The quarter-finals of week 18’s two ATP 250 clay court events in Portugal and Germany are set for Friday, with several of the world’s top-20 in action today.
This was always going to be one of the toughest weeks on the tour to negotiate, due to its place in the calendar as essentially practice ahead of the French Open for many, and so it’s proving.
Alejandro Falla began Thursday by breaking Tommy Haas to lead 2-1 in the opening set in Munich, but, very honestly, called the ball of Haas’s in and went on to lose not only that game, but the next three as well to down my opening bet.
Of course Falla proceeded to go past the overs mark in the second set, but there was better news when Somdev Devvarman did take Tomas Berdych past the 8.5 total in set one of their Oeiras clash in a set that the Indian could have won had he been a little more clinical. Just a handful of points separated the two in the end, despite Devvarman serving woefully at 31% of first deliveries into play.
Lukasz Kubot was the victim of the best performance of his season by Charly Berlocq, but it was worth a bet on the Pole in the circumstances and at least those on the overs in Federico Delbonis vs Thomaz Bellucci enjoyed an easy winner when they went to three sets.
We start at 10am in Munich on Friday, with a tricky to call clash between Denis Istomin and Martin Klizan that I will leave well alone, but I certainly don’t like Klizan at 1.50 – even with conditions in his favour.
Andreas Seppi 3.05 vs Tommy Haas 1.35 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 12.00
Haas came out all guns blazing against Falla and once what turned out to be a pivotal line call went his way in game three he rarely looked back, although the Colombian had a host of chances in the second set that he squandered.
The German veteran, who has recently turned 36, was very well supported by a public holiday crowd on Thursday and doubtless there will be a decent crowd again to watch Tommy face Seppi, who hails from the German borders.
The career series stands at 4-1 in Haas’s favour and it’s hard to see Seppi getting the better of Haas on clay in Munich, with Tommy giving 100 percent and seemingly playing pretty well.
Seppi has struggled all year, but did produce some good stuff to take down Albert Ramos on Thursday, although his 2-19 record against top-20 players dating back to January 2013 tells a tale.
Of the two wins, one was over a woefully out of form Mikhail Youzhny in Monte-Carlo and the other a five set Wimbledon win over a physically spent Kei Nishikori.
Haas should have too many guns for Seppi here and the minus 2.5 games at 1.52 would be my choice here, although it has come in a lot since 1.73 last night.
Jan-Lennard Struff should be too good at home on the clay for Ricardas Berankis, who was the beneficiary of a choke from Jurgen Melzer to get to this stage, but the layers have this one at 1.30, which is too short for me.
Fabio Fognini should be too fresh for Bellucci, who has played 12 sets already this week just to get to this stage, but the Brazilian is playing well and it could still be a tough day for the Italian and the 3.80 about him winning 2-1, as is his wont, looks the call there.
Tomas Berdych 1.13 vs Leonardo Mayer 5.75 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 14.05
Over in Oeiras much will depend on the weather, as there wasn’t a great deal of wind about yesterday during the Berdych match, but if it blows today Leo Mayer could cause problems for the Czech.
The over 20.5 games looks good there at 1.90, as Mayer has enough power on his serve and forehand to give the number one seed something to think about.
The Argentine took a set from Berdych at the end of last season on indoor hard in Davis Cup and he’s been playing well here, with his forehand zipping through the court.
If he can keep the double faults down he should take Tomas past the overs mark and any wind will help him by annoying Berdych.
Gastao Elias 2.08 vs Victor Hanescu 1.70 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 16.05
I wouldn’t count home favourite Gastao Elias out of his quarter-final either and he looks a very lively underdog against ageing Romanian Hanescu.
Elias had a great win over the in-form Guillermo Garcia-Lopez yesterday and any repeat of that sort of level would make him a fine wager against the soon-to-be 33-year-old.
Hanescu has made just two semi-finals in three years and lost them both and with the home crowd behind Elias he is worth chancing at 2.08 today for sure.
Although their one prior meeting was on indoor hard in the Challenger Tour Finals and isn’t really relevant today it can’t harm my pick’s chances, as he did win that day and won’t be in any way afraid of his higher ranked opponent.
Back Haas –2.5 games to beat Seppi at 1.52
Back over 20.5 games in Berdych/Mayer at 1.90
Back Elias to beat Hanescu at 2.08