- Chris Sobey
A quick update on the tennis front and the main news this week has been about all of the top seeds dropping like flies at their respective tournaments. At Acapulco the top three seeds Ferrer, Nishikori and Cilic all crashed out before the quarter finals stage. The biggest surprise came yesterday at Dubai when top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic lost his quarter final due to retirement (eye injury) against sixth seed and two time Dubai finalist Feliciano Lopez. Also, at the time of writing the trend of the top two seeds struggling at Sao Paulo continued as top seed Paire and second seed Bellucci both crashed out against unseeded opposition (Bellucci was knocked out by a Lucky Loser).
In Monday's article I advised Wawrinka (8/1) at Dubai and thankfully he's through to the semi-finals, where he's due to face one of the hottest properties in tennis at present Nick Kyrgios, who won Marseille at a stroll last week. It's impressive how he's continuing that form this week as it shows he has focus and is playing at a very high standard at present, which he proved by beating third seed and world number seven Tomas Berdych in straight sets for the second time in two weeks.
With quick conditions that suit his game perfectly it’s going to be very tough for Wawrinka to stop Kyrgios in this type of form and at 11/8 you might want to consider trading or hedging to at least cover your stake.
The other semi-final at Dubai is between veterans Lopez and Baghdatis. Baghdatis leads the head to head 3-1 and won their last two encounters on hard courts. I expect that trend to continue today and for Baghdatis to reach the final and wouldn't it be great to see an old warrior like him get a chance at winning his first ATP Title since Sydney 2010.
In Sao Paulo they managed to catch up with the delayed schedule due to the rain yesterday and the quarter finals will be played today. At the time of writing qualifier Gasto Elias was the first to make the quarter finals in the top half of the draw, followed by our 28/1 winner from last week third seed Pablo Cuevas. Elias will play Lajovic in the first quarter final and Cuevas will face the winner of the Munos-De La Navas and Monteiro match in the second.
In Monday's article we advised splitting your stakes between Cuevas and Almagro (6/1). After Almagro lost Cuevas is now the tournament favourite and has a very good chance of defending his title as he has a much better record on clay at this level compared to the remaining opposition.
In the bottom half of the draw it’s great to see fourth seed Del Bonis still challenging and i had a feeling he may go well this week as he's been already won and reached titles on the surface. He faces Inigo Cervantes next up for the first time and at 26 the Spaniard is a bit of a late bloomer, but he's ranked 65 now so will be no pushover. The remaining quarter final in the bottom half of the draw is between two unseeded Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucky Loser Carballes Baena, who knocked out second seed Tomas Bellucci yesterday.
At the time of writing the Acapulco quarter finals were due to be played late Thursday evening. It's great to see qualifier and American teenage sensation Taylor Fritz reach the quarter final after reaching the final of his first ATP Tournament at Memphis recently. His quarter final will be an all American affair as he plays Delray Beach winner Sam Querrey in what should be a fascinating encounter as he's clearly in top form as well after knocking out second seed Nishikori.
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem made the transition from clay to hard courts well this week and was due to play seventh seed and former winner Grigor Dimtrov for a place in the semi-finals which should be a great match between two of the best young players around. In the top half of the draw fifth seed Tomic is the only seeded player left standing and at the time of writing was due to face Illy Marchenko, while Dolgopolov and Haase were due to fight it out for the remaining semi-final spot.