The staking will remain low this week as Challenger players are slowly re-introducing themselves to competitive tennis. As the odds can move a little quicker on these lower-tier tournaments, the maximum staking I will make on a Challenger play is 3 units. I will also post them as I write them, to ensure no value is lost.
It is worth noting that five seeded players out of ten yesterday lost their matches. The first round bye may allow the lower ranked player to establish some form and comfort from their previous match, which may be coming in handy this week coming off such little tennis.
Diez vs Vrbensky (Approx 06:30pm AEST)
I have backed Steven Diez a number of times over the last 12-18 months, however I do not see any value in his price today. He is one of the players who was able to earn the round 1 bye, however his opponent, 20 year old Michael Vrbensky, did a fantastic job of defeating Daniel Masur in the first round 7-5 7-5. It was an impressive performance from the Czech, and it has shown that he was able to gain some confidence from his exhibition run through the latter part of July and August.
Clay has not been a happy hunting ground for Diez, as although he can be consistent in his shot making, he does lack the power to consistently dictate and finish off matches. Given Vrbensky’s ability to defeat Masur, and the potential I see in his overall game, I think there is value in his price today. I have also considered making a play on Vrbensky to get the jump on Diez to win the first set, however I am happy to make a 1 unit selection on the Czech to advance in his home country. He should benefit from the extra time he has on the ball today, and be able to pressure the serve of Diez fairly regularly.