The ATP World Tour makes the move south to Ohio, USA from Canada this week with the second of the back-to-back Masters 1000 tournaments: the Western and Southern Open. Conditions in Mason, Ohio tend to be hot and humid. The Decoturf hard courts play quite quickly, with a skiddy bounce, rather than the higher one witnessed in Montreal last week, so the ball comes on to the racquet a little faster.
One player who loves these conditions is Mardy Fish and it’s worth siding with the returning American today. Fish takes on erratic German Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has won just two matches on hard since a promising start to the year in Auckland. He’s suffered opening-round losses in Indian Wells, Miami and Montreal and this is tough against Fish, who is a backable price due to his fitness issues.
All of my stats make Fish around a 1.42 shot, although clearly his absence from the tour for a long time negate the bare form. But he has had a few events now to get the feel back and is playing at an event where he has reached the final, semi-final and quarter-final in his last three starts. Kohlschreiber’s confidence is brittle at the best of times and since blowing a lead to lose the Stuttgart final he hasn’t won a match. Mardy can take advantage today at 1.96.
Another player who enjoys conditions here is Jeremy Chardy, who made the last eight here 12 months ago and will be pretty keen to defend those 180 ranking points this week. The hit-and-miss Frenchman defeated Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and Fabio Fognini here last year and his big serve and clubbing forehand can get the better of compatriot Adrian Mannarino this evening.
Mannarino edged out big-serving Ivo Karlovic in qualifying here, but is yet to take a set from Chardy in their two prior meetings. Admittedly, both were on clay and he should make it closer on hard, but since reaching the semi-finals in the now defunct Johannesburg event two years ago he’s won just four matches in the main draw of tour level hard court events.
Chardy is available at around the 1.65 mark today and that looks fair enough in a situation where he should be motivated to do well and has good memories of prior successes.
Back Fish to beat Kohlschreiber at 1.96
Back Chardy to beat Mannarino at 1.65