ATP Tennis Betting: Verdasco's opening round struggles to continue against Zeballos


Tuesday is another busy day in North Carolina, with 14 matches scheduled across five courts at the 2017 Winston-Salem Open.

We got off to the perfect start on Monday, with an odds-against winner that didn’t face a single break point in Marton Fucsovics, who was a straight sets winner over Ernests Gulbis.

We’re set for a hot and sunny day at Wake Forest University on Tuesday, with 35C temperatures (in the shade) expected, so there may be a few less than committed efforts in this pre-major week on display today.

At first glance there are several that can be shortlisted on Tuesday and they are: Yuichi Sugita, Daniil Medvedev, Dusan Lajovic, and Horacio Zeballos, plus a few appeal on tie break played/not played markets.

Fernando Verdasco vs Horacio Zeballos

Verdasco is usually a slow starter in tournaments and looking at his last 14 opening matches this season we see that he’s played a tie break in the first set of seven of them.

Of those 14 matches Verdasco has won just two without needing either a tie break or having dropped a set and over 9.5 games in set one would have been a winning wager 11 times from 14.

In his 17 matches on hard courts in the last 12 months he’s either lost the opening set or played a tie break in it 11 times, so it’s fair to say he takes a little while to get going these days.

The last time that Verdasco made a final the week before a major was in Nice back in 2010 and with Zeballos having played one match already here in Winston-Salem the underdog should be pressing Verdasco here.

Indeed, Zeballos beat Verdasco on hard at Masters 1000 level in Miami last season, having dropped the opening set 6-1, and all three of their career clashes on hard and clay have gone past today’s 22.5 total games mark.

Verdasco comes into this match having lost four of his last five matches (and he should have lost the one he won, as I’m sure we all recall it was when Escobedo choked it in Los Cabos) and he was favourite in all of them.

Zeballos holds serve very well on hard courts at main level at 87.2% in the last 12 months at main level, which sees him behind only John Isner of all the 28 players in action today.

So, plenty of betting options in this one, with set one overs, total games and handicaps on Zeballos the ones to consider.

Our three remaining outrights are in action today and while Andrey Kuznetsov has a difficult task against John Isner Hyeon Chung and Daniil Medvedev have good chances to progress versus Andrey Rublev and Kyle Edmund respectively.

Edmund looks very short indeed at 1.63 against Medvedev, with both young players being inconsistent sorts, as you’d probably expect at this stage of their careers at this level.

The Brit lost to Joao Sousa last week and has been beaten in three of his last four, while Medvedev beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in Washington, but his last two have been losses to Fabio Fognini and Adrian Mannarino.

It looks a 50/50 clash and Edmund looks short, with the Brit having lost 10 of his 25 matches on outdoor hard when priced up as favourite and five of his last 10 on all surfaces.

I said yesterday that Taylor Fritz was too short at 1.50 versus Malek Jaziri and the American should have lost in straight sets, with Jaziri failing from a set and a break up (four break points for a 3-0 lead too), and he looks skinny again today.

Yuichi Sugita had a shocker against Dimitrov last time out and that may have damaged his confidence a little, but he’s still far more consistent than Fritz, who also has much to prove in hot conditions.

The condition of Roberto Bautista Agut is unknown after he put in a poor performance last week in Cincy and then withdrew from the doubles citing a back injury and Dusan Lajovic is in good touch this summer.

The Serb took RBA to five sets at the Australian Open as a 6.16 chance last season and if there are any lingering injury issues with RBA surely he won’t be taking any chances today.

As far as the tie break wagers go today ‘no tie breaks’ looks good in the clashes between Chung and Rublev and Gilles Simon and Damir Dzunhur, with these matches featuring very strong returners (Rublev aside), while Carlos Berlocq rarely plays a breaker on outdoor hard.

Anything over 1.60 is technically value, but 1.70 or over would be acceptable, while tie break played looks a bet at 2.75 in the match between Pablo Carreno Busta and Julien Benneteau.

PCB has struggled to deal with net rushers easily, playing breakers in eigbt of his nine matches versus Gilles Muller, Sergiy Stakhovsky, Pierre Hugues-Herbert, and Mischa Zverev.

Benny likes to employ that style of play too and you’d think he’d do so often today against a player he’s unlikely to want to play many lengthy baseline rallies against.

So, again, there a few different betting options today, but I’ll take a chance on Zeballos proving a tricky opponent for Verdasco.

Best Bet
1.5 points win Zeballos +3.5 games to beat Verdasco at 2.05