Andy Schooler has a 100/1 shot on the staking plan for this week’s ATP Tour action in Pune – he’s also picked out ATP tennis betting tips for the events in Montpellier and Cordoba.
Tata Open Maharashtra
Pune, India (outdoor hard)
The ATP Tour heads to Pune for the third time this week but due to a change in the calendar, the field which has gathered will be its weakest yet.
Benoit Paire is the only player from the world’s top 60 in the line-up, while even the world number 98 manages to earn a seeding.
Paire arrives having spent some holiday time since the Australian Open so a player who is hardly renowned for his mental fortitude looks very much worth taking on.
Sadly the market already looks pretty clued up to that – Paire is the 7/2 favourite. I can think of many players around his ranking who would have been much shorter in this field.
But there must still be a spot of value to be had with every chance of two decent-priced finalists.
Egor on the rise
I’ll take one from each half and start with that world number 98 and eighth seed Egor Gerasimov.
The Belarusian, a 14/1 shot, has climbed from 170 to his current ranking since June and has a string of performances to suggest he is capable of competing very well in this field.
He made a breakthrough at main-tour level with a run to the last four in St Petersburg where he beat Matteo Berrettini and soon after John Isner was taken down in Chengdu, where he reached the quarter-finals.
Gerasimov took a set off Denis Shapovalov in the last eight in China and repeated that trick against Andrey Rublev in Moscow.
2⃣8⃣ Top-notch Players
1⃣ Ultimate Goal 🏆
— Tata Open Maharashtra (@MaharashtraOpen) February 2, 2020
All those results came in indoors but he’s started 2020 OK, pushing top seed Marton Fucsovics the distance in Doha before beating Christian Ruud at the Australian Open where he lost to Alex Zverev, although a scoreline of 7-6 6-4 7-5 showed he was far from disgraced.
He opens against veteran Paolo Lorenzi, who doesn’t win too many hardcourt matches, with qualifier Nikola Milojevic or Antoine Hoang to follow.
Daniel an alternative
Soonwoo Kwon is the other seed in this quarter, a player rising up the ranks but no superstar yet, before Paire might just await in the last four.
However, the top seed could easily fall before that stage with Taro Daniel a possible conqueror – he made my shortlist having won the Challenger in Burnie at the weekend without dropping a set.
He’ll have his supporters at 20/1 but a quick turnaround to a new continent and different conditions is enough to put me off.
Down in the bottom half, I’m taking a punt on Viktor Troicki, who shouldn’t be up at 100/1.
The Serb is priced up this way due to his poor run during the second half of last season when he barely won a match, but I’m prepared to take a chance on a player who has been in the top 20 in the past.
Troicki offers value
First of all, last year’s woes could be put down largely to injury. Troicki spoke openly about how a back problem had forced him to remodel his game but trying to make the right changes while playing tournament after tournament is not ideal.
He will have had much longer to work on certain aspects during the close season.
Troicki began this year in the same camp as Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, the pair competing on the Serbia team which won the ATP Cup.
Being around his old friend will have done him and his game the world of good. That certainly seemed to be the case in Australia as, while he didn’t play singles, he racked up a 5-1 win-loss record in doubles. Some of those contests were crucial, high-pressure affairs, including the decisive rubber in the final.
Troicki then went on to Australian Open qualifying but with three successive sets won in fairly comfortable fashion, injury struck.
Still, he had few problems in India over the weekend as he qualified with ease, dropping serve only once, with fitness not a concern.
He’ll now face home hope Sumit Nagal in round one before a possible meeting with Yuichi Sugita, another who made my shortlist.
The Japanese made a Challenger final prior to the Australian Open and reached the semis in Stockholm last autumn so warrants respect but he’s just 14/1 and of the two I’m prepared to chance Troicki given the wide gap in price which I simply don’t think should be there.
Tip: Egor Gerasimov - Each Way14/1
Tip: Viktor Troicki - Each Way100/1
Open Sud de France
Montpellier, France (indoor hard)
A much better field will gather in Montpellier, where the Greenset courts usually play pretty quick.
It’s the 10th anniversary of the tournament this year and of the nine previous editions, seven have been won by French players. In addition, eight of the last 10 finalists have been from the host nation.
Those who have read my previews over a long period will not be surprised by this – the French do perform consistently well at their home events – and it is a solid tactic to make sure at least one such player is on the betting slip.
Oppose top seed
Gael Monfils is the obvious choice. He’s won here twice before, in 2010 and 2014, and does tend to produce his best tennis towards the start of the year hen his brittle body hasn’t been bashed around too much.
He certainly performed creditably in Australian, reaching the last 16 in Melbourne, although he was then brushed aside by Dominic Thiem.
J-1 avant l'#OSDF20 !
Qui sera le grand champion ? 💪🏻
Qui aura l'honneur de soulever la coupe ? 🏆
On vous attend nombreux à la Sud de France Arena. Rendez-vous dès demain pour le début des affrontements 💥🎾💥 pic.twitter.com/6uVfFsKioa
— Open Sud de France (@OpenSuddeFrance) February 1, 2020
I’m not surprised to see him as the joint favourite alongside David Goffin but 7/2 isn’t for me. It’s worth remembering Monfils was going off much bigger at events of this stature 12 months ago.
Goffin didn’t impress me enough in Australia and while he has improved indoors, I’m still not 100 per cent convinced by him in these conditions.
His one and only indoor title came in 2014 so anyone backing him at such a short price is putting a lot of faith in the Belgian; too much in my opinion.
Denis Shapovalov (3-4 so far this season) and Grigor Dimitrov (beaten in the second round in Melbourne) are the other leading seeds but I‘m happy to move on and side with a couple of players from mid-market.
Ugo a go-go
First up is Ugo Humbert, who ticks the French box for a start.
But there’s much more to selecting the 21-year-old here.
He’s already won an ATP title this season, beating Shapovalov, John Isner and Benoit Paire to claim victory in Auckland. Given his efforts there, I’m no concerned by his early loss at the Australian Open.
But the biggest factor in his favour is his record in indoor conditions.
Last season he was a semi-finalist in Antwerp, beating Goffin before losing a three-set semi-final to eventual champion Andy Murray.
— Open Sud de France (@OpenSuddeFrance) February 2, 2020
He was also a semi-finalist in Marseille (when tipped up at 45/1 by this column), while here in Montpellier his first-round three-set defeat to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was given some perspective by his opponent’s title run which followed.
Humbert also won two Challenger titles indoors in France so I just don’t see why he’s available at 28/1 here.
Yes, Gilles Simon and Richard Gasquet are both tricky potential second-round opponents – Gasquet has made the final on his last six appearances but hasn’t played since October due to injury – but Humbert is the higher-ranked man these days and for good reason.
Shapovalov and Goffin are his seeded foes further down the line but having beaten both in the last few months, the Frenchman should not fear anyone in this section.
At 28/1, he should be backed.
Fil yer boots
I’m also going to take a chance on Filip Krajinovic, another player with a strong indoor record.
The Serb famously reached the final of the Paris Masters in 2017 as a relative unknown but it’s no surprise to see him involved at the business end of events these days.
He was a quarter-finalist here last year, losing to Goffin, and also made the last eight in both Metz and Basel.
But his best indoor effort came in Stockholm where he made the final before being edged out by Shapovalov.
Krajinovic has done little so far this year, although losing to Roger Federer in the second round of the Australian Open can’t be criticised too much, but moving back indoors should be a major boost for him.
He’s in Dimitrov’s quarter, where young gun Jannik Sinner also lurks. Monfils is a potential semi-final foe but I don’t think that’s the toughest draw in the world, certainly not as hard as his price suggests.
In short, he’s too big at 33/1.
Tip: Ugo Humbert - Each Way28/1
Tip: Filip Krajinovic - Each Way33/1
Cordoba, Argentina (outdoor clay)
The month-long ‘Golden Swing’ of claycourt events in South America begins in Cordoba this week.
It was a profitable period of the season for the blog last season, 20/1 shot Guido Pella reaching the final here, although sadly nothing is jumping off the page in the same way this time around.
Still, that doesn’t mean there’s not value to be had.
Pella is among the favourites this year but looks short enough at 6/1 with a tricky opening match to negotiate. The home hope will face either rising French star Corentin Moutet, a player I considered backing at 50/1, or Thiago Monteiro, a winner on the Challenger Tour at the weekend in Uruguay.
Another Argentine Diego Schwartzman is the favourite. He lost in the quarter-finals here last year – the first staging of the event – during a tough start to the season but he’s in better form now and it’s no surprise to see his name at the top of the market.
However, while he’s a decent claycourter, I see him as better on a slow hardcourt these days and I’m happy to overlook him at 5/2 in what is a decent field.
Make it Munar
Instead I’ll try to unearth the value by siding with Jaume Munar and Federico Delbonis.
Munar is in the top half with Schwartzman but played some his best tennis in this part of the season in 2019 and could well threaten the top seed should they meet in the second round.
He made the last eight here 12 months ago, beating second seed Marco Cecchinato and also reached the quarters in Buenos Aries (losing to Pella) and Rio (beaten by eventual champion Felix Auger-Aliassime).
— Córdoba Open (@CordobaOpen) February 1, 2020
His Golden Swing ended with a final-set tie-break loss in Sao Paulo to eventual runner-up Cristian Garin.
That looked a good platform to claim a maiden ATP title at some point in the year. That never happened by Munar remained competitive on his favoured claycourts and his wins included one over Alex Zverev in Morocco.
He ended the year with victory on the Challenger Tour in Montevideo so a return to South America will be right up his street.
Delbonis can hit heights
Munar trains at Rafael Nadal’s academy in Mallorca and has spent time practising with the 19-time Grand Slam champion in recent weeks.
We’re about to find out how much that has improved the 22-year-old’s claycourt game and I believe it’s worth taking a chance on him at 33/1 that the answer is quite a bit.
Down in the opposite half, Delbonis gets the nod.
He’s got a testing opener against Pablo Cuevas to overcome but if he does that – and he beat the Uruguayan in straight sets on clay last summer – then his draw looks good.
Delbonis was the runner-up to Munar in Montevideo to end his 2019 campaign, one which saw him reach clay semi-finals in Gstaad and Geneva, as well as right here.
All of those venues are relatively high so Delbonis is clearly a player who can compete at altitude.
He’s a strong claycourter, one who has beaten Roger Federer on the surface in the past, and at 16/1 he looks worthy of each-way support.