Week 31 of the ATP World Tour got off to a nice start with a straight sets win from my best bet on Monday in Washington DC.
I said that conditions here are likely to be quick and several players have already stated that they are some of the fastest all year, which was borne out in some of the results yesterday - not least Sam Groth actually winning a tour level match.
My bet on Somdev Devvarman was pretty comfortable after the Indian was backed quite heavily pre-match. He justified that faith with a 2-0 win and, after coming from behind to take the opener, it was never in doubt.
There are 13 first and second round matches on the schedule for tonight at the Citi Open and there are some interesting matches to watch, assuming that we actually get some TV coverage tonight, which is far from certain given that there was very little yesterday.
David Goffin vs Bernard Tomic is perhaps a match-up that we’ll see a lot more of in the future, but it’s not one to bet on at the moment, with both young players too up-and-down for my liking.
But one that looks a sure thing is the overs in Milos Raonic against Groth. This one will be heaven for fans of big serving, as that’s pretty much all that’s likely to happen in this encounter at around 2am UK time. Neither player can return and it is Raonic’s first match since Wimbledon in what's been a pretty poor season - and this could be awkward for the Canadian.
Raonic should win this of course, but I wouldn’t put a single penny on him at an appallingly short 1.11 and the value here must lie in the handicap on Groth or the overs. Over 22.5 total games looks likely at 2.00 and it’s worth a small interest in the 6.75 on Groth in these circumstances.
I also like Grega Zemlja at around 1.63 against Tim Smyczek in their 11pm UK time match tonight. The diminutive Smyczek will surely find these conditions nowhere near ideal for his defensive game and, despite playing in font of a home crowd, I would fancy Zemlja in this match-up in fast conditions.
Jack Sock might also fancy these conditions and he has a decent shot against Igor Sijsling tonight, but I’m not sure I trust him too much as favourite in that one.
Grigor Dimitrov looks short enough against the temperamental Belgian Xavier Malisse – if he’s up for it the X-Man certainly has the tools to take advantage of any slow start by the Bulgarian.
Sam Querrey also looks skinny at 1.55 considering he was struggling with an elbow injury and has done nothing much in World Team Tennis in recent weeks either. Denis Istomin isn’t one to rely on, but is worthy of consideration here.
I am fully expecting an improved showing from Alexandr Dolgopolov this week in defence of his title after two no-shows in Hamburg and Umag, but 1.43 is too short for an interest today against Devvarman. Dolgo should win this, but not for me at that price.
Back over 22.5 games in Groth vs Raonic at 2.00
Back Groth to beat Raonic at 6.75
Back Zemlja to beat Smyczek at 1.63