The two clay court finals in week 17 of the ATP Tour are contested on Sunday in Spain and Romania.
Kei Nishikori was too good for Ernests Gulbis on Saturday, which cost me a wager there and he’s back as a warm order against shock finalist Santiago Giraldo in Barcelona.
Over in Bucharest it’s defending champion Lukas Rosol taking on top seed Grigor Dimitrov in an intriguing match-up in the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy.
Grigor Dimitrov 1.28 vs Lukas Rosol 3.45
There doesn’t seem a great deal of value in the 1.28 favourite Dimitrov here, who is the same price as his girlfriend Maria Sharapova over in Stuttgart, but without the titles to back it up.
The Bulgarian looks far from a good thing here to me in his first ever clay court final at tour level, which was achieved by yet another injury to Gael Monfils in their semi-final on Saturday.
It was another bizarre chapter in the injury life story of Monfils, who rolled his ankle walking onto court and wasn’t able to compete against Dimitrov, but Rosol will.
The Czech has bittersweet memories of this event, having won it last year following the death of his father and he may prove just too motivated for Dimitrov today, who surely doesn’t see this ATP 250 event as anything more than a tune-up for bigger things to come.
Rosol loves playing on this Bucharest court and he has the raw power to hit through it, as he showed again by beating Robin Haase yesterday from a set and a break down.
That kind of power and desire could well prove too much for Dimitrov if he’s not totally focussed here and in their first career meeting he has the potential to cause some major problems for Grigor here.
Grigor only has two career titles to his name and both were hard fought three setters, with the most recent coming on hard in Acapulco in a final set tie break over Kevin Anderson, so he doesn’t find titles as easy to come by as 1.28 suggests.
Rosol can be very good when he catches fire, which I feel he will do at some stage today and the +1.5 sets on the Czech looks good here at 1.95.
Santiago Giraldo 4.60 vs Kei Nishikori 1.18 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 15.05
This looks to me like it will be a much less competitive encounter, with Nishikori a more worthy short priced favourite at around 1.18 in Barcelona after his best week on a clay court.
Into only his second final on clay and his first on this traditional red clay the Japanese has been serving well and hitting his forehand superbly all week and it’s hard to see Giraldo having any sort of answer today.
I said yesterday that Nico Almagro may struggle to back up his win over Rafa Nadal and so it proved, as the Spaniard didn’t turn up and was quite comfortably beaten by the solid Colombian, who is looking for his maiden ATP Tour title today.
This will be just his second final at tour level after losing out to Tommy Robredo in a final set tie breaker in Santiago back in 2011 and he’s up against it, having been beaten comfortably by today’s opponent recently.
Kei defeated Santiago one and three on slow outdoor hard at Indian Wells and also crushed him in three straight sets in Davis Cup at the end of last season and with Nishikori playing the way he is at the moment it’s hard to see Giraldo being overly competitive here.
There isn’t a huge amount of betting value in this market, but the 2-0 looks likely at 1.53 or the minus 4.5 games on the handicap at 1.80 appear the best options.
Back Rosol +1.5 sets to beat Dimitrov at 1.95