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  • Chris Sobey


This week’s ATP Tour tennis action at Barcelona and Budapest is now down to the quarter final stage and at Barcelona Rafa Nadal is still on track to win back-to-back titles, an eleventh Barcelona title and extend his consecutive straight sets win record on clay to 40 matches today. Nadal faces the in-form qualifier Klizan today and the world number one leads the head-to-head 2-1, Klizan has won at least a set in all three encounters, including at Roland Garros back in 2013. Second seed Dimitrov was fortunate to reach the quarter finals saving two match points against veteran Jaziri and he eventually scraped through 7-5 3-6 7-6. Dimitrov will face fifth seed and home hope Carreno-Busta today for a place in the semi-finals and the Spaniard was also pushed to the limit yesterday against Mannarino, coming from a break down twice in the third set, eventually prevailing 6-2 4-6 7-6.

Dimitrov and Carreno-Busta have met four times on clay between 2010 and 2017, Dimitrov won the first two in 2010 and 2014 and Carreno-Busta won the other two in 2016 at the Madrid Masters and 2017 at the French Open, both in straight sets. Third seed and 2017 finalist Thiem made it through to the quarter finals beating Lucky Loser Kovalik in straight sets and he faces the talented NextGen star and qualifier Tsitsipas today, who is the only other unseeded player left in the draw along with Klizan.

Thiem leads the head-to-head 2-0, which were both close encounters on hard courts this season at Doha and Indian Wells. The remaining quarter final is between fourth seed Goffin and eighth seed Bautista Agut and this is their second meeting in two weeks, after Goffin won at Monte Carlo last week and he won the previous encounter in 2017 on hard courts at Sofia. Goffin has had to work harder for his wins this week coming from a set down to beat Granollers-Pujol and Khachanov yesterday, while Bautista Agut came from a set down to beat Karlovic and was too good for compatriot Andujar yesterday, who he defeated in straight sets yesterday.

At Budapest the top-two seeds Pouille and Dzhumur crashed out as expected, losing against Millman (advised Wednesday) and Lucky Loser Cecchinato respectively in straight sets. Third seed Gasquet also crashed out against Italian qualifier Sonego in straight sets and fourth seed Shapovalov also crashed out against Basilashvili (advised Wednesday) yesterday in straight sets. Fifth seed Bedene (advised 22/1) had to work hard to make the quarter finals eventually prevailing against qualifier Berretini 7-6 4-6 6-4 and he faces qualifier Sonego today for the first time.

Seventh seed Struff (advised 10/1) made light work of Wild Card Bublik to reach the quarter finals and he faces Lucky Loser Cecchinato today for the third time. Both matches were on clay and Struff won the first back in 2012 on the Futures Tour and Cecchinato the other on the Challenger Tour back in 2013. Veteran and eighth seed Seppi faces Basilashvili today for the second time and Basilashvili was victorious last year at Lyon on clay winning in straight sets. Finally, Australian Millman faces Lucky Loser Maden from Germany for the first time today.

From an outright tournament betting perspective if you have backed my outright selections Bedene and Struff you may want to consider hedging you bets to at least cover your outright stakes, either on the exchanges or using the match winner market, as both of their opponents Sonego and Cecchinato are outsiders in the match betting.

From a match betting perspective at Barcelona it could prove profitable to back Over 17.5 Games for the Nadal vs. Klizan match, as the Over Game line was landed in all three of their encounters. As both of Thiem’s and Tsitsipas previous two matches were close affairs its worth considering backing the Thiem to win and Over 21.5 games Match Win Double, as this bet would have won for their three past encounters. Finally, its worth opposing eighth seed Seppi against the talented Basilashvili as the Georgian beat the Italian veteran in straight sets on clay last year and he’s playing well enough to cause the upset again today.

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