There’s round two action in Sao Paulo, Dubai and Acapulco on Wednesday, with Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka among those on the schedule at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
We got off to a good start on Tuesday when Thomas Fabbiano not only took a set, but defeated Leonardo Mayer in straight sets in Dubai to easily land the +1.5 sets tip on the Italian.
I said yesterday that Mayer looked a shaky favourite at 1.27 and that one worked out pretty much as I’d hoped, but in hindsight I wish I had been a little braver and gone for the outright win on Fabbiano.
Then the first ‘sure thing’ of the week won pretty comfortably when Roberto Bautista-Agut got the better of Simone Bolelli without any major problems in two sets, also in Dubai.
Franco Skugor completed the +1.5 sets long shot double when he defeated Teimuraz Gabashvili, also in straight sets, to land the 3.55 wager before an unexpected loss for Albert Ramos against Pablo Carreno Busta.
I say unexpected, as Ramos won the first nine games of the match only to eventually lose in a final set tie break on the clay in Sao Paulo.
We start early at 10:00 UK time in Dubai, with the timing of Acapulco’s matches making it virtually impossible for European viewers to follow.
Roberto Bautista-Agut vs Hyeon Chung
RBA didn’t let favourite backers down with a pretty comfortable win over Bolelli on Tuesday and he should oblige again at the same price against Chung, who doesn’t quite have the weapons as yet to beat the top players.
Chung is 0-7 and 0-16 in sets against top-20 ranked opposition so far in his career and while that will change soon enough I doubt it’ll be on Wednesday against the in-form Spaniard.
Bautista-Agut has added a bit of extra pop to his game in 2016 and it’s paid dividends already with a couple of titles and I don’t see him getting outhit by Chung here.
The 19-year-old world number 66 lacks a big weapon in his game, with his serve very mediocre, and a similarly weaponless opponent in David Goffin easily beat him last week in Marseille.
RBA has won his last 16 straight against opponents ranked 51 and lower and 22 of his last 23 as a 1.30 favourite or shorter.
It would be a career-best for Chung if he were to win this one and I can’t see it happening.
Other short-priced favourites in Dubai that should win with few problems include Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, and Tomas Berdych, but all are typically short against weak opposition.
Thomaz Bellucci in Sao Paulo could also be classed as pretty likely to win and surprisingly the Brazilian has a 13-1 record at main level as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite, as he is on Wednesday against Roberto Carballes Baena.
Lukas Rosol vs Feliciano Lopez
This one will be played at around 11:00 UK time on one of the untelevised courts, but I expect it to go the way of Lopez, whose more careful control of the ball and heavy leftie top spin seems better suited to conditions in Dubai.
Rosol is fortunate to be in this round at all after coming back from three match points down after a poor start against Yuki Bhambri on Tuesday in a weird match that ended up with Rosol bagelling the Indian in the decider.
Lopez was a couple of points away from bagelling Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Monday and after losing his only prior career clash with Rosol on clay this looks a good opportunity for revenge for the Spaniard.
Rosol’s only tactic will be to wallop it as hard as he can and in the daytime conditions in Dubai I’d expect to see a lot of errors from him and Lopez can really test the Czech’s patience with his accurate backhand slice.
The Czech has lost nine of last 15 against left-handers and seven of his last 10 against the big servers in my database and his record of losses on outdoor hard reveals a pattern.
Rosol’s last seven defeats on outdoor hard at main level have all been in straight sets and in ATP World Tour main draw matches his last 20 losses in a row on outdoor hard have come by more than three games.
All of which makes the -2.5 games on Lopez pretty appealing and Wednesday’s value bet.
Phillip Kohlschreiber vs Borna Coric
It’s been a perhaps predictably tough season for young Coric so far in 2016 after every man and his dog labelled him a future world number one in 2015 and I’d expect Kohlschreiber to beat him on Wednesday.
The German has been playing some very decent tennis over the last few weeks and barring a limp effort against Gael Monfils he’s been playing at a level higher than anything Coric has done this season.
It seems to me that Coric has been trying to address his lack of power by going for more on his forehand and that appears to have led in turn to a loss of control and Dubai in the afternoon isn’t ideal for those with poor control of their groundies.
Kohlschreiber hasn’t lost to an under-21-year-old since Marin Cilic beat him in 2009 and he’s won nine of his last 10 matches as a 1.40 to 1.50 favourite (the one loss was an early retirement).
Coric is here by virtue of a win over the inconsistent Jiri Vesely, but he’s won only four of his last 26 matches against top-30 ranked opposition and I like the -3.5 games on the German here as one half of a ‘long shot’ double.
The second half is to take Inigo Cervantes -2.5 games over Blaz Rola, who may well be suffering from fatigue after a major effort in tough conditions in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Rola took two-and-three-quarter hours and had to come from behind several times to beat Paulo Lorenzi and he may well pay for that against an opponent in Cervantes who had a much easier day with a 76-minute win over Marcel Granollers.
Rola had won only one match at this level in a year before beating Lorenzi and Cervantes certainly has more than enough about him to take advantage of any drop in Rola’s fitness on Wednesday.
Sure thing: Back Bautista-Agut to beat Chung at 1.22
Value bet: Back Lopez -2.5 games to beat Rosol at 1.84
Long shot: Back Kohlschreiber -3.5 games and Cervantes -2.5 games at 4.06