ATP Tennis Betting: Ramanathan great value against too-short Baghdatis

Thursday is quarter finals day on the grass of Antalya and Eastbourne – or at least it should be – with only one last eight clash set so far at the Aegon International.

There are no such problems with rain over in Turkey, where we landed another winner on the grass with underdog Andreas Seppi providing a three set success over Janko Tipsarevic on Wednesday.

As far as our outrights are concerned, we have our two intact in Antalya, while in Eastbourne Mischa Zverev won his first match of the day and then saw his second, against Bernard Tomic, called off as the rain returned.

There’s a peculiar and a tad suspicious change in the schedule of play over in Antalya on Thursday, with play starting two hours earlier at 10:00 local time (08:00 UK) and the second match not beginning until five hours later.

A cynic might suggest that one of the players has asked for this change due to the expected heat, but according to the forecast it’ll be 34C in the shade by 10:00 anyway, so I doubt it’ll make much difference.

In Eastbourne their schedule is a farce, and of course rain delays are one of the many negatives about hosting joint ATP/WTA events. Trying to fit all the matches in if there’s rain becomes nigh on impossible.

Poor old Lauren Davis is scheduled to play four times tomorrow in singles and doubles and our man Zverev is set to play twice.

The forecast suggests a cool, cloudy day, with perhaps some rain in the air, so we’ll see how much play they get through there on Thursday.

Ramkumar Ramanathan vs Marcos Baghdatis

I said in my pre-tournament preview that I wouldn’t be surprised if Baghdatis went deep this week and he has the draw to do it now that Ramanathan has disposed of Dominic Thiem, but does he have the fitness?

The Cypriot looked out on his feet after a 140 minute grind against Carlos Berlocq in the last round and once again a few obvious issues would put me off backing Baghdatis at a price like 1.28 here.

One is the fatigue after the Berlocq match, the second concerns his body, as he had the trainer out again during the Berlocq match, the third is the heat and lastly the breezy conditions.

Baggy has hardly played all season and the last time he played back-to-back matches before this week was in January, so his match fitness is a worry, as are his regular injuries – last week in Halle it was the back and it was the arm that needed treatment against Berlocq.

Once again his first serve percentage was below 50% (46%) against Berlocq and the coastal breeze here can’t help in that regard given Baggy’s high ball toss. He served seven double faults (the same number as aces) in the Berlocq match too.

Ramanathan has played often enough in India (120 times) to be used to extreme heat and he’ll be buzzing after taking down Thiem after beating Rogerio Dutra Silva.

He hasn’t been broken yet this week, enjoys the quick conditions and shouldn’t have a problem with the heat, so there’s a lot to like about the 3.70 on Ramanthan here.

Our two outrights both have excellent chances to make the semi finals and face each other, with Andreas Seppi a 1.30 shot to get past Radu Albot, which he should do, and Adrian Mannarino slight underdog versus Fernando Verdasco.

There’s very little to choose between Mannarino and Verdasco in their last 10 matches each on grass as far as service hold/breaks are concerned, with both just sneaking over the 100 mark at 100.8 and 101.2 respectively.

Tournament favourite Verdasco hasn’t made a final the week prior to a major since 2010 and his only grass final came in 2008 so I wouldn’t be handing the Antalya trophy to Nando just yet.

Mannarino enjoys the grass and if he’s on a go day he can take down the Spaniard in the later match at around 15:30 UK time.

There are only three matches in Eastbourne that we can really look at and they are Zverev versus Tomic, Richard Gasquet against Kevin Anderson and Novak Djokovic’s clash with Donald Young.

Of these I’m tempted to back Gasquet as underdog against Anderson, but the Frenchman looked ragged against Francis Tiafoe on Wednesday and he might not be up for it this week on that performance.

Both men have had a lot of injury problems lately, but Anderson has only played once since retiring at the French Open and that was a gimme against Thomaz Bellucci, so it may be a bit early to be making him favourite against a good grass courter like the Gasman.

I hope for his sake that Anderson has had some sleep the past couple of nights, as he was staying in the same Eastbourne hotel as me and it was insanely hot in there – presumably to keep the elderly residents at their preferred room temperature of about 30C.

As for Zverev, his match is tough to call, with Tomic such an unreliable customer at the best of times. I watched his round one match against Norbert Gombos and the Aussie was hardly impressive, but if he fancies it he’s got the ability to take down Zverev.

But the value of the day could turn out to lie with taking on Baghdatis in Antalya, where at least we’re pretty much guaranteed play with no interruptions.

Best Bet
1 point win Ramanathan to beat Baghdatis at 3.70