The second round of matches continues in this week’s ATP 250 tournaments in Umag, Gstaad and Atlanta on Thursday, with 12 matches across the three venues scheduled for today.
It was a disappointing start to proceedings on Wednesday in Gstaad when Federico Delbonis came up against an in-form Thomaz Bellucci, who saved all of the break points against him in a 6-4, 6-4 win.
Better was to come later though when Igor Sijsling covered the generous +5.5 game handicap against Marin Cilic for a winner there, but it wasn’t without it’s nervy moments.
The Dutchman did just enough in the end and after being broken from a point away from covering in a prior service game it was a relief when Sijsling sent down an ace to finish things off.
And over in Atlanta it was indeed another day for unders backers, with four of the five matches ending in two sets and all in fewer than 22.5 total games, barring Lukas Lacko’s win over Denis Istomin.
Thursday’s schedule looks the most appealing in Gstaad where a couple of matches catch my eye, while an opportunity in Atlanta looks very interesting too.
Viktor Troicki vs Andrey Golubev
I’m happy to take a bit of a chance on the underdog here at around 2.30, as the feeling is that Troicki was rather flattered by his win over a poor Dominic Thiem in round one.
On his return from a year-long doping ban Troicki did play some decent tennis, but Thiem was awful by the standards he’s set for himself of late and the prices in today’s match don’t look quite right to me.
The 20-year-old Austrian is always likely to have peaks and troughs of form at this level as he progresses and he described his display against Troicki thus. “It was horrible – no shots, no movement, no power to put up a fight.”
We’ll see today how much of that win for Troicki was down to Thiem having a bad day, but I’m not massively confident about Golubev producing his best, so although I think the Kazakh is decent value, I’ll be a little circumspect with stakes in this one.
Robin Haase vs Henri Laaksonen
This is a good draw for Haase, who does tend to go well at clay court events at altitude, having won Kitzbuhel twice and he also made the final here in Gstaad 12 months ago.
His form has been rotten lately, but a return to favourable conditions may well invigorate the Dutchman and he should be a fair amount too good for Laaksonen in these conditions.
The Swiss is very much a limited opponent for Haase and he is yet to beat a top-50 player in his career, winning just a single set against such opposition in 12 played.
Against top-100 ranked opposition it doesn’t get much better for the wild card, with a 4-11 mark and best win he’s ever had in terms of ranking was against then 84th ranked Golubev in the qualies for Sydney at the start of the season.
Laaksonen has never been beyond the second round at tour level and the –1.5 sets on Haase or the –3.5 games appeal here with preference for the former.
John Isner vs Robby Ginepri
I was disappointed in myself for not backing Gin in the last round in Atalnta against Sergiy Stakhovsky at a big price, as Robby is one of my very few favourites and I thought he had half a chance, but that Stako’s recent form would be too good.
As it turned out the Ukrainian had little left in the tank after a title winning run at Binghampton last week and Stako faded badly in the final stages of the Ginepri match.
But this is mainly about Isner and he’s a joy to bet on most of the time purely because he’s very predictable in the way he plays and there’s little variance from his usual level.
So, looking at his results here in Atlanta since he first played back in 2010 it is apparent that only twice in 15 matches has he played a match that ended in fewer than today’s total games mark of 22.5.
One was against Yen Hsun Lu in 2011 and the other over Michael Russell a year earlier and Ginepri’s eagerness to do well in his home city these days should ensure that he doesn’t replicate Lu or Russell’s capitulations.
In his opening round match here last year Isner was taken to 35 games by world ranked 373 Christian Harrison and at still only 31-years-old the injury ravaged Ginepri should be able to do enough here.
Hopefully, playing at home won’t affect him like it did Donald Young the other night – it shouldn’t after the Stakhovsky win – and the over 22.5 total games at 1.87 looks great statistically.
Over in Umag they have four trappy-looking matches on their card today and while I won’t be getting involved in any of them there could be cases made for Borna Coric and Albert Montanes in particular as underdogs.
Coric played well against Horacio Zeballos here last year for a time and landed an easy winner for us the other day against Edouard Roger-Vasselin, but I doubt he’ll serve as well again and for me he’s just a tad short today.
Montanes takes on Fabio Fognini and is more than capable of beating the Italian if he’s on another of his increasingly regular days where he simply can’t be bothered.
Neither really appeal that much though and the overnight drift on Joao Sousa is interesting, with the Portuguese taking on Teimuraz Gabashvili, whose matches have history of going the way the pre-match betting suggests.
One such match was against Daniel Gimeno-Traver a couple of weeks ago, but today’s clash with Sousa looks like one that could go either way, as could Pablo Cuevas vs Andreas Seppi.
Back Golubev to beat Troicki at 2.30
Back Haase –1.5 sets to beat Laaksonen at 1.80
Back over 22.5 total games in Isner/Ginepri at 1.87