It’s been another up and down week on the ATP Tour, which is to be expected considering the fatigue and lack of motivation of the vast majority of the players at this time of year.
One player who never fails to surprise is Bernard Tomic, who, after producing some less than satisfactory efforts of late, decided to put in a superb display against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Bangkok to stun many observers.
We know that Tomic has the talent, but he so rarely produces it that it’s often worth opposing him at odds-on. It didn’t work out this time, but it will again in the future – maybe even today.
At least Viktor Troicki produced glimpses of his best form in seeing off Sergiy Stakhovsky, but neither Marinko Matosevic or Pablo Andujar were good enough on the day to strike the required blows against Ivo Karlovic and Denis Istomin respectively. Andujar’s price came in markedly pre-match, but he was unable to land the gamble.
Thursday’s play in Bangkok starts bright and early at 1am UK time, and features Tomic again, who takes on Dudi Sela and I certainly won’t be investing in Bernie at 1.32 for reasons of his inconsistency, which can also be highlighted by the fact that he lost his only career match against Sela. On the form he showed on Tuesday he should win easily, but I wouldn’t bet on him producing the same sort of level.
The match between Donald Young and Fernando Verdasco could be interesting from a betting perspective, with The Don in with a chance at a price of around 3.62
Young really needs to do well this week to avoid a big drop in the rankings after his run to the final last year and although it’s a tall order to take down fellow leftie Verdasco it’s not as unlikely as the odds suggest.
They are similar types of player in some ways – both flashy lefties that love to hit winners and both can be effective in these indoor conditions.
Verdasco has been beaten four times at odds of 1.42 or lower in his last seven tournaments and you would think that his motivation won’t be as high as Young’s for this match.
At the time of writing Young is down at 156 in the live world rankings and that’s roughly where he’ll be if he doesn’t defend these ranking points over the next few days.
At the absolute minimum, you know Young will be trying today, which frankly is more than you can say for many of the players on show at this time of year – it’s rather like watching a football team safely in mid-table with nothing to play for at this stage of the season on the tour.
But Young should be at it and although that probably won’t be good enough to get the win it might be good enough for a set and should be enough to take the match over the 21.5 total games mark.
Elsewhere, the likes of Gilles Simon, Milos Raonic, David Ferrer and Alex Dolgopolov begin their campaigns today and Thursday looks a day where it is possible to consider a good accumulator wager.
Juan Monaco has showed some very good indoor form in the last few tournaments he’s contested and he should have too much for Jimmy Wang, who has only one win over a top-15 ranked player in his career – and that was against grass-hating Nikolay Davydenko at Queen’s six years ago.
Wang’s victory over Riccardo Ghedin in the first round here was his first win in a tour level indoor event for five years and it would be a shock if he were able to take down Monaco.
Kei Nishikori also looks solid against Albert Ramos, whose indoor record is particularly poor. The Spaniard is playing only his second ever tour level second round match indoors today and was fortunate to have drawn 38-year-old doubles specialist Julian Knowle in the first round.
Knowle was playing his first singles event for three years and Ramos won’t be as lucky today against Nishikori, who he is yet to take set from on Ramos’s favoured clay surface, let alone on a hard court.
Being a huge star in Asia, Nishikori will want a decent run on this part of the tour and a first match loss to Ramos is surely out of the question.
Best Bets: Back Monaco and Nishikori in a double at 1.58; Back over 21.5 games in Young vs Verdasco at 1.92.