The men’s tennis tour moves swiftly on to Rome in week 20 and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
This second of the back-to-back clay Masters 1000 events is the last chance for the very top players to find their feet on the clay ahead of the French Open and it’s played at the historic and wonderful Foro Italico – an inspiring setting for these tennis gladiators if ever there was one.
My warrior Kei Nishikori did pretty much what I expected him to yesterday against Rafa Nadal – he just did it too well and at the wrong time for the bet I eventually plumped for.
Those on the +2.5 games in set one would enjoyed a great time, as Kei thumped Rafa 6-2 in the opener, but it was at the end of the second set rather than the start that Nishikori’s body gave up the ghost, which was too late for my second set unders wager.
The Japanese has unsurprisingly pulled out of Rome, where we have 11 men’s matches in this joint ATP/WTA event on the card for Monday and one stands out as a betting opportunity.
Gilles Simon 1.38 vs Filippo Volandri 2.90 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 14.05
This clash on Pietrangeli Court is one where I have to take on the ailing Gillou in these circumstances.
Volandri has been in rotten form all season long so far, but this is his arena and if he can’t give Simon a test in the Frenchman’s current state on his home court Pippo may as well hang his racquet up.
It’s an exact repeat of last year’s first round clash here, which Simon won in three sets, as he tends to do, but the odds last year on Gillou were a touch shorter than today’s 1.38 and as was the case 12 months ago, Volandri is worth siding with given a 1.5 set start.
On the ATP Tour in 2014 Volandri has really struggled, winning just the one match in the main draw, but he dropped back down to Challenger level last week in Rome and made the semi finals, so he can still mix it in decent company when he wants to.
Simon looks to me like years of injuries and battle scars from long, drawn out, turgid matches of pushing and waiting for errors from the opponent have taken their toll and he looks bereft of any kind of spark right now.
Lukasz Kubot had only won two matches on tour this season before he took down Simon in Madrid last week, so Gillou doesn’t mind changing players’ luck for them and Kubot went on to lose to Adrian Mannarino in straights in qualifying here, so that’s the standard we’re talking about.
Pippo could easily win this, but he’s never failed to take a set from Simon in their three meetings and the 1.65 about him doing so again looks the call on home soil for the Italian.
Back Volandri +1.5 sets to beat Simon at 1.65