The ATP Tour moves on to Acapulco and Dubai in week 11 of the 2021 season, with two ATP 500 tournaments for Sean Calvert to assess for potential betting value.
It’s spring, the kids are back in school (for now) and so I’m finally back in the saddle for daily previews, starting with this week’s events in Dubai and Acapulco.
This week and also going forward I’ll be looking at Monday to Wednesday each week and trying to extract some value – finally with the whole range of bookmaker prices to choose from, rather than just one firm’s odds.
Ideally, I’d have chosen a better week than Dubai and Acapulco, as these two events both rate poorly when it comes to frequency of underdog winners.
Dubai has produced only 26% underdog winners in the last eight years on average, but if you’d backed each underdog there in those eight years you’d actually be in profit because there have been some very big-priced dog winners here over the years.
The quarters, semis and final are almost always awful from an underdog backer’s perspective in Dubai, but rounds one and two have produced some tasty winners on occasion, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on.
Acapulco has produced only 28% underdog winners on average in its last seven years on tour and you’d be out of pocket to the tune of over £230 if you’d backed every underdog there in that time for £10.
Not even the early rounds have produced many dog winners in Acapulco, so I’ll be a little circumspect with my wagers there this week – plus the time zone isn’t great for European viewers.
With that in mind I’ll look mainly at Dubai on Monday, as Acapulco’s qualifying hasn’t finished yet either, and the opening match is interesting between the out of form John Millman and and qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles.
I was hoping for a decent price on the Spaniard here, with Millman’s only match win in his last seven coming against world number 462 Michail Pervolarakis, but the layers don’t trust Millman at the moment and are making him as big as 1.80 or so to win this.
He was poor again last week against Nikoloz Basilashvili and the fighting spirit that we’re used to seeing from Millman was very much absent in Doha, but the faster conditions here might well help him and Zapata Miralles is too short for me in price today.
Next, Richard Gasquet faces Marco Cecchinato and this would normally be a match that the Gasman would expect to win on a lively paced surface, but it’s hard to trust him physically these days and he withdrew again last week in Doha.
He cited a leg injury as the problem and who knows how fit he is for this one, while Cecchinato had a disappointing clay swing in South America and he’s never played a match in Dubai, but you’d think it would be too fast for the Italian here.
But the two I like for value on Monday in Dubai are Jeremy Chardy and Jordan Thompson against Alex De Minaur and Emil Ruusuvuori respectively.
Chardy has been in great form lately, with some high-level performances this season in making the semi finals in Antalya and Melbourne and the quarters in Rotterdam and if he keeps that sort of level up on these quick Dubai courts he could have too much for De Minaur.
The young Aussie has been rather hit and miss since the tour was suspended a year ago and he talked often about missing the atmosphere of having a crowd in attendance.
His high energy baseline retrieving style of play doesn’t really lend itself to not having a crowd and the only title he’s won for 18 months now came on very slow hard courts in Antalya when he had four very easy matches (one an early retirement).
He might win this one, depending on what sort of level Chardy produces on the day, but 3.10 about a Chardy win (William Hiil, Unibet) is fair value for me.
As for Ruusuvuori, he seems to be one of those players that the layers love, but I’m not exactly sure why, as he’s been pretty average at best since his much-heralded step up from Challengers to main level.
In the last year his main level stats on all surfaces are almost identical to those of Thompson: both men winning 70% of their first serve points and 48% of their second serve points.
The Finn has held 76.5% of the time, while Thompson has held 76% of the time and Ruusuvuori has broken serve marginally more often at 22.1% compared to the 20.3% for Thompson.
The Aussie has actually won a slightly higher percentage of matches at 10-9 win/loss, while Ruusuvuori is on a 9-11 mark for the last 12 months, so I’m not sure where this price of 1.40 about Ruusuvuori is coming from.
You’d make him favourite based on match fitness, with Thompson not having played since the Australian Open and Ruusuvuori’s matches in qualies here, but 1.40 seems a bit strong and I’ll take Thompson at the prices.
Mikhail Kukushkin is also an underdog option against the struggling Jan-Lennard Struff, who’s only won seven of his last 21 matches.
Kuku might be getting close to past his best now, but he’s effective in quick conditions and beat Struff on grass at Wimbledon the last time this pair met as a 3.78 underdog in 2019.
The Kazakh has only won one career match in Dubai, but he’s had some rough draws, and having come through qualies he’s one to consider at around 2.80 (Bet Victor).
0.5 points win Chardy to beat De Minaur at 3.10 (William Hill, Unibet)
0.5 points win Thompson to beat Ruusuvuori at 3.0 (generally)