Friday is quarter finals day in Metz and St Petersburg in this week’s ATP 250 tournaments after a perfect day of tennis betting on Thursday.
All three of my best bets were successful, with four winners from four, and it was a great day for big-priced backers, as all the others I suggested took at least a set at good odds.
Philipp Kohlschreiber landed the ‘sure thing’ with a 2-0 win over Paulo Lorenzi, while Nicolas Mahut won and covered the handicap at odds-against versus Adrian Mannarino, and underdogs Lucas Pouille and Benjamin Becker took the one set required of them.
Indeed, Pouille won in straights, while Becker was a set and a break up against Denis Istomin and of my other suggestions Simone Bolelli beat top seed Tomas Berdych and Teimuraz Gabashvili lost from *5-3, 40-0 up in his final set against Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Dustin Brown also took a set from Stan Wawrinka on a day for the underdog and we have eight intriguing quarter finals to look forward to on Friday.
Dominic Thiem vs Denis Istomin
We had success yesterday with Becker against Istomin, but quite how the Uzbek is still going at the moment is a bit of a mystery.
After his battles on the clay in singles and doubles in Davis Cup and the same here in St Petersburg Istomin has now played 21 sets in total in six days and he’s scheduled to play singles and doubles again today.
Throw in the travelling and practicing for the change of surfaces and this is some effort from Istomin, who came back from 6-2, *2-1 down against Becker yesterday, but surely today will be too much.
Thiem was good enough without being overly impressive against Andreas Haider-Maurer in round one, but he would have taken a two set win against AHM in a heartbeat in his first match in St Petersburg.
Istomin and Thiem met recently at the US Open when the former retired at two sets down and we may see something similar again in this 11:00 UK time start.
The young Austrian looks the best of the short prices today, with a substantial fitness advantage over Istomin, and the others don’t appeal at short prices.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was mediocre at best against Mischa Zverev and lacks sparkle generally in smaller events these days, so a clash with Mahut could be tricky, while Milos Raonic lacks matches and may find Tommy Robredo a tough proposition.
Bautista-Agut should have been beaten by Gabsashvili yesterday and seems much too short against the up and coming Pouille and Thiem seems the safest bet.
Martin Klizan vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
GGL was on my shortlist outright this week and seeing as he was the one I crossed off the list he’s highly likely to walk away with the Metz title, but first he’s got to take care of Klizan in this 13:00 UK time start.
The pair clashed on clay a year ago in Rio, when Klizan won it in a final set tie break, but I would expect this one to go the way of the Spaniard.
Garcia-Lopez does have a problem with lefties, so I don’t expect it to be comfortable unless Klizan runs out of gas after a tough week, and a three setter seems likely given GGL’s record.
Against left-handers GGL has won only one of his last 16 in straight sets – and that was only just in a 7-6, 7-6 success over Jiri Vesely – and the often slow to start Spaniard looks a good bet to win this in three at 4.33.
Klizan should be lacking physically after a tough week and GGL should prove too strong if this goes to three, with the Spaniard having played only 18 sets since Wimbledon – Klizan has played 11 in a week.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Nicolas Mahut
The short price on Tsonga here has allowed some decent options in this 17:00 UK time clash of the Frenchmen and I like the over 0.5 tie breaks at 1.90 for a bit of value today.
Tsonga’s return game has never been up to much and he struggled once more against Zverev, breaking the German just three times in 16 service games and playing two tie breaks.
The way that Mahut has been serving this week has been very impressive and he sent down 24 aces against Mannarino yesterday, which, incidentally, is twice the amount that Tsonga managed against Zverev.
Tsonga does have a fine record against fellow Frenchmen, with a 16-4 record indoors and 20-6 on outdoor hard versus his counrtymen and he has won all three against Mahut.
But the pair haven’t met since 2012 and it would appear that Jo is finding it tough to motivate himself at this stage of his career for these smaller events, while Mahut would love to win here.
The underdog is surely in a good enough groove to take one set to a breaker, with Tsonga having played at least one tie break in eight of his last 11 matches on indoor hard, and the over 9.5 games in set one at 1.54 seems decent too.
Stan Wawrinka was another top seed to struggle yesterday and he has issues with an ankle problem after damaging it during the opening set against Brown and I wouldn’t want to be on him at 1.55 against Kohlschreiber today.
Sure thing: Back Thiem to beat Istomin at 1.35
Value bet: Over 0.5 tie breaks in Tsonga/Mahut at 1.90
Long shot: Back Garcia-Lopez to beat Klizan 2-1 at 4.33