We’re at the semi-final stage of the Winston-Salem Open and considering it’s the week before a Grand Slam it’s been a pretty decent tournament for ATP betting.
The tennis has, not surprisingly, been pretty average at times, with players trying not to get injured or fatigued ahead of New York. Nowhere was that more clearly illustrated than in last night’s Gael Monfils vs Fernando Verdasco clash. Both players were less than committed, but Verdasco was really poor and later claimed to have a foot injury, which apparently meant he had to keep the rallies short. Not sure that explains all the double faults, Fernando.
Today’s semis are not ones to wager the family silver on by any means and play begins at 8pm UK time tonight.
Gael Monfils v Alex Dolgopolov
This match-up should strike fear into the heart of any tennis punter at the best of times – and a few days before a slam is not the best of times. On paper Monfils has the edge by quite some distance, but these are not normal circumstances and I wouldn’t want to be backing either of these two at short prices with New York right around the corner.
They’ve met on one previous occasion, at the Australian Open this year, when Gael won in four sets – the first two of which were breakers. Dolgo had a medical timeout for a cut on his hand yesterday, so it’s hard to tell what kind of condition he’ll be in today. He should be OK, but I can’t recommend a wager on this match in these circumstances, although I’d be leaning toward Dolgo as the underdog here.
Sam Querrey v Jurgen Melzer
The late match at 11.30pm UK time features a couple of players who are likely to be more motivated than the other two in the other semi. Querrey will be keen to get out of his recent slump and grab another title on home soil, while Melzer will be sniffing a title after a poor year in which he hasn’t made a semi-final since February, so hopefully this match should be played competitively.
Melzer produced one of his best performances of the season to snuff out the threat of Tursunov last night, while Querrey again struggled to find his best form but managed to grind things out against Ricardas Berankis. This is a pretty decent match-up for the American, who has defeated Melzer relatively comfortably in their two previous meetings and for a decent returner Melzer has struggled against big guys recently.
He’s lost eight of his last ten matches against opponents of 6’4” or above and with the home crowd behind him I take Querrey here. It's been a struggle for him this week, but he'll gain confidence from winning matches when not playing well. The minus 2.5 games on the handicap at 1.75 appeals here.
Best bet: Back Querrey -2.5 games to beat Melzer at 1.75