ATP Tennis Betting: Can Koepfer continue De Minaur’s clay court misery in Rome showdown?

September 15, 2020

We’re all set for another beautiful late summer’s day in Rome on Tuesday, with the dial set to reach at least 30C again for day two of the main draw.

We didn’t have much go our way on Monday, with Albert Ramos not quite able to extend Kei Nishikori to that all-important final set, and Gianluca Mager flee away badly after losing a tight set one against Grigor Dimitrov.

In hindsight I should have added Casper Ruud to the list, while in the end I was right not to back Cristian Garin after his price fell too short – Garin was awful for most of his clash with Borna Coric.

Tuesday looks to hold quite a few opportunities for underdog backers though, with all of these looking like they have potential: Guido Pella, Dominik Koepfer, Joao Sousa, Salvatore Caruso, Sam Querrey, and Kyle Edmund are all in with chances of upsetting the odds.

Dominik Koepfer takes on Alex De Minaur in a clash between two guys that prefer quicker surfaces than clay and the German certainly has the edge in terms of match practice on the red dirt, having come through qualies and played last week on clay, too.

Koepfer had two good wins in qualies, over Gilles Simon and Mikhail Kukushkin, while De Minaur hasn’t played on clay since last year’s French Open and the Aussie’s record on clay is awful: 2-7 win/loss at main level, with a hold of serve mark of 64% and a break of serve mark of 16.5 for a combined total of 80.5, which is woeful compared to his stats on hard courts.

I have to take a chance on Koepfer here to either win set one at 2.75 or the match at 3.10.

Guido Pella vs Denis Shapovalov

I don’t mind taking Shapo on here, with his status as slight favourite in this one probably due to his good showing at the US Open, but on clay against a wily clay dog like Pella I’m not keen on his price.

The hot conditions might help Shapo, but he hasn’t played on clay for well over a year and Pella’s four hours on court last week in Kitzbuhel will have helped him.

When Feli Lopez serves well at altitude it’s tough to deal with and Pella’s loss there doesn’t worry me at all.

Both players have lost seven of their last 10 on clay at main level, but Pella’s hold/break total of 103.7 in his last 50 main level clay matches puts him some way ahead of Shapo’s 93.5 in his 20 such career matches (9-11 win/loss).

Shapo has shown no improvement in his last 10 matches on the dirt (3-7 win/loss and 92.1 hold/break total) while Pella’s numbers hold up on clay against fellow lefties, too at main level (105.0 hold/break total) and of course having played on clay last week will be an advantage, too.

I can see some value in Pella at this price.  

Joao Sousa has been pretty poor since the resumption in all honesty, but should he be as big as 2.75 to beat John Millman in what will be a very different style of match to the beat down that Sousa received from Tennys Sandgren yesterday.

This one will be much more tactical and Millman on clay is no great shakes: he lost to Jordan Thompson last week on the dirt and his stats are mediocre on clay, so this looks an opportunity for an admittedly out of form Sousa to grab his chance as a lucky loser.

I like the price of 2.75 about there being a tie break in the match between Sam Querrey and Pedro Martinez, with Querrey also not without a chance in these hot, quicker conditions in Rome.

We saw how Tennys Sandgren was able to hit through the clay courter in Sousa with ease and while Querrey may not replicate that he could easily make this difficult for Martinez, whose only experience against a big server was a final set win over Steve Johnson on hard courts earlier this season.

Querrey has played at least one breaker in five of his last seven matches in Rome and 10 of his 17 in all while also having played 0.37 tie breaks per set in his last 10 main level matches on clay, plus he also took Dominic Thiem all the way to a final set breaker here in 2017 as a 4.70 chance in 2017.

The scheduling of Kyle Edmund’s match against Marco Cecchinato at night will help the Italian, but has his confidence fully returned yet after a nightmare time of it in which he slumped from a rank of 16 to back outside the top-100, losing 25 of his last 28 main level matches?

Cecchinato seems to have qualified quite nicely and he has the advantage of having played those matches on clay recently, where Edmund hasn’t, but I couldn’t back Cecchinato at odds-on here against an opponent who can be effective on the clay and has the power to cause Cecchinato real problems.

Finally, Salvatore Caruso has been in good touch lately and the layers may be underestimating him here or perhaps more accurately they’re overplaying the importance of Tennys Sandgren’s thrashing of Sousa when making Sandgren a 1.63 shot here.

Caruso’s lack of matches on clay lately may be another reason, but Sandgren is hardly the most consistent of performers on any surface, but on clay he’s lost nine of his last 11 matches at main level and if we take the HarTru clay of Houston out of the equation he’s 3-11 on clay at main level.

Caruso, playing at home, will be up for this and he’s another underdog option for today.


Best Bets


0.5 points win Koepfer to beat De Minaur at 3.10
0.5 points win Pella to beat Shapovalov at 1.95
0.5 points win over 0.5 tie breaks in Querrey/Martinez at 2.75