Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open sees the men’s first round matches continue. Although there aren’t many to choose from, there are a couple of bets that I like today.
Viktor Troicki 1.23, Donald Young 4.00
The first wager that tempts me concerns the match between Viktor Troicki and Donald Young.
On the face of it, both of these players are woefully out of form with Troicki having lost five of his last six matches and Young having been beaten in seven of his last eight.
Indeed, Young has only won two matches all year - one against world number 612 Peter Gojowczyk and the other against Grigor Dimitrov.
So we’re dealing with two players whose confidence will be at rock bottom, but one of the two can at least play on clay, whereas the other is totally at sea on the dirt.
I had the dubious pleasure of watching Young play against Paul-Henri Mathieu in Monte-Carlo when the American grabbed just a single game as he was taken to the bakery 6-0, 6-1 by the Frenchman and I remember thinking at the time that Young’s display was one of the worst I’d seen on clay in many a year.
Mathieu was in the early stages of his comeback from a long-term injury then and he hasn’t won a match since, which tells you all you need to know about Donald Young on clay.
He doesn’t have the patience or consistency to construct points on this surface and he hasn’t actually won a clay court match since defeating Fernando Vicente in the first round of Houston in 2008. And Houston is played on Lee Fast Dry clay, which isn’t really recognised as a ‘proper’ clay surface.
Troicki, who has won six of his last seven matches against left handers, should have far too much despite his own poor form. I see him prevailing in straight sets at around 1.63.
Marcos Baghdatis 1.82, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 1.95
The second match that I like the look of from a betting perspective is Guillermo Garcia-Lopez to beat Marcos Baghdatis at around 1.95.
The Spaniard isn’t exactly in outstanding form, but he has reached the last 16 in Madrid in the last two years and that sort of record should stand him in good stead today.
I watched his match with Rafa Nadal in Barcelona and despite taking a beating, GGL played some excellent tennis towards the end of that match. Last week in Belgrade he rain into an inspired Benoit Paire who went on to reach the final in Serbia.
Baghdatis has managed just three wins in four years at the Caja Magica and is nowhere near as comfortable on the dirt as his opponent. He hasn’t beaten anyone ranked in the top 75 on clay since a win over Simon Greul in Nice in 2010.
The Cypriot comes here fresh from a distinctly average effort in Munich where he lost in straight sets to the veteran Tommy Haas after struggling through games against Dustin Brown and Tobias Kamke.
Garcia-Lopez and Baghdatis have met on one previous occasion, on the hard-courts of Indian Wells. Garcia-Lopez won that one in straight sets on Baghdatis’s preferred surface and the Spaniard should have the edge today.
Baghdatis rarely does things easily on clay, with each of his last seven matches on the surface involving either a tie break or a deciding set and I like the over 22.5 games in this one as well at around 1.9.
Back Troicki to beat Young 2-0 at 1.63
Back Garcia-Lopez to beat Baghdatis at 1.95
Back over 22.5 games in Garcia-Lopez v Baghdatis at 1.9