The busy week eight on the ATP Tour 2014 continues at a pace with another 14 matches scheduled for Thursday in Rio, Marseille and Delray Beach, writes Unibet tennis expert Sean Calvert...
My best bets on Wednesday began well when Dustin Brown eventually grabbed the one set he required against Roberto Bautista-Agut, but typically with the unorthodox German he did it the hard way after fluffing his lines at 5-4 in set one.
Dustin failed to serve it out then and almost made the same mistake twice at 5-4 in the second, but held on, and although he went on to lose the decider he got us over the line.
My second wager was void, as Ivo Karlovic retired after just one game against Kevin Anderson, who cited a stomach complaint after feeling unwell pre-match.
Michael Llodra 1.58, Andreas Seppi 2.30 – starts at 19.05 GMT
The former champion, who has often produced his best tennis at this tournament gets the feature billing tonight in Marseille against Andreas Seppi.
Llodra, who retires at the end of this season, has pulled out of the doubles, which would most likely indicate his intent to win this title one final time and providing his body doesn’t let him down he has a fine chance against an out of sorts Seppi.
Mika’s Marseille record reads 18-7 and he hasn’t lost to a non top-10 player here since Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (then ranked 12) in the 2009 final.
He is carrying an elbow problem, but his motivation is high, which is more than can be said for Seppi, whose five set win over Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne remains his only win this season in all competitions.
The Italian hasn’t made the quarter finals at tour level without the aid of a retirement since Eastbourne on the grass last summer and there appears to be something very wrong on – or perhaps more likely off – the court.
He’s playing with little confidence or enthusiasm at the moment and a motivated Llodra if fit should make it another early exit for Seppi.
It’s rare that Mika pulls out of doubles to focus on singles – it’s normally the other way round – and I’m taking that to mean that he feels he can go close this week in his final Marseille appearance.
Pablo Cuevas 3.80, Fabio Fognini 1.25 - BET and STREAM on Unibet TV from 16.05 GMT
Over in Rio, Fognini plays his 18th match of the season and 13th on clay since the end of January – a crazy schedule by anybody’s standards and his body has to give out soon.
Fogna is also scheduled to play in Acapulco next week, which would be rather silly if he does turn up, unless he calls it quits here today, which is very possible.
The Italian had the trainer out in a typically strange victory over Aljaz Bedene in the first round here, but he did tank a set 0-6 before coming back to win and Cuevas will make him battle for every point today.
The Uruguayan has come back from serious injury to be back on the tour and he’ll be desperate for these ranking points today playing at the moment off a protected ranking. He’s starting to find some form again and can win this with a 4.5 game start at 1.95 against a jaded opponent.
John Isner 1.26, Dudi Sela 3.70 – BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 23.35 GMT
Sela is not to be underestimated in this intriguing clash at Delray Beach against an opponent who very rarely enjoys quick victories.
Sela has professed a liking for the conditions here, which are similar to those at home in Israel according to the man himself and he tuned up for this with a very comfortable win over Alex Bogomolov Jr in round one for the loss of just two games.
Isner is rusty after an ankle injury blighted his early season and typically edged past Michael Russell in three sets in round one. He should improve for that and he too is used to conditions here, living not far away, and the bets here focus on a tougher scrap than odds imply.
The first set over 9.5 games looks very likely at 1.50, while over 22.5 total games at 1.78 and Isner 2-1 at 3.75 also appeal.
Only one of Isner’s last 11 completed matches has finished in fewer than 22.5 games and none this season. Sela’s challenge could fade as frustration grows with the Isner serve, but the overs looks good.
Back Llodra to beat Seppi at 1.55
Back Cuevas +4.5 games to beat Fognini at 1.95
Back over 22.5 total games in Isner/Sela at 1.78