The three ATP 250 events in week 30 of the 2014 ATP World Tour reach their second round stages on Wednesday, with 14 matches on offer in Gstaad, Umag and Atlanta.
Yesterday was one to forget for me, with two very disappointing straight sets losses on a day when not a lot went right.
A clearly fatigued Victor Estrella Burgos was routed by Marinko Matosevic in Atlanta and the only saving grace in that one was that the end came quickly.
Indeed, there were thrashings galore in Atlanta last night, with all bar one match ending in two easy non-tie break sets and three bagels were served up in all.
Over in Umag, Dusan Lajovic was hampered by a back injury in a straight sets loss to Teimuraz Gabashvili, while in Gstaad I can count myself fortunate not to have backed Daniel Gimeno Traver, who broke records by failing with 23 of 29 break point chances to lose to Yann Marti.
The first match that I like today is in Gstaad and should begin at around 13:00 UK time.
Thomaz Bellucci vs Federico Delbonis
The price on Delbonis today seems very reasonable and by and large that’s down to the previous good results of Bellucci at altitude.
Two of the Brazilian’s tour level career titles have come here in Gstaad and he’s also done well at home in Sao Paulo at altitude, where conditions suit his big hitting game, but he’s not the player that won here twice any more.
Indeed, Delbonis defeated Bellucci en route to winning the title in Sao Paulo this year, so he’s no mug at altitude either and he’s beaten the Brazilian in three of their four prior meetings.
Another reason for the tempting price on Delbonis is that Bellucci beat the Argentine before the French Open on clay in Munich, but the wayward Brazilian has his work cut out to do it again.
Delbonis will probably go back inside the top-50 this week and against such players Bellucci has a 3-10 record in the last 12 months.
The 2-1 to Delbonis is also tempting at 3.85, with their last two meetings going to a decider and the one prior ending in two tight sets.
Delbonis is much the more reliable of the two players and 1.55 about him winning this seems pretty decent.
It’s hard to make a case for any of the underdogs in Atlanta tonight, with strong-looking favourites on show there, but with 10 of the 11 first round matches having been done and dusted in two sets the unders looks the way forward in Atlanta.
The heat and humidity may be sapping some resolve there and with decent favourites on show the unders may pay again.
In Umag I’m torn between siding with Albert Ramos as an underdog against Tommy Robredo or backing Igor Sijsling to cover a generous-looking handicap against Marin Cilic.
Tommy won this last year and has an 8-1 record in Umag, but he’s been comparatively poor this season and he looks plenty short enough against Ramos, who beat Robredo in straight sets in their last meeting.
Marin Cilic vs Igor Sijsling
Either Ramos at 2.60 or Sijsling +5.5 games at 1.74 look the way forward in Umag today and Cilic will do well to beat the Dutchman by half a dozen games here.
It’s never easy playing your first competitive match on clay after having played last on grass a month ago and although Sijsling has been struggling with form of late he’ll be boosted by a decent victory yesterday over Julian Reister.
Typically, Sijsling should have won that match much earlier than he eventually did, but at least it gave him plenty of time to get used to the courts here in Umag and that could be vital today.
Cilic should win this, as he has on all three prior occasions that they’ve met, but it’s never been easy for Cilic, who has been pushed to three sets each time by Sijsling and the latter’s serve should allow him to cover the handicap today.
All three of those matches came on indoor hard courts, which is Cilic’s best surface in terms of titles by far and if Igor can repeat his numbers on serve from yesterday Marin will do well to brush him aside.
Back Delbonis to beat Bellucci at 1.55
Back Sijsling +5.5 games to beat Cilic at 1.74