It’s another busy Tuesday on the ATP World Tour, with 28 matches scheduled for today across our three ATP 250 tournaments in Estoril, Munich and Istanbul.
Here in Estoril, it was a decent start to the week, with Borna Coric not needing the set handicap to defeat Jeremy Chardy in a 6-2, 6-4 victory over the Frenchman and those on the 2.38 about the set one to Coric would have enjoyed a nice winner too.
That was followed over in Munich by a victory for Monday’s ‘sure thing’ of Alexander Zverev, who came from a set down to ease past Benjamin Becker in the end to land one of the bigger-priced ‘sure things’ of recent times.
Unfortunately, my ‘long shot’ punt on Portuguese prospect Frederico Ferreira Silva didn’t quite work out, but at one set all and with a break in sight in the decider against Gilles Muller it made for a good start point for in-play bettors at least.
Off-court it was all very acceptable too, with the press room lunch here earning excellent reviews, which is hardly surprising, as it’s being provided by the top students from the adjacent catering college.
If I’m being picky it could do with it being a bit less cloudy here, so I can put the factor six to good use, but I digress.
With so many matches today it makes sense to focus mainly on the ones here in Estoril, where there are eight scheduled for today, starting at 12:00 UK time (the same as local).
Martin Fischer vs Albert Montañes
This 14:00 approx. clash between the Austrian qualifier and Spanish veteran should go the way of the latter, with the former edging through in qualies against local favourite Frederico Gil yesterday.
Fischer has a shocking record at tour level and especially on clay, where he has managed only one win from his 11 matches going back to 2009 – and the one win came against world number 427 of the time Sandro Erhat back in 2012.
The 28-year-old Austrian has come here from Egypt, where he’s been playing at Futures level and his win over Gil on Monday came by winning the last four games against an opponent who had the trainer out ahead of the final set.
Montañes is eking out the final stages of his career, but he’s still a tough nut to crack on clay for many on the tour and he enjoys it here in Estoril, where he has an excellent 16-6 record.
He played well in defeat against David Ferrer last week and he’s never lost in the main draw of a tour level event against a player ranked 300+ in a completed match.
This is the sort of match that Montañes wins to keep himself in the top-150 and with a 17-5 career record on clay priced between 1.30 and 1.40 he’s today’s ‘sure thing’.
Pablo Carreno Busta, who was everywhere I looked yesterday, lurking around the grounds and practice courts with his coach should get his season back on track at 1.17 against Constant Lestienne, who is making his main draw debut at tour level.
Gastão Elias vs Kenny De Schepper
Elias had a very nice run in Portugal this week a year ago when the tournament was in Oeiras and he also performed well in 2013 at the same venue, which, along with his wild card this week suggests he should be motivated to do well again.
He’ll need to keep hold of the 45 ranking points from a year ago and this 12pm clash with De Schepper should allow him to do that.
The big-serving Dutchman has a really poor 4-14 record in the main draw of tour level clay court tournaments and his last two wins came by way of a win ove the fading Pippo Volandri and a retirement from Montañes.
Nine of De Schepper’s last 10 losses on clay in the main draw have come in straight sets and this swing is not really suited to his particular talents.
Elias has a 57 percent winning record against lefties, which is nine percent better than against righties and at home, with good support, and with points to protect he should be able to cover a -2.5 game handicap at 1.91 here.
I was considering Marinko Matosevic as a potential long shot, with Richard Gasquet’s condition being largely guesswork, but having watched Mad Dog on the practice courts yesterday I’ll give it a miss. He wasn’t good.
Instead I like a Tuesday treble that pays 3.47 involving another Portuguese player, along with an Italian and an Austrian.
João Sousa faces compatriot Rui Machado at 15:00 UK time and should prevail in that one, with the latter holding a 12-36 record at tour level and having lost 24 of his last 26 at this level.
The two wins did come in Portugal and one was a highly questionable 6-0, 6-0 win over Dmitry Tursunov in Oerias last year, but he’s not up to this level and if Sousa is fit he’ll win this.
Leg two is to take Simone Bolelli to defeat Dustin Brown, who edged through in Munich yesterday in a final set tie break against world number 269 Nils Langer.
Bolelli played well in defeat to a good showing from Gael Monfils in Bucharest and a repeat of that should be good enough to beat Brown who has won two matches at tour level since January.
Finally, I like the chances of Andreas Haider-Maurer to beat Ivan Dodig in Istanbul in a repeat of their Bucharest clash last week, which AHM won after dropping set two to a bagel against the Croatian.
Dodig has had a poor season and has a 37 percent winning record at tour level on clay, while AHM is having a very good year on the clay and can continue that run today.
Sure thing: Back Montañes to beat Fischer at 1.39
Value bet: Back Elias -2.5 games to beat De Schepper at 1.91
Long shot: Back Bolelli, Haider-Maurer and Sousa at 3.47