Not that manay matches today so a few thoughts on each one.
Paire had a good week last week reaching the quarter finals and before that won a Challenger event on a hard court. Dodig has lost his last 5 matches on clay and this is his first match on teh dirt since he lost both his matches in the Davis cup tie at the start of February.
They have played once before, also on clay which Paire won in straight sets. However that was back in 2008. I am on Paire but not below 1.65 .
Update: Paire should have won this much easier than he did. He won 6-4, 6-4.
Nieminen v Troicki is a tough one to call. Troicki leads the head to heads 2-1 but I feel Nieminen is in the better form. Backing Troicki is never a pleasant experience and I think that 1.70 on Nieminen is worth a part stake at the start and I’ll add the rest above evens.
Update: Easy win for Nieminen 6-1, 6-2.
Simon should get the win against Bautista Agut. He reached the semi finals last year where he lost to Nadal so plenty points to defend. 1.20 is no price to back the Frenchman though ( or any Frenchman for that matter) and i will hold off from the start and hope for a typical Simon slow start . 1.40 would be nice but I may be being greedy there.
Update: Farcical match with more breaks than holds.
Bautista Agut won 6-3, 7-6.
Haase is another player with a suspected injury. I have read he picked up an injury against Klizan in their quarter final but I can’t confirm that. He and Roger Vasselin start at evens which is about right as there are to many if, buts and maybes for this match. Again, watch a few games in play. A fully fit Haase would be my pick but lets see what happens in the early stages.
Update: Roger Vasselin won 6-3, 6-2.
Brands starts as underdog against Davydenko but I will be favouring him in this one. Davy may not be 100% fit though with a possible shoulder injury so it may be smart to avoid this one. We do have live video for all matches today so watching the first few games is advised if you really have to trade this one. Even without injury I think it is 50/50.
Update:Davydenko won 6-3, 6-4.
Chardy isn’t in the best form. He has lost all 3 of his matches since he lost to Nadal in the semi finals in Chile. He has been to Monte Carlo 3 times and has lost in the first round each time.
Andujar had a couple of decent wins in the qualifying rounds which will have helped him get used to the courts. He starts as slight favourite at 1.82 but I will be looking to lay Chardy below 1.70 .
Update: Andujar won 6-7, 7-5, 6-2.
You never know which Fognini will turn up. He has won the last 2 matches against Seppi which were both on clay but he starts as underdog today at 2.36 .
Pre match i can’t find any particular reasons to back either player so may get involved a few games into the match. This is one of those matches that I won’t lose any sleep over it if I don’t trade it at all. Sometimes the best trade is a non trade.
Update: good match to trade. Seppi started very badly and Fognini took teh first 3 games. Seppi came back to take the set. He then went a break up in set 2 but Fognini took that set and the third.
Fognini won 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Playing conditions are fairly fast in Monte Carlo so i will be going with Raonic to beat Benneteau. The Frenchman often lifts his game against the top players but he isn’t in the best form right now.
Update: Raonic’s serve carried him through. 6-1, 6-4.
Cilic should beat Zeballos but as we’re on clay his SP of 1.31 is too low. He does perform well on clay and has won 9 of his last 10 matches on the surface but Zeballos has shown some decent form in the South American tournaments in recent months. He doesn’t perform quite so well away from South America but we know he has the potential to be an awkward opponent. 1.50 to 1.60 is a more realistic entry point.
Update: Cilic seemed to be in control and was cruising to s straight sets win but Zeballos took it to 3 sets.
Cilic won 6-2, 6-7, 6-2.
Gimeno Traver has put together some decent performances this season ( although played like a spanner when I recently tipped him!). He has played Youzhny twice before and lost in straight sets each time.
Youzhny can be a frustrating player to have your money on as he seems to play in 3 game segments. He can be brilliant and take the first 3 games of a set and then throw away the next 3 as if he is playing with the wrong hand.
Youzhny starts at 1.82 which seems high even taking into consideration Gimeno Travers form. When prices seem too good to be true they often aren’t but as we saw with Anderson last week we can sometimes get excellent value if the market sniffs an upset. I’ll have part stake on Youzhny at the start and will watch the opening games closely.
Update: Youzhny looked like he would lose the opening set but he scraped through. G T folded completely in set 2.
Youzhny won 6-4, 6-0.