My sole ATP wager on Friday at the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg proved successful, as the opening match of the day between Juan Monaco and Nico Almagro went the distance. Defending champion Monaco will be kicking himself after losing five straight games from a break up to lose the final set and the match.
Elsewhere, Roger Federer, who caused great mirth across the social media world by sporting a highly questionable tank top during his match with Flo Mayer, wasn’t too far off losing to the German, who scored just five points fewer than the Swiss in a three-set defeat.
Add to that Fernando Verdasco losing from match points up and reportedly damaging a locker as a consequence before announcing his withdrawal from Umag next week, and Tommy Haas trying to eat his racquet and you have another normal day on the ATP Tour.
For the umpteenth time in his career, Verdasco failed to see out a winning position and this time Federico Delbonis was the lucky party, while Haas was once again comfortably beaten by Fabio Fognini, who is on fire right now.
At 11am UK time today it’s Fognini taking on Almagro, which will surely be the match of the day. It’s one that might see Fogna creep into the top 20 in the world - depending on what Kevin Anderson does in Bogota.
This pair haven’t played since 2009, when Fognini won on the dirt in Bucharest, but it’s all about the Italian’s confidence at the moment. This surface suits him a little more than Almagro, so I see no reason why he can’t come away with another good win today.
His price is short at 1.96, but it reflects the fantastic form that he’s displayed this fortnight both here and in Stuttgart. Who’s to say that he can’t land back-to-back titles after breaking his duck last week?
Almagro hasn’t shown me a great deal this week and he was fortunate to get past Monaco yesterday, so on pure form I have to side with Fogna in this one and hope that he’s not getting too tired after two tough weeks on the dirt. Hopefully the adrenaline will see him through and he’ll probably either withdraw or fold in Umag next week.
Federer takes on Delbonis in the second semi-final. I’m not sure whether the tank top idea was to protect his back issue that seems to flare up with increasing regularity these days, but I would assume that it was. It surely can’t have been a fashion statement, although one’s mind harks back to that awful vintage creation he sported at Wimbledon a few years ago.
Delbonis shouldn’t really be here after surviving match points yesterday and even against a creaking Fed with a new racquet I can’t see him winning this. He’s played top-10 players just twice in his career and not taken a set. This is his only his second tour-level semi-final after making the same stage in Stuttgart as a qualifier in 2011, when he lost to JC Ferrero.
I won’t be betting in this one, but the under 20.5 games at 1.95 holds the most appeal.
Best bet: Back Fognini to beat Almagro at 1.96