The ATP World Tour starts its North American hard court swing in week 30, while in Europe the red dirt grinders are at work in Switzerland and Croatia.
We signed off a successful week on the clay of Hamburg with another winner in the form of Leonardo Mayer, who showed some great heart to fight back from a set down to defeat David Ferrer and land a maiden title.
Mayer should have sent us to the payout queue in set one, but he wasted a break lead and an early lead in the tie break, but our +1.5 sets bet collected easily in set two before the Argentine went on to win the title over a very frustrated Ferrer.
Rain is set to decimate the schedule for most of this week in the Credit Agricole Suisse Open in Gstaad, so today’s focus is on the clay in the Croatia Open Umag and hard at the BB&T Atlanta Open.
It’s a low key kind of start to both events on Monday, with just four main draw matches in total on the cards of Umag and Atlanta today, but there look to be opportunities in three of them.
We start at around 16:30 UK time today at the International Tennis Centre in Umag, which, due to its location on the coast, tends to be breezy and the courts aren’t exactly in the best of condition generally.
It’s a party tournament as well, with late starts, plenty of beach time for the players and lots of support for the Italian players as well as Croatians and Slovenians.
There weren’t many three set matches here last year – just seven in total – and it’s worth thinking about whether your selections are here to win – or largely to have fun.
Borna Coric vs Edouard Roger-Vasselin - Live on Unibet TV
This 16:30 UK time start looks a decent opportunity for the 17-year-old from Zagreb to at least strike a bit of a blow against an established top-50 player.
Coric has been handed a wildcard here and he did pretty well with one last year too when he took the first set from Horacio Zeballos, who was number 58 in the world at that point.
He’s yet to win a match in the main draw of a tour level tournament, but he’s been far from disgraced in the three matches he’s played at this level and two Davis Cup rubbers.
Coric has taken a set in each of this three main draw appearances – against Leo Mayer, Zeballos and Michael Berrer and he beat Jerzy Janowicz in Davis Cup in five sets earlier this season.
ERV has been struggling with a knee injury since Wimbledon and pulled out of Stuttgart a couple of weeks ago due to that problem.
The Frenchman has played a bit of Bundesliga since then on the clay, so he should be fit, but he’s never won a match here in Umag and Coric’s motivation will clearly be very high today.
The +1.5 sets on Coric at 1.98 looks good, as does the set one to the Croatian at 3.15.
In the second scheduled match in Umag Pablo Carrreno-Busta faces Paulo Lorenzi for the second time in 11 days after the Spaniard was much too good for the Italian in Bastad.
Lorenzi has not won a match in three tries at this tournament, despite the support, and it’s hard to see how he can turn around such a defeat so quickly.
Over in Atlanta they play at a temporarily converted shopping and residential area in the city called Atlantic Station on Decoturf hard courts and they play late due to high humidity there at this time of year.
There’s been rain around in Atlanta and there may be thunderstorms again today, but the first match scheduled features two big-serving Americans.
Sam Querrey vs Steve Johnson - Live on Unibet TV
Querrey played some very good tennis at Wimbledon – some of the best we’ve seen from him for quite a while – but he still managed to continue that fine old Querrey tradition of losing from match point up.
Big Sam withdrew from Newport for undisclosed reasons – perhaps fatigue after that five set marathon with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – while Johnson cost me a few quid in a poor showing against eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt in Newport.
Johnson’s forehand let him down badly that day and it’ll need to be much better today to win this first meeting with fellow Californian Querrey.
Sam has a 27-16 record in all outdoor hard court matches in the USA since the start of 2012, while Johnson’s mark is 34-23.
Narrowing that down to only tour level and up, Johnson’s record reads 8-11.
Going on his Wimbledon form and Johnson’s Newport form and the stats I’m happy to side with Querrey in this one at 1.65.
Donald Young vs Dudi Sela
The late match at around 00:30 UK time features local hope Young taking on Sela and I would have to side with the extra motivation of Young in this one.
The Don defeated Sela here in 2010 and the Atlanta resident will surely be much more used to the sweltering conditions here than Sela.
It hasn’t done him much good in the past though, with that win over Sela being his only success here in the main draw in four matches.
The Israeli has only played that one match here and after another painful loss to Ivo Karlovic in Bogota only four days ago it’s a quick turnaround for Sela.
Young will have the memory of thrashing Sela at the French Open to call upon too and although clay is hardly Dudi’s best surface it’s not exactly been Young’s either.
Sela has lost four of his last five against lefties and six of his last eight and The Don would be very disappointed to lose this one.
Back Coric +1.5 sets to beat Roger-Vasselin at 1.98
Back Querrey to beat Johnson at 1.65
Back Young to beat Sela at 1.76