Order was restored at the French Open on Monday, with both of my best bets proving successful – one rather more comfortably than the other.
Viktor Troicki seemed intent on throwing the match away when he lost the third set from 5-2 ahead, but he clawed it back and in the end won pretty comfortably in the fifth set to secure a nice odds-against winner.
Then Brian Baker joined the party with a straight sets win over Xavier Malisse to make it a good day all round.
Tuesday sees Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray enter the fray and both are expected to win pretty comfortably, although it will be interesting to watch the flamboyant Italian Simone Bolelli trying to hit winners against Rafa.
Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are also on show, along with the likes of David Ferrer and Petra Kvitova, but all are incredibly short in the betting as you would expect.
There are better offers elsewhere though and the odds against shot that I like today is Juan Ignacio Chela to beat Marcos Baghdatis at 2.15, but the worry is Chela’s recent Achilles injury problems.
If you fancy risking that the Argentine is OK, that 2.15 could look great value against poor clay performer Baghdatis.
With all the injuries and retirements that have taken place already in Paris it’s hard to find a player that is actually fit at the moment and today’s schedule also sees Julien Benneteau making his return from a painful ankle injury.
Carlos Berlocq has been suffering with a calf problem for a while and Igor Andreev has had a shoulder problem, so there are not many that are fit for action today.
Hopefully Sam Querrey is fit and if he is he should be good enough to take a set at least off Janko Tipsarevic in the opening match on Court 1.
Big Sam has a 3-1 head-to-head series advantage over Tipsarevic – the last of which coming in a straight sets win over Tipsy at Indian Wells last year and he can be effective on clay.
The Americans have done pretty well so far here and despite an upturn in results lately, Tipsarevic admits that he doesn’t consider clay his favourite surface and he’s never been past the last 32 here.
The Serbian has also lost in the first round on four occasions and this is a tough first round match against Querrey, who’s been moving back up the rankings under the watchful eye of Brad Gilbert.
This match has the potential to be a shock, but I’ll take Sam to grab a set, so I’ll be backing him with a 2.5 set start on the handicap at 1.6.
With little else around above odds of 1.1 I’m going to take a slight chance on Andreev’s shoulder and back the Russian to take his Finnish opponent Jarkko Nieminen over the 38.5 total games mark.
Andreev has a 2-0 head-to-head record over Nieminen and has defeated him in both of their clay matches, the last of which was in similar conditions to here in Rome last year.
I’m a little surprised that the Finn is favourite for this match, but the worry over Andreev’s shoulder leads me to back the overs and if there’s a problem Igor will call it quits I would imagine.
He played in Dusseldorf two weeks after the retirement in Madrid, so I imagine he’ll be fine and would rather take a chance on him than Chela whose Achilles problem will presumably take longer to clear.
Nieminen hasn’t beaten anyone of note in this clay swing and has lost in the first round here the last two years – one to Andy Roddick, so he’s a shaky favourite today and this one has all the makings of a lengthy battle.
Back Querrey +2.5 sets v Tipsarevic at 1.6
Back over 38.5 games in Nieminen v Andreev at 1.8