Friday is quarter finals day at this week’s three ATP Tour events in Bastad, Hamburg and Newport and Sean Calvert is back to cast his eye over the betting underdogs on day five.
We made a slight profit from Tuesday’s preview when Filip Krajinovic ended up beating Daniel Altmaier in three, having earlier failed to see out a set and 3-1 lead, while 3.20 chance Radu Albot did fail to see out a set and a break lead in his clash with Holger Rune.
Anyone that took a chance on the 7-6 set one score to Bernabe Zapata Miralles against Ivo Karlovic in Newport would also have enjoyed a good-priced winner, so not a bad start to week 28 of the ATP Tour for match betting.
On the outright front we lost long shots Francisco Cerundolo and Brayden Schnur on Tuesday, but we still have 25-1 Peter Gojowczyk and 40-1 Laslo Djere going for us in the quarter finals on Friday.
Bastad, Hamburg and Newport quarter finals
I said at the start of the week that the trends for Bastad and Hamburg are very unusual in that more underdogs tend to win later in the tournament rather the opening rounds and in Bastad 57% of the betting underdogs have won in the quarters, semis and the final in the last seven editions.
Similarly, in Hamburg, 48%, 50% and 63% of the betting underdogs have won in the quarters, semis and final respectively in the last eight editions, so it’s been a profitable few days in which to back underdogs on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of those two tournaments.
So, we have our 40-1 shot Laslo Djere in action on Friday after a day’s rest on Thursday and our man takes on a player whose return to form in 2021 has been very profitable for me, Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Basil has a great affinity for Hamburg after taking the title here in 2018 and 2019, but I wonder if the combination of having played no matches at the Rothenbaum so far this week and the identity of the opponent will derail him this time.
At the start of the week I assumed that Djere would most likely face Basil in the quarters and that Djere was good value due to his fine recent record against Basil in which he’s won three of their last four meetings.
Indeed, Djere crushed Basil in the Cagliari semi finals in April (of course, I was on Basil that week) and their four-match main level head-to-head stats, of which all matches were played on clay, are very interesting.
They show that the pair are very similar on first serve numbers, but on second serve Djere has won 17% more points (40% compared to 57%), which indicates that Djere has had the upper hand from the baseline.
The Georgian likes to hit as hard as he possibly can and through his opponents with raw power, but it hasn’t often worked against the defences of Djere, who has a decent advantage too in familiarity with the conditions.
Basil hasn’t played since losing to Andy Murray on grass at Wimbledon because of a bye followed by his round two opponent withdrawing, so our man has to be favourite for this encounter.
Should Djere win I’m hopeful that he’ll face fellow countryman Filip Krajinovic, who has a decent chance on his best form against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The pair have contested two tough ones so far in their head-to-head series, with Tsitsipas edging it in four close sets at Roland Garros in 2019 and then (also in 2019) a deciding set win for the Greek indoors in Basel from a set down.
Krajinovic has shown more like his old form this week after a difficult 2021 up until now and with Tsitsipas likely to have an eye on the Olympics on hard courts in less than 10 days’ time I wouldn’t count the Serb out of this one.
Jan-Lennard Struff said the other day (in a home tournament for him) after he lost to Djere: “The only advantage of the defeat is that I can prepare well on the hard court for the Olympics,” so there’s a fair chance that other players might be looking ahead, too.
In any case, Krajinovic has shown he can hang with Tsitsipas on clay and hard courts, with the stats of their two career clashes highlighting that Tsitsipas has only won 3.7% more points on second serve than Krajinovic.
It’s actually Krajinovic that’s created more break point chances in those two matches (albeit very narrowly) but Tsitsipas has been better at taking them: 48% taken by him compared to 36% for Krajinovic.
All of which points to something we already knew, really, and that is that Tsitsipas is mentally tougher and better on the big points than Krajinovic, who’s 2-21 win/loss versus top-10 opposition.
So, from a betting perspective here, I’m looking at siding with Krajinovic, given that Tsitsipas was a 1.40 and 1.28 chance in their previous meetings and now he’s a 1.17 shot.
Krajinovic is one of those players (rather like Struff) who bothers the best, but ends up losing and he showed that twice last season when starting really well against Novak Djokovic, but ended up losing two opening sets he should have won on breakers.
He also took Daniil Medvedev to five sets in Melbourne and crushed Dominic Thiem in Thiem’s prior appearance to winning the US Open.
Krajinovic to win set one at 4.33 or Tsitsipas to lose set one and win at 5.75 both appeal, as does Tsitsipas to win 2-1 at 4.33 or to win set one 7-6 at 9.0 for a big-priced punt.
Krajinovic’s doubles partner this week was Dusan Lajovic – I say ‘was’ because Lajovic pulled out of the doubles on Thursday afternoon after cramping in a long match with Alex Molcan beforehand.
I can’t imagine that an exhausted Lajovic is looking forward to facing a fresh Pablo Carreno Busta on Friday now and even less so considering that PCB has won three of their last four clashes and that Lajovic has lost his last five main level quarter finals (not counting the ATP Cup) and nine of his last 11.
That brings me on to Federico Delbonis, who’s also lost five of his last six main level quarter finals (not counting a walkover he got in Belgrade recently) and he was favourite for five of those six matches.
That says it all about Delbonis, who has the capacity to lose to anyone on a bad day and at the time of writing he could well be facing Benoit Paire, so that might be interesting.
In Bastad, Casper Ruud is already the best-performing number one seed there since David Ferrer in 2016 and he’s a warm order to beat Henri Laaksonen, who I considered at the start of the week at a massive price, but wrote him off due to likely fatigue.
He’s now played 21 sets on clay in 10 days, but he says: “the body actually feels quite good” and if that is the case I wouldn’t be too quick to write him off against short-priced favourite Ruud.
Three of Laaksonen’s five main level quarter finals have come in Bastad and in the one in 2017 he took eventual champion David Ferrer to a final set tie break, so he’s no stranger to going deep in Bastad, hence my initial interest in him.
Ruud should be way fresher and should win, but don’t be surprised if this is closer than the odds suggest.
I’m not sure I can see Federico Coria beating Cristian Garin, with the latter looking in great form against Pedro Martinez a couple of days ago, but Norbert Gombos certainly has his chances against Roberto Carballes Baena and Gombos looks the most realistic option of the Bastad dogs.
Moving on to the grass in Newport now and I still like our chances with Peter Gojowczyk, who turned 32 on Thursday.
I watched all of his match against Vasek Pospisil on Wednesday and it was a typical Gojowczyk match: unplayable at times, combined with a total loss of form after winning the opening set.
Luckily, the damage had already been done, with Pospisil appearing to have had enough by the end of set one and the Canadian didn’t really offer much more in what was a pretty poor second set from both.
Gojowczyk has another tall opponent with questionable movement in Jenson Brooksby and the German has now won 16 of his last 24 matches at main level against players over 6’2” in height.
The ones he lost to in that run were Alexander Zverev, Juan Martin Del Potro, Gael Monfils, Federico Delbonis, Bernard Tomic and Robin Haase.
Brooksby had never played on grass prior to this week and despite good results against Kudla and Donskoy so far, it seems a bit soon to make him favourite for this one.
Gojowczyk’s flat hitting is tough to handle on low bouncing grass if you’re a tall player and it would be disappointing if Gojowczyk lost this one. I’m tempted to back him again at these odds. I’d have made Gojowczyk favourite here.
If Gojowczyk wins he’ll face either Jordan Thompson or Maxime Cressy and while Thompson is much more experienced on grass (59 matches compared to eight) his record against big servers isn’t great.
The Aussie has a 4-12 win/loss mark against the ones on my list at all levels and on grass it’s 1-2, with the two losses coming against Sam Querrey, who, coincidentally, Cressy beat on Wednesday.
I’m not much of a fan of Thompson anyway, but to have him at 1.44 seems too short and more so when you consider he’s 2-7 win/loss in main level quarter finals.
Cressy has little to lose here and his big serving, net rushing style could well be effective against a player that likes to ply his trade from the back of the court and grind his opponents down by making few mistakes.
So, plenty of options on what’s traditionally been a good day for underdog backers, but I’ll side with Krajinovic and Cressy to do something against their more favoured opponents.
0.5 points win Tsitsipas to beat Krajinovic 2-1 at 4.33 (Boylesports/Bet 365)
0.5 points win Cressy to beat Thompson at 2.90 (Bet Victor)