Glad to have the best bet salute last night at $2, however Becker surrendered a solid lead and commanding position to go down in three sets to Feliciano Lopez.
There are a few solid games tonight that have caught my eye, and they can be found below. I am not one to write just for the sake of it, but the bottom few matches are just to alert you to a few players I am keen to observe closely in the coming tournaments.
Match 1 – Lleyton Hewitt vs Yen-Hsun Lu
Location: Memphis Indoor Hardcourt
Time: 3am AEDST
I briefly touched on this game yesterday, but have decided after further reviewing that it warrants an official play and write-up.
We haven’t seen Lu since the Australian Open vs Gael Monfils. While I was initially impressed with the way Lu was playing, his lack of composure in parts started to worry me, combined with his body language at times. I was live at that match and Lu started to become complacent after the MTO from Monfils, something you should never do against Monfils of all opponents.
From the Aus Open, Lu then ventured down to Tasmania for an ITF (the level below Challenger which is the level below ATP), however withdrew due to an undisclosed injury. We haven’t seen him since. An interview whilst in Burnie showed us that Lu had skipped his Davis Cup tie vs Australia to go to the ITF level to get some matches under his belt. To go down this path suggests that Lu has had some concerns regarding lack of match practice, regardless of what level. This was a month ago, and he still hasn’t played since. That has to be concerning.
Hewitt on the other hand has started the season quite solidly. After taking out the Kooyong Exhibition title playing decent tennis, Hewitt was outplayed convincingly by Tipsaravic at the Australian Open. Hewitt won his Davis Cup match vs Tsung-Hu Yang, before making his way to the US to play San Jose last week. Hewitt started slowly against Kavcic before overcoming him in 3 sets, serving at a measly 49% of first serves in.
That was an average performance, but it is his match against Sam Querrey that really caught my attention. Hewitt not only upped his first serve percentage, he outplayed Querrey in chunks of the match. He earned 10 break points on the Querrey serve, which is no mean feat. He converted three, and only conceded 1 break and 3 break points for the match. Hewitt had a set point in the first set, but couldn’t convert.
Looking at the indoor hardcourt form of the two players, Hewitt also has the advantage. Lu only played 2 games on indoor hardcourt last year, losing to Donald Young (who was in horrible form, 7-5 2-6 5-7) and Roberto Bautista Agut 4-6 2-6. He has beaten one player inside the top 100 on indoor hardcourt since the beginning of 2008, going 7-21 across that timespan. This includes losing to Hewitt 4-6 6-7 here at Memphis in 2011. Lu is just under 50% for his career on indoor hard, sitting at 40-41.
Hewitt has gone 4-3 on indoor hardcourt in the last 12 months, including wins over Kevin Anderson, Jarkko Nieminen and Juan Monaco. Hewitt is 5-2 in his career at Memphis, with losses to Andy Roddick in the SF in 2009 and QF in 2011. Lu is 3-6 in his career at Memphis, and has one win (vs 100th ranked Robby Ginepri) since 2008 in Memphis.
I like Hewitt here. He is match-fit, and fighting to increase his ranking. Although he can live off the occasional wildcard, you know that Hewitt is going to give 100% and fight to the end.
I like Hewitt h2h here at just over $1.70, but for those after extra value, -2 games is available and also solid if you want $1.95 instead of $1.70+.
Suggested Bet: Hewitt h2h at $1.68 at Betfair
Match 2 – Ernests Gulbis vs Tomas Berdych
Gulbis is the man who famously beat Berdych at Wimbledon last year 7-6 7-6 7-6 in the first round. Berdych was $1.03 that day, and a lot of people were shocked. Gulbis has the ability to put in outstanding tennis matches, and that day he showed what he can do at the top level.
Gulbis performed as I had hoped last night against Nieminen, putting in a dominant display. I am not going to go off and say that Gulbis is back, but I was certainly impressed.
I am not going to go as far as saying Gulbis is going to knock off Berdych tonight, but if he puts in the same performance as last night, he is a massive chance. I really don’t like to back players who have a round 1 bye, so that works in my favour a little bit here. For starters, Berdych has a pretty horrid record at Marseille, winning only 4 of his last 5 matches here.
I think I would look a little biased here if I suggest Gulbis. Yes I think he is a massive chance, but I think the over 22 games may be a safer play. If Gulbis serves like he did yesterday, he will be incredibly hard to break.
Here is my thinking here. If Gulbis doesn’t win, I think he can catch Berdych off guard and steal a set. If he doesn’t steal a set, I think he can get to a tiebreak in a set.
NOTE: in both previous hardcourt meetings, there has been at least one tiebreak. And of course on grass last year we saw three in three sets.
Suggested Bet: Total Games over 22 at $1.93 at Sportingbet
Comments on other matches
Best upset chance – Diego Sebastian Schwartzman to beat Tommy Robredo at $2.50+
Robredo has not won back-to-back matches at ATP level since Bastad in Sweden in July of 2012. That is the only time in the last 18 months this has occurred. He has started to make a habit of comfortably winning round 1 before going down round 2. Appears he may be struggling to back up at ATP level. I think the hometown wildcard in Schwwartzman could give Robredo a run for his money here, playing some reasonable tennis of late.
One to watch – Carlos Berlocq vs David Nalbandian
Nalbandian fits the bill of the type of player I discussed a few weeks back in an article. A finalist from last week backing up 48 or so hours later at the next tournament. I am keeping track of how players perform in this situation, so I would sit this one out for now. Having said that, the early results have suggested that a decent number of favourites are going under in these type of matches. Other players that fall into this category include Haas and Raonic to name a couple.
Other matches of note
The following two matches have players I am keen to track closely heading in to Roland Garros. There will be no plays on these tonight, but I just want to alert you to who they are playing and how they are tracking.
Bedene vs Reister – I like Bedene here, but he appears to be a bit short to represent value. Will be keen to just observe how he goes second up on his return to the clay court.
Fognini vs Garcia-Lopez – Like Bedene, i also like Fognini here. But there have been some queries as to his health (some say injured, some say not), so I am more than happy to just watch here.