Round two continues in Kitzbuhel and Washington DC on Wednesday, with 19 matches scheduled for today in this week’s ATP 250 and ATP 500 tournaments.
It was a late finish for my final bet of the day on Tuesday, with ‘long shot’ Hyeon Chung narrowly missing out on the set one win over Marin Cilic, eventually losing it in a tie break.
But my other two wagers of the day were successful, when Sam Groth defeated Thomaz Bellucci and ‘sure thing’ Steve Johnson had few problems getting past Lukas Lacko.
There were three underdog winners from seven matches last year in round two of Kitzbuhel, with Paulo Lorenzi’s 6-2, 6-0 win over Pablo Andujar at 3.39 the pick of the prices.
Paul-Henri Mathieu vs Martin Klizan
PHM has been playing well of late, but surely he’s a little on the short side at 1.98 against a top-40 ranked opponent such as Klizan in this 10:30 UK time start on the clay of Kitzbuhel.
Mathieu has won 11 of his last 13 matches, which has probably affected the odds today, but of those 11 wins only two were against top-100 opposition and one of them was Ernests Gulbis.
One was unranked, one was outside the top-1000, and three were outside the top-200, and although it will have done the Frenchman good in terms of confidence his record against top-50 opposition is poor.
PHM has won only two of his last 17 against top-50 opposition on all surfaces and on clay he’s won two of his last 11 going back to 2012.
He’s only managed four wins in his last 13 against top-100 ranked left handers and he lost his only career clash with Klizan, although that was on slow indoor hard in Rotterdam.
Klizan’s own poor form has also contributed to the prices today, but form means little with the Slovak, who turns it on when he feels like it, and he has won 12 of his last 15 against players ranked 101 and below at main level.
As a 1.70 to 1.90 favourite on clay at main level Klizan has won five of his last seven, while PHM has lost six of his last eight as a slight underdog of 2.0 to 2.20.
For me there’s enough in this one to take a chance on Klizan today and back him to bounce back to form at what looks a decent price.
I often like to take Alexandr Dolgopolov against big servers and in the heat of Washington DC where Dolgo is a former champion he might be a good shout at around 1.80 against Ivo Karlovic at the Citi Open.
Diego Sebastian Schwartzman vs Albert Montanes
There plenty of sub-1.40 shots around today, but the one I like the most is the slightly bigger price about Schwartzman as a ‘sure thing’ on Wednesday.
The others in Kitzbuhel look questionable, with Nico Almagro hardly in the sort of form to warrant a bet at 1.30 against an opponent he has a losing record to in Jurgen Melzer in his own backyard.
Philipp Kohlschreiber should defeat Santi Giraldo, but 1.27 looks tight, while Dominic Thiem may face a decent test from fellow Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer on the back of a very tough fortnight of matches.
Federico Delbonis also seems on the short side against capable altitude clay-courter Robin Haase, but Schwartzman should defeat ageing Spaniard Albert Montanes.
I was annoyed that I didn’t take the good price about the Argentine in the last round against Albert Ramos in conditions that do help Schwartzman overcome the lack of a big first serve.
He should prove too fit, too energetic and too dynamic for lucky loser Montanes at this stage of Monty’s career, and his decline can be seen in his results lately.
Montanes edged his way past a poor Gerald Melzer yesterday, but he has only two wins in his last 10 against top-70 ranked opposition at tour level in the last year – and one of those was against Sam Querrey on clay.
He’s won only two of his last 16 matches at main level as an underdog of 2.80 or bigger, while Schwartzman has won 11 of his last 12 matches at all levels as a 1.40 to 1.50 favourite.
One of those wins was against Montanes in Monte-Carlo this spring and the latter's lack of power makes this a nice match-up for the Argentine, who looks a solid choice at an okay price for a ‘sure thing’.
Over in Washington DC Ricardas Berankis is short against Pablo Cuevas due to the latter pulling out of the doubles with a back injury and I’m not sure I’d trust Kevin Anderson at 1.27 in his first match since Wimbledon.
The South African should win, but I’d want a slightly bigger price than that against Alexander Zverev.
Blaz Rola vs Leonardo Mayer
I was toying with the idea of siding with Rola yesterday against Denis Kudla, who looked very short, but Rola’s poor form on hard courts put me off.
He stands half a chance today as well when facing Mayer, who hasn’t played a match on a hard court since Miami over four months ago and lost his last match against Rola on clay.
I recall that one very well, having backed Mayer that day in Rio when Mayer retired due to heat related issues, and it’s Mayer’s questionable record against lefties more than that loss that gives Rola a squeak here at a big price.
Mayer is just 5-14 on hard courts at main level against lefties and on outdoor hard he’s 3-11 on the ATP Tour and Grand Slams.
Hardly inspires me to back him at a short price and if the hit and miss Rola finds his serve and ground game he looks the best of the big prices today having had the boost of beating Atlanta semi finalist Kudla in round one.
Other options include Gilles Muller against Richard Gasquet and Dennis Novak against Fabio Fognini if the Italian isn’t in the mood.
Sure thing: Back Schwartzman to beat Montanes at 1.41
Value bet: Back Klizan to beat Mathieu at 1.79
Long shot: Back Rola to beat Mayer at 4.50