Wednesday’s men’s tennis action on the clay courts of Barcelona and Bucharest features 13 second round matches on week 17 of the ATP World Tour.
At the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell there are nine matches to consider, while the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy has just the four matches on its card on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s bets both went down in final sets, with Roberto Bautista-Agut losing out to Kei Nishikori from a break up in the decider and Marcel Granollers yet again disappointing in his home event – this time from a set ahead of Dominic Thiem, as his body let him down in the latter stages.
In Romania on Wednesday, I have Lukas Rosol, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Victor Hanescu on my betting shortlist, while my fancies in Spain today include Santiago Giraldo and Jurgen Melzer.
Juergen Melzer 1.75, Jerzy Janowicz 2.02
We’ve made some good money from betting against Janowicz this season and I see no reason to give up on a good thing while the Pole continues to struggle badly.
JJ has been woeful this season and is clinging on to a spot in the top-20 in the world rankings, but it looks set to be only for the time being, with a big percentage of his points likely to come off after Wimbledon unless there’s a massive improvement.
Last time out JJ was comprehensively beaten on clay in Monte-Carlo by Michael Llodra for his sixth straight defeat and a match on the red dirt against another leftie is not what the doctor ordered as far as Janowicz is concerned.
He was beaten in the first round by a leftie last year here in Albert Ramos and he doesn’t enjoy playing them, as his 3-9 record at tour level shows.
Indeed, Melzer is one of the three left-handed opponents that he has beaten and that was in a very tight affair at Wimbledon last year over five sets, but his win over Ramos at the French Open last year remains his only win over a southpaw on clay.
Melzer will be delighted to have come through a tight three setter against Mikhail Kukushkin yesterday in only his second match of the season after a shoulder injury and he’s more than experienced enough to be able to figure JJ out.
Llodra said after his win in Monte-Carlo last week that JJ “was always serving in the same places” and that he knew where the ball was going to go so he could prepare early and return it with interest. In other words, Janowicz has been found out.
Juergen is fresh and enthusiastic right now after a frustrating time with injury, while JJ appears to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. The minus 1.5 games on Melzer at 1.98 looks the call here.
Fabio Fognini 1.26, Santiago Giraldo 3.75
Forgetting all about last week’s Fogna meltdown this looks a good opportunity to oppose the Italian anyway, as he doesn’t look fit, has never won a main draw match here and his opponent is playing well.
Fognini has been struggling physically for a while now, which is hardly surprising given that he’s played an awful lot of tennis this year and he sports protective tape all over his torso, which may have contributed to his mental breakdown in Monte-Carlo.
On the tour he’s been struggling to put opponents away, with a level that varies between brilliant and awful and of his last 14 matches on the ATP Tour he’s only once won by five games or more, which is what he’ll need today to cover the handicap.
That one was against Ryan Harrison at Indian Wells and he dropped a set in that one too, so Giraldo will fancy his chances here.
The Colombian played well on the American clay in Houston two weeks ago, reaching the semis there and after a week off he came here and despatched Igor Sijsling with the minimum of fuss.
He’s split his two career matches with Fognini on clay and should be able to keep that run of Fognini not covering the handicap going at 1.52. He also looks decent at 1.90 on the set handicap, with seven of Fogna’s last 12 going the distance.
In Bucharest, I like Rosol to beat Jarkko Nieminen, but he’s a little short at 1.58. I would have expected maybe more like 1.7 or so on the Czech there.
Hanescu in his home tournament has a decent chance of upsetting Gilles Simon, who he lost to in the final here back in 2007, but again, I’d want bigger than 2.14 about the Bucharest native there.
Perhaps the best of the outsiders today is Stakhovsky, who at 3.33 has a shot against an out of touch Carlos Berlocq, who he has beaten on clay before and also defeated in Sydney at the start of the year.
The clay was in Madrid, which is quick and so is Sydney and Charly will prefer today’s conditions, but he was fortunate that the rain helped him get past Andreas Seppi yesterday and Stako is one to consider.
Back Melzer –1.5 games to beat Janowicz at 1.98
Back Giraldo +4.5 games to beat Fognini at 1.52