The ATP Tour moves back to Europe this week for the remaining tournaments of the season, all of which are held indoors. It was a really unfortunate end to the week in Shanghai, where my two of the three bets that I considered were successful and the one that I actually plumped for lost.
I said that the final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic would go long and the value was to back both the overs and the 2-1 win, but unfortunately I chose the wrong player, as Djokovic prevailed in the decider rather than Murray. Murray will be less than delighted about failing to convert five match points for a straight sets victory, but it was a gutsy effort from the Serb to come back to win when all appeared to be lost.
There are three ATP 250 tournaments to tackle this week - in Moscow, Stockholm and Vienna.
In Sweden I like the chances of Jarkko Nieminen to continue his excellent record in the Stockholm Open. The Finn has produced a very consistent set of results at this event; he hasn’t failed to reach at least the last eight here since 2005. Today he takes on Tobias Kamke in a repeat of their quarter-final clash here 12 months ago.
Nieminen won that day and also here in 2007 against the same opponent. Overall Jarkko has a 3-0 record over the German. Kamke has been in OK form indoors lately in Challengers, but he’s never beaten a top 50 ranked left hander such as Nieminen and has only won once against a top 100 leftie, which was against Horacio Zeballos on clay earlier this year.
Jarkko has ranking points to defend from his run to the final in Stockholm last year and looks a solid wager at 1.45 for a winning start to the week.
A more expansive bet can be found over in Moscow, where I’m prepared to take a chance on Daniel Gimeno-Traver to be too solid for the often wayward Lukas Rosol at a tempting price of 2.35 Rosol has done nothing since that memorable win over Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon and his record indoors is surprisingly poor for a man possessing such a powerful game.
If he’s firing on all cylinders then he’ll win today, but he so rarely is that I much prefer the claims of the Spaniard, who is in superb form at the moment, losing just two of his last 18 matches. Although many of them came on his favoured clay surface, he benefited from the slow conditions in St Petersburg to reach the semi-finals there.
Rosol hasn’t made it past the opening round of a tour level indoor hard court tournament since beating Ernests Gulbis here in Moscow 12 months ago. That remains his only career win indoors on the ATP Tour, so I wouldn’t want to be on him at 1.57 in this one.
Gimeno-Traver’s confidence will be at its peak after winning another clay Challenger in his most recent tournament in Madrid and although the change of surface is a concern, he did the same thing when moving successfully from the dirt of Seville to the indoor hard of St Peterbsurg.
I’m happy to take the 2.35 on a confident Gimeno-Traver rather than 1.57 on Rosol, who was beaten by Maxime Authom in the second round of the Mons Challenger last time out.
Back Nieminen to beat Kamke at 1.45
Back Gimeno-Traver to beat Rosol at 2.35