Week 39’s two ATP 250 tournaments on the Asian swing of the tour continue on Wednesday, with eight matches on the schedule in Kuala Lumpur and Shenzhen on Thursday.
My bets went one from two on Wednesday, showing a small profit, after Sam Groth easily accounted for Tommy Robredo in set one of their clash.
Gilles Muller had a really poor day by his standards on serve, making only 45 percent of his first serves, which was never going to trouble Richard Gasquet.
The remaining eight second round matches are on the card in both the Malaysian Open and the Shenzhen Open on Wednesday and I think it’s worth taking on Ernests Gulbis in Kuala Lumpur.
Philipp Petzschner vs Ernests Gulbis
Ernie should and probably will win this match against the German, who’s returning to the tour after a bad spell with injuries, but it may not be easy to begin with for the Latvian.
The number two seed hasn’t played since limping off court in the US Open in a second round loss to his mate Dominic Thiem and since his great run to the semis of the French Open he’s been below par.
Since losing to Novak Djokovic in Paris Gulbis has gone 4-5 on the tour, with losses to Sergiy Stakhovsky, Kenny de Schepper, Steve Johnson, Julien Benneteau and Thiem.
He also has a 5-10 losing record on indoor hard against the big servers on my list and a pretty poor 12-15 record in matches played in Asia.
Petzschner can count himself rather fortunate to be here after a choke from James Ward in the last round allowed the German to sneak through, but he can serve well enough to take the opening set past the 9.5 total games mark here at 1.92.
The other match I like the look of on Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur involves two players with vastly different levels of experience of playing in Asia.
Jarkko Nieminen vs Leonardo Mayer
This 06:00 UK time start on Wednesday will be just the fourth match that Mayer has ever played in Asia – and he is currently yet to win one.
The Argentine travelled to Bangkok, Tokyo and Shanghai in 2009 and lost first up in each city in a spell of about 10 days and he hadn’t been back since until this week.
That five year absence suggests more than a touch of reticence or apathy about this swing of the tour and it will be interesting to see how he fares in Kuala Lumpur this week.
Contrast that with Nieminen, who will be playing his 71st match at tour level in Asia on Wednesday and he currently holds a 40-30 winning record (57%), which is decent.
This is the Finn’s first visit to this particular tournament on the Asian swing, but he’s had good results in this part of the world and his all court game suits indoor tennis.
Mayer and Nieminen have met once before, and it was this season on clay, when the latter won in a final set breaker in Bucharest, so the lack of speed in these courts shouldn’t hamper the Finn too much.
This one could go long, with the over 22.5 total games likely, but I like either the Nieminen straight win at 1.82 or the 2-1 win for the Finn at 4.20 here.
Over in Shenzhen it’s hard to see either Andy Murray or David Ferrer losing in their opening round matches, while Ricardas Berankis’s price is a little short considering his win was over an injured Gilles Simon last up.
I’m tempted to go with Thanasi Kokkinakis after Santi Giraldo’s last effort here against the world number 1098 Bowen Ouyang, but the young Aussie is a little short for my liking.
Back over 9.5 total games in set one of Gulbis/Petzschner at 1.92
Back Nieminen to beat Mayer at 1.82