Wednesday was a bumper day on week six of the 2013 ATP World Tour with all three of my selections winning.
Michael Llodra got the ball rolling in Montpellier with a straight sets victory over Kenny de Schepper, before Mikhail Youzhny prevailed in Zagreb with a similarly comfortable win over Igor Sijsling. Then later on in the evening Carlos Berlocq edged out Santiago Giraldo in Vina del Mar to complete an excellent day.
Thursday’s play offers up a number of backable outsiders on an attractive-looking day’s play indoors in France and Croatia.
The very first match of the day in Zagreb sees Martin Klizan offered at 2.10 against Robin Haase and the Dutchman is always worth taking on as favourite against anyone half-decent. Klizan certainly falls into that category, although the surface may not suit him that well.
At a bigger price, it’s definitely worth taking a chance on Somdev Devvarman to take down the ailing Jurgen Melzer, when they meet at 11am on Court 1 in Zagreb.
Melzer is to be opposed at every opportunity these days in my view, as his slide towards imminent retirement has gathered pace with two awful Davis Cup losses to Evgeny Korolev and Andrey Golubev on the clay last week.
It’s not easy switching from clay to indoor hard anyway and this will be Melzer’s first match on this Zagreb surface, whereas Devvarman played yesterday, which is an advantage in itself.
Golubev and Korolev are both ranked around the 200 mark and to win just one set from seven against that sort of opposition shows how far Melzer has fallen in the last year or so. Although he may prefer indoor hard he is a former French Open semi finalist, so it’s not as if he can’t play on clay.
Devvarman is still inching his way back after long term injury, but he is a classy operator who has beaten some very good players in the past and now that the confidence in his body has returned, he should prove a tough opponent for Melzer today in their first career meeting.
At around 2.85 it’s worth backing the Indian player against the Austrian, whose confidence must be very low and on his first match of the year on indoor hard.
The other two that I like today at odds-against are Gael Monfils at 2.20 against Richard Gasquet and Llodra at 2.08 against Janko Tipsarevic.
Monfils has won three of his last four against the Gasman and two of the three that they’ve played together on indoor hard courts.
Lamonf is still working his way back to form, after another spell on the sidelines with injury, but he made the final here in Montpellier last year and he’ll be the fresher of the two after Gasquet played Davis Cup at the weekend.
Gasquet has been in decent form this year, which is why he’s favourite for this match, but I don’t think that these Montpellier courts are overly quick and it’s well worth taking a chance that the elastic defences of Monfils will eventually force Gasquet to miss.
As ever with Monfils, you never really know what you’re going to get on any given day, but he has won eight of the last ten sets contested between he and Gasquet and he’s had the benefit of playing a match here already, so the scales are tipped in his favour.
Back Devvarman to beat Melzer at 2.85
Back Monfils to beat Gasquet at 2.20