• Chris Sobey


This week’s action at the Madrid 1000 Masters Series event at Madrid id beginning to warm up nicely with no less than six seeds crashing out over the first two rounds, and third Dimitrov (36/1) was unlucky to draw the current unseeded and former top-10 regular Raonic, who was supposed to be carting an injury, but looked impressive during his first-round match and he sent Dimitrov packing as well in a close three set match last night.

Other seeds who lost were ninth seed Carreno-Busta against the hugely talented and unseeded Coric, twelfth seed Sock lost his opener against the experienced veteran Cuevas, fifteenth Pouille was a shock losing to compatriot Paire and sixteenth seed Fognini was not match for Argentinian veteran Leonardo Mayer. Other shocks from the first two rounds were Donskoy beating Estoril finalist and NextGen star Tsitsipas, veteran Haase continued Chungs disappointing clay season thrashing him 6-2 6-0 and finally qualifier Lajovic won his fifth straight match this week knocking out the experienced veteran Gasquet.

The top-four seeds enter the action today and top-seed Nadal faces Monfils for the sixteenth time and Nadal should extend the head-to-head to 14-2 as he won all five of the matches on clay as well. Second seed Sasha Zverev’s opener is against Donskoy and Zverev leads the head-to-head 1-0 and current form should win if he plays anywhere near his best. Fourth seed Del Potro is already through to the fourth round having won his opener last night against Dzhumur 6-3 6-3. Fifth seed Thiem faces experienced cay court Del Bonis and Thiem will need to be near his best to win this as Delbonis is a tough competitor.

Sixth seed Anderson opens his campaign against veteran qualifier Kukushkin and Anderson leads the head-to-head 2-1, but as there last match this year on hard courts was close I expect Kukushkin will push Anderson close again having the advantage and confidence from winning three matches all ready this week. Seventh seed Isner (50/1) will hopefully get his campaign off to a winning start today against compatriot Harrison, who he leads the head-to-head against 6-3, and Isner won both matches they played on clay.

Goffjn, who is seeded eight this week, faces a tricky opener against Haase, but Goffin leads the head-to-head 3-1, won their last match on clay last year and has been playing well enough on clay so far this season to suggest he can extend his winning record against Haase to 4-1. Tenth seed Djokovic looked in better form beating Nishikori in the first round and he will be tested again today against the British number one Edmunds but should win as he leads the head-to-head 3-0.

Finally, eleventh seed Bautista Agut and thirteenth seed Schwartzman both won their openers impressively, but they face tougher opposition today against veterans Kohlschreiber and Lopez respectively. The head-to-head between Bautista Agut and Kohlschreiber stands at 2-2 and they’ve one win each on cay, Kohlschreiber winning at Munich last year and Bautista Agut at Monte Carlo back in 2015. Lopez leads the head-to-head 1-0 against Schwartzman, which was at Sydney this year.

From a betting perspective I believe Bautista Agut will beat Kohlschreiber as I expect the Germans final fun at Munich on Sunday will start to catch up with him physically sooner, rather than later. I think Schwartzman is worth opposing against Schwartzman as the sixteenth seeds form’s not been that great on the clay courts of Europe so far this season and Lopez will raise his game in front of his hometown fans I’m sure. Finally, as I think Kukushkin can push Anderson close today based on their previous two encounters going to three sets backing Anderson to Win and Over 21.5 Games looks like a bet that has a decent chance of landing.

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