This week’s ATP Tour action at Bastad, Umag and Newport is now underway and by the time you read this article all the first round matches should be complete. Apologies for a poor start on the match bets, they did make a good start when Kudla won the first-leg of the double and single Smyczek won, but unfortunately Lorenzi and Basilashvili could not repeat the form that helped them beat Donskoy and Lajovic before.
The main talking points of the first rounds were British number one and top-seed Edmunds withdrawing from Umag with a throat infection and seventh seed Sousa and eighth seed Paire lost their first round matches against Bedene (advised 22/1) Fucsovics respectively. At Bastad sixth seed Mayer was the highest profile first round casualty, crashing out against the unseeded Italian Berrettini, who is one of a group of talented young Italians starting to make the breakthrough to the ATP main tour. The main first round casualties at Newport were fifth seed Ryan Harrison who retired injured at 6-2 2-0 down against veteran Mahut (advised 25/1) and finally seventh seed and NextGen star De Minaur lost a nail biter against veteran Karlovic 6-7 7-6 7-5.
The second round action commences today and the top four seeds at each tournament join the action after receiving a first round bye. At Umag second seed Dzhumur opens his campaign against the Ukrainian Donskoy who impressed beating the experienced clay court veteran Lorenzi yesterday. Donskoy won their only encounter at Dubai on hard courts this year 6-1 6-1 and with the clay not being either players best surface, it could be a leveller and I would not be surprised if Donskoy caused the upset. Third seed Cecchinato opens his campaign against the unseeded Vesely (advised 20/1) and their last meetings were back in 2013 and they met twice, Cecchinato won on clay in three sets and Vesely on hard courts in three sets.
Reigning champion and fourth seed NextGen star Rublev faces fellow NextGen star Felix Auger-Aliassime for the first time, fifth seed Ramos-Vinolas faces Lajovic for the third time and Ramos-Vinolas won both clay encounters back in 2016. Sixth seed Haase faces qualifier Klizan and their head-to-head stands at 2-2 and Klizan won two of their three matches on clay between 2012 and 2014, including the last at the French Open back in 2014 in five sets. At Bastad top-seed Schwartzman opens his campaign against qualifier Bolelli and Schwartzman won their only encounter at the 2014 ATP Challengers finals in Brazil on clay 7-5 6-4. Second seed Carreno-Busta faces Brazilian Monteiro for the first time, third seed Fognini (advised 6/1) faces Swedish Wild Card Mikael Ymer for the first time and fourth seed Gasquet faces Gerald Mezer for the first time.
Fifth seed and veteran Verdasco faces the experienced clay courter from Portugal Pedro Sousa for the first time. I was not overly impressed with Verdasco against the inexperienced and talented young Italian Sonego yesterday and I think he may find the in-form Sousa an even tougher test today. Defending champion and seventh seed Ferrer and eighth seed Millman face NextGen star Rudd and Delbonis for the first time. Finally, at Newport top-seed Mannarino faces Australian Thompson and Mannarino won their only encounter on grass at s-Hertogenbosch in 2017, second-seed Zverev faces Pospisil and Zverev won their two encounters on indoor hard courts back in 2016 and 2012 in straight sets and third seed Johnson faces compatriot Christian Harrison (brother of Ryan Harrison) and Harrison won their only encounter back in 2013 on the Challenger tour on clay. Fourth seed Ebden faces American Smyzcek and the Aussie leads the head-to-head 2-0 and won their most recent encounter 6-2 6-3 on grass at s-Hertogenbosh this year, sixth seed Muller faces fellow veteran Granollers for the third time and Muller leads the head-to-head 2-0 and finally eighth seed Kudla faces Ramanathan from India for the first time.
Klizan Win (price tbc)
P Sousa to beat Verdasco (31/12)
Donskoy to beat Dzhumur (31/10)
It’s just over two weeks before the eagerly anticipated 2018/2019 domestic football season gets underway on the third of August, with the now traditional Friday night Championship game and on Saturday the fourth the EFL action kicks off in earnest with Championship, League One and Two action. In the build up to the new season starting I will continue to provide updates relating to transfers and team news etc. and any ante post thoughts and advice for the Premier League and EFL leagues in the week leading up to Friday the third.