Round three of the 2016 ATP Miami Open completes on Monday, with the wide-open bottom half of the draw in action on day six.
Our selections on Sunday were again saved by a 4-1 winner for the ‘long shot’ after one dismal performance from a not exactly unexpected source and a much more unlikely loss for a renowned battler.
Gilles Simon beating Marin Cilic by two sets to one in the expected stinker of a match produced a second straight big-priced winner, while Benoit Paire didn’t fancy it against Richard Gasquet, and David Ferrer lost 7-5 in the third against Lucas Pouille.
Paire said of his defeat: “It's a shame because I was feeling good. It's like that.” It certainly is Benoit, it certainly is.
Ferrer had a match point to win it 6-4 in the third, but went on to lose the last three games of the match in what was Pouille’s best win of his career and first top-10 victory.
It’s set to be another very humid day in Key Biscayne on Monday, with likely thunderstorms, and more tough conditions for the players.
Nick Kyrgios vs Tim Smyczek
I was happy to take Kyrgios on at a short price against Marcos Baghdatis the other day and we were treated to a dismal showing from the Cypriot, but I can’t see the Aussie not beating Smyczek all things being equal.
One has to add a caveat when previewing Kyrgios matches, as there’s so much that can go wrong, both physically and mentally, but Smyczek hasn’t got what it takes to make much of a match of this.
The diminutive American just sneaked past an injured John Isner on Saturday, but his record against big servers is poor and he will probably have to rely on an injury to Kyrgios to make the fourth round in Miami this year.
That Isner win was only Smyczek’s second against the big servers in my database in his last 11 matches against them and I’m not giving him a great deal of credit for it, as Isner could barely move in the opening set and was going for everything.
Kyrgios should have too many weapons for the American to handle and on the ATP Tour and in Grand Slams the Aussie is yet to taste defeat in seven matches when priced as a 1.20 favourite or shorter.
The only main level match he’s lost at that price was in Davis Cup to Aleksandr Nedovyesov on grass last July and it’s tough to see another defeat like that on Monday.
And we can add Gael Monfils into the equation to make it a 1.50 double, with the Frenchman likely to have the edge over Pablo Cuevas on a hard court.
Monfils has won 11 of his last 12 matches as a favourite priced between 1.3 and 1.40 and he hasn’t lost one on a hard court since the start of the 2013 season.
Cuevas once beat Andy Roddick here in Miami, but that was back in 2011, and it was the last time that the Uruguayan won back-to-back matches at a hard court Masters 1000 tournament.
Indeed, he’d only won one completed match on hard at this level since that Roddick win until he beat John Millman in the last round here in Miami a few days ago.
Lamonf looked pretty good in his first match at the 2016 Miami Open and although he may well make it hard for himself he seems to have cut much of the messing around out for now and, incredibly, been a bit more business-like.
Jack Sock vs Milos Raonic
I’m not at all convinced as to the fitness of Raonic this week after the Canadian suffered yet another injury at the end of Indian Wells and nothing I saw in his win over Denis Kudla has changed my mind.
He looks a little out of sorts to me and this could be a decent opportunity for Sock to make some inroads into the 1-6 career series lead that Raonic currently has over him.
The head-to-head is a tad misleading in the sense that Raonic won the last two in final set tie breaks and Sock has either won; taken a set; or forced a tie break in six of their seven clashes.
They haven’t met since 2014 in any case and a lot has changed since then, but perhaps equally as much of a factor as Raonic’s dubious fitness are the conditions that they meet in here in Miami.
Raonic is yet to convince here at Crandon Park like he has at Indian Wells and the surface here may well favour Sock’s heavy topspin and I do like the +1.5 sets on the American here.
The Canadian has withdrawn from Miami ahead of scheduled matches twice in the past already in his career and I have a feeling that we’re not going to see the best of his this tournament.
Sock should be seeing the defeats of Nadal and Wawrinka as a great opportunity for himself and it would be disappointing if he didn’t take a set in this one.
Other than Sock I don’t really fancy any of the underdogs too much today, so I’ll save that wager for tomorrow and stick with two for Monday.
Sure thing: Back Kyrgios and Monfils at 1.50
Value bet: Back Sock +1.5 sets at 1.69