It was one winner from my two picks on Sunday in the finals of Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. Juan Monaco was successful against perennial bridesmaid Julien Benneteau in Malaysia to land his first indoor title, but Gilles Simon suffered an injured knee in Thailand and was unable to produce more than token resistance to Richard Gasquet.
The ATP Tour moves swiftly on in this Asian swing to Tokyo and Beijing – both ATP 500 events which have attracted competitive fields. Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Ferrer headline in China, while Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych and Janko Tipsarevic are the top-10 stars on show in Japan.
Monday’s schedule in Beijing features an attractive-looking clash between Fernando Verdasco and Sam Querrey, which takes place on the Stadium Court at around lunchtime UK time. This hard-hitting pair are meeting for the third time with the honours currently even at 1-1, both matches having been played on hard courts.
Querrey is yet to win so much as a set in two previous appearances in Tokyo and I would be concerned about his results in this part of the world; he has just one win in Beijing to his name as well, and that was over world number 95 (at the time) Jesse Levine in 2008.
Verdasco was in good form last week in Bangkok and should have beaten Janko Tipsarevic, but choked at the vital time in set one when in a winning position. That match practice will have done Nando a great deal of good, though, while Querrey hasn’t played since losing to Ferrer on clay in the Davis Cup a few weeks ago.
To my mind, the only thing that makes Querrey favourite in this match is his excellent record against left handers: Sam has won his last 12 in a row and has a 64% win ratio lifetime against lefties. Indeed, the last time that Querrey lost to a leftie on a hard court was to Verdasco in the final of New Haven in 2009, but that record has to go some time.
At a price of 2.05 I think that the Spaniard represents value and will be too strong in this particular match. Verdasco has reached the quarter-finals three times in Beijing and Tokyo combined, and I suspect he’ll be more up for this than Querrey.
As the schedule in Tokyo had not been updated at the time of writing I’m sticking with Beijing today. A couple of outsiders worthy of consideration today are Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Carlos Berlocq.
Garcia-Lopez was thrashed by a superb display from Bernard Tomic last week, but with today’s opponent Alex Dolgopolov all at sea at the moment for a variety of reasons, there are worse bets than to side with the Spaniard today. Dolgo was dumped out of this tournament by Flavio Cipolla last year and I wouldn’t trust him today at 1.37.
The same can be said of Marinko Matosevic, who looks skinny at 1.64 to beat the game Carlos Berlocq.
Elsewhere, Florian Mayer has too many weapons for Fabio Fognini on hard courts and he really should defeat the Italian again when they meet on the Moon Court in the early hours of the morning UK time. Fognini benefited from incredibly slow indoor conditions to reach the St Petersburg final last time out, but he’s yet to take a set from the German in their two one-sided career meetings.
Mayer took down Fognini for the loss of just two games in their meeting in Shanghai last year and the Italian has a 3-31 record against top-30 ranked players such as Mayer lifetime on hard courts. That stat alone is enough to make the 1.43 on Mayer look worth snapping up.
Back Verdasco to beat Querrey at 2.05
Back Mayer to beat Fognini at 1.43