexander Zverev provided set handicap backers with the easiest winner of the year when he took the opening set 6-0 over favourite Robin Haase, before going on to win the match for the loss of only two games.
Misfortune was to follow though when Julian Reister fell and injured his ankle, forcing him to retire early in set two, meaning a loss for my bet before Daniel Gimeno-Traver wasted his chances against Tommy Robredo.
DGT was twice a break up in set two needing just that set to land my bet, but he failed to see it out and ended up losing it 5-7 for a frustrating loss there.
I said yesterday that the +6.5 games on Mikhail Kukushkin should land and indeed it did, with that one effectively done and dusted after a 6-2 opener in favour of Kuku.
There are another dozen matches on the card for today and the first one that I like is a 13:00 approx UK time start.
Pablo Andujar vs Thomaz Bellucci
It appears that Bellucci’s days in the sun are long gone as far as the heady moments that he graced the top-25 in the world are concerned and I’m happy to take the Brazilian on today too.
The erratic leftie has slumped to a ranking of 96 thanks to injuries and loss of form and he’s here at this second round in Hamburg thanks to a lucky loser spot after the withdrawal of Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Bellucci’s 3-1 head-to-head over Andujar largely comes from a time when Thomaz was a top-30 star and unfortunately for him he no longer plays with that panache and swagger that made him so watchable a few years ago.
Injuries haven’t helped, but his recent form is dreadful, with losses to the likes of Philipp Petzschner, who had barely played a match for a year, and defeats to Matteo Viola, Igor Sijsling, and Henri Laaksonen that don’t read well in context.
He was comfortably beaten by the talented but brittle Filip Krajinovic in the qualifiers here and Pablo should surely be favourite for this after a much-needed confidence boost in round one over Mate Delic.
Available at 1.88 last night, Pablo has come in to 1.60 this morning, but the minus 1.5 games at 1.73 now seems the best wager here.
Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Jerzy Janowicz
This 11:00 UK time clash looks another good opportunity to side against the awful Janowicz in a season where it’s been largely profitable to do so.
The Pole played well in defeating Albert Ramos in round one here and perhaps he’s over his recent foot injury problems, but in any case Dolgo should be far too good for JJ on clay.
A fine exponent of the red dirt on his day Dolgo has a final in Rio already under his belt this season and looked to be in good touch at Wimbledon, where he lost in five to Grigor Dimitrov.
It’s always a bit of a gamble backing a player in his or her first match on a new surface, but Dolgo is such a good returner of a big serve that I find it hard to see where Janowicz can gain much of a foothold in this match.
JJ has won one of his last nine against top-20 opposition in the last year and Dolgo took him down for the loss of just four games in much quicker conditions on hard in Sydney at the start of the season.
I like this match-up for the Ukrainian and the 2-0 at 2.16, under 22.5 games at 1.82 and the minus 2.5 games at 1.80 all appeal here.
Elsewhere, the outsiders with chances in Hamburg today look to be Alexander Zverev, Dustin Brown, Tobias Kamke, Leo Mayer and Martin Klizan.
Brown is always dangerous in Germany and is likely to take a set off the never reliable Fernando Verdasco, while Zverev could step up again in his match with Mikhail Youzhny, who’s form this season has been generally poor.
The Russian did play well in Stuttgart last week though, so maybe that’s one to watch today and see how the talented 17-year-old fares.
Back Andujar –1.5 games to beat Bellucci at 1.73
Back Dolgopolov –2.5 games to beat Janowicz at 1.80