It was a rainy night in Georgia on Tuesday at the BB&T Atlanta Open, but an enjoyable one, as both of my bets were winners.
After long delays due to the weather Go Soeda kicked things off by coming from a set down to beat Xavier Malisse and easily see home our plus 1.5 sets handicap wager, and then there was drama in the night match.
I said yesterday that odds of 1.20 were far too low on Ryan Harrison in what could be a tough match against 32-year-old James Blake and so it proved, as Blake came from a set down to take out the number six seed. And that meant a comfortable winner for our overs bet, making it a nice double on the day and a handy start to the week.
Wednesday’s play features appearances from some of the bigger names in the tournament, including Andy Roddick, Kevin Anderson and Kei Nishikori, who all play their opening matches today. And Roddick surely won’t find things as straightforward as odds of around 1.27 suggest against Nicolas Mahut, who knocked him out of the French Open this year.
Yesterday’s results served to highlight how tricky it can be switching surfaces, as Harrison, Rajeev Ram, Sergei Bubka and Malisse all failed to win their opening matches after recent spells on grass.
Roddick did show improvement during the grass court swing, but I’m not sure that it masks a general decline and he’s an awful price today against a man who can be decent on his day. Outdoor hard courts are not Mahut’s favourite environment in which to ply his trade though and Roddick should just about prevail today, but I doubt that it will be in straight sets.
They have met once on a hard court, back in 2008 in Toronto, which Roddick won in three and a similar scoreline could well be the outcome tonight as both players adjust to the hard courts. Mahut has had one match in Atlanta already, which is a factor in his favour tonight and he will fancy his chances against an opponent who he eased past in Paris on a clay surface that neither player enjoys.
Serves will be dominant in this match and I don't see there being many breaks, so the over 22.5 total games mark looks the bet at 1.87.
Anderson and Nishikori both have slightly tricky second round matches against Michael Russell and Ricardas Berankis respectively and both are around the same price at 1.36 for the win.
Berankis has been in good touch lately after returning from one of his frequent spells out with injury and reached the final of a Challenger on hard in Winnetka, USA last week before qualifying and recording a good win over Dmitry Tursunov here.
He may give Nishikori a test, but a bet I prefer involves Soeda again in his clash with Igor Kunitsyn, which takes place on Grandstand Court at around 9pm UK time tonight.
The odds in this one may have been skewed by Soeda’s easy win over Kunitsyn just a few weeks ago at Wimbledon when he won 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in the first round and he’s a little short for this one at 1.40 by my reckoning.
Kunitsyn is a very hard player to predict, as he can be pretty good on his day, but the Russian hasn’t shown what he can do very often lately. A win over Brian Baker at big odds in the first round here may be just the boost he’s been looking for though and I think he’ll be a tougher nut for Soeda to crack on hard courts than he was on the grass of Wimbledon.
The overs mark has been set a lowish 21.5 games, presumably due to the ease of Soeda’s Wimbledon win and Kunitsyn should have enough about him after the Baker victory to take this over that total games mark at a price of 1.75.
Back over 22.5 games in Roddick v Mahut at 1.87
Back over 21.5 games in Kunitsyn v Soeda at 1.75