Friday yielded one winner from my two best bets in Gstaad and Umag as we reach the business end of Week 30 of the ATP World Tour.
Robin Haase got the day off to the perfect start when he came back from a set down to ease past Marcel Granollers in Gstaad with the assistance of the +2.5 games handicap. I said yesterday that this could well be a tight one and so it proved when Haase failed to serve the match out after holding match points and had to come back from a deficit in the deciding breaker to grab the win. Those on the handicap had a less stressful time of it, however.
What was stressful was watching Albert Montanes lose another tight one 7-5 in the third to Gael Monfils. The Spaniard came within two points of winning after another fine display from the Frenchman stuttered before he just about got over the line.
I’ve been disappointed in myself for choosing other wagers over backing Victor Hanescu in the last two rounds, despite talking up his chances. The Romanian has a shot of making the final in Gstaad again on Saturday, when he takes on Mikhail Youzhny. It will be the ninth meeting between the pair after four wins each in the past.
Hanescu leads the clay element of their series 3-1 and the big man clearly enjoys playing in conditions that suit his big serve and allow his single-handed backhand to fire. Youzhny also has an excellent single-hander of course, but for me the value here lies with Hanescu at 2.35. He won in straight sets in their meeting this season on the dirt of Bucharest and his game fits Gstaad well.
Next up is Haase, who takes on Feli Lopez, who is here by virtue of Stan Wawrinka’s retirement in the deciding set of their quarter-final yesterday. Those who sided with my suggestion of backing Lopez to win the opening set in that one would have made a tidy profit.
Haase’s game also suits these conditions and when he’s playing with confidence he can produce some really good stuff. That narrow win over Granollers will have boosted him further and the Dutchman defeated Lopez on quick clay at altitude in Kitzbuhel in their only meeting on the dirt. It’s worth siding with him again today +2.5 games on the handicap at 1.75.
Over in Umag, Fabio Fognini vs Monfils at 6pm UK time is the hottest ticket in town and should be a delight to watch with both of these players at the peak of their form at the moment. I wouldn’t bet on the outcome of this one given the nature of the two combatants, but it’s well worth a watch.
The other semi-final in Umag between Andreas Seppi and Tommy Robredo holds no interest for me either at the prices, but over in Atlanta tonight surely Kevin Anderson will be too much for Ryan Harrison.
Before this week’s narrow win over Marinko Matosevic the American had one just one of his previous eight matches against players over 6’4" in height and I’m not sure he’s anywhere near a good enough returner to handle the big guys like Anderson and John Isner. I’m more than happy to side with Anderson on the handicap here minus 2.5 games at around 1.8.
The earlier match in Atlanta features a smaller player who can handle big servers, as Lleyton Hewitt faces Isner for the seventh time. The former leads 5-1 in the series and that one has overs written all over it.
Back Hanescu to beat Youzhny at 2.35
Back Haase +2.5 games to beat Lopez at 1.75
Back Anderson -2.5 games to beat Harrison at 1.8