Tennis

ATP Tennis Betting: Struff can go far in tough conditions at home in Munich

April 29, 2019

Debrief

 

It was an enjoyable week in Budapest for me, following our 33-1 outright, Filip Krajinovic, at the Hungarian Open – right up until the final in freezing cold and windy conditions when he lost to the man I suggested as a tempting option in the top half of the draw, Matteo Berrettini.

We had a withdrawal (Kohlschreiber) and a bit of bad luck in Barcelona when our 200-1 shot, Cristian Garin, was given the worst of the conditions in which to take advantage of the highly likely withdrawal of Fabio Fognini in the bottom half.

Garin took down dangerous lefties Klizan and Shapovalov in straight sets, but was made to play really late against Shapo and the rain that delayed that match made for very slow conditions against Roberto Carballes Baena in a tough turnaround the next day.
 

Conditions and trends

 

It looks like it’ll be another slow week on the clay of Munich, with the weather forecast predicting rain every day from Monday to Friday, so if that’s right it’ll be heavy going at the MTTC Iphitos.

There’s around 500m of altitude in Munich, but it’s usually tempered by the damp weather and while qualifiers have a good record here (two finalists and a semi finalist in the last five years) the title has gone to one of the top-four seeds every year since 2011.

Martin Klizan was the one exception to that in 2014 when he won it as a qualifier and perhaps the unpredictable Slovak has conditions in his favour again this week.

In Portugal at the Estoril Open it’s set to be pretty windy (26-32kph gusts) for the first few days and rather cloudy, so it’ll probably be tricky conditions and play around medium there with Dunlop balls (same as Munich).

There’s often a fair few tie breaks here (12 of 27 matches featured one last year) and historically it hasn’t been a great place for number one seeds, with only two of them winning since Federer did it back in 2008.

No qualifier has made it past the quarter final of this event in its four years in Estoril and Felix Mantilla was the last qualifier to reach the final of the Portugal Open back in 2001.
 

BMW Open, Munich

The Estoril draw looks tricky and I like the idea having a bet or three in Munich, where the champion of the last two years, Alexander Zverev, couldn’t be in much worse form currently.

Rumours coming out of the Zverev camp suggest that he still isn’t quite right physically (and Lendl isn’t with him this week/his dad is sick and also isn’t around this week and apparently he split up with his girlfriend, too), but whatever the reasons we have to take him on this week, one way or another, despite his excellent recent record at this tournament.

Zverev heads up the top half of the draw, but he has plenty of players to get past that are very much capable of beating the German in his current malaise.

Diego Schwartzman, Benoit Paire, Cristian Garin, Marco Cecchinato, Martin Klizan, Jan-Lennard Struff and Marton Fucsovics will all fancy their chances of going deep this week – and that’s not including the qualifiers.

Struff has won 11 of his last 16 matches (including qualies) here in Munich and the losses have come against Zverev (twice), Fabio Fognini, Juan Martin Del Potro and Mischa Zverev.

So, he plays well here and is in good touch at the moment, beating Tsitsipas and Goffin before losing 5-7, 5-7 to Nadal in Barcelona in the quarters, which is decent clay form indeed.

He should have few issues hitting through the damp courts and 25-1 is a fair price, I feel, about an in-form player at home. 

Klizan is another with the power to hit through the wet conditions and his record here shows that he's won 14 of his last 16 matches in Munich (two losses were both to Hyeon Chung) and if he's in the mood this week a strong run from him is very possible. 

It might well be too slow for Schwartzman and Garin this week and probably for Fucsovics as well, although the Hungarian did beat Pella and Cecchinato here 12 months ago.

I can’t see Fucsovics going all the way and I prefer Struff, who should have beaten Cecchinato in similarly slow conditions in Budapest a year ago, but in typical style, couldn’t maintain his best level and ended up beaten in three.

The high seeds also look worth taking on in the bottom half, with Karen Khachanov in wretched form and Roberto Bautista Agut for me much more effective in faster conditions.

RBA is just 5-3 win/loss here in Munich and I think he needs it to be quicker than he’ll get this week, while Khachanov might spring back to life, but his price is far too short for me to back him in his current form.

There are plenty of alternatives, with Khachanov’s quarter of the draw looking very competitive indeed, as Kyle Edmund, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Andreas Seppi, and Matteo Berrettini are all capable of getting to the final, as well as Khachanov.

Indeed, Kohli is 33-11 in Munich, with six finals under his belt (three titles) and the last of those was a year ago, so given also that he pulled out of Barcelona last week (where I backed him) he’ll probably put the effort in this week instead.

That part of the draw could be anyone’s and instead I’m tempted to back a player so out of form it reminds me of a year ago when this player came to an ATP 250 on the clay this corresponding week having lost 14 of his previous 17 matches, yet walked away with the Istanbul title.

That man was Taro Daniel, who this time around has lost eight of his last 11 and not beaten a top-70 player since another unexpected deep run at a 250 (on lively outdoor hard in Winston-Salem, where he made the semis) last summer.

Daniel has dropped 36 places to 108 in the rankings now after those Istanbul points came off on Monday and we may well see some sort of reaction from him.

He’s been poor lately and he may well be again, but the price of 66-1 is worthy of half a point, although it could be one that doesn’t last the first morning if Daniel’s form doesn’t improve.

A more likely winner in Daniel’s section is Guido Pella, who made the final here in Munich as a qualifier two years ago and is currently at a career high of 28 in the world rankings after a nice run of form on the clay lately.

My worry with him is fatigue after a lot of tennis and he’ll probably feel that he’s got a fair chance at Masters level now and may be saving something for the fortnight to come in Madrid and Rome and 14-1 is a bit skinny.

The qualifiers had a tough time getting through in the slow conditions, with Lorenzo Sonego being made to go to a final set tie break in both his matches, while Thiago Monteiro also went the distance twice.

Yannick Maden might be the most likely one at 100-1, with the freshest legs, but he doesn’t appeal quite enough for a bet and I’ll stick with Daniel as my huge-priced one this week.
 

Estoril Open

Frances Tiafoe made the final here a year ago and I think that the section of the Estoril draw with Tiafoe and Fabio Fognini (maybe) in it may be the place to look for a bit of value in what looks a very open draw.

It’s easy to see Fognini not bothering to muster much of an effort again this week, with all his injuries and Madrid and Rome still to come this clay swing, while I’m not expecting much from Filip Krajinovic this week either.

The Serbian looked like he was stretching out his calf and doing a lot of head-shaking early on in the Budapest final and having come from qualies there his injury record suggests a possible no-show this week.

Mikhail Kukushkin has never made it past the quarter finals at a main level ATP event on the clay, while Yoshihito Nishioka and Mackenzie McDonald have no sort of clay records either.

That leaves us with Tiafoe and Salvatore Caruso and perhaps the 100-1 on the latter is interesting, as he’s beaten Pablo Cuevas (in qualies here this week) and David Goffin lately, so he may have half a chance in this section of the draw.

It may have been a fatigued Cuevas he beat after Cuevas rushed from Budapest to Estoril in no time at all, but I’d rather take a chance on Caruso at 100-1 than take Tiafoe to repeat his unlikely run at 20-1.

There are other possible injured runners in this bottom half of the draw, too, with Gael Monfils coming back from injury again and lacking matches, while Pablo Carreno Busta was reportedly stretched out on the clay having treatment in Barcelona during a doubles match last week.

PCB has a fine record here, but it doesn’t sound like he’s fit and so Jeremy Chardy and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina may be the ones to consider in that section of the draw.

Who knows what to expect from Chardy, but the 100-1 on talented qualifier Davidovich Fokina is interesting, with the young Spaniard showing good form lately and he has a very winnable round one match against Taylor Fritz in round one, too.

I can’t see Reilly Opelka doing much in these conditions, while Pedro Sousa is usually too nervy to go far at his home tournament, so in this wide-open half of the draw I may take a small punt on two of the qualifiers.

The top half doesn’t look so appealing, with lots of big names that could go well, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Joao Sousa, Dusan Lajovic, Leonardo Mayer, David Goffin, and Nicolas Jarry all potential finalists, so I’m only really interested in the bottom half of the Estoril draw.

 

Conclusion

 

With back-to-back M1000 events to come in the next two weeks and tough conditions in Munich, too, we may see some big priced finalists this week and I’m happy to load up with a few outsiders.

In Munich Martin Klizan could go well at 50-1 and I’ll take him and Jan-Lennard Struff in the top half of the draw, along with a real punt on Taro Daniel at 66-1 in the bottom half.

Over in Estoril, two 100-1 shots in Caruso and Davidovich Fokina in the very open-looking bottom half appeal against the big names, who may well not be fit enough to compete.

 

Best Bets

 

1 point win Struff to win Munich at 25-1
0.5 points win Klizan to win Munich at 50-1
0.5 points win Daniel to win Munich at 66-1
0.5 points win Caruso to win Estoril at 100-1
0.5 points win Davidovich Fokina to win Estoril at 100-1