The action hots up in Umag and Atlanta on Tuesday, as we have 19 matches on the card in our ATP 250 tournaments in Croatia and the USA.
Monday’s efforts yielded two winners from my three bets, as underdog Borna Coric comfortably defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin, while Sam Querrey eased past Steve Johnson with less difficulty than the scoreline suggested.
The only man to let the side down was Donald Young, who put in a terrible display to be easily beaten by Dudi Sela and in his home town that was a really poor effort from The Don.
Bizzarely, one of the matches on offer in Atlanta today is the same as yesterday, as Steven Diez takes on Thiemo de Bakker again.
How is this possible? Well, they met in the final round of qualies yesterday, with De Bakker quitting in set two at 7-6, 0-2, but due to all the withdrawals in Atlanta this week the Dutchman gets in as a lucky loser, drawing Diez in the main draw.
The Dutchman would have known that he was in as a lucky loser prior to the match and the layers aren’t convinced by his neck injury and make him 1.47 favourite to progress today.
Indeed, the tournament directors in Atlanta are not happy after losing Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Radek Stepanek already and there could be a complete meltdown in humid Georgia if they happened to lose John Isner or Kevin Anderson too.
We start at around 15:30 UK time in Umag and of the early matches there I wouldn’t be putting too much faith in Carlos Berlocq at 1.28 against Andrej Martin.
The Argentine was beaten by Jesse Huta Galung in Bundesliga on Sunday and looks a little flat at the moment and similarly Andreas Seppi looks a questionable choice as 1.30 favourite against fellow countryman Marco Cecchinato, who’s been playing well lately, while Seppi hasn’t.
Julian Reister might have been worth a bet at a slightly bigger price against the hopelessly out of form Dutchman Igor Sijsling, but after suffering an ankle injury last time out Reister is a tad short at 1.60 today.
Teimuraz Gabashvili vs Dusan Lajovic
This looks a good opportunity to side with the in-form and improving Lajovic over an opponent who has been struggling for fitness in recent weeks.
Gabashvili was predictably beaten by Daniel Gimeno-Traver in straight sets in his last tour level match, as the betting indicated he probably would be, with the Russian not having recovered sufficiently from a knee problem that’s been around for a while.
Since then, Gaba played Bundesliga this Sunday and he did win, but a success over world number 247 Jordi Samper-Montana probably won’t amount to much and he needs tour level matches to get back on track.
He may not get many this week in Umag though, with Lajovic in good touch after a semi final run in Hamburg last week adding to an impressive series of results this summer.
This pair met on the clay of Dusseldorf not long ago and a win for Gabashviliv that day has made Lajovic backable today either outright at 1.57 or minus 2.5 games at 1.92.
Elsewhere in Umag, Benoit Paire and Alexander Zverev have chances as underdogs today, but the former is far from one to trust to produce an effort and the latter may struggle to replicate his form of last week here.
In Atlanta, my old nemesis Denis Istomin could be vulnerable after withdrawing from both Stuttgart and Hamburg resulting in the Uzbek not having played since Wimbledon.
Rajeev Ram should make it tough for Istomin, but having lost to world number 349 Michael Venus in qualies here and landed one of those lucky loser spots he wouldn’t appear to be in great form.
Ryan Harrison can rarely be backed with any confidence as an odds-on favourite and if Tim Smyczek had shown any form at all of late I’d be taking Harrison on here.
Victor Estrella Burgos vs Marinko Matosevic
Marinko has been practicing here over the weekend with doubles partner Istomin, but he too hasn’t played since Wimbledon – but the difference is he’s facing an in-form opponent.
Estrella showed some real guts and determination in tough conditions in Colombia last week and the Dominican has a shot of at least causing problems for a rusty Marinko if that Bogota run hasn’t emptied the tank of energy.
A straight sets win over Gasquet and a very narrow defeat to Bernard Tomic in three tie breaks show the kind of form that Victor is in and he’ll be used to hot and humid conditions having come from Bogota.
It might not play as fast in Atlanta as it did there, but I can see this being tough for Matosevic, whose last match was almost a month ago at Wimbledon.
The +1.5 sets on Estrella Burgos looks the one here, with Mad Dog surely likely to take some time to get back into things. The 2.80 about an Estrella first set also appeals for that reason.
Sela showed yesterday that the journey from Bogota won’t necessarily be an issue and this looks a match where the favourite could struggle.
Back Lajovic to beat Gabashvili at 1.57
Back Estrella +1.5 sets to beat Matosevic at 1.80