The Olympic tennis tournament ended on a real high on Sunday, with my outright tip on Andy Murray proving to be a successful one. The Scot dished out a fearful beating to a below-par Roger Federer in a one-sided match that saw Murray produce one his finest performances.
The Swiss looked jaded after that marathon semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro and Murray cruised to victory in straight sets for what he described as his best ever victory. It was two out of three bets for me yesterday as well, with Murray and Del Potro both obliging in what was a fine end to a tricky week at London 2012.
The tour moves on without delay to Canada and the Rogers Cup, which is the opening ATP Masters 1000 event of the North American hard court swing – my own personal favourite spell of the ATP Tour.
The men’s tournament takes place in Toronto this year, but it’s been hit by several big name withdrawals after the extra week’s competitive action in London. The likes of Federer, Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer have pulled out and others are yet to confirm their arrivals, so it’s not the strongest Masters 1000 event that we’ve seen.
Today’s play begins with a few low-key first round matches and begins at around 4pm UK time this afternoon. There’s an intriguing clash scheduled for Stadium Court at around midnight UK time tonight between Canada’s Vasek Pospisil and Andreas Seppi.
Seppi has had a career year in 2012, rising to a high of number 24, but it wasn’t due to his results on hard courts, which have been poor. The Italian number one has only once made it past the second round of any hard court event since the start of 2011 and hasn’t won a match on the North American hard court swing since New Haven in 2009.
Seppi’s record in his last 16 games in North America reads 3-13 and it’s fair to assume that this part of the tour isn’t overly important to him. Consequently, I wouldn’t fancy taking the 1.50 about him making a winning start against an opponent who should be more motivated in his home event.
Pospisil is still pretty raw, but he pushed Seppi in their only career meeting so far, which took place indoors in St Petersburg at the end of last year (7-5, 7-6 to Seppi). The overs looks the bet in this one at over 22.5 games at 1.87
My other wager today will be to take the double of Marcos Baghdatis and Lukas Lacko, which would work out at odds of around 1.66. Both are very capable hard court players taking on clay court specialists who have poor records on this surface. Both should win reasonably comfortably.
Baghdatis takes on Carlos Berlocq, whose best ever effort at tour level on a hard court is a third round appearance in Miami last year after a win over the mercurial Ernests Gulbis. He’s 1-16 lifetime against top-50 ranked players on hard courts and Baghdatis should take this one, as he did in their only previous career meeting.
Lacko faces a similarly poor hard courter in Andujar, who had a surprising run in Miami in the spring when reached the fourth round. He’s only managed to win six of his last 30 hard court matches, though, and he’s lost nine of his last 10 matches on all surfaces, so he’s in a poor run of form.
Lacko hasn’t set the world on fire since reaching the final in Zagreb in February, but I’d still expect him to take Andujar out on his opening match of the hard court season.
Back over 22.5 games in Pospisil vs Seppi at 1.87
Back Baghdatis and Lacko in a double at 1.66