The first round matches continue on Tuesday in Basel and Valencia with a fuller programme to choose from on day two of week 43 on the ATP World Tour.
Daniel Gimeno-Traver was disappointing yesterday in Basel as he slumped to defeat in a real end-of-season performance after losing a first set tie break to Lukasz Kubot.
He wasn’t alone though, as Janko Tipsarevic chalked up the 31st retirement or walkover of his professional career after three games against Marcel Granollers to apparently earn the wrath of the Valencia organisers and rightly so.
There are seven first round singles matches on the card in Valencia today, starting at 11am UK time and there are two matches that stand out to me as bankers – or as close to as you can get at this stage of the season.
Jerzy Janowicz vs Pablo Carreno-Busta (starts at 11.05 BST)
It might be slow in Valencia and it might be in Spain, but neither of those facts are likely to aid PCB, who surely won’t be able to handle the pace coming at him from Janowicz today.
The young Spanish prospect has accumulated plenty of ranking points this season via Challengers and Futures on clay, but on a hard court he isn’t strong enough to deal with the kind of clubbing groundies and booming serve that will come his way from the Pole when this one starts at 11am UK time.
Janowicz is a little rusty after a while off the tour due an arm injury but he did well enough last week to be able to see off Carreno-Busta today.
JJ can’t give up on this season, as he needs to defend a lot of ranking points from making the Bercy final last year and so he’ll be aiming for as much match practice as possible this week and he certainly won’t want an early exit and head to Paris undercooked.
The 2-0 win for Janowicz at 1.80 looks the bet in this one.
Mikhail Youzhny vs Bernard Tomic (starts at 12.05 BST)
There are a number of factors that lead me to believe that Youzhny will win this match pretty comfortably and they are in no particular order: the Russian is well rested after a few weeks off the tour; Youzhny made the final in his only previous appearance on indoor hard here in Valencia; it was Bernie’s 21st birthday yesterday; Youzhny defeated Tomic 6-0, 6-2 indoors in Basel this time last year; Tomic has won just one completed match on tour since losing to Dan Evans at the US Open and that was against world number 276 Ze Zhang; and finally Bernie’s record on indoor hard in all competitions lifetime reads 7-13.
If anything this looks too much of a good thing, which makes me wary, but assuming that Mikhail is over his ‘stomach bug’ that saw him quit in Shanghai it’s tough to see anything other than a straight sets win over the disillusioned-looking Aussie at 1.80.
In Basel, it looks a day for the favourites too, with only really Carlos Berlocq appealing as underdog when he takes on what looks to me to be a jaded Ivan Dodig at around 1pm UK time.
The rest of the schedule there looks priced up about right and it’s tough to make a case for any more odds-against shots in Switzerland, with the possible exception of Ivo Karlovic if he had a great day on serve or similarly Daniel Brands.
Back Janowicz to beat Carreno-Busta 2-0 at 1.80
Back Youzhny to beat Tomic 2-0 at 1.80