The ATP World Tour switches from the west to the east coast of the United States in week 12, with the Masters 1000 Miami Open in-play at Crandon Park, Key Biscayne.
Conditions here are slow, with the Laykold surface at Crandon Park always a tough one to hit winners on and unlike Indian Wells it’s humid, and low bouncing, as well as windy and very hot.
Defenders tend to trump attacking players here, with the unforced error count usually beating the winner count by some margin and the baseliners come out on top at this venue by and large.
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray both have excellent records here and David Ferrer has enjoyed success too, while Roger Federer didn’t feel as though it was worth his while even playing in Miami this year.
The big guns are in action later in the week though and on Wednesday there are 16 round one clashes in-play on what is forecast to be an extremely humid day in Key Biscayne with a chance of showers.
Last year’s round one yielded nine underdog winners from 32 matches with Horacio Zeballos’ win over David Goffin being the biggest priced winner at 3.05.
Tim Smyczek vs Adrian Menendez Maceiras
This 21:00 UK time clash on Court 1 looks the most attractive of the ‘sure things’ today, with Smyczek in good form and usually a reliable performer on home soil.
Smyczek had some nice results at the Irving Challenger last week when he defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky, Gilles Muller, Benjamin Becker and Jan-Lennard Struff and that should give him the confidence to earn his first win in the main draw in Miami.
The American has only played one match in the main draw here before, but his athleticism and solid playing style should suit the conditions at Crandon Park and today’s match is very winnable.
Menendez Maceiras has never played a match in the main draw of any Masters 1000 event before and he hasn’t beaten a top-100 ranked opponent in a completed match on a hard court since 2012.
This journeyman pro has a 3-10 career record versus the top-100 on hard and he’s yet to win a single match at tour level, with a 0-4 career record.
Smyczek won their only career clash comfortably on grass back in 2013 and he looks a solid choice today.
Dusan Lajovic vs Filip Krajinovic
I’m not sure that Krajinovic should be favourite for this all-Serbian battle, which is set for around 19:00 UK time on Court 7.
Lajovic is inconsistent at this relatively early stage of his career and I think too much has been made of what was a poor loss to Federico Delbonis at Indian Wells last time out.
At his best Lajovic is decent, with wins over the likes of Fernando Verdasco on clay on his record, and he has more experience at this level than his opponent, who is into just his third match in the main draw of a Masters 1000 today.
Krajinovic is yet to record a win at this level and he holds a 5-13 record against top-75 ranked opponents such as Lajovic.
That record dips to 1-7 on hard courts and a tight win in qualifying over 17-year-old Omar Jasika in which he could have lost in two sets after a defeat by Igor Sijsling at Indian Wells hardly inspires confidence.
I’m not sure these prices are right and there looks some value on Lajovic as underdog here.
As for ‘long shots’ today Kyle Edmund has a shot against Robin Haase, who has a 1-6 record in the main draw in Miami, while Austin Krajicek is no folorn hope against Denis Istomin either.
But I prefer backing an overs double today, which will pay 3.45 if successful.
Albert Ramos and Joao Sousa have had some battles on the clay and the former is favourite based on his good showing in Indian Wells last week, but Sousa rarely gets beaten easily and I fancy a long one here.
Sousa was unwell in his loss to Ivan Dodig at Indian Wells and he still pushed the Croat hard when others would have retired.
This one will surely be a grind in these conditions and over 22.5 looks likely, as does over 21.5 in Dominic Thiem’s clash with Diego Sebastian Schwartzman.
Thiem is struggling at the moment and looks a bit of a shaky favourite today at 1.45 against a very capable and determined opponent.
The Austrian is finding things tough after his breakthrough year in 2014 and he’s only 4-7 this season, with his last two defeats coming at the hands of Aljaz Bedene and James Duckworth.
His only two wins this season at tour level in completed matches came against a woeful Ernests Gulbis and a struggle against Sousa and if he does win today I doubt it will be comfortably.
Sure thing: Back Smyczek to beat Menendez Maceiras at 1.33
Value bet: Back Lajovic to beat Krajinovic at 1.90
Long shot: Back over 22.5 games in Ramos/Sousa and over 21.5 games in Thiem/Schwartzman at 3.45