After a perfect start to the week in Shanghai, Tuesday was one of disappointment as my wager on Kevin Anderson lost in the most unfortunate of fashions.
The big South African came back from a set down to level his second round match with John Isner before forcing a third consecutive tie break in which he led all the way and was match points up at 6-4.
Unfortunately a choke of fairly epic proportions followed and he handed the match to Isner on a plate to lose 7-6, 6-7, 7-6 in just under three hours.
At least overs backers were easily successful and in-play backers as well, who were on the generous opening show on Anderson, but that one was painful.
It didn’t get any better when a nervy display from the Ze Zhang, who is more talented than he showed, I promise, saw the Chinese youngster crumble in his home Masters to, it must be said, a fine display from Yen Hsun Lu.
Elsewhere on Tuesday there was another bagel in the stuttering career of Bernard Tomic, who was beaten easily by Florian Mayer and it was another good day for favourite backers, with only Viktor Troicki and Fernando Verdasco winning as underdogs.
Wednesday sees the big guns roll out in Shanghai, with Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer all in action today and I would rate Murray’s match against Florian Mayer the one most likely to cause a top seed problems.
A match where I do fancy the outsider is Sam Querrey to beat Kei Nishikori at a price of around 1.97 in their match, which kicks off at around 7am UK time.
Nishikori had the trainer out a couple of times on Tuesday in a fairly routine win over a Chinese wild card and I simply don’t trust the Japanese star’s brittle body after a really tough week last week in Tokyo.
The physical effort and emotionally draining title win will surely take it’s toll and he’s too short in the betting at 1.80 against Querrey, who beat Nishikori comfortably on a hard court in Toronto recently.
I’m still sour about Querrey costing me last week from a seemingly invincible position against Feli Lopez and there’s a chance that that defeat may be lingering in his mind, but he should have too much for Nishikori today and there’s a touch of value about his price in my view.
There are quite a few favourites priced up at around the 1.30 mark today and of the players in that sort of range I wouldn't be keen on backing Janko Tipsarevic, who's been ill, in a match with fellow Serb Viktor Troicki, who retired with a calf injury last week. That one seems a battle of the walking wounded.
Tommy Haas should prevail against Tommy Robredo, as should Richard Gasquet against Radek Stepanek and Stan Wawrinka against Denis Istomin, but as I said yesterday I don't touch Istomin games at the moment and I would avoid a potentially fatigued Milos Raonic in his match with Marcos Baghdatis as well.
But Haas and Gasquet are relatively fresh and both are playing well at the moment, so they can be paired in a double today that will pay around 1.70 if successful.
There were only nine from 16 winning favourites in the second round here last year and another outsider in with a real shot today is Alexandr Dolgopolov, who takes on Gilles Simon at around 8am UK time on Union Pay Court 3.
It's always a very risky play to involve oneself in a wager on Dolgo and caution is the watchword here, but he seemed in decent nick in his opening match against Jeremy Chardy and the rewards are there at a price of 2.30 today.
Simon is another whose brittle body has shown several signs of creaking to halt lately – notably in the final in Bangkok a few weeks ago and the style of these two players might make for some lengthy rallies, which will test both players' fitness.
Their career series is tied at 1-1, with Dolgo winning the most recent encounter in Brisbane at the start of the year, but conditioning is a big factor here and Simon looks about done to me. Last year he won just three of 10 matches after the US Open and he'd only ever won three matches here in Shanghai prior to this year.
Dolgopolov should have something left in the tank, so I think he's the value at 2.30 today.
Best Bets: Back Querrey to beat Nishikori at 1.97; Back Dolgopolov to beat Simon at 2.30; Back Gasquet and Haas in a double at 1.70.