Friday’s play in Barcelona and Bucharest on Week 17 of the ATP World Tour yielded two winning bets from three. It was certainly a packed schedule in Barcelona, as my second best bet of Thursday, Philipp Kohlschreiber, completed his win over Martin Klizan before 10am UK time.
The German then was fortunate in as much as his next opponent of the day, Thomaz Bellucci, withdrew from the tournament allowing Kohlschreiber a path through to today’s semi-finals. My best bet in Bucharest was Lukas Rosol, who won in straight sets over Viktor Troicki.
Saturday’s semi-finals begin early in Bucharest with Gilles Simon taking a 17-1 record in this tournament into his clash with Rosol. Rosol has had a great week, but this is his first ever ATP Tour semi-final and it’s hard to see him winning this - although he certainly could push Simon close. I like the Simon minus 2.5 games on the handicap at 1.65 in this one.
The other semi-final is tougher to call, with Florian Mayer taking on Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Mayer is another former champion here in Bucharest and he’ll be much the fresher after GGL played his third straight three-setter yesterday. I won’t be betting in that one, but I expect Mayer to be the more likely winner.
In Barcelona the day begins with Almagro vs Kohlschreiber at 12.30pm UK time. This may not be straightforward for the Spaniard, who faced the German twice last year with one win and one loss being the outcome. Kohlschreiber will be the fresher after his virtual day off and 1.26 looks too short on Almagro for my liking. It could be one for in-play backers if the German gets a good start when the price on Nico will be more palatable.
Finally, Rafa Nadal takes on Milos Raonic in the match of the day at 3pm UK time. It’s a shame that the Canadian will most likely be the more fatigued after almost five hours on court on Friday compared with Nadals’s two-and-a-half. Raonic loves it here in Barcelona, where he crushed Andy Murray last year and Rafa hasn’t been happy with his game this week, so I would not fancy the 1.07 about him too much.
It will be interesting to see how Nadal deals with the Raonic serve on clay, as they have only met on medium speed hard courts in Tokyo in the past and assuming that Milos has recovered enough after yesterday he should be able to hold enough times to take this over the 20.5 total games mark at 1.90
Back Simon –2.5 games to beat Rosol at 1.65
Back over 20.5 games in Nadal vs Raonic at 1.90