Day two of the Winston-Salem Open features the remaining second round matches and the appearances of the tournament’s top seeds on Tuesday.
Jurgen Melzer didn’t get us off to the best of starts with a tepid, tetchy display against David Goffin, who I still think was too short in price for that match.
The defending champion failed with all six of his break point chances and crucially two in the very first game of the match that would have got Melzer off to the best possible start.
It wasn’t to be for the Austrian after that and when I expected Robby Ginepri to redress the balance somewhat, the American seemed physically or mentally incapable of doing much out there against Paul-Henri Mathieu.
Even when PHM threw in his customary choke, Ginepri didn’t seem interested or able to compete, which is odd, as he doesn’t seem to be in the draw for US Open qualifying, so his lack of energy and drive was perplexing.
Melzer and Ginepri were, in theory, those with perhaps the most reason to do well this week, and that didn’t go so well, but we have a packed schedule today of 14 matches to consider.
We’re set to start at 17:00 UK time and it’s forecast to be hot and quite humid today, with a chance of thunderstorms in the Winston-Salem area, which might see play disrupted as it was on Monday.
Of the early starts Jerzy Janowicz continued Carlos Berlocq’s poor record against big servers away from clay yesterday and he should do something similar again over Joao Sousa today.
The Portuguese has a 2-6 record against the big servers on my list and has never won one on a hard court, so if you trust JJ he should win today. In theory.
I thought Adrian Mannarino might not find things easy yesterday and he may have been a little fortunate, as Damir Dzumhur was reportedly struggling with some sort of injury before their match yesterday, which would explain his awful stats in that one.
Today he plays Kevin Anderson and Mannarino is not known for his liking for facing big servers, with a 5-10 mark on hard courts against players such as today’s opponent, but he has actually won two of the last three against Anderson.
For me, the best value of the earlier matches might be found in the 18:30 start on Centre Court.
Tommy Robredo vs Nicolas Mahut
It’s worth siding with the underdog here if only for the fact that Tommy is not exactly known for his stellar performances the week before a grand slam.
I had to go all the way back to Rosmalen the week before Wimbledon in 2007 to find the last time that Robredo won two matches in the week immediately prior to a major.
He doesn’t often play them and when he does he loses in either his first or second match and I suspect that after two tough weeks in Toronto and Cincy that we’ll see a less than 100 percent committed showing from the veteran here.
Mahut should enjoy conditions in Winston-Salem, where he can keep opponents on the back foot on these quickish courts and light balls, and having played a match already and won it well, he’ll be up for this challenge.
The +1.5 sets on Mahut here looks the safest bet at 1.91 and for a big-priced punt the 7.0 on Mahut winning this 2-1 would be the call.
Elsewhere on this packed day Donald Young should repeat his win over Frank Dancevic from Toronto, but he’s too short for my interest, as again is Goffin, who will probably beat Leo Mayer, who’s been out since Hamburg and did have a back problem after that.
READ: 5 Surprise Packages at the US Open
Steve Johnson vs Sam Querrey
This is a tough opener for Johnson, who, on form, has every chance of going very deep in this event, but first he must get past his pal Querrey.
Quite why anyone would find Querrey’s company rewarding I have no clue, judging by his miserable countenance and body language on the court, but hey, maybe he’s a riot off-court?
Who knows, but these two mates face off for the second time on the match court after Querrey won a closely matched contest in Atlanta a few weeks ago that landed a winner for this column, but today I like the price on Johnson.
Since that loss to Querrey, Johnson has beaten John Isner, Ivo Karlovic, Ernests Gulbis and Benoit Paire in the US Open Series, while Querrey struggled past Pere Riba last night and has done little in the Series generally thus far.
It’s always tough to predict which Querrey will turn up on any given day, but Johnson is a worthy favourite on form and looks worth taking at 1.82.
Finally, Igor Sijsling should use his win over Andrey Golubev to kick start a little run here this week and he should beat Pablo Andujar, who is simply awful on hard courts, but 1.52 is too short on the erratic Dutchman.
Back Mahut +1.5 sets to beat Robredo at 1.91
Back Johnson to beat Querrey at 1.82