The first and second round action continues at the Foro Italico in the 2014 Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
I said yesterday that Filippo Volandri may as well hang his racquet up if he couldn’t take a set from Gilles Simon on his home court and Pippo may have to consider that option after blowing his golden chance in set two of Monday’s encounter.
Volandri had a break point for a double break 3-0 lead in that set, but ended up losing it 6-3 in a low quality affair that won’t have Gillou’s next opponent, one Rafael Nadal, losing much sleep.
Fellow Italian hope Fabio Fognini was also a straight sets loser on Monday to Lukas Rosol, while Ivo Karlovic rolled back the years for his first main draw win in Rome since 2009, with a surprising win over Pablo Carreno Busta.
Tuesday at the Foro Italico features a dozen men’s matches, with play starting at 10.00 UK time.
I am tempted to side with Andreas Seppi in his clash with Tommy Haas at around 12.00 today, but there doesn’t seem a huge amount of value in his price of 1.85 given his 1-5 record against the German.
Haas’s shoulder injury is a further complicating factor and the layers must have built that in with Seppi’s price today, as home advantage won’t count for much with Seppi’s questionable mental strength.
Interestingly, Tommy hasn’t won a match in Rome since way back in 2002, so if I was betting in that one I’d probably take the over 22.5 games at 1.88.
The rain around in Rome today may make conditions interesting and perhaps that will help Seppi, but at odds-against I’d have taken the chance, not at odds-on.
Milos Raonic 1.27 Simone Bolelli 3.65
This is a very interesting final match of the day between the big serving Canadian and the talented but temperamental Italian, played in conditions that should favour the home player.
Bolelli has had a tough time with injury in recent years and he’s playing here at the Foro Italico in the main draw for the first time since 2011 this year.
He just about got the better of compatriot Stefano Travaglia yesterday in the first round in a final set tie break, but his form is coming back, as he showed by winning the Tunis Challenger a couple of weeks ago and the Vercelli Challenger the week before.
So, his confidence should be high and he does have a lot more experience of playing on clay when the conditions become a little heavier, though Milos did play quite a bit on red dirt as a youngster.
The heavy conditions might make Raonic a little more vulnerable today and although I still think he’ll win I can’t see it being comfortable and Bolelli’s biggish serve might make it tough for Milos to break too often.
Bolelli doesn’t have a good record against big servers and that’s one thing that puts me off the outright win on the Italian here, but the +1.5 sets looks decent at 2.10 today.
We should at least get a decent showing from Bolelli in front of his home crowd and Milos looks rather short at a tournament where, it must be remembered, he’s never won a single match or even won a set in three appearances.
Best Bet: Back Bolelli +1.5 sets to beat Raonic at 2.10