Round one completes and round two begins in Montreal at the Coupe Rogers on Tuesday, with Novak Djokovic among those in action today.
Our ‘sure thing’ of the day on Monday was a pretty comfortable winner, as Gilles Simon eased past Andreas Seppi in straight sets, with the Italian capitulating in typical style by getting broken to love in the last game of the match.
Indeed, Seppi topped that off with a double fault, but there was a bit of bad luck with my ‘long shot’ Filip Peliwo, who only began to play against Sergiy Stakhovsky when behind 1-6, 2-5 and having fended off match points.
The Canadian ended up winning that set for +1.5 sets backers, but my set one wager was nowhere near, while Jerzy Janowicz donated his serve to Ivo Karlovic with a double fault at 3-3 to down my ‘value bet’.
Of course, Janowicz and Karlovic went to a tie break in set two on one of those days where it was a case of right idea, but wrong set.
Richard Gasquet vs Jeremy Chardy
This all-French affair at around 19:30 UK time on Tuesday should go the way of the Gasman, who has an excellent record as a short-priced favourite on outdoor hard courts.
Today’s ‘sure thing’ has won 27 of his 30 completed matches as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite on outdoor hard and he’s only lost one since the start of the 2011 season in completed matches.
That is a fine record and one that is likely to continue today against Chardy, who is another of his slumps of form at the moment, having not won a match since the French Open.
Chardy played very well in Paris, but typically, has now gone on a run of losses that seems unlikely to end on Tuesday against his countryman, who has won all four sets they’ve contested in the past.
Chardy is playing his first match on outdoor hard since Miami in March, while Gasquet has had two long matches on the surface in Washington DC to prepare for this.
That makes a tough task even harder for Chardy, who has won only one of his last 10 as a 3.50 underdog or bigger.
Gasquet is likely to make too many balls for Chardy and put him in positions where his big shots are taken on from low percentage areas and the back fence might be a popular area for them to land.
Among other shorties I considered was Roberto Bautista-Agut against the out of form, fitness and match time Janko Tipsarevic, but RBA has lost two of his three on outdoor hard as a 1.20 to 1.30 favourite.
I would prefer Viktor Troicki at a bigger price of 1.34 against Mikhail Youzhny, but much of the value has gone there, with the Serb a 1.40 plus chance last night.
Adrian Mannarino vs Jack Sock
I really like the price on Mannarino here against the inconsistent American, who has shown a poor attitude too often recently for my liking and may not be suited by the quick courts in Montreal.
Sock was stroppy in defeat in Atlanta, Washington and Wimbledon this summer and he has no sort of record in the Canada Masters, with one win in the main draw and that one was in Toronto.
The heavy topspin that Sock plays with isn’t guaranteed to be suitable on the quicker surfaces and he may well need more time on the ball than he’ll get in Montreal, which is one of the fastest venues on tour.
Mannarino on the other hand made the final in Bogota (beating Ivo Karlovic en route) at altitude, which shows he can play when the ball is flying around and he likes redirecting pace.
The Frenchman was flummoxed by Bernard Tomic in that Bogota final, but the Aussie plays with far more variety than Sock, who will mostly wallop it, and Mannarino won their most recent clash easily.
That one was on outdoor hard at Delray Beach last year and after a poor showing that can be attributed to fatigue after Bogota in Atlanta a fortnight ago Mannarino should be fit for this match and will fancy his chances.
Other underdogs in with chances today include Stevie Johnson against David Goffin, and possibly Frank Dancevic at home against Pablo Andujar, whose outdoor hard court record is dire.
John Isner vs Benjamin Becker
Becker looks the most viable option of the big prices today against an Isner struggling with injury and it’s quite possible that the big man will choose to take time out this week.
Isner’s crazy schedule has seen him play Newport, Atlanta, and Washington DC since Wimbledon and he’ll play Cincy next week as well as a likely visit to Winston-Salem before the US Open.
The obvious option for Isner is to put in a token effort here, where he’s had no success in the past (5-5 at the Canada Masters and 2-3 in Montreal) and save himself for a more suitable venue in Cincy.
Isner made the final in Cincy in 2013 and was beaten only by Andy Murray last year and his serve gets more bounce there than here and if I were him, given his knee problems I’d be giving this week a swerve.
Becker has been struggling with injury too this summer, but he should have much more gas in the tank than Isner, and he has beaten Sock and Karlovic on outdoor hard in the last year, so he’s capable of defeating big servers in these conditions.
Sure thing: Back Gasquet to beat Chardy at 1.24
Value bet: Back Mannarino to beat Sock at 2.60
Long shot: Back Becker to beat Isner at 4.50