Week 31 of the ATP World Tour sees the continuation of the North American hard court season in Washington DC at the Citi Open.
This ATP 500 event is played in the often sweltering heat in the capital and the playing conditions tend to be quick, with the balls flying and difficult to control at times.
Monday night’s schedule features 10 first round matches and in last year’s event there were 12 winning favourites from the 16 opening round encounters here.
Play begins at around 9pm UK time and all 10 matches tonight look quite close, with only two matches being priced up with the favourite at less than 1.50.
Radek Stepanek opens proceedings against wild card Steve Johnson and this is not an easy one to call, given Radek’s unknown injury status. He withdrew from Atlanta last week and hasn’t been seen on court since retiring from singles at Wimbledon citing a hamstring problem before going on to play doubles, so it’s a bit of guesswork really. Johnson plays well in this swing so I’m avoiding that one.
The other 9pm match has more possibilities, with Somdev Devvarman looking a decent wager at around 1.70 to defeat lucky loser Rhyne Williams, who seems to be a touch overrated at the moment. He did push Lleyton Hewitt last week in Atlanta and choked in a breaker against Rusty, but Somdev has more in his locker and I’d expect him to take this one.
I would expect Denis Kudla to take down Sam Groth, who hasn’t won a single match at tour level since way back in 2009. The fact that Kudla has lost his last four matches all to big servers puts me off though as these conditions may suit the huge delivery of the Aussie.
Others on the schedule that are worthy of consideration tonight in my view are Yen Hsun Lu, who is tempting at around 1.77 against David Goffin and undoubtedly Mardy Fish is a good price at 1.50 against the limited Matt Ebden, but I took a chance on Fish last week and he crumbled after a good start against Michael Russell, so you’re taking a bit of a flyer on his fitness and match sharpness there.
Best Bet: Back Devvarman to beat Williams at 1.70