This is a play that stood out to me the instant I saw the odds. I looked long and hard at their relevant statistics over the last few tournaments, and still can’t see any reason to doubt myself here.
Will keep this one short compared to others, however you will still get a feel for why I am taking the stance I am. Let’s start with a bit of a rundown of the recent clay form of both players:
Viktor has had an indifferent start to the 2013 season, finding his ranking floating around the mid 40’s, and not making any progress towards a seeding in the upcoming grand slam events. Since July last year, Troicki has had 6 wins 5 losses on the red stuff, with 2 of those losses coming at the hands of Rosol, 7-5 3-6 4-6 in Hamburg last year, and 3-6 1-6 just over a fortnight ago in Bucharest. Of the 6 wins, only one came against a noted claycourter (Marcel Granollers), however he was recovering from the flu and was way below his best, fading in the 3rd set. The other victories came against Goffin (severely out of form), Matosevic (not a noted claycourter – like almost every other Australian), Tobias Kamke (ranked 78), Matthias Bachinger (ranked 126), and Radek Stepanek (not a notable claycourter).
Outside of the loss to Rosol, Troicki has also lost to Nishikori, Kohlschreiber and Nieminen on the clay this year. They are reasonable players, and losing to then can be considered acceptable in some circumstances. However, the ease at which Troicki is being defeated is quite alarming. Across the 4 clay losses this year, he is yet to win a set:
• Lost 1-6 2-6 to Nieminen
• Lost 3-6 1-6 to Rosol
• Lost 3-6 6-7 to Kohlschreiber
• Lost 5-7 2-6 to Nishikori
Competitive for one set at most, if that. Not a great trend to get into, but not surprising considering the nature and style of Troicki’s gameplay. Very much a front-runner, and very much dependent on how he is hitting his backhand.
Prior to this year, all we knew Rosol for was the massive win over Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012. Now Rosol is starting to forge a name for himself, and was lucky enough to gain a Lucky Loser position here in Rome (lucky loser: lost final round qualifying, however main draw participant withdrew. Rosol has taken the place of Tipsaravic, WD due to bronchial infection).
Across Challenger (3-1), Davis Cup (2-0) and ATP (5-0), Rosol had gone 10-1 on clay before reaching Rome. Coming off a withdrawal in the Challenger in Ostrava doubles (Right Bicep), there have been some question marks over his fitness. That being said, he has turned up, and played some solid tennis here in the qualifying, going down in 2 tight sets to Andrey Kuznetsov, who I rate highly as an up and coming claycourter, and definitely one to keep an eye on at the French Open and beyond (was tempted by the +5 offered vs Del Potro).
If you had to ask tennis watchers what the biggest moment of Rosol’s career would be, I would imagine the main answer would be that Wimbledon triumph, however it most definitely occurred at Bucharest last month. Rosol put together arguably the best week of tennis of his career, dropping only one set on the way to the Bucharest title, destroying Muller, Seppi, Troicki, Simon and Garcia-Lopez. It truly was an impressive performance, and you know he will have taken a load of confidence from the match.
It is amazing what confidence can do for a tennis player.
One way traffic. Rosol controlled the match, and Troicki was demoralised almost from the outset. You have to think Rosol will have gained a truckload of confidence from this win.
Summary and Suggested Bet
I can’t refuse Rosol here at the price. He has the confidence, he has the form, he has the overall h2h advantage (3-1 overall, 3-0 on clay), and better yet, he has had two matches in qualifying to help become accustomed to the conditions.
This is one of those plays that I cannot refuse at the price, and would take time and time again regardless of the result that ensues tonight. Rosol wins this 6 to 7 times out of 10 in my opinion, and that is at the very least.
Suggested Bet: Rosol h2h
NOTE – For those after better value and think he can put Troicki to the sword again in straight sets, you can get close to $3. I however am on the posted bet above.
At this stage no multi tonight. Too many matches that could go either way.
Photo by Rl91 at the Slovak language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons