Sean Calvert is in Eastbourne this week for the Viking International and after the expected washout on Monday he’s hoping to see some ATP action on Tuesday, when 12 men’s matches are scheduled for day two of the main draw.
It was a total bust in terms of the weather in Eastbourne on Monday with persistent rain washing out Monday’s play at the Viking International, but there looks to be a better chance of play on Tuesday.
The weather forecast suggests that it might well be late morning before play gets underway, but after that there should be uninterrupted play for the next few days, so they should catch up comfortably enough.
We got off to a good start to the week with our bets on Monday when there was a tie break in the match between Jiri Vesely and Salvatore Caruso and anyone that got the 2.50 would have enjoyed a nice winner there.
The first match that holds a bit of betting interest for me is the opener on Centre Court between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Egor Gerasimov that’s scheduled for 10:30 but probably won’t get played as early as that. It’s the first match on, so whenever it gets played, the surface will be slick and greasy after a day or so under covers.
It’s an intriguing one in the sense that Tsonga has barely played for 18 months (nine matches since November 2019) and is being priced here on his grass form of old and the fact that Gerasimov is 1-9 win/loss in his last matches and is 1-8 lifetime on grass.
But, Gerasimov’s one win in those last 10 matches was against Tsonga on clay – a surface that neither are comfortable on – in Barcelona a few months back.
Given Tsonga’s rustiness (he’s played only eight matches this season and lost seven of them) and Gerasimov’s inability to break serve on the grass, but with a big game of his own to call upon I like the odds-against about a tie break here (6/5 with Sky Bet) or a set one tie break (3/1 with the same firm).
For a really big-priced punt what about 50/1 about Gerasimov winning every set 7-6 (so, 7-6, 7-6 to Gerasimov)? I’ve seen worse 50/1 shots.
In terms of underdogs that could go well in Eastbourne on Monday, the first one that appeals is Mikhail Kukushkin, who might well fancy the job on a slick grass court against Alexander Bublik.
Kuku’s current form is awful, but he’s won a couple of matches in qualifying here, which will boost his confidence and he knows the unorthodox Bublik very well, having played Davis Cup with him on several occasions.
If Kukushkin has anything left to offer at this level the low bouncing conditions here on fresh grass should really help his flat hitting and we’ll see if Bublik puts in more of a professional display than he did last week against Jack Draper.
I like the 2.50 about the often fast-starting Kuku to win set one in this one in slick conditions that Bublik may well not fancy.
Other underdogs that may have their day in Eastbourne on Tuesday include Mikael Ymer, Aljaz Bedene and Yoshihito Nishioka.
Ymer has qualified nicely here, beating Norbert Gombos in straight sets, and that experience of conditions could well help him to see off Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, who has limited experience on grass.
Davidovich isn’t a total novice on the surface: he’s a former Wimbledon Junior champion and at senior level he’s beaten Bernard Tomic and Nicolas Mahut on it, but I’m not overly convinced that the Spaniard will relish a damp day in Eastbourne on courts as slick as these will be today.
Maybe Ymer’s price isn’t quite big enough though and I feel the same about Bedene, who’s an okay-ish 2.20 to beat the inconsistent and unreliable Marton Fucsovics.
Both of these players are rather hit and miss on grass, with Bedene 11-18 win/loss at main level and Fucsovics (another former Junior Wimbledon winner) just 4-10.
It’s the sort of match where you feel that if Fucsovics can get on the front foot and play his best tennis he could well steamroller Bedene, but rarely does that happen with Fucsovics, whose level can rarely be relied upon.
Bedene has beaten the Hungarian a couple of times, but they were years ago and not overly relevant to today, but in slick and probably rather slippery conditions perhaps the movement and consistency of Bedene can come to the fore.
Yoshihito Nishioka should probably be better than his results so far on grass suggest given his excellent movement and he might show it today against Andreas Seppi.
Nishioka has beaten Seppi before: on indoor hard in Paris at the end of 2019 and the veteran Italian’s level is rather hard to predict these days.
Seppi’s straight sets loss to Kukushkin in qualies here may well have been a half effort from him, knowing he was likely to get in anyway as a lucky loser, but even so it’s a worry and I couldn’t back Seppi at odds-on here.
Of the Brits in action today, it’s hard to fancy any of them, with Liam Broady is a dismal 1-7 at main level on grass, James Ward having played only four matches in the last 15 months, and Jay Clarke with just two main level wins in his career.
That said, I’m on Court 2 today, where Ward faces my man Pospisil, so no doubt that will end up being a stressful watch.
On the outright front, you won’t be able to get this price by now, but William Hill had Ilya Ivashka at 100-1 this morning, which was excellent value and I’ve had a bit of that.
Ivashka had his chances to beat Federer last week and has been playing well generally these past few months and with a draw that now lacks quality in the bottom half Ivashka has his chances. That price is much too big.
Ivashka faces another Brit, Alistair Gray first up on Court 6 today and I’ll no doubt be watching that one now that I’ve got an interest in it, but usually what happens when you secure a great price like this is that player loses a bad one: this could be it.
Gray beat SoonWoo Kwon in qualies (before losing to James Duckworth) so he can play and maybe Gray can spring a surprise again as a lucky loser.
1 point win set 1 tie break in Tsonga/Gerasimov at 4.0 (Sky Bet)
1 point win Kukushkin to win set 1 at 2.50 (Bet 365)