It’s quarter finals day in North Carolina, as the last eight men in the Winston-Salem Open look to progress in the final event before the US Open.
It was a fine day of ATP betting yesterday, as all three of my best bets were winners on an extremely humid day on America’s east coast.
Ricardas Berankis set the ball rolling with a straightforward odds-against success over Roberto Bautista Agut, before a real marathon between Sam Querrey and Jarkko Nieminen edged my way. The Finn blew at least five match points in that one and the day was rounded off by Gael Monfils progressing in three over Tommy Robredo.
Today’s play begins at 5pm with Alex Dolgopolov taking on Yen Hsun Lu and I would expect Dolgo to take that one, but I very rarely take the Ukrainian at odds-on and a few days ahead of a Slam is probably not the time to do it.
Fernando Verdasco vs Gael Monfils
This should be the most entertaining match of the day and I like the chances of Monfils to be the one to make the final four here at a price of around 1.65.
Well-rested after overcoming his latest injury, the Frenchman has arguably shown the best form of any player here this week and has the weapons to take down Verdasco, who predictably has taken a while to adapt to hard courts after a long spell on other surfaces.
Lamonf has won all three of their previous encounters, although they’ve been close, and he can edge it again with the 4.00 on him winning 2-1 holding some appeal to bigger priced punters.
Verdasco has looked rusty and some way short of his Wimbledon form so far this week and Monfils has had all parts of his game working – even his brain seems to be cooperating this week, so get it while you can is the message here.
Dmitry Tursunov vs Jurgen Melzer
On current form this should be a victory for the Russian, who has quietly complied an 18-5 winning record on hard courts in 2013, with losses coming only to John Isner, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer (walkover), Juan Martin Del Potro and oddly Philipp Petzschner.
He’s even been winning matches on clay this year, which has always been a really weak point for Tursunov in the past, but this year has seen him defeat the likes of Ferrer, Dolgopolov, Jeremy Chardy et al on the dirt.
In contrast it’s been a struggle for Melzer, who’s had injuries to contend with and hasn’t produced anything like the form that took him into the top 10 not too long ago. The Austrian was beaten by Juan Monaco on a quick hard court last week and has won by way of a retirement in round one and lack of interest from Benoit Paire in round two. The 1.50 on Tursunov looks a touch generous based on this season’s form and the 1.83 minus 2.5 games on the handicap is appealing too.
I’m slightly tempted by sticking with Berankis in the late match at midnight UK time against Querrey after another lacklustre display from the American against Nieminen that he really should have lost. Berankis, as I said yesterday, is a really streaky sort and Big Sam will need to serve a lot better to win this. I certainly wouldn’t be backing the American at a short price here.
Back Monfils to beat Verdasco at 1.65
Back Tursunov to beat Melzer at 1.50