- Keith Sobey
This week’s ATP tennis action at Newport, Bastad and Umag is now down to the quarter finals stage and four of my eight outright selections, Gojowczyk (40/1) at Newport, Schwartzman (20/1) at Bastad and Vesely (25/1) and Lucky Loser Rublev (40/1) at Umag, are still in action and in with a good chance of reaching Saturday’s semi-finals.
There are some potentially decent competitive quarter finals matches at Bastad today and Schwartzman (20/1) is one of them as he faces the talented unseeded Russian Kuznetov, who is in good form having knocked out top-seed Carreno-Busta in the second round. They’ve met once before on clay at the Rome Masters back in 2015, Schwartzman won in straight sets on that occasion and he will hopefully repeat that result again today.
Fifth seed Khachanov faces the unseeded Dolgopolov for the second time today and Dolgopolov won their previous encounter on clay in straight sets at Barcelona back in 2016, which suggests the value lies with the Ukranian on this occasion. Former top-10 star, veteran and eighth seed Ferrer has not reached an ATP final since Vienna 2015 and he faces world ranked 111 Laaksonen from Switzerland today, while the other quarter final from the bottom half of the draw is an all-Spanish affair between sixth seed Verdasco and second seed Ramos-Vinolas. Verdasco leads the head-to-head 4-2, while Ramos-Vinolas leads the head-to-head on clay 2-1, two of these matches were at Bastad and Ramos-Vinolas won the last meeting in the final in 2016.
At Umag top-seed Goffin is still in action and he faces veteran and wild card Dodig today. The head-to-head stands at 1-1 with both players wins coming on hard courts. Goffin (1.10) is the clear favourite to win today, but the way he struggled to defeat qualifier Balazs suggests he’s not at his best and at the price I suggest opposing him on this occasion as Dodig has looked in good enough form this week beating Copil and Cecchinato.
Third seed and defending champion Fognini faces Lucky Loser and NextGen star Rublev (40/1) and the Italian leads the head-to-head 2-0, with both wins coming back in 2015. Vesely (25/1) seeded eight faces fourth seed and veteran Lorenzi for the fourth time and the Czech leads the head-to-head 3-0, including a third set tiebreak win at the quarter-final stage at Casablanca on clay this year.
The remaining quarter final encounter from the bottom half of the draw at Umag today is between Brazilian Dutra Silva and Italian Giannessi, as Dutra Silva recorded the biggest upset of the week yesterday against second seed Monfils. The two have met four times, all previous encounters were on clay and Giannessi won the last two, which were both at main ATP events Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires this year, and I expect the Italian to emerge victorious again on this occasion.
At Newport unseeded Gojowczyk (40/1)m who knocked out defending champion and second seed Karlovic yesterday, faces qualifier Ebden ranked 309 for a place in Sunday’s final today, and this will be there first ever meeting. It’s a tough one to call and if you backed Gojowczyk as advised you can hedge your bet by backing Ebden. The other semi-final berths will be settled today as top-seed Isner faces compatriot Novikov for the first time and fourth seed Herbert