It was one winner from my two ATP wagers on Thursday at the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg. My suspicion that Fernando Verdasco would be too good on this clay surface for Jerzy Janowicz proved correct and the Spaniard was in control at a set and 4-0 up when the big Pole called it quits.
Unfortunately, Guillermo Garcia Lopez wasn’t at his best on the day against Nico Almagro. The former didn’t do enough to take the required set and Nico ran out a more comfortable winner than he ever had previously against GGL.
Friday’s last eight matches begin with a clash between two familiar clay court foes in Juan Monaco and Almagro, who are facing off for the ninth time in total and the seventh on the red dirt. Almagro leads 5-3 so far, but Monaco did win their semi-final match here in Hamburg 12 months ago at pretty much today’s prices. Monaco will be battling to retain his ranking points from winning here last year and I can see this one going long, with the over 21.5 games appealing at 1.75.
Next up is Verdasco against Federico Delbonis. This is the first meeting between the two, but Verdasco does have a good record on clay against fellow lefties, having won the last five straight, including a win over Rafa Nadal. He’s a reasonably solid-looking favourite in this one, but no more.
Delbonis also has a good record on the dirt against southpaws, with one loss in his last 15, which was to Nadal, but the standard of opposition has been lower. The Argentine can be a real streak player and if Verdasco is suffering any physical issues after a fair bit of tennis lately Delbonis is more than capable of an upset. For that reason, Verdasco is too short for me at 1.40 today.
Fabio Fognini is on a real roll right now and faces Hamburg-born Tommy Haas at around 3pm UK time today - a repeat of their Stuttgart clash last week, which Fogna won easily. Tommy has never won this title in all the years of trying and assuming that he’s got enough left in the tank after seven straight wins in the last ten days, Fognini is slightly tempting at 2.33. Haas will be really keen to win here for obvious reasons, but I don’t see a huge amount of value in these pre-match odds. Fogna was around 3.25 when he won last week so I’ll leave that one alone.
Finally, it’s Roger Federer taking on Flo Mayer at 4.20pm UK time, with the German probably having his best chance against the Swiss in their career series thus far. Federer has never dropped a set or been taken closer than 7-5 by Mayer, but this will be their first meeting on clay and with Federer using that new racquet this is Mayer’s opportunity. Whether the flaky German will take it is highly questionable, however. His price of 4.80 is way shorter than he’s ever been against the Swiss, which puts me off backing the shock here.
Best bet: Back over 21.5 games in Almagro vs Monaco at 1.75