Week 39 of the ATP World Tour picks up the pace on Tuesday, with 16 matches at the Malaysian Open and Shenzhen Open to focus on.
It was a winning start to the week on Monday when Pablo Cuevas was a deserved victor in straight sets over Jurgen Melzer in Kuala Lumpur.
The Uruguayan was too solid for Melzer, who went for too much a lot of the time in conditions that are on the slow side and Cuevas was able to blend power and defence in fine style to get the win.
Tuesday’s card in Kuala Lumpur hardly appeals as a betting medium to me, with my only considerations there being Marinko Matosevic as an underdog against Nick Kyrgios and Michal Przysiezny over Malek Jaziri, but neither is that tempting.
It looks like Shenzhen holds more opportunities and it’s worth taking on Andreas Seppi in the 06:00 UK time start in China.
Andreas Seppi vs Maximo Gonzalez
The Italian was struggling badly with a back injury in Metz last week to the extent that he retired from singles and withdrew from the doubles and I can’t imagine that a long flight to China since has done it much good.
Seppi doesn’t have an inspiring record in China either, with just one third round showing in his matches here since his first back in 2008.
In Asia as a whole he has a 15-21 losing record and his form this season has been poor, with a drop in the rankings to just inside the top-50 and he hasn’t made it past the last eight of any tour event since Moscow almost a year ago.
Combine all of that with his notoriously poor starts to matches and there are enough reasons to side with Gonzalez here either on the set handicap, the outright win or set one.
He doesn’t play that much on hard courts, but when he does he can really cause problems, as he showed by beating Jerzy Janowicz at the US Open last year and taking Sam Querrey to five in New York this year.
The Argentine’s last appearance on the ATP World Tour circuit was good too, with wins over Lukas Rosol, Albert Ramos and Pablo Carreno Busta on the clay at altitude in Kitzbuhel a couple of months ago.
It took David Goffin to beat him in a three set semi final there and Gonzalez should at least be able to test Seppi here as a decent priced underdog.
Martin Klizan vs Viktor Troicki
This 08:00 UK time start in Shenzhen looks like a decent opportunity to back Klizan as slight underdog against what will probably be a fatigued Troicki.
The Serb has risen back up the rankings to number 174 after his doping ban, but it means that he’s played 31 matches since July 21, while in the same time frame Klizan has contested just seven.
The pair of them had to qualify here and having played 29 of those 31 matches on clay it will surely be tougher for Troicki and he hasn’t played a tour level main draw match on hard since Miami in the spring of 2013.
That can be borne out by the Serb’s narrow wins (three of four sets went to tie breaks) against very poor opposition in qualies here and there are more factors in Klizan’s favour than Troicki’s here by my reckoning.
Klizan played some decnt stuff in taking Tomas Berdych to five sets at the US Open and as underdog it’s worth risking the unreliable Slovak here at around 2.0.
Back Gonzalez to win set one vs Seppi at 2.65
Back Klizan to beat Troicki at 2.0