The feast of tennis in week eight of the ATP World Tour continues on Wednesday, with around another 20 hours per day of ATP action in prospect in Dubai, Buenos Aires and Acapulco.
A failure to take break points was the key to the day on Tuesday, with James Ward unable to take any of his six against Feli Lopez in set one in Dubai.
The Brit was broken to love straight after not taking the sixth, while Gilles Muller scrapped hard against Andy Murray, but couldn’t take his three break point chances.
There was a little comfort later on though when Novak Djokovic took down Vasek Pospisil in straight sets to land the ‘sure thing’ and again there are a few contenders for that particular wager on Wednesday, but more on that later.
And those who took a chance on Renzo Olivo would have enjoyed a nice odds-against winner when he took down Jarkko Nieminen with a bagel final set in Buenos Aires.
Roberto Bautista-Agut vs Richard Gasquet
I’m not too sure that the style of Gasquet is ideally suited to the flat hitting of RBA on a quick hard court.
Gasquet continues to camp out miles behind the baseline and he should have paid the price in round one against Andreas Seppi, but the Italian collapsed totally from 4-2 up in the deciding set of that one.
Bautista-Agut has some fine wins in quickish conditions with his solidity and consistency on both wings allied with excellent fitness and Gasquet will really have to perform at his best to justify favouritism in this 11:00 UK time start in Dubai.
The wind doesn’t help Gasquet, who got annoyed with it on Monday, and it will be breezy again today, but not as bad as earlier in the week, so that’s a bit of a positive for the Frenchman.
But I expect Gasquet to struggle to defend in these quick conditions against the flat hitting of RBA, who should be able to have the Gasman scurrying from side to side, as he did when beating him easily in Paris indoors last season.
As underdog there’s some value on RBA today and consequently the Spaniard is my ‘value bet’ today.
Again, there are plenty of sure things around on Wednesday, with Andy Murray, David Ferrer, and Pablo Cuevas all looking highly likely to win and with the Brit starting too early for me in Dubai I’m happy to take the latter pair as a double.
Cuevas doesn’t lose on clay these days to anyone other than the very best and after getting used to conditions in Buenos Aires by playing doubles yesterday the Uruguayan should ease past Tour level rookie Guido Andreozzi.
The wild card is 1-7 against top-100 opponents in Challengers, with a win over Martin Klizan the highlight, and although he may put up a fight today Cuevas will surely come through in the end.
Ferrer faces a man for whom the word ‘unpredictable’ could have been invented for in Marinko Matosevic, who let me down badly last week in Delray Beach and went from a loss to Yoshihito Nishioka to a good win over Marcel Granollers.
The Spaniard has beaten Mad Dog twice and only fatigue can surely stop Ferrer making that three tonight against an opponent who is nowhere near his level in terms of mental strength.
A Cuevas/Ferrer double pays around 1.28 and looks a solid choice today, with singles to consider instead being Feli Lopez in Dubai and of course there’s always the likes of Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori too.
The two outsiders that appeal most to me on Wednesday are Santi Giraldo in Acapulco and Paulo Lorenzi in Buenos Aires.
Both have good records against their respective opponents and a +1.5 sets double on the pair would pay around about the 2.62 mark.
Lorenzi has never been beaten in two sets by Delbonis in four meetings and the Italian has won three of them, with the exception being the Sao Paulo final last year, which the Argentine won in three.
If you’re backing Delbonis to win his matches comfortably you’ll be struggling, with three of his last four wins coming in deciders and the one that wasn’t was a woeful effort from opponent Martin Klizan.
I was happy to go against Giraldo in round one in Acapulco as it was his first match on the hard for a while after coming from the Golden Swing and Austin Krajicek failed to take the chances that he had in the first set of that one.
Once the Colombian had won it though he began to play well and he looks overpriced today against Troicki, who is unproven in these conditions and had an easy opener yesterday.
The Serbian has never played here before this week and never in nearby South America, while Giraldo does enjoy these conditions and he had a good record here when it was played on clay.
With that match under his belt and a 2-0 career lead over Troicki in his favour too Giraldo should at least make this very competitive.
Sure thing: Back Cuevas and Ferrer in a double at 1.28
Value bet: Back Bautista-Agut to beat Gasquet at 2.0
Long shot: Back Lorenzi and Giraldo both +1.5 sets at 2.62