Day four at the ATP 250 indoor tournaments in Moscow, Stockholm and Vienna brought one winner from my two bets. Andreas Seppi eased past Igor Sijsling in straight sets for a nice start to the day in Moscow before Donald Young lost out to Aljaz Bedene in Vienna. Elsewhere, the number one seed in Moscow, Alex Dolgopolov, was taken out by Edouard Roger-Vasselin in a final set tiebreaker and Feli Lopez, the fifth seed in Stockholm, was beaten by Sergiy Stakhovsky.
Friday brings us the last eight clashes in all three of this week’s events and it’s worth considering a trebleon three of today's quarter-finals.
In Vienna where the courts are a decent pace I’d be surprised if Paolo Lorenzi was able to keep his good run going against big serving leftie Gilles Muller. The pair have met on one prior occasion in their careers - fully 11 years ago - and today’s second meeting should also go the way of the man from Luxembourg. Lorenzi hadn’t won a match at tour level on indoor hard before this week and had barely won any at Challenger level. I can see him losing interest today fairly rapidly when Muller’s big leftie serve fires past him on a regular basis.
The second part of the accumulator is to stick with Seppi, who should be too solid for Tatsuma Ito in Moscow. Ito is another who had never won a match in the main draw of a tour level indoor hard court event before this week and on this stodgy Moscow surface I can’t see him having either the weaponry or the consistency to take down Seppi.
Finally, Tommy Haas should be too classy for Grega Zemlja, who is out of his depth against the in-form German veteran in Vienna. Haas, who has just won his 500th career match, has too much firepower off the ground for the limited Zemlja and should ease through this one.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga could probably be added to that acca as well to make it a bit more expansive if you trust the commitment of the big names in these sort of tournaments.
The only two big prices that tempt me today are Mikhail Youzhny at 3.80 against Tomas Berdych and Ricardas Berankis at 3.90 against Marcos Baghdatis. Youzhny is playing in Stockholm instead of his home tournament of Moscow this week and only once in seven meetings on a hard court has he lost in straight sets to the Czech.
Their overall head-to-head reads six wins apiece but it must be noted that they haven’t played since 2010 and Berdych has shown more improvement since then. But Youzhny is at home in these conditions and is 9-2 indoors in 2012. He will certainly be a threat if he’s on his game today and he’s worth backing to win with a 1.5 set start on the handicap at 2.08.
Berankis is a decent shout at odds-against and I also like Stakhovsky to push Tsonga past the 21.5 total games mark at a price of 1.75 Although Tsonga should win the match, Stako's serve against a poor returner like Tsonga should mean that breaks are at a premium in this encounter. Tsonga has always managed to get the job done in the past against the Ukrainian, but it’s rarely been easy. On the reasonably paced courts in Stockholm we could easily see a couple of very close sets in this one - or it could even go three.
Back Muller, Haas and Seppi in a treble at 1.84
Back Youzhny + 1.5 sets to beat Berdych at 2.08
Back over 21.5 games in Tsonga v Stakhovsky at 1.75