The Internazionali BNL d’Italia picks up the pace on Monday, with 10 matches scheduled for today at the Foro Italico.
And hopefully we’ll have some live streams today and some better luck after a rare loss for my ‘sure thing’ bet made it a poor start to the week in the Eternal City.
Santi Giraldo was unbackable at 1.03 after winning the opener 6-2 against newcomer Matteo Donati, but the Colombian managed to lose the second set 6-1 and never recovered in what was his first ever defeat as a 1.10 to 1.30 favourite on a clay court.
And it was clearly a day where Nico Almagro decided he’d better show some endeavour as he beat my big outsider Luca Vanni in two, while Florian Mayer almost beat Kevin Anderson.
Pablo Cuevas vs Paulo Lorenzi
This 16:00 UK time clash between the Uruguayan and the Italian should surely go the way of the former, with Lorenzi really struggling these days and likely to see another Rome defeat come quickly.
The 33-year-old Italian – like compatriots Simone Bolelli, Fabio Fognini, and Andreas Seppi – has a poor record in the city of his birth, with losses coming in either the first or second round in each of his appearances here.
Added to that he’s been struggling injury and loss of form this season and his most recent results make for really bad reading for Lorenzi fans.
A retirement last time out due a recurring leg injury followed losses to Bjorn Fratangelo, then another retirement, then a defeat to Ireland’s James McGee on clay in a Challenger in Mexico.
The veteran Italian has always struggled against the best, with a 3-26 record against the top-25, and a closer look at that tells us that one of those wins was by way of retirement, another a virtual retirement by Alexandr Dolgopolov, and the one that can be credited to Lorenzi was against Thomaz Bellucci here in 2011.
Lorenzi’s record is littered with heavy defeats at the top level of the game and on current form and fitness this could be another against Cuevas, who should now be starting to make waves on clay at Masters level.
The -4.5 games on Cuevas at 1.67 looks decent value in the circumstances.
For a ‘sure thing’ today Cuevas outright at 1.18 can be doubled with Philipp Kohlschreiber to make a 1.35 double that should be successful.
Kohlschreiber has been in fine form on the dirt in the last few weeks and he’s won four of his last five matches in Rome, with the only loss being a deciding set defeat to Novak Djokovic in the last-16 a year ago.
Young has a dire record on European clay, with two wins from 11 matches on this side of the Atlantic, and he too retired last time out in Madrid last week, citing lower back pain, which is not ideal when playing on clay.
Jerzy Janowicz vs Grigor Dimitrov
Of all the potential ‘long shots’ today I have a feeling that this one could present an opportunity of either backing JJ at 4.80 or the Dimitrov 2-1 win at 4.0.
JJ has been struggling for fitness of late, but has seemingly now overcome a back problem that turned out to be nothing serious after an MRI scan and he’s had a couple of matches back now to get a feel for things again.
The Pole has played well here in Rome in the past, with a run to the quarter finals in 2013 that included wins over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, and that will be a good memory for him today.
Also aiding JJ will be his two wins from two over Dimitrov – one in the French Open juniors when they were young and the other at Masters level on hard in Cincy last season.
The slower conditions here in Rome compared to Madrid may take a bit of getting used to for Dimitrov, who made the semi finals here a year ago, and indeed he dropped a set to Edouard Roger-Vasselin in round one in 2014.
The Pole will fancy this and either big-priced bet should give a good run for your money, but I just favour Dimitrov to sneak it in three.
Other favourites who look too short include John Isner, whose price is based on excellent recent form, but he’s never done well in slower conditions in Rome, and Fognini is never a solid bet here, even against a clay opponent as limited as Steve Johnson.
Sure thing: Back Cuevas and Kohlschreiber in a double at 1.35
Value bet: Back Cuevas to beat Lorenzi -4.5 games at 1.67
Long shot: Back Dimitrov to beat Janowicz 2-1 at 4.0