The quarter-finals of week 38’s only ATP World Tour event are all set for Friday in the Moselle Open in Metz.
Joao Sousa is one of the last eight after my best bet of Thursday was successful, albeit after a right old struggle with Igor Sijsling that went all the way to a deciding set tie break.
The Portuguese, who must be a nightmare to play against with all his moaning and grunting, stepped it up in the breaker to end Sijsling’s hopes and he moves on to face Paul-Henri Mathieu today.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs David Goffin
This 15:00 UK time start could be the match of the day and it’s one where Goffin can at least give Tsonga something to think about.
It will be an interesting test of exactly where the Belgian is at the moment after a fabulous summer that has seen him rise back up the rankings to a provisional number 44 in the world.
Pretty much all of the wins that have elevated him inside the top-50 have come against weakish opposition though and his career record against top-20 players reads 1-19, with the sole victory coming against John Isner on indoor hard in Valencia in 2012.
The fact that Tsonga is twice the price to beat Goffin today at 1.32 than he was on grass at Queen’s a few months ago seems odd given the Belgian’s lack of success against top players and too much seems to have been made of his recent good run.
I think that the best Goffin will do here is take a set – perhaps the first one, as Tsonga can be slow out of the blocks and Goffin can be a quick starter – and if I was siding with the underdog today I’d do it in that first set market at 2.45.
That looks a little short though, with the 23-year-old still having much to prove against top-20 opposition to say the least and I prefer either the set one overs of above 9.5 total games or the 2-1 to Tsonga here.
The 2-1 to Tsonga pays 3.65 and looks the best of the bigger priced picks, while Goffin’s improved serve should see him win at least four games in the opener at 1.59.
Paul-Henri Mathieu vs Joao Sousa
I’m deserting Sousa today in this 19:00 UK time start and siding with the home favourite, who simply should be the more motivated of the two.
Sousa has 250 ranking points to defend next week in Kuala Lumpur after winning the title there a year ago and surely after a couple of matches to attune himself to indoor hard again here he’ll see it as job done ahead of a long trip to Malaysia.
You certainly couldn’t accuse Sousa of not giving 100 percent when he steps on court as a rule and he showed that dogged determination again yesterday in beating Sijsling, but he may not have the drive today.
Mathieu is still a very decent player when he’s injury-free and he showed that again in beating Lukas Rosol in decent style last night.
PHM does enjoy indoor hard and he’ll finish his season indoors from now, as he did last year, and playing at home in France clearly suits this player, who has not enjoyed travelling lately.
Off-court problems have dogged him for some time and being closer to home helps in that regard, allowing him to play with a bit more freedom and confidence and he should have enough to get the win tonight.
Sousa wasn’t up to much at all against Sijsling and relied mainly on the Dutchman missing to earn his points. I can’t see that working tonight and the 1.64 about a PHM win seems the likely outcome.
Philipp Kohlschreiber should overcome compatriot Jan-Lennard Struff in the 13:00 UK time start, but it could be tricky and the over 21.5 total games looks good there.
And in the 17:00 UK time match Gael Monfils is a little too short in the betting for me at 1.37 against Jerzy Janowicz, but will he want to let down his old mum?
Lamonf says that his mother “has put me under pressure for me to win at least two matches” in Metz and it does seem odd that he’s moaning about being tired from Davis Cup, having played one dead rubber all week in Paris.
Admittedly the change of surface is a problem, but Tsonga doesn’t seem to have much of an issue with it and Monfils should win what should be a very entertaining affair between two eccentrics of the tour.
I wouldn’t want to bet on it though, as this one could be anything.
Back over 9.5 games in set one of Tsonga/Goffin at 1.59
Back Mathieu to beat Sousa at 1.64