The high seeds in Quito, Montpellier and Sofia are in action on Wednesday as play continues in week five of the 2016 ATP World Tour.
And is so often the case after a perfect day we came back down to earth on Tuesday with a poor one, thanks largely to a hugely disappointing defeat for Joao Sousa in Montpellier.
On a day where many of tennis’ most capable chokers went against the grain and did nothing of the sort Ruben Bemelmans did fail to serve it from 5-2 up in the decider against Sousa, but then broke for the match with two laser-like groundies.
You know it’s a rare day when none of Bemelmans, Paul-Henri Mathieu, and Thiemo De Bakker blinked and to put the seal on a sorry day I chose the wrong wager to oppose Borna Coric with.
I expected Coric to be tested by Michael Berrer as I said yesterday, but thought he’d have learned something in the intermitting two years since their last clash and went for the overs. Berrer won 2-0.
We’ve got 14 matches across our three ATP 250 tournaments to consider on Wednesday and there are a few more options for ‘sure thing’ backers to choose from today.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Mirza Basic
Gael Monfils is a solid option for short-priced favourite backers against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, with his 3-0 career record over ERV and 20-1 mark as a 1.20 or shorter favourite on indoor hard.
But I prefer the bigger price of around 1.38 about GGL defeating the limited Bosnian in this 18:30 UK time clash in Sofia.
GGL won Zagreb indoors during this week last season and he should be simply too good for Basic, who was typically underwhelming in a laboured win over Yuki Bhambri in round one.
Garcia-Lopez is unbeaten in six matches on indoor hard as a 1.30 to 1.40 favourite so far at tour level and he’s won six of his last seven in all conditions at that price.
He should be motivated to defend his ranking points from Zagreb and the Spaniard’s ability off both wings should be too much for Basic, whose game lacks the extra dimension to beat the best.
Bernard Tomic vs Roberto Carballes Baena
I’m not entirely sure why Bernie is here this week, given his dismal results on clay throughout his career and he’s also spoken about a wrist injury.
“I have a bit of a wrist issue,” Tomic said. “I have to see about that the next few days, but it should be okay.”
Even if he’s okay you have to seriously question the ability of the Aussie on this surface, with a record of 10-24 at tour level on the red dirt and a best of one solitary quarter final from 24 tournaments in total on the red dirt.
Tomic has lost six of his last seven matches on clay and to the likes of Gianni Mina, Luca Vanni, Thanasi Kokkinakis and an injured Janko Tipsarevic, so he seems a shaky favourite at 1.45 against a dedicated clay courter like Carballes Baena.
The Aussie has lost an incredible 22 of 27 matches as a 1.50 favourite or shorter on clay, including 15 of his last 17, so we have to take him on again today.
Ernests Gulbis vs Richard Gasquet
Another top seed who looks worth opposing in some form on Wednesday is Gasquet, who has been stricken with back problems for a long time now, and hasn’t played a competitive match since the start of November 2015.
And he could certainly be forgiven for a slow start to this 18:00 UK time clash with Gulbis, who began his Montpellier campaign very well, with a straight sets win over Quentin Halys.
The Latvian said of his victory over the Frenchman: “It’s been a while since I’ve been serving like, since I’ve been playing like this. Always somehow it comes to France that I start to play well – I started to play well in Marseille two years ago, I think I’m starting to play well here now, so we’ll see where it takes me.”
Probably not very far knowing Ernie, but he does tend to start matches well and he looks a decent pick at around 2.50 to take the opening set against Gasquet in these lively conditions.
If he carries on serving well on this surface he’s a fair enough price to grab the opener against a rusty Gasquet.
To make a 4.13 long shot double for the day I’ll add over 9.5 games in set one of Marin Cilic’s 20:00 UK time clash with Alexander Zverev, also in Montpellier.
We’ve seen several players struggle in this opening indoor tournament of the season to adapt to the conditions, having returned from Australia, and Cilic could easily find it tough to break Zverev here.
The young German prospect was one that found it tough in his first match, struggling to a win over Luca Vanni, but with three sets under his belt now he’ll have an advantage that combined with his own decent serve can allow him to contest a close opening set.
Zverev took Cilic to a tight 7-5, 7-6 scoreline in Washington DC on quick outdoor hard last summer in their only prior meeting and it could be fairly close again today.
Sure thing: Back Garcia-Lopez to beat Basic at 1.38
Value bet: Back Carballes Baena to beat Tomic at 2.75
Long shot: Back Gulbis to win set one and over 9.5 games in Cilic/Zverev at 4.13