The second round matches get underway in Beijing and Tokyo on Wednesday at the China Open and Rakuten Japan Open 2014.
There’s also one first round match to complete, with the organisers in Japan generously giving their man Kei Nishikori a day extra to recover and play his first round than they did to, say, Julien Benneteau.
Talking of Benny, the Frenchman’s predictable lack of energy and vigour after losing his 10th tour final on Sunday allowed my 2.70 tip of Pablo Andujar to ease home on Tuesday.
Andujar ran out a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Benneteau to land my opening bet of the day before Richard Gasquet’s feeble display against Rafa Nadal foiled my second wager.
Gasquet came out with zero belief against an opponent that hadn’t played a single competitive match for 14 weeks and the Gasman got exactly what he deserved – a straight sets loss ending with a bagel.
But it was still a profitable day, which couldn’t be said for favourite backers in Tokyo, when Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were beaten as heavy odds-on shots, while Jarkko Nieminen, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Roberto Bautista-Agut all retired mid-match.
There are only nine matches in total across the two venues today and in Tokyo I would expect wins for Jack Sock and Nishikori, but both are too short in price for my liking – especially the latter, who might be troubled by Ivan Dodig.
In Beijing, two players with very poor records in Asia in Andujar and Grigor Dimitrov clash at 07:00 UK time, with Dimi being much too short given his low win percentage on this continent.
Novak Djokovic vs Vasek Pospisil
This one could be a lot closer than the odds have it, despite the Serbian holding a perfect 20-0 record in this tournament.
Indeed, that stat might have skewed the market a tad here, as from what I saw of Djokovic’s match against Guillermo Garcia Lopez he was pretty poor for a fair old spell in that one.
GGL was woeful – particularly on serve – and got the severe defeat he deserved, but there were plenty of unusually poor misses from Djokovic and the Spaniard broke Nole twice in set one and had points to make it three times.
And those opportunities came from errors from the Serb rather than anything Garcia Lopez was doing, but I guess you could conclude that it was to be expected in Novak’s first match since the US Open.
He’ll need a big improvement to finish this one on Wednesday inside 18.5 total games though and I’m happy to take the overs here.
Pospisil was very good in his match with Lukas Rosol on Monday and although this couldn’t be a more different type of opponent, his record against top players shows he can compete with them.
The Canadian has beaten Tomas Berdych and Richard Gasquet and pushed Roger Federer very close both times he’s faced the Swiss maestro.
He also lost in a final set tie break to David Ferrer here last year and fitness has been more of an issue with him than ability, which is something that he can improve in the off season now that he seems injury-free.
Djokovic memorably went 22 matches unbeaten after the US Open until the end of the season last year, but he has other matters at hand this time around and the feeling I get is that he’s not quite as focused as that a year on.
That is understandable of course given his impending fatherhood, but it presents an opportunity for others. If Pospisil is of a mind to take it his big game can take him at least past the overs here at a tempting 2.10.
Elsewhere in Beijing John Isner is too short again today versus Tommy Robredo, but the Spaniard has a poor recent record here and does struggle against the huge servers.
Viktor Troicki is another interesting outsider today, with the Serb on a mission to climb the rankings after his ban and he’ll be very keen to do well here after his wild card place.
Tomas Berdych took full advantage of an injured Feli Lopez on Tuesday, with the Spaniard bemoaning a back problem afterwards, and the +1.5 sets on Troicki is worth thinking about in that 05:30 UK time start.
Back over 18.5 total games in Djokovic/Pospisil at 2.10