It was one winner and one incomplete match from my two bets in Barcelona and Bucharest on Thursday. The rain came down by the bucketful in Catalonia and halted the match between Philipp Kohlschreiber and Martin Klizan at a vital time in the third set, with Klizan leading 4-3 and Kohlschreiber serving at 30-30. That one is now in the lap of the gods and much will depend on the opening points when they resume on Friday at 9.30am UK time.
There were no such problems in Bucharest, where Guillermo Garcia-Lopez once again came back from a set down to win, this time against Sergiy Stakhovsky. The slow-starting Spaniard is making life hard for himself, but it was another winner for us.
The rain means an early start in Barcelona for Rafa Nadal, who takes on Benoit Paire at 9.30am UK time. That match is followed by Tommy Robredo vs Tomas Berdych, before Nico Almagro faces Juan Monaco.
Assuming there’s a full day’s play several players will have to play twice and those with dodgy injury records are to be avoided in their second match of the day. I’m thinking Kei Nishikori here, although he’ll probably play Rafa if he beats Albert Ramos.
The only guaranteed quarter-final is Almagro vs Monaco and it’s worth siding with the underdog in this one at a price of around 2.40. Almagro doesn’t have a great record here and has only once been past this stage in his last six visits. Defeats to John Isner and Jurgen Melzer in his most recent clay events don’t make good reading for a prospective top 10 star.
Monaco has been very tough to predict lately, as his form has fluctuated wildly, but he’s dished out a couple of bagels this week to Bernard Tomic and Jeremy Chardy. He has also won his last two against Almagro on clay and indoor hard.
Over in Bucharest it’s worth backing Lukas Rosol to get the better of Viktor Troicki in their quarter-final, which will begin at around 11am UK time on Friday. The layers have this one not far off even, but on form over the last few weeks one has to side with Rosol, who has also beaten the Serb in two of their three meetings, both of which were on clay.
Troicki has been woeful this season: this week is the first time in 2013 that he’s won two consecutive matches at any tournament. The coaching arrangement with Jack Reader clearly hasn’t worked out; if anything, the Serb has gone backwards since his appointment.
Rosol has harnessed his oft-errant forehand lately and is using the backhand slice to reasonable effect and he’s more than capable of winning this one at 1.85 if he continues in the same vein.
Back Monaco to beat Almagro at 2.40
Back Rosol to beat Troicki at 1.85