The second round completes at Melbourne Park on Thursday, with another hot day expected at the 2015 Australian Open.
Wednesday turned out to be a profitable day in the end, with my long shot treble landing a 3.92 gamble when Andy Murray and Tomas Berdych both won their matches 3-0 and Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Malek Jaziri went the distance.
Murray wasn’t troubled in the slightest against Marinko Matosevic, but Berdych struggled initially to overcome Jurgen Melzer before running out a comfortable winner.
ERV and Jaziri went to five sets as expected to land the over 38.5 games bet after earlier disappointment in the form of David Goffin, who was woeful in a four set loss to Marcos Baghdatis.
My other wager on the day was frustratingly void when Martin Klizan retired a handful of games short of the overs mark against Joao Sousa.
For my value bet today I’m looking at a match that takes place at midnight UK time between a Spaniard and a Colombian.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Alejandro Gonzalez
We were slightly fortunate to land a winner with GGL a couple of days ago when his opponent Peter Gojowczyk retired in the fourth set, but the value was there on Garcia-Lopez that day.
But so often does he start slowly that it’s worth taking him on today in set one against the admittedly limited hard court talents of Gonzalez.
GGL has lost the opening set of his matches an amazing 15 times in his last 19 matches and this slow starting tendency leads me to side with Gonzalez in set one here.
The Colombian took advantage of another questionable effort from Fabio Fognini in round one and that top-20 win will have given his confidence even if it was against a typically half-hearted Fognini.
Gonzalez and GGL have never met before and this will be more like a clay court match, with neither player being blessed with great power, and although GGL should win it the odds on him losing set one are in our favour here.
Kei Nishikori vs Ivan Dodig
‘Sure things’ are a little tougher today, with Nishikori looking the one to put our money on to land a stress-free win over Dodig in another midnight UK time start.
Dodig looked very much below par physically in a struggle of a first round win over Brazilian Joao Souza, with the Croatian taking a long MTO towards the end of the match.
Dodig hasn’t been at his best in terms of fitness or results for a while now and has developed a really worrying tendency to choke away sets and matches over the last six months or so.
The fact that he played doubles after that Souza match suggests that his injury can’t be that bad, but he’s no fan of the heat, having suffered here in Melbourne before.
The Croat has retired here twice in the last three years and I can’t see him having the desire or the fitness to take even a set from the Japanese in what will become warm temperatures as the match goes on, with doubles more of a priority.
Nishikori won the pair’s two meetings last season in straight sets on clay and hard and he will be all the better for a tricky first rounder against Nico Almagro.
The only long shot singles that appeals today is Paulo Lorenzi, who may find Vasek Pospisil below par after a tough five setter and a doubles match to fatigue his muscles.
Lorenzi was fortunate to meet an injured Alex Dolgopolov in round one and he couldn’t get lucky twice, could he?
The 5.40 on Lorenzi is tempting, but I prefer another multiple, taking into the account the 33C plus temperatures that we’re forecast to see in Melbourne on Thursday.
It’s not comfortable for the big men in this heat and the solid tennis of Roberto Bautista-Agut should prevail with a –3.5 game handicap if there’s any dip in the first serve potency of Muller.
That can be doubled with the over total games in Marcel Granollers’ match with Gilles Simon, which is likely to be a lengthy affair, knowing the playing style of these two grinders.
The head-to-head here is a tad misleading in favour of Granollers, but three of the Spaniard’s four wins have taken place in Valencia and three in October when Simon is favouring the Paris tournament a week or so afterwards and Granollers the opposite.
Granollers is 2-5 in Paris and Simon hasn’t won a single completed match in his last six Valencia going back to 2010, so the career match-up is a little skewed, and I would expect Gillou to put in a much bigger effort here.
Even so, this could well go very long, as Simon tends to do at majors, and over 36.5 games looks very likely.
Sure thing: Back Nishikori to beat Dodig 3-0 at 1.46
Value bet: Back Gonzalez to win set one vs Garcia Lopez at 2.40
Long shot: Back Bautista-Agut -3.5 games to beat Muller and over 36.5 games in Granollers/Simon in a double at 3.48