Round two of the Coupe Rogers is the order of the day at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal on Wednesday, with 14 matches on the card for today, weather permitting.
The rain meant a late start on Tuesday in Canada and Richard Gasquet didn’t start at all, with the Frenchman pulling out of his clash with Jeremy Chardy due to injury.
That bet was void, but there was a painful loss involving another Frenchman when Adrian Mannarino lost his match with Jack Sock from *4-1 up with two serves to come in a final set tie break.
Mannarino at least made for an excellent in-play bet by that point, having started as a 2.60 shot, but it was really tough on match odds punters.
Also tough was Benjamin Becker’s lack of ability to finish off what must surely be a shattered John Isner, whose serve wasn’t functioning and had a medical time out after only three games.
Quite a night and it’s a busy one again today, with 13 new matches on the card in Montreal on Wednesday.
Last time we were in Montreal we saw only four underdog winners in round two, with Alex Bogomolov Jr’s 10.25 win over David Ferrer the best of them.
Weather-wise we’re set for rain showers and thunderstorms early in the day’s play, followed by cloud and so we should get at least a decent amount of play today.
Tomas Berdych vs Donald Young
Even in his first match on a hard court since April 3 Berdych looks a ‘sure thing’ against Young in this 21:30 UK time start and he can be combined with Kei Nishikori for a 1.28 double.
Berdych’s solid backhand is likely to prove more than a match for Young’s in and out lefty forehand and the Czech has lost only one match since 2009 on a hard court to a left-hander ranked outside the top-50.
That was to Michael Berrer in Beijing in 2010 and he’s won 19 of his last 20 in total since a loss to Chris Guccione in Sydney in 2009.
He’s also won 40 of his 43 matches on outdoor hard at main level when priced as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite and he’s never lost one to a lefty.
Nishikori faces the questionable hard court talents of Pablo Andujar, who has won one of his 10 matches on the surface against top-10 players and that was on slow hard in Miami against Fernando Verdasco back in 2011.
He’s never beaten a top-five player on any surface and quick outdoor hard really isn’t his thing as the Spaniard’s results indicate.
The worry with Kei is injury after a tough week in Washington DC, but he should be okay and he has won his last 14 in a row when priced as a 1.10 to 1.20 favourite on outdoor hard at main level.
The Japanese’s last loss at that price was to Dan Evans in New York in 2013 and in all he’s 17-2 in that price range.
Rafa Nadal can probably be added to those two as well to make a treble, but as unlikely as it is that the mediocre back court game of Sergiy Stakhovsky can get the better of Rafa I can’t trust him at very short prices these days.
Stakho would have to serve off the scale and come to the net a lot, barely missing a volley to have a chance and I don’t see an upset in that one, although one would be most welcome.
Nick Kyrgios vs Stanislas Wawrinka
This is far from an easy first match on a hard court since March 29 for Wawrinka against the unpredictable Kyrgios, who brings all sorts to the court – sometimes sublime and often ridiculous.
The Aussie edged past Fernando Verdasco yesterday in three sets that will help him immensely today in his second career clash with Wawrinka and he should be keen to get one over on Stan after a dismal effort in their previous encounter.
Kyrgios was at his sulky worst that day on grass at Queen’s Club and appeared as if he couldn’t be bothered and with Lleyton Hewitt in his camp for the time being one would hope that Rusty will have had a quiet word about his attitude.
NK himself, as modestly as ever, says of this match that if he serves well “there’s only so much people can do,” and he has a point to some extent and to me Wawrinka looks very short in price here.
The Swiss has only won one match on hard since Melbourne and Kyrgios could catch him cold in this 01:30 UK time clash.
Either the 2.55 about set one or 2.85 about the match appeal here on Kyrgios against an opponent who, as well as being rusty, has a mediocre 5-4 record in Montreal.
Jeremy Chardy vs Leonardo Mayer
For my ‘long shot’ today I’m taking on two of the toughest looking matches on the card in a 6.89 double, starting with Mayer to beat Chardy as slight underdog.
Chardy was very fortunate yesterday, not only in not facing Richard Gasquet, but in facing an ill-prepared last minute lucky loser in Nicolas Mahut.
Mahut had less than half an hour’s notice that he was to play and he still should have won set two against Chardy.
Mayer defeated young starlet Hyeon Chung pretty comfortably in his opener and I give him the edge in this clash of two players with similar styles.
Both like to wind up on the forehand after a big serve and the single-handed backhand of Mayer versus Chardy’s two-hander could be the key to this one.
The Argentine opted not to defend his Hamburg title on clay to come to North America and prepare for the hard court swing and that could pay off here.
The clash between Ernests Gulbis and Lukas Rosol could be anything, but Rosol will be bubbling with confidence after beating Kevin Anderson, while Gulbis almost lost to an exhausted Dominic Thiem and I like the 2-0 to Rosol at a good price.
Gulbis may well still be short of form and that Thiem win may amount to very little, with his forehand still looking pretty horrible, and Rosol will try and batter that side tonight.
Sure thing: Back Berdych and Nishikori at 1.28
Value bet: Back Kyrgios to beat Wawrinka at 2.85
Long shot: Back Rosol 2-0 and Mayer to beat Chardy at 6.89