The opening round stage of the season’s final ATP 500 events continues in Valencia and Basel on Tuesday, with Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic among the names in action today.
It was an inauspicious start to the week for me on Monday when a feeble display from Simone Bolelli was the exact opposite of what was required against an appendicitis-ridden Rafa Nadal.
The Spaniard seemed fine, while Bolelli belted errors high, wide and not at all handsomely to deliver the match to Nadal, who didn’t need to do a great deal.
There are eight matches on the card at the Valencia Open 500 on Tuesday and seven at the Swiss Indoors and the first match that appeals from a betting viewpoint takes place in the former tournament.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Kevin Anderson
The big South African has appeared to be limping toward the end of the 2014 season of late, with a few injury problems and one win in his last four matches.
And even that was a struggle against the distinctly mediocre Brit James Ward and Kohlschreiber should have more than enough in this 16:00 UK time on Ciutat de Valencia.
The German played some decent stuff last week in Vienna on his return from a shoulder problem and we know he goes well against big servers purely on his career record against John Isner.
Kohlschreiber has beaten Isner three straight times at the US Open and he should also have won at least two others that he ended up losing against the big man.
And that’s Kohlschreiber’s career in a nutshell – should have won but didn’t – and he was guilty of that yet again when facing David Ferrer last week at the Erste Bank Open.
Leading in the final stages he blinked again and ended up losing a second straight match against Ferrer that he ought to have won, having failed to record a 2-0 win over the Spaniard in Cincy.
Kohlschreiber likes to take the ball early, which Isner doesn’t like, as it comes back at the big man too quickly and that can be the same against Anderson, who he yet to face on the tour.
A price of 1.73 seems reasonable enough for a Kohlschreiber win here.
Elsewhere in Valencia I’m not sure this court suits John Isner at all, with the low bounce not helping the big man and Tommy Robedo can change his luck against the big man in these conditions.
Feli Lopez has a shocking record here of 2-9 overall and 1-5 since it switched to hard courts, with the one win coming against Alberto Martin back in 2009.
Norbert Gombos might fancy his chances at 4.20 today against Lopez in those circumstances.
Gilles Simon can have a good week if he gets past Alex Dolgopolov, but 3.0 seems a bit big on Dolgo, who can spring back to form at any time and has beaten Gillou the last twice.
Fabio Fognini has a perfect 5-0 record over Albert Ramos, but looks totally disinterested at the moment and can’t really be backed with any sort of confidence against the Spanish lefty today.
Over in Basel one odds-against wager appeals in a 15:00 UK time start at the Swiss Indoors.
Milos Raonic vs Steve Johnson
I was tempted to take Raonic on here, with the Canadian having a lack of match practice after an illness that he picked up in Tokyo that saw him retire in Shanghai and lose first up in Moscow.
He’s short of match fitness, but after seeing Johnson choke away a chance to beat Raonic in Cincy I’m not sure I trust the American to get the job done.
Three of the five sets they’ve contested have gone to tie breaks, including breakers in both of their opening sets, so with Raonic likely to take a little time to find his range and Johnson a decent server the over 10.5 games in set one looks good at 2.28.
Stan Wawrinka looks the favourite worth considering taking on the most today, with the Swiss a notoriously dodgy performer on home soil.
Opponent Mikhail Kukushkin is in good form right now and this could well be an upset, but it’s a quick turnaround for the Kazakh from playing the Moscow semi final a few days ago.
Back Kohlschreiber to beat Anderson at 1.73
Back over 10.5 games in set one of Raonic/Johnson at 2.16