Round one continues in our three ATP World Tour events on Tuesday, with the usual packed schedule of matches on day two of the week.
In Hamburg we have 12 singles matches on the card today, while in Gstaad they have eight, and Atlanta has seven, so there’s a rather excessive 27 matches to consider today.
It wasn’t the start to the week that I had hoped for on Monday, with Taro Daniel being outplayed by a rare good performance from Jerzy Janowicz, while Nicolas Almagro was beaten by Albert Ramos under the roof in Hamburg.
That was compounded by Alexandr Dolgopolov losing from a set up against Go Soeda and the only bright point was an easy win for Gilles Muller in Atlanta at around the same time.
We start rather early at 09:30 UK time in Gstaad on Tuesday and an hour later in Gstaad and looking back at last year’s first round at the Swiss Open there were four underdog winners from 12 matches, with Yann Marti’s 3.78 win over Daniel Gimeno-Traver being the pick.
In Hamburg in 2014 we saw nine underdog winners from 16 matches, with Dustin Brown’s win over Pablo Carreno-Busta being the pick at 3.74, which brings me nicely on to my first pick of Tuesday.
Pablo Carreno-Busta vs Mikhail Youzhny
"The future of Spanish tennis," Rafa Nadal once said about Carreno-Busta and PCB certainly has a very long way to go indeed if he’s ever to live up to that ill-advised prediction from the former world number one.
The layers seem to have taken Nadal at his word in recent times and PCB always seems to be very short in price – shorter than he should be based on his stats.
Carreno-Busta has won only eight of his 25 tour level matches this season and I’m tempted by the big price on the out of form Youzhny today for a couple of reasons, other than PCB being priced up too short as usual.
The Spaniard has never won a single match at Gstaad, Kitzbuhel, Madrid or Sao Paulo – all of which are played at varying levels of altitude – which has to be a worry, as they’re all also on his favoured clay surface.
Youzhny is a former champion in Gstaad (in 2013) and although his current form is wretched, hence the price, it could be worth taking the value on the Russian, who is vastly more experienced at playing at altitude.
PCB has lost 17 of his last 24 matches at main level against top-100 opposition and although Youzhny’s bad run may well continue in this match Carreno-Busta is a very short price to make it happen.
Youzhny to start the match well and take the first set at 3.0 or to win it outright at 3.40 both look decent options in this one.
Other possible options for ‘long shots’ on Tuesday include Fernando Verdasco against Rafa Nadal and Henri Laaksonen against Joao Sousa.
Verdasco has won his last two against Nadal and could possibly catch him cold in slow, indoor conditions, but Rafa is reportedly getting €500,000 just to play here this week, so you’d think he’d make an effort.
Sousa should beat Laaksonen, but the Portuguese scrapper may well be suffering a hangover from a bad loss in the Umag final on Sunday and could be fatigued after a tough 10 days or so.
Sam Groth vs Francis Tiafoe
The Americans have high hopes for young Tiafoe, but he’s surely not up to handling the bullets that will come at him from the racquet of Groth in this Atlanta clash.
Tiafoe has only played three matches at tour level so far and lost all of them and this looks a really good opportunity for Groth to make amends for a poor display last week against Radek Stepanek in Bogota.
Fatigue from Davis Cup was most likely the reason for a bad tempered loss that ended in a bagel against the veteran Czech, but he should be in better physical shape and Tiafoe won’t have seen anything like Groth’s serve.
The 17-year-old’s latest match on tour was a loss to Bjorn Fratangelo in Binghampton and he’s won only one of his last eight matches at all levels.
Groth has an 8-2 record as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite and it would be a big surprise if Tiafoe was able to cope with the power of the Aussie here.
Other short-priced options today include Thomaz Bellucci, who should beat Kimmer Coppejans at one of his favourite tournaments, and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who faces Nadal’s mate Munar, who is only here on Rafa's say so. The double on those two pays around 1.30.
Jiri Vesely vs Andreas Haider-Maurer
This match really looks like a 50/50 call to me, so I like the price on Haider-Maurer, who played well last week in Umag before succumbing to the intense heat and humidity in Croatia.
The Austrian defeated Robin Haase on clay in Davis Cup before playing Umag where he beat Martin Klizan and gave eventual champion Dominic Thiem all he could handle before the heat got to him.
There won’t be any such problems in a damp Hamburg this week and AHM looks a very tempting price at 2.48 against Vesely, who seems rather too short for my liking in this 14:00 UK time approx. start.
The pair have met on four prior occasions and they are tied at 2-2 in their career series at the moment, but Vesely has done little to justify a price of 1.52 to my mind.
He hasn’t won a match since Wimbledon and on the two occasions he’s played Haider-Maurer at tour level it’s the Austrian who has come out on top.
Vesely has lost five of his six matches at main level as a 1.50 to 1.60 favourite – including to Haider-Maurer in Umag in 2013 and he’s lost his last four matches in Germany – so all told the Czech seems poor value today.
Others who look like decent value options today include Daniel Gimeno-Traver, Paulo Lorenzi, Marcel Granollers, Alexander Zverev, and Diego Sebastian Schwartzman on a busy day on the clay.
Sure thing: Back Groth to beat Tiafoe at 1.27
Value bet: Back Haider-Maurer to beat Vesely at 2.48
Long shot: Back Youzhny to win set one at 3.0