There’s second round and quarter final action on the schedule on Thursday on the ATP World Tour in Buenos Aires, Dubai and Acapulco.
Dubai play their final on Saturday, so they’re a day ahead of some and they start at 11:00 UK time today, while there’s also quarter final action in Acapulco and round two matches in Buenos Aires.
My value bet of Wednesday did prove to be an excellent in-play wager, with the underdog Roberto Bautista-Agut being offered as low as 1.17 when leading by a break in the final set of his match with Richard Gasquet.
Typically, for the way this season has started though RBA failed from match point up in a final set tie break against the Frenchman to provide another heart-breaking loss in 2015.
Those on Marcos Baghdatis, which thankfully didn’t include me, also suffered a shocker, when the Cypriot retired at 4-4 in the final set tie break against Borna Coric, having traded at 1.01.
There was another success for the ‘sure thing’ though when Pablo Cuevas and David Ferrer both won to land the combination wager there.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Paulo Lorenzi had the trainer out early and we were all treated to the hideous sight of his feet well before the watershed and even more disturbing was the fact that he was unable to be competitive against Federico Delbonis.
Andy Murray kicks us off on Thursday in Dubai and after his opponent Coric was misquoted as saying something less than complimentary about the Scot recently I’m sure Murray will reply on the court.
Coric had the trainer out in that rather fortuitous win over Baghdatis and a fairly comfortable win for Murray seems likely there.
Federer should have few issues dealing with Gasquet in these conditions, while it’s hard to imagine Novak Djokovic will lose more than a few games against Marsel Ilhan.
Tomas Berdych vs Sergiy Stakhovsky
Berdych beat Stakhovsky easily here last season, but it could be tougher today and that one seems the only last eight clash in Dubai where an upset is even vaguely conceivable.
Much depends on Stakho’s attitude though, with my 66-1 outright bet in Marseille last week inexplicably deserting a winning gameplan midway through his semi final with Gilles Simon.
The Ukrainian’s variety, if he’s allowed to utilise it, can definitely flummox a player who loves rhythm like Berdych and now under the tutelage of Fabrice Santoro that’s something that Stakho can bring to the court, along with top volleying skills and a decent serve.
My only interest here is in set one, with Stakho starting like a train in his matches this season, while Berdych has been slow to start this week in Dubai.
Stakhovsky has won 12 of his 16 opening sets in 2015, including ones against Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka, David Ferrer, and Simon and if he can move Berdych up and down the court the 4.60 about him winning set one looks a good long shot.
Richard Gasquet vs Roger Federer
After foiling my bet at the death yesterday Gasquet will probably be wishing he’d lost after abut half an hour of this one with Federer if it follows their usual pattern on a quickish court.
The Gasman plays too far back to cope with the attacking game of Federer on a fast surface and he’s unable to have the time to impose himself against the more offensive Swiss.
After struggling through both of his opening two matches here in Dubai this run will end today and Federer 2-0 at 1.47 looks a decent choice as a ‘sure thing’ today if a little bigger in price than normal.
Gasquet has looked utterly beaten very early on against Federer in recent meetings and away from clay he’s 0-10 vs Fed and 2-22 in sets.
Indeed, on hard courts the Gasman has one set lifetime against the Swiss and that was back in 2006, with both of their clashes last season being easy wins for Federer and in conditions he likes it’s hard to see any other outcome than a comfortable win.
For a real cert a Murray/Djokovic/Federer treble pays around 1.18 and I can’t see that not winning, but whether it represents any great value is another question.
It was a rare old night in Acapulco once again on Wednesday, with Grigor Dimitrov being bagelled by Ryan Harrison and Ivo Karlovic playing his fourth straight match on a hard court without a single tie break.
Thursday’s matches there might offer a hint of value on Harrison against Karlovic and Viktor Troicki against Kevin Anderson as underdogs, but I prefer one in Buenos Aires.
Facundo Bagnis vs Blaz Rola
Harrison’s poor record against big servers puts me off him, but this 16:45 UK time start in Argentina offers a good opportunity to back a man very familiar with these conditions as an underdog.
Bagnis lives and trains in Buenos Aires and as such should be motivated and comfortable here and he’ll be confident too after four wins here and a success over Delbonis last week in Sao Paulo.
Rola looks too short and price as if a repeat of his performance in victory over Jiri Vesely yesterday is likely, but he can be wild and in slow conditions he’ll probably be tempted to overhit.
The Slovenian has only ever been favourite to win a match on the ATP World Tour four times in his career and twice on clay, one of which was a loss to Philipp Davydenko as a 1.33 chance and 1.59 seems very tight to me.
Nico Almagro is also short against Albert Ramos, but the latter was so dreadful last week that I can’t back him here and his 4-10 record on clay vs the top-50 in the last year doesn’t help either in that regard.
Tommy Robredo was also shockingly bad last week – also against Andreas Haider-Maurer, like Ramos – and he was also poor when he lost as heavy favourite to Renzo Olivo in their only prior career meeting.
Olivo will be confident and he’s no forlorn hope as a big underdog today, although I would expect Tommy to not let lightning strike twice.
Sure thing: Back Federer to beat Gasquet 2-0 at 1.47
Value bet: Back Bagnis to beat Rola at 2.28
Long shot: Back Stakhovsky to win set one vs Berdych at 4.60