A crazy hour of tennis around the world on Tuesday left punters counting the cost when not one, but three, players retired one after the other to cause havoc in what had looked a promising day’s ATP betting.
After Robin Haase had started the day off nicely by winning the opening set against Vasek Pospisil to start my Tuesday treble off, Paul Henri Mathieu decided to retire just after set one of his match was completed, due to fever.
That meant a loss for that one and then a short while later my outright pick in Rio retired injured and my ‘sure thing’ quit when a set to the good.
Leonardo Mayer hadn’t faced a single break point in two sets against Blaz Rola, while squandering 12 of his 13 before the Argentine retired moments before Sam Querrey did his back mid-point and left the Delray Beach court.
At least that 2-0 set betting wager on Querrey was void, but I don’t think I’ve ever had three players retire in such a short space of time before.
There was better news later on though when Yen-Hsun Lu fought his way past Sam Groth in Delray Beach to reward odds-against backers of my tip in that one.
The heat and humidity in Rio led to three retirements and four matches that saw 6-0 sets on a day where several players hit the wall physically.
It’s set to be in the mid-30s and over 60 percent humidity again today in Rio, where there could also be thunderstorms, so a few surprises are probably in store again today at the Rio Open.
In contrast to yesterday’s 31 matches there are only 14 today and today’s ‘sure thing’ can be found in Rio.
Tommy Robredo vs Andreas Haider-Maurer
After watching Albert Ramos make a mess of his opportunity to beat Haider-Maurer I find it very hard to see Robredo not progressing at the expense of the Austrian in this 15:00 UK time start.
Robredo has been struggling with injury so far in 2014, but he came through handily against the decent young Swedish prospect Elias Ymer in straight sets in round one and this looks very winnable for the Spaniard.
He did have the trainer on court during that Ymer match, but he didn’t seem too troubled and just an average performance from Robredo would do today against an opponent who will surely get hot and bothered in the heat and humidity.
Robredo’s temperament is leagues above that of AHM and the latter just doesn’t have the consistency he’ll need to get the better of the world number 18 here.
Haider Maurer is 1-8 in his career against top-20 ranked opponents, with the one win coming back in 2010 against Marin Cilic at home in Vienna and this is as far from home in terms of conditions that AHM can get and it will surely show.
Andrey Kuznetsov vs Gael Monfils
The unpredictable Lamonf looks plenty short enough for this 17:30 UK time clash in Marseille, given all his outpourings about a lack of confidence and needing a break etc, etc.
He should be able to win this one, but Kuznetsov has a big game and if he brings it to the court this afternoon he has every chance of at least pushing Monfils in their first career meeting.
Kuznetsov has shown in flashes that he does have the game to live with the top players in beating David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco over five sets last year and taking sets off Andy Murray and Milos Raonic too.
I saw his match with Raonic in Rotterdam and although it doesn’t seem to be that quick in Marseille this week the conditions are reasonable in terms of speed and I would be very hesitant about backing an easy win for Monfils here.
Lamonf can be slow to start his matches and the 4.25 about Kuznetsov winning the opener is tempting, as is the +1.5 sets on the Russian at 2.65.
But the over 9.5 games in set one at a shade of odds against looks the call here, with Monfils surely needing a little time to figure out a new opponent who has decent power.
Six of Lamonf’s nine matches in 2015 have gone over 9.5 games in set one, with one of the two that didn’t being a thumping from Tomas Berdych and last night’s 6-1 over a nervy Alexander Zverev.
Thiemo de Bakker vs David Ferrer
There are few, if any, outsiders that I really fancy today, but one that could cause problems at a decent price is De Bakker against Ferrer.
The Dutchman has played a lot of tennis lately and I don’t trust him to see this out if he did get ahead, but Ferrer was far from convincing in his first match on clay for seven months and De Bakker has the power to cause problems in these conditions.
Ferrer is entitled to improve after his scratchy showing against Daniel Gimeno Traver yesterday, when DGT created 10 break point chances, but he may not find it as easy to break back against a big server like De Bakker.
Set one to De Bakker at 4.30 is certainly not out of the question if he serves somewhere near his best in these tough conditions.
Sure thing: Back Robredo to beat Haider Maurer at 1.24
Value bet: Back over 9.5 games in set one of Monfils/Kuznetsov at 2.02
Long shot: Back De Bakker to win set one vs Ferrer at 4.30