Wednesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia got better as the day went on and after a poor start, two of yesterday’s three bets were successful. Fabio Fognini got us off to a bad start with an awful performance, but Andreas Seppi redressed the balance for Italy with a battling effort that brought our overs bet in before Stan Wawrinka brushed Janko Tipsarevic aside.
Thursday’s play at the Foro Italico offers little in the way of obvious value in the men’s matches with all of the games bar Berdych v Almagro featuring a heavy odds-on favourite. So, it’s one of those days to either look for an accumulator or try the other markets for something in the way of value. Pretty much all of the short priced favourites, with the exception of Andy Murray look solid so a few doubles and trebles could be the order of the day, with Del Potro, Wawrinka and Ferrer my choices.
Stan Wawrinka v Andreas Seppi
There is, however, value in backing Stan Wawrinka to beat crowd favourite Andreas Seppi in straight sets today at around 1.92.
Stan was impressive in thrashing Janko Tipsarevic 6-3, 6-1 last night and it could have been worse for the Serbian, as Stan served for the first set at 5-1 before eventually taking it.The Swiss number two enjoys conditions here in Rome and I can’t see Seppi having the class to compete today, despite the urgings of the crowd. Stan has won their last five meetings in a row without dropping a set and he hammered the Italian the last time they met on clay, so I’m not too sure what’s likely to change today.
Seppi had won one of his last 13 matches against top-20 opposition such as Wawrinka before yesterday and you have to go back to 2008 for his previous top-20 win on clay, which was over Juan Monaco in Hamburg.
His win over Isner will be a boost of course, but Wawrinka was firing winners all over the court against Tipsarevic last night and dominating with that one-handed backhand, which should prove too much for Seppi today. The Italian is playing in the last 16 for the first time here, but this is the end of the road for him today after a decent tournament.
Andy Murray v Richard Gasquet
My second bet today is to back the overs in Murray v Gasquet. Gasquet has caused all sorts of problems for the Scot in their five completed career meetings so far and this clash of two of last year’s Rome semi finalists has the potential to go long.
The occasionally brilliant Frenchman has taken the first set against Murray in four of their five matches and if Murray gets off to a slow start this lunchtime he doesn’t have the luxury of five sets to get him out of trouble as he has in the past against the Gasman.
Murray reached the last four here last year largely thanks to a kind draw that didn’t see him face a top-25 opponent until the semis and his record against such players on clay is poor for a world number four. Take Gasquet to push this match over the 21.5 total games mark at [1.85].
Roger Federer vJuan Carlos Ferrero
Tonight’s match featuring Roger Federer and Juan Carlos Ferrero should be the opposite of Murray v Gasquet, with the Swiss – presuming he’s fit – a heavy favourite for a comfortable win.
The veteran Spaniard is winding down his career and has played just nine matches this year, winning just three of them and despite good wins here over Gael Monfils and Kevin Anderson, a fit Federer should take this in less than the 19.5 game mark.
Fed has beaten Ferrero the last six times in a row and he’s never dropped a set to him in their three clay meetings, each being completed in less than 19.5 games.
They haven’t played each other for almost five years and the Spaniard is only occasionally 'The Mosquito' of old. I fancy Federer wanting to end this quickly to preserve his fitness and 1.9 about under 19.5 games is a fair price.
Best Bets: Back Wawrinka to beat Seppi 2-0 at 1.92; Back over 21.5 games in Murray v Gasquet at 1.85.; Back under 19.5 games in Federer v Ferrero at 1.9.