The opening round concludes and round two begins at the 2014 BNP Paribas Masters at the Palais Omnisports in Bercy on Tuesday, with another 10 matches on the schedule today.
It was a good start to the week in Paris for this column on Monday, with my best bet of the day easing home largely unthreatened, which is not usually something you can say about a Julien Benneteau wager.
Benny had it all under control for once though and covered the handicap against Yen-Hsun Lu in the evening match, while those who took the Philipp Kohlschreiber handicap bet enjoyed an even more comfortable win.
The first match that I like the look of today will start at around 12:00 UK time on the slow-looking Court Central.
Fernando Verdasco vs Gilles Simon
This 12:00 UK time clash will be the first time that these two former top-10 stars will have met across the net since 2010.
Much has changed since their last clash, which was in Valencia in similar conditions to this when Gillou was at number seven in the world and Verdasco just outside the top-50.
Nowadays, the Spaniard seems to have plateaued at around the 30 mark in the rankings, while the Frenchman is creeping back up the rankings at number 19 right now.
Verdasco was friendless in the market just prior to his match with Donald Young yesterday, but went on to win it in three regardless and he finds himself as underdog again today in his fifth career clash with Simon.
Logic would dictate that Simon, with the Davis Cup final coming up in a few weeks time, would want to get some court time under his belt in his last tournament of the season, while Verdasco has a 7-10 record here and never been past the last-16.
Motivation is likely to be lacking, with a seeding at the Australian Open the only goal I can envisage for Verdasco here and if it becomes a grind, which it may well do in these slow conditions, Simon’s home advantage may tell.
Gillou was poor last week in Valencia, but I expect much better this week and on this pudding of a surface he is likely to coax enough errors out of Verdasco to prevail.
The handicap is dangerous with Simon, so I’ll stick with the 1.55 about a French win in this one.
I’m tempted to take Santi Giraldo on these conditions as an underdog against Kevin Anderson, but his awful 4-17 record on hard courts against my list of big servers puts me off that one.
If Gael Monfils decides to take to the court against Joao Sousa he is worth taking on, with the Frenchman saying he’s still got knee problems and his priority is not here, but Davis Cup.
Ivo Karlovic vs Lucas Pouille
This tournament has never been what you’d call a priority for Dr Ivo, who has only played half a dozen matches at Bercy and won only two of those.
At the end of a long season he won’t be looking forward to playing in these slow conditions and although he might well serve his way to a win here wild card Pouille should be able to make the set one overs land at a tempting 2.28.
The French qualifier has already beaten big serving Steve Johnson and followed that up with a fine win over Jarkko Nieminen, so he’s in great form and should be full of confidence.
His motivation will certainly be high and that’s all we can ask for at this time of year.
Back Simon to beat Verdasco at 1.55
Back over 10.5 games in set one of Karlovic/Pouille at 1.87