Day two in Bercy at the BNP Paribas Masters features round one and two action from the Palais Omnisports in the final tournament of the regular season.
And it didn’t start too well for us on Monday, with an end-of-season display from Pablo Cuevas against Andreas Seppi, but it got a lot better after that when my ‘long shot’ under total games double was successful.
Alexandr Dolgopolov loves to prove people wrong and he foiled a gamble on Jiri Vesely to beat the Czech, but he didn’t get the better of us, with our under 22.5 games wager landing in that one.
Leo Mayer made sure the second leg of the double was a winner when the Argentine breezed past the hapless Martin Klizan 6-4, 6-3 and easily under the 22.5 games there to record a 3.37 success.
Lucas Pouille vs Jeremy Chardy
This 12:00 UK time clash of the Frenchman could well go the way of Pouille, who did well here last year, enjoys the big stage, and can take advantage of a fatigued Chardy.
Pouille beat Stevie Johnson, Fabio Fognini, Jarkko Nieminen, and Ivo Karlovic here a year ago before losing in two close sets to Roger Federer and he’ll be very keen to go well again at this venue.
He warmed up for this by making the quarter finals in Moscow a fortnight ago and he is likely to be the more motivated on Tuesday, with Chardy looking out on his feet lately.
Chardy offered little resistance to British number two Aljaz Bedene in Valencia last week and went down 6-2, 6-1 after winning the opening set 6-3, but the way he faded away seemed to indicate that Chardy is running on fumes.
He’s only managed to win three of his nine matches here at the Paris Masters and that poor run might continue at the hands of the flashy Pouille.
Chardy is 0-2 in his career as a 1.30 to 1.40 favourite on indoor hard and conditions would appear to be rather slow for a player not known for his patience in rallies, which you need here in Bercy.
David Ferrer vs Alexandr Dolgopolov
Again, the short-priced ‘sure things’ look few and far between on day two of the Paris Masters, with Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer the only two who look secure to me.
Djokovic is too short for our purposes against Thomaz Bellucci, so Ferrer will be carrying our hopes on Tuesday when he takes on Dolgo at 10:00 UK time for the 10th time in their careers.
It’s certainly true to say that the quirky Ukrainian has troubled Ferrer on many occasions in the past, including their most recent meeting, which was won by Dolgopolov on the clay of Rio last season.
Indeed, Ferrer has only won two of their nine prior meetings in straight sets, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the Spaniard had to go to a decider, but it’s hard to see Dolgo being fired up for this one.
One of Ferrer’s only two straight sets wins over Dolgopolov came here in Bercy and his liking of the slow conditions here has been proven, with his sole Masters 1000 title coming at this event in 2012.
He also made the final here in 2013, losing to Djokovic, and after a week off last week, where he skipped his hometown event in Valencia (citing an ‘elbow injury’) he should be fresh enough.
Ferrer says he’s over that injury and it would be a surprise if Dolgo beat him in this tournament in these conditions at this stage of the season.
Lukas Rosol vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
We’re looking for some sort, any sort, of motivation at this last knockings stage of the season and a round two clash with Rafa Nadal might just be it for Rosol.
The Czech and Nadal played a bad-tempered clash in Basel last week that Rosol choked away when he should have won it in two straight sets and if he’s got anything about him he’ll be up for a rematch.
Rosol seems to be unpopular with most fellow pros due to his antics, but he has a distinct dislike not only for Nadal, but also for GGL, against whom there have been some testy encounters in recent times.
The Czech would have seen the draw when he battled past Teimuraz Gabashvili in qualies in a final set tie break by nine points to seven and he’ll be up for a dream double of beating GGL and Nadal back-to-back.
All that aside, GGL has a dismal record here, with three straight thrashings by the likes of the fading Jurgen Melzer, Chardy and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and his only win was a three-set affair with Santi Giraldo back in 2011.
GGL showed little last week in Valencia and he’s not really an end of season man, so I’d expect Rosol to have a bit too much determination for him in this 18:00 UK time clash.
Rosol as underdog at evens seems a decent price and one I’m prepared to take.
Sure thing: Back Ferrer to beat Dolgopolov at 1.28
Value bet: Back Rosol to beat Garcia-Lopez at 2.0
Long shot: Back Pouille to beat Chardy at 3.30