It was a poor night in Brisbane as both of my main bets were taken down in straight sets in on a strange evening in Australia. There were some eyebrow-raising results in Auckland as well, with bad defeats for the likes of Caroline Wozniacki, Sveta Kuznetsova, Jie Zheng, Christina McHale and Dominika Cibulkova to name just a few.
For today’s betting on the men’s side, I’m concentrating on the ATP event in Doha, which seems to offer opportunities for a few players in particular to grab early season wins. The first of these is Grega Zemlja, who ended last season in fine style by making the finals of the indoor event in Vienna, beating Tommy Haas and Janko Tipsarevic before losing out to Juan Martin Del Potro.
Today he faces Fabio Fognini, who hasn’t won a match since making the final on a painfully slow indoor surface in St Petersburg. He is on a six match losing streak and who has a really poor record at this stage of the season; Fogna has only won two of 16 matches in his career between the start of the season and the end of the Australian Open.
He does have a 2-0 head-to-head lead over today’s opponent, but I would expect Zemlja to pull that back today in a match that kicks off at around 4pm UK time. Zemlja has already been the subject of interest that has seen his price come in to 1.62 from 1.70 and he should prove to be a good investment today.
Elsewhere in Doha today, Nikolay Davydenko takes a 5-0 head-to-head lead into his match with Victor Hanescu. Davydenko enjoys playing in Doha, where he won the tournament in 2010 and reached the final in 2011. The Russian is not in that sort of shape these days, but he should be too good for Hanescu in this battle of the veterans.
Davy can be backed in a double with Viktor Troicki, who showed his refusal to settle for top-40 mediocrity by bringing in Jack Reader to coach him this season. I would expect the Serbian to start as he means to go on in his opening match of 2013 when he takes on the tricky Bjorn Phau today. Troicki was poor at the end of last season and was hampered by injury, but he’s had Phau’s number twice in the past and this one should go the way of the favourite.
One to avoid over in Chennai is surely Robin Haase, who has a habit of losing to much lower ranked players and is 1.28 today to beat Yuki Bhambri. The Dutchman lost his last eight matches last season and went down to the likes of Hiroki Moriya, Mate Pavic and Lamine Ouahab at 1.19, 1.02 and 1.23 respectively in his 2012 campaign.
Back Zemlja to beat Fognini at 1.62
Back Davydenko and Troicki in a double at 1.89