Bad luck comes in threes. I’m not sure who coined that particular expression, but they were spot on, at least it’s been the case in Montpellier and Quito so far in week five of the ATP World Tour.
Incredibly, after Dustin Brown blew six match points on Monday and Andreas Haider-Maurer wasted two on Tuesday, Horacio Zeballos weighed in with the same, blowing three match points at *6-3 in the final set breaker last night.
Zeballos had already failed to serve out the match against Thomaz Bellucci beforehand, but he then managed to lose five straight points and the match against the Brazilian.
Amazing stuff, but at least there was some good news, as my ‘long shot’ double came in, despite Zeballos’ loss, when the overs in that match and Marcel Granollers landed my 3.76 punt.
Gilles Simon also provided an easy winner for my ‘sure thing’ wager, but a hat-trick of match point losses leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
Philipp Kohlschreiber vs Paul-Henri Mathieu
PHM survived a three setter against Taro Daniel in round one, but the fading Frenchman should find Kohlschreiber too good in a swift rematch of their Australian Open clash last month.
Kohlschreiber destroyed the up and down Mathieu with plenty to spare in Melbourne and it probably won’t be anywhere near as comfortable when they meet at 18:00 UK time this evening.
The German is a frustrating player to follow, with consistency being a big problem for him, as is highlighted by the fact that he hasn’t won a tournament outside of Germany since 2008.
He does go well indoors generally though and Mathieu has lost his last 17 in a row against top-25 ranked players, stretching back to the summer of 2012, and that record should continue today.
Elsewhere in Montpellier on Thursday Gael Monfils has been bemoaning his fate to L’Equipe again in recent days, complaining of problems in his personal life, and he says he’s “light years away” from playing another final here.
I’m not sure even that would make the limited Kenny De Schepper a decent bet to beat Monfils today, but it might have put me off an outright punt on Lamonf.
It could prove to be a better choice to side with Dudi Sela as outsider against Denis Istomin though, with the latter being literally handed a free pass to today’s second round when Malek Jaziri quit on his stool.
In a barely concealed display of team orders Jaziri once again seems to have been told by the Tunisian authorities to withdraw rather than face Israel’s Sela and he also withdrew from the doubles rather than face an Israeli.
All of which means that Sela could be a bit of value against Istomin, who was poor yesterday.
Alejandro Falla vs Paulo Lorenzi
Regular readers will know that I won’t bet in Istomin matches though and instead it has to be worth taking a chance on Falla as underdog against Lorenzi in the 20:00 UK time start in Quito.
Falla is a tricky one to gauge, with periods of abysmal form followed by good runs in tournaments he fancies more and this one at altitude in South America seems to be one such event.
The Colombian took down Lorenzi in similar conditions a year ago and after just about scraping home saving a match point in the first round against Adrian Menendez Maceiras the Italian could be a shaky favourite here.
Lorenzi has struggled in all three of his matches in South America so far, with a loss to Gerald Melzer in Bucaramanga preceded by a tight three set win over number 225 Gonzalo Lama and that struggle against Menendez Maceiras.
He’s also lost eight of his last 10 matches against lefties such as Falla and there’s enough here to take a chance on the Colombian.
Over in Zagreb I’m happy to take a chance on Adrian Mannarino against a player he has had all sorts of problems with in the past in Igor Sijsling.
The Frenchman was unlucky in Melbourne when he had to retire with the winning post in sight against Feli Lopez and before that he made the Auckland final and he can turn things around against Sijsling today.
The Dutchman has been in a slump for some time now and has won one of his last dozen completed matches against top-50 ranked opposition.
His excellent 3-0 record over Mannarino has made the odds on the Frenchman higher than they should be, but the last time they played on hard was back in 2012.
Sijsling just about defeated an injured Frank Dancevic yesterday and he’s not in the frame of mind to come out an dominate Mannarino, as he has in the past.
Mannarino can be doubled with the overs in the Feli Lopez vs Alejandro Gonzalez clash in Quito, where last night all four matches were over 22.5 games, as were eight of the 10 on Tuesday.
Lopez will be tough to break in these conditions, but he probably won’t break much himself either and Gonzalez did win their only prior meeting, which was on the red dirt in Houston last season.
Feli retired that day and I’m not sure about his commitment here, with this being his first tour level tournament in South America for 13 years.
Sure thing: Back Kohlschreiber to beat Mathieu at 1.28
Value bet: Back Falla to beat Lorenzi at 2.17
Long shot: Back Mannarino to beat Sijsling and over 22.5 in Lopez/Gonzalez at 3.29