ATP Zagreb Indoors, 11:45 – Stakhovsky v Youzhny
They haven’t met since this tournament in 2012. Youzhny won that day in 2 tight sets and leads the head to heads 3-1. All 3 of his wins came on indoor hard courts. Stakhovsky won on an outdoor hard court in Doha 2010.
They had two contrasting first round matches. Stakhovsky easily got past local player Coric in straight sets whereas didn’t play his best tennis against Kavcic. He lost the second set 6-1 before taking the third. He was a break down in that third set but broke back for 4-4.
Youzhny said after the match that he didn’t feel comfortable during the match and felt he had been lucky in the end.
Stakhovsky starts as slight market favourite at 1.84 but I favour Youzhny to have the better start. What happens after that is anyone’s guess! I think it will be a close match with tight sets. Youzhny has had the better of the previous encounters but Stakhovsky has made a decent start to the year with his losses coming to Del Potro, Ferrer and Djokovic.
Youzhny started the season with a poor loss to Basilashvili in Doha. He wasn’t competitive against Nadal in Melbourne.
I have to give the edge to Stakhovsky in a swingy match. I will look to lay Youzhny below 1.70 .
ATP Ecuador Open, 17:00 – Montanes v Giraldo
Montanes made a good solid start to the week and at 1.72 was a gift for Shark Tips subscribers. He beat Argentinian Arguello 6-1, 6-3 in the first round.
Giraldo is the second seed this week so had a bye in round 1. He didn’t end 2014 well and his last decent finish was a semi final in Shenzhen in September. He lost in the second round in Melbourne but was the market underdog against Steve Johnson.
He hasn’t played a clay event since July where he lost to Zverev in straight sets. Clay is by far his best surface but he may need a couple of games of match play before he settles.
Montanes has remained competitive on clay despite his form on other surfaces being poor. Looking at how he has started this season he will be concentrating on clay which is understandable.
Giraldo starts at 1.55 which has drifted a little already this morning. I think Montanes will push him very close and if the Spaniard has another good day from the service line i won’t be at all surprised to see him take this.
I will look to lay Giraldo below 1.35 .
ATP Open Sud de France, 19:45 – Janowicz v Paire
This one could be fun!
They have met once already this season which was in the Hpman Cup exhibition. Janowicz won 6-4, 7-6 that day. their only other match was in 2011 on an indoor hard court which Paire won in 3 sets.
After the Hopman Cup Janowicz went on to beat Kyrgios in Sydney in a third set tie break before losing to Leo Mayer also in 3 sets. He reached the third round in Melbourne taking out Monfils in round 2. In the first round this week he started slowly against Dustin Brown. The German took the opening set 6-2 but Janowicz got his game together to take the next 2 sets 7-6 and 7-5.
Paire lost all three of his matches in the Hopman Cup. At the Australian Open he lost in the first round of qualifying to Ymer (ranked 212) 6-0, 6-4. This week he needed three sets to get past qualifier Basilashvili.
Janowicz starts at 1.61 which probably isn’t a million miles away from being a fair price. Paire is on home soil though and I would expect him to be fired up at the start. We may well see a better price on Janowicz in the early games. Backing him when he faces a single break point with part stake could be a good entry and will be a value entry even if he gets broken.
I have to go with Janowicz for the win. Paire has shown us no reason to back him yet in 2015.