The final two ATP matches contested ahead of the French Open are the championship matches in Nice and Dusseldorf and both are in-play on Saturday.
And hopefully it’ll be another comfortably profitable day like Friday, where Ernests Gulbis cruised past the handicap mark of 3.5 games in a one-sided demolition of Albert Montanes.
We start in Dusseldorf though, where the top seed faces an unexpected opponent.
Philipp Kohlschreiber 1.25 vs Ivo Karlovic 3.75
There can’t have been many outright punters who had Karlovic down to make the final in the Dusseldorf Open – his first on European clay since winning here way back in 2006.
We know that Dr Ivo can produce some decent results now and again on the red dirt, but beating an in-form Juan Monaco was a shock and he rode his luck yesterday to get past Jiri Vesely in two tie-breaks.
The young Czech should have won both of those sets, but choked badly, and who’s to say that the same won’t happen to Kohlschreiber, who has form for that sort of thing himself?
It shouldn’t, but the German is not exactly clutch and has lost five of his seven tour finals on clay and the last three in a row – two of them to Robin Haase and Fabio Fognini.
The pair have never met on clay, but their three meetings on hard produced two wins for Ivo and six tie-breaks in eight sets.
Kohlschreiber may not want to go the distance today after playing a match and a half yesterday due to darkness on Thursday, but he might have to and in front of his home crowd he won’t want to fold meekly – or he shouldn’t at least.
For me, the best bet looks to be the 2-1 to Kohlschreiber at 3.35. I can’t see him winning this one easily against a fired-up Karlovic, who will make it awkward for the crowd favourite.
Federico Delbonis 3.20 vs Ernests Gulbis 1.33
Ernie landed us a nice winner yesterday and he’s looking to continue his perfect record in finals and land himself a first ATP crown on clay today.
Apparently, Gulbis has been avoiding the French Open draw so that he can focus fully on the task at hand here, which is unusual, but that’s Gulbis.
There was little resistance from an overmatched Montanes yesterday, but Delbonis should provide a good test for the Latvian in their first career meeting.
Ernie has only ever lost to Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco as lefties on clay, so Delbonis will need to put a stop to that statistic if he’s to land his second tour title after winning Sao Paulo on the Golden Swing earlier this year.
The Argentine has won three of his last four against top-20 ranked opposition and he was comfortable in beating the increasingly erratic Gilles Simon yesterday in a poor showing from the Nice-born player.
I’d be tempted by the over 22.5 total games in this one at 1.90 if I was betting this match today. I think it’s a closer one than the price on Ernie suggests and I’d expect a three-setter.
Back Kohlschreiber to beat Karlovic 2-1 at 3.35