Round two in Moscow, Stockholm and Antwerp is the order of the day on the ATP Tour on Wednesday on indoor hard courts and Sean Calvert is back to talk us through the betting value on day three of the Kremlin Cup.
We found a nice 2.55 winner on day one in Stockholm when Janko Tipsarevic not only took set one over Corentin Moutet, but also won the match rather comfortably in the end, however we didn’t fare so well on day two.
Nicolas Jarry was nowhere near against Jeremy Chardy in Moscow and even more frustratingly my plan to have 80-1 shot Alexander Bublik heading towards the final ended after Bublik was beaten in a final set by Andrey Rublev.
With top seed Daniil Medvedev unsurprisingly pulling out citing fatigue Bublik’s price looked even better, but he made too many mistakes on the day and Rublev took his first win at the Kremlin Cup in his seventh attempt.
It wasn’t a great day for the underdogs in Moscow, with Ivo Karlovic coming from 2-5 down in the final set tie break to beat Aljaz Bedene and Roberto Carballes Baena taking down Ricardas Berankis the exceptions.
And both of those were hard to fancy for me, so it was a tough old day in the Russian capital.
In Moscow on Wednesday I think we have to take a chance on Lukas Rosol as underdog against Dusan Lajovic, given the latter’s awful record against big servers.
Rosol isn’t the force of old and I would have backed Juan Ignacio Londero to beat him the other day had the price on Londero not come in to 1.73 and too short on the day.
But he’s the sort of player that Lajovic finds it incredibly hard to beat, liking time and rhythm to his game that he doesn’t get against the aggressive big servers on the tour.
We saw it again last week in admittedly much faster conditions when Reilly Opelka never faced a break point against Lajovic in a 6-4, 6-4 stroll in Shanghai and Lajovic has now lost his last 18 in a row and 22 of his last 23 against the big servers in my database.
He’s fared no better on slower surfaces than quick again them, losing 10 of his 11 on clay and in all matches on all surfaces Lajovic is 3-31 win/loss against the big servers in my list.
On indoor hard alone he’s 0-4 and has broken serve a measly 2.1% of the time and Rosol defeated Lajovic in both of their prior career clashes, which were a while ago in slow conditions (2016 on clay and 2014 at Indian Wells), and Rosol held serve 84.4% of the time in those matches (Lajovic 75%).
In all main draw matches in Moscow Lajovic is 2-6 win/loss and with a service hold/break total of just 88.4 (74.6% holds/13.8% breaks), so I’m happy to take him on as a 1.60 favourite here.
Indeed, Lajovic has been in poor form ever since winning his maiden tour level title in Umag in July, winning only three of 11 matches since then – and one of those was in a final set tie break on clay against Denis Istomin and another against the now retired Steve Darcis.
He was eased aside in lively conditions in Chengdu 6-4, 6-3 by a similar style of player to Rosol in Lloyd Harris a few weeks ago and this looks very winnable for Rosol, who’s loved the crowd support in Moscow so far.
He said (in Russian) after saving a match point and beating Londero: “It feels great here because the crowd keeps coming and giving me plenty of support.”
That and Lajovic’s inability to break big servers may be enough for the veteran Czech on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Moscow, Mikhail Kukushkin might well need some of that crowd support against Adrian Mannarino, as Kuku is 0-6 against the left-handed Frenchman’s and last year’s finalist here.
It’s looked a tricky match-up for Kuku, who’s lost 10 of his last 16 against lefties at main level, and the slow conditions don’t help the Kazakh either.
If Philipp Kohlschreiber is fully fit again he’s not without a chance against Karen Khachanov, with the German veteran having beaten the Russian the last three times they’ve clashed.
Those three meetings were earlier this season on clay in Munich and also last year on clay in Rome and indoor hard in 2018 in Rotterdam, with those three matches featuring five tie breaks sets in eight played.
Khachanov hasn’t been in the best of form this season and has been unable to find any real consistency in his game in 2019 and with Kohli having had one match here already this might not be easy for the defending champion.
If we’re to believe Kohlschreiber when he says his lack of form lately has been due to him not being fit due to a back problem this price is tempting, as is the 2.18 on tie break played.
Kohli didn’t face a break point against an admittedly rusty Pierre-Hugues Herbert on Tuesday, winning 88% behind his first serve and in his career in Moscow he’s held serve 84.5% of the time.
We’ll see whether or not Kohlschreiber is still able to play at his old level, but a small interest on tie break played here looks in order.
With top seed Medvedev withdrawing there could be a chance for a few in the top half of the draw and qualifier Egor Gerasimov, who’s been in good form lately is one of those.
He faces Thomas Fabbiano on Wednesday and Fabbiano has only won one match since beating Dominic Thiem at the US Open (and that against the world number 684) and his indoor hard record at main level is 2-9 win/loss (hold/break total of 91.9).
On form Gerasimov should be winning that one as should Andreas Seppi against Roberto Carballes Baena, who surprised Ricardas Berankis on Wednesday.
1 point win Rosol to beat Lajovic at 2.35
0.5 points win tie break played in Kohlschreiber/Khachanov at 2.18