There are another 13 matches scheduled for Tuesday at the Winston-Salem Open after rain held up proceedings on Monday.
The forecast isn’t great in North Carolina and there may well be more problems today. It’s worth bearing in mind that if the tournament hits a severe backlog the matches will have to be moved indoors.
It was one winner from my two wagers yesterday, as Yen Hsun Lu eased past Pablo Andujar and covered the handicap there, while Leo Mayer somehow lost in two tie breaks to Guido Pella.
Mayer served for set one twice and was 4-0 up in the second set tie break, only to lose seven straight points and the match. In the second round here last year only four of 16 favourites were beaten, but there are a number of tricky-looking encounters to evaluate today, with several looking like coin flips.
Juan Monaco vs Nicolas Mahut
I like the idea of siding with the underdog in this one. Mahut is suited to the quickish conditions in Winston-Salem and enjoyed a confidence-boosting win last night over Lukasz Kubot.
This clash of styles will be fun to watch, with the Frenchman coming in to net at every opportunity and trying to take Monaco’s time away on the fast surface. Since making the semi finals on slow hard in Miami last year, the Argentine has gone 3-9 on hard courts and won’t be relishing a fourth career meeting with Mahut, having lost two of the previous three.
The grass-loving Frenchman already has two titles under his belt this season and he’ll fancy his chances here if he can impose his game style upon Monaco. The 2.30 on Mahut is perhaps the best odds-against shot today.
Fernando Verdasco vs Tim Smyczek
It has to be worth backing the American with a 1.5 set start in this one, as the Spaniard looks much too short to me in his first match on a hard court since the spring.
It’s asking an awful lot of Verdasco to come straight in with his game style to find the consistency first up against a solid player, who makes a lot of balls like Smyczek. The latter defeated Verdasco on quick indoor hard in San Jose earlier this year when he caught Fernando cold in the opening round and the number seven seed will have to be careful that history doesn’t repeat here.
Smyczek had a typically battling win over Michael Russell last night and his tactic here will be to make the man from Madrid miss by extending the rallies as long as he can. Surely that will be enough to get a set against the hit and miss Verdasco and it’s 1.68 that he does.
Other shaky-looking favourites today include Alex Dolgopolov, who can’t be backed with any confidence as a favourite ever and is short at 1.42 against Daniel Gimeno-Traver, who at least will be giving somewhere near his best, which can’t always be said about Dolgo.
Benoit Paire has been globetrotting all week and doesn’t give the impression that he’s focused at the moment and if James Blake can produce again tonight he could easily take down the Frenchman.
Back Mahut to beat Monaco at 2.30
Back Smyczek +1.5 sets to beat Verdasco at 1.68