Day one at the 2012 Rogers Cup was close to being a perfect one, with two winning selections from three.
I said yesterday that Andreas Seppi was one to avoid at a price of 1.50 and so it proved, as Vasek Pospisil thrilled the somewhat sparse home crowd with a final set victory.
My bet in that one was the overs, which was a comfortable winner, but a shock three set loss by Lukas Lacko against Pablo Andujar spoiled my double after Marcos Baghdatis had beaten Carlos Berlocq in straight sets.
Tuesday in Toronto sees the likes of John Isner and Milos Raonic begin their campaigns and both have matches that they should win, although Raonic looks plenty short enough at around 1.22 against Viktor Troicki.
The first match on Stadium Court at 4pm UK time is a first time meeting between another Canadian, Frank Dancevic and Mikhail Kukushkin.
Dancevic has been made the favourite for this match at around 1.55 and like Seppi yesterday that looks short enough to me against the capable, but mentally fragile Kukushkin.
The Canadian world number 123 spends most of his time on the Challenger tour these days and his wins at this level have been very few and far between.
He gets a wild card into this event pretty much every year, but he doesn’t tend to take advantage of it, with six first round losses from nine starts and his win over Jeremy Chardy in Miami in the spring was his first Masters win for three years in the main draw.
Dancevic had a good run in the Vancouver Challenger with decent wins over Ruben Bemelmans and Jack Sock and this combined with Kukushkin’s six match losing streak has made him favourite for today’s match.
But he’s won just two of his last 15 matches against top-100 ranked players in ATP Tour level matches and I can’t be backing Dancevic at odds-on in this match.
Kuku is a more than capable hard court player, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open on his penultimate hard court event, beating Gael Monfils and Troicki, so I’d be very surprised if Dancevic won this one comfortably.
The price of 1.56 about the Kazakhstan player with a 1.5 set start looks a pretty good bet to me and one that I’ll take on in this match.
There are three matches today that the layers have been unable to split by more than a small margin and these are Yen Hsun Lu v Fabio Fognini, Kevin Anderson v Mikhail Youzhny and Sergiy Stakhovsky v Marcel Granollers.
And I’m going to take a chance on Stakhovsky to come out on top in the latter match, which takes place on Court 1 also at 4pm UK time.
The North American hard court swing is not the best time of year for Granollers, who is playing a warm up tournament for the US Open here in Canada for the first time and for the first time since 2008 in North America.
The Spaniard’s record isn’t great in this swing for a player ranked inside the world’s top-30 with a best showing of the third round at the US Open, which he achieved last year before retiring there for the second time in three years.
I get the impression from looking at his stats that he’ll be happy to get back to the clay and indoor swings to come and he’s certainly vulnerable today against a decent hard courter such as Stakhovsky in their first career meeting.
The Ukrainian hasn’t been in great form himself of late and he always seems to have some of injury concern, but he’s used to the courts here in Toronto after winning his two qualifying matches and that could be advantage enough over the Spaniard who will be playing his first match on hard since Miami.
Stakhovsky’s New Haven title in 2010 is much more than Granollers has achieved at this time of the year and his attacking game should come out on top in these particular conditions at a handy price of around 1.97
Best Bets: Back Kukushkin at 1.56 +1.5 sets to beat Dancevic; Back Stakhovsky to beat Granollers at 1.97.