The elite men’s tennis players have had a few days off after the Sony Open, but several of them are back in action today and over the weekend on Davis Cup duty. There are plenty of ties taking place over the next three days, not least the quarter-finals of the World Group, which feature the likes of Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Day One’s singles rubbers offer the usual 1.01 shots, with the game’s established stars taking on very low-ranked players. Many of the matches are unbackable for that reason, but there is some value around today.
Carlos Berlocq is no pushover these days and he could quite easily give Tsonga a match on clay - the Frenchman’s least favoured surface. The Argentina team need to get off to a strong start to have a chance in this and Tsonga may find the going tougher away from home than odds of 1.40 suggest. This will be their first career meeting and Berlocq is in form, having beaten Kei Nishikori and Alex Dolgopolov at Indian Wells and pushed Andy Murray close. The Berlocq win with a 1.5 set start at 2.08 looks worthy of consideration in that rubber.
In the same tie Juan Monaco is too big at 2.60 to take down Gilles Simon. Monaco has been in poor form all season due to a hand injury, but strangely his two wins came in Davis Cup. Simon, who is in for the injured Richard Gasquet, has a poor record in live Davis Cup rubbers. He was thrashed at home on clay by John Isner and beaten by David Ferrer and Jurgen Melzer in the two prior to that. He’s only won one five set Davis Cup singles match in his career and that was against Stefan Koubek in 2011. Monaco and Simon have met six times with the score tied at 3-3 but if Monaco is fit, he’s too big at 2.60.
Another two with odds-against chances are Viktor Troicki at 2.95 against Sam Querrey and Vasek Pospisil at 3.85 against Andreas Seppi.
Whoever’s backing Sam Querrey in a pressure situation at 1.38 wants to have a serious word with themselves as the American is one of the worst pressure players I’ve seen in recent times. He’s done nothing of note all season other than produce a few epic chokes. Troicki has hardly had a great season either, but he has beaten Querrey on two of the three occasions they’ve met in competitive matches. It could also be argued that Querrey’s lone win was in a dead Davis Cup rubber.
The Serb has won seven of his last ten Davis Cup singles rubbers and came back from two sets down to beat David Goffin on clay last time out. He can be effective on indoor hard, so this could be a much more even match than the odds show.
Seppi is no Davis Cup legend either, with five losses from his last eight rubbers, including a thrashing from Marin Cilic last time out in front of his home supporters. He’s struggled with the big serving Pospisil in their two previous meetings. Much will depend on how Pospisil reacts to the occasion; if he serves well on the fast indoor court in Vancouver he could easily push Seppi to four or five sets or maybe even grab the win, so the overs looks good in this one at around 36.5 games.
Back Monaco to beat Simon at 2.60
Back Berlocq +1.5 sets to beat Tsonga at 2.08
Back Troicki to beat Querrey at 2.95
Back over 36.5 games in Pospisil v Seppi at 1.80