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  • Chris Sobey

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It was a case of close but no cigar with my outright tournament selections last week. Haase (18/1) was frustrating as he lost his semi-final at Gstaad after being a set and a break up and then he squandered match points in the second set tiebreak against qualifier Hanfmann, at Hamburg Kohlschreiber (11/2) retired injured from his semi-final when he was a set up and at the time of writing fourth seed Harrison (12/1) had made the final at Atlanta. Harrison ended Britain’s Edmunds hopes of reaching his first ATP final on Saturday night, and Harrison was due to face second-seed, compatriot and three time Atlanta winner Isner in last night’s final, which will hopefully go my way and make it two winners in as many weeks.

Lucky Losers were a part of my tennis analysis the week before last with Rublev (advised 40/1) winning Umag, so it was a big surprise to witness another tournament winner in quick concession last week when Leonardo Mayer won the ATP 500 Hamburg event for the second time in his career (last 2014), as they are few and far between in the open era of tennis. It was a good week for the more experienced players and veterans of the tour again. The two Mayer’s at Hamburg are both aged 30 or over, Fognini aged 30 won Gstaad and Isner at Atlanta is aged 32

On to this week’s ATP action and it’s a busy week again with three ATP tournaments taking place in North and South America and Europe. The US Open Series Hard Court swing continues in Washington DC, USA and Los Cabos, Mexico and in Europe the clay court season comes to a close in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

At Washington the top two seeds have performed well over the last decade winning eight of the last ten titles (last Monfils 2016). The top-seed has won two of the last ten titles (last 2013) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Monfils 2011). The second seed has the best record at Washington over the last decade winning six of the last ten titles (last Monfils 2016) and they were never a losing finalist during this period.

Seeded players in general have a strong record at Washington and a player seeded no higher than two won eight of the last ten titles (last Monfils 2016) and a player seeded no higher than 13 was a losing finalist eight times during this period (last Karlovic 2016). Unseeded players have not performed well at Washington over the last decade and an unseeded player won two of the last ten titles (last Stepanek 2011) and an unseeded player was a losing finalist twice during this period (last Troicki 2008).

From a betting perspective its worth sticking with the success of the second seeds at Washington over the last decade, in this case 2015 winner Nishikori (8/1) who will relish the return hard courts where he has experienced all of his success during his career, winning five titles in North America, two in Japan and he’s also reached the US Open final once. Eighth seed Sock (20/1) could also return to form now he’s back on home soil and playing on his best surface.

He won two of his three titles on the surface, which both came this year at Auckland and Delray Beach, he’s a two time quarter finalist at Washington and he’s won 18 of his 23 matches on the surface this season, which suggests he is overpriced this week, even though his form during the clay and grass court swings this season was uninspiring.

Moving on to the final clay court tournament of the season at Kitzbuhel and like the majority of ATP 250 events the top-two seeds have a poor record. The top-seed has won none of the last ten titles and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Kohlschreiber 2012), which does not bode well for Cuevas’s chances this week. The second seed has an identical record to the top seed over the last decade having never won the title and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Monaco 2013), which does not bode well for Gstaad winner Fognini’s chance this week.

Seeded players in general do have a strong record at Kitzbuhel over the last decade and a plyer seeded no higher than 13 won eight of the last ten titles (last Lorenzi 2016) and a player seeded no higher than 10 was a losing finalist six times during this period (last Thiem 2014). Unseeded players have experienced mixed fortunes at Kitzbuhel winning two of the last ten titles (last Goffin 2014), but they were a losing finalist 4 times during this period (last Basilashvili 2016).

From a betting perspective its worth siding with a seeded player given their strong record over the last decade and I’ll go for seventh seed Vesely (14/1) who has been hinting at a winning performance over the last few weeks after reaching the quarter finals at Umag and Hamburg where it took finalist Lorenzi and winner Mayer to stop him. Other players who I think will go well this week are the unseeded Sousa (22/1) from the top half of the draw as he hinted at a return to form last week at Gstaad reaching the quarter finals and the quick conditions suit his aggressive all out style of play. Dolgopolov (12/1) is playing well at present and he came close to winning his second title of the season at Bastad two weeks ago. If he can repeat that level of form this week he could easily win his second title of this season from the bottom half of the draw.

As Los Cabos is a new tournament that only commenced last season I will not provide any selections today and may provide one or more during the week. From a first and second round betting and trading perspective there are a few matches that I believe will return a potential profit if things go according to plan. At Washington I would consider opposing ninth seed Isner or 16th seed Harrison if they win Atlanta in their second round match as its common for tournament winners to lose their opening match the following week.

At Kitzbuhel Zeballos (1.64) is worth opposing against Dutra Silva who leads the head-to-head 5-3 and is playing better at present. Fifth seed Haase (1.34) could be upset against qualifier Giraldo who also leads the head-to-head 3-0. At Los Cabos Fratangelo (1.3) is worth opposing against Ito who leads the head-to-head 1-0, as is eighth seed Tiafoe (1.7) against Wild Card Kokkinakis and Granby Challenger winner Kavcic (1.5) against Millot, as it will be hard for Kavcic to raise his game again in such a short space of time and after a tough week on court culminating in winning a title.

In addition to opposing individually it may interest you to perm or do an accumulator for the above five players Giraldo and D Silva at Kitzbuhel and Ito, Kokkinakis and Millot at Los Cabos as the accumulated odds are around 120.0.


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