There’s last-16 action from Rotterdam, Memphis and Buenos Aires on Thursday in week seven of the 2017 ATP World Tour, with 13 matches scheduled for today.
And on a busy day’s tennis betting on Wednesday, due to weather delays on Tuesday, we recorded two winners, one loss and a void, when Thiago Monteiro easily covered the handicap against Victor Estrella Burgos and Gerald Melzer defeated Paulo Lorenzi in Buenos Aires.
Dustin Brown withdrew (again) with a continuation of his back problem, while Evgeny Donskoy began poorly and was outgunned by Pierre Hugues-Herbert in Rotterdam.
I mentioned the dismal break of serve record of Hugues-Herbert of under nine percent and of course the Frenchman chose this match against Donskoy to break twice in one set and chalk up a 6-2 opener in his best singles display for a long while.
PHH had only recorded a 6-2 opening set twice in his main level career before that and that slow start from Donskoy put paid to that wager (Donskoy has only ever won five matches at main level having lost the opener) although I still think Herbert’s price was too short.
Starting off in Rotterdam on Thursday then and the opening match there is a tricky one, with both players quite likely to be struggling physically.
Tomas Berdych has a thigh injury that required treatment in his opening match against Marius Copil and of that problem Berdych said: “It remains to be seen how serious the injury is and how my body reacts tomorrow [Wednesday].”
And Richard Gasquet has a notoriously poor record the week after making a final, as can be highlighted by the fact that only once has he won two matches in Rotterdam and that was in 2012 – coincidentally the last year that he failed to reach the Montpellier final.
Gasquet was perhaps a tad fortunate that Viktor Troicki was in a worse physical condition than he and this one looks too risky to have a wager in given the circumstances.
The second match also may be tainted by an injury, with Borna Coric having taken a MTO in his opening match here against Karen Khachanov and I’m not sure he’s worth chancing against his compatriot Marin Cilic.
The two that are of interest are those involving Grigor Dimitrov and David Goffin, with the former worth taking on in some way.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Denis Istomin
This 18:30 UK time second rounder in Rotterdam in a quick repeat of the Australian Open clash between this pair and an opportunity for a spot of revenge for Istomin.
The Ukbek was on absolute peak form in Melbourne and he was well on top against Dimitrov until his body let him down after two tough five setters in the previous rounds.
Istomin led that match after a 6-2 opener and Dimitrov had to summon up everything he had to win the second set tie break, from which point it was all over for Istomin.
Here he gets a chance for maybe the reverse, with Dimitrov having had a draining week last week in Sofia and another fast start is likely from Istomin, who can be backed at 3.50 to win the opener.
His flat hitting can zip through even these stodgy Rotterdam courts and if he finds a good level we’ll have to see what Dimitrov has left in the tank – it may not be as much as is required here.
Dimitrov has lost the opening set in five of his last 10 matches and having played 46 sets of tennis so far this year I wouldn’t be on him at 1.21 to win this against a mercurial opponent like Istomin.
You’re never really sure what you’ll get from Istomin and I rarely back him at anything other than big prices, but this 3.40 is worth a small investment today, as I often find that players who had a tiring week the previous week survive their first match but struggle in the second.
Elsewhere, Goffin might have to work hard initially to beat Robin Haase now that the Dutchman has a win under his belt here finally and over 9.5 in set one seems the best option in that one.
I have Gilles Simon batting for me today in the outrights against Dominic Thiem and if he wins that one you’d fancy him to make the semi finals. He certainly has a decent chance.
Mikhail Kukushkin vs Darian King
Kuku got away with one yesterday when Brown withdrew and fading veteran Benjamin Becker was drafted in at short notice as a lucky loser and the Kazakh duly beat the German, but it was a poor quality match.
Becker is a shadow of his former self these days at not far off 36 years of age and the last matches he won on tour were on his favoured grass against Argentinian clay courters last summer.
And I’m prepared to take Kukushkin on as favourite in his 21:00 UK time (15:00 local) against qualifier Darian King, who should be far more enthusiastic and up for this match than the slumping Kuku.
Having qualified for only his second main draw event the Barbadian took down a typically lethargic Bernard Tomic in the first round, but it was a fine display from King and any repeat of that level should account for Kukushkin as well.
Since last summer King has stepped it up from Futures to Challenger level with great success, winning in Binghamton and Tiburon and importantly he’s been winning matches while Kukushkin hasn’t.
Before the Becker win Kukushkin had lost nine of his last 11 at all levels and the Kazakh has won only two of his four Challenger level matches this season.
Kukushkin’s stats in his last 10 matches make worrying reading for him, with 71.9% holds and 17.4% breaks for an 89.3 total, which at this level is not good and King’s are better.
He’s held serve 76.8% of the time and broken 39% of the time and, while most of those were at Challenger level, he’s clearly improving, while Kuku seems to be going the other way.
Kukushkin again sported lots of tape on his right leg and may well be struggling physically, so I couldn’t possibly back him at 1.50 in this one and we may be catching King at the right time here.
1 point win Istomin to win set one at 3.50
1 point win King to beat Kukushkin at 2.65