It’s a bumper day of ATP World Tour tennis on Tuesday, with 31 matches on the card across this week’s three tournaments in Brazil, France and the United States.
Monday’s ‘sure thing’ really was aptly labelled, as Sergiy Stakhovsky cruised through to round two in Marseille with a straight sets win over the out of form Lukas Rosol without facing a break point.
That was in stark contrast to the dismal showing from Albert Ramos and Andreas Haider-Maurer in Rio that the Spaniard controlled after winning set one, but fell away badly in a real mess of a match to lose in three.
Dustin Brown gave us a run for our money as a long shot to win 2-1 against Ivo Karlovic, but the German was not good enough on serve and ended up losing the decider rather than winning it.
Sam Querrey vs Alejandro Gonzalez
Big Sam plays his best tennis at home in the USA and he showed good form last week indoors in Memphis, where he pushed eventual champion Kei Nishikori all the way in the semi finals.
Querrey came within a couple of points of winning that match after a win over John Isner in straight sets in the previous round, so he should be full of confidence here at Delray Beach this week.
It’s not as quick outdoors here in Florida, but he should still have much too big a game for Gonzalez, who struggles away from the clay and has a 4-15 record against the top-100 on hard courts.
In his three matches on tour against Milos Raonic, Jack Sock and Rosol the Colombian has managed not even as much as a tie break and Querrey should have few issues winning this in two sets at around 1.49 in this 17:30 UK time clash.
There are plenty of others today, who should be ‘sure things’ but are a tad short and Leonardo Mayer and Tim Smyczek look the best of the rest at acceptable prices.
With so many matches on the card it’s been tricky to choose just three today and for my value bet I was torn between Paul-Henri Mathieu, Yen Hsun Lu, Robin Haase, and Nicolas Almagro.
Yen-Hsun Lu vs Sam Groth
Lu has a poor record on indoor hard and it was no real surprise to see him lose to the huge serving Groth in those conditions in Memphis last week, but the slower outdoor hard may see the opposite result today.
Lu’s 14-28 record at Tour level on indoor hard is in stark contrast to his 74-105 record on outdoor hard with the same parameters and Groth will have to serve exceptionally well if he wants to justify favouritism today.
The Aussie was very disappointing after he had beaten Lu in Memphis when he barely got a strike across the bows of Kevin Anderson the next round, which shows how much he does rely on that serve.
Outdoors, Lu has beaten the likes of Tomas Berdych, Karlovic, Anderson, Gilles Muller, and indeed Groth, while indoors the only one of the big servers on my database that he’s beaten is Rosol.
Conditions would appear to favour Lu here and he looks a touch of value as a 2.16 underdog.
As far as long shots go today there’ll be a few lining up to take Rafa Nadal on in Rio against Thomaz Bellucci, and there’s no doubt that Nadal could be vulnerable today on all that we’ve seen from him so far this season.
I’m just not sure that Bellucci is the man to beat him, with the Brazilian likely to choke if the winning line became in sight for him.
Instead, there could be a squeak of a chance for John-Patrick Smith, with his opponent Kevin Anderson having been delayed by snow and it’s a tough turnaround for the South African.
Again, I’d prefer a classier opponent than Smith, and Haase could be a better pick against Vasek Pospisil and how about a tasty Tuesday treble today?
The Dutchman played some decent stuff in Rotterdam against Andreas Seppi and his poor form at the start of the year can in part be put down to sickness, but he does play well on quick indoor surfaces.
Haase beat Pospisil and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on his way to the Vienna final indoors 15 months ago and he’s won two of his three against today’s opponent, who looks short to me.
Haase may mess things up, but the +1.5 sets at 1.74 looks good and I’m taking this along with Almagro to finally get a win over Pablo Cuevas and Mathieu to beat Paire as a 5.57 long shot wager today.
Cuevas must be exhausted after a draining title win in Sao Paulo on Sunday and there isn’t as much between he and Almagro as a 3-0 head-to-head record shows – that’s a little misleading.
And Mathieu has been unlucky lately, playing some great tennis against top class opposition, while Paire is edging his way back from a bad knee injury and his level of opponents lately has been several grades lower.
He may also be tired after winning the Bergamo Challenger two days ago and he’s only beaten one top-100 opponent since last August.
Sure thing: Back Querrey to beat Gonzalez 2-0 at 1.49
Value bet: Back Lu to beat Groth at 2.16
Long shot: Back Almagro, Haase +1.5 sets, and Mathieu in a treble at 5.57