The in-between-swings section of the ATP Tour continues in week 29, with three ATP 250 events on clay and hard courts in Umag, Gstaad and Los Cabos and Sean Calvert returns to take a look at the best value betting options in round one on Tuesday.
The players are in Croatia, Switzerland and Mexico this week ahead of the summer hard court swing and with the tournament in Los Cabos playing its matches at a horrible time for European viewers, I’m focusing on Umag and Gstaad this week.
The Croatia Open in Umag has produced a healthy 38% of underdog winners on average in the last seven editions, which puts it equal sixth best of all the main level tournaments on the calendar in that regard.
The dog winners have been evenly spread throughout the rounds in Umag, with round one producing an average of 36% underdog winners in the last seven years and if you’d backed every dog in every round in Umag in the last five years you’d be £315 up to a £10 stake.
Gstaad isn’t too far behind on 36% underdog winners in the last seven editions, but more underdog winners have tended to arrive towards the end of the tournament than the beginning, with 35% in round one and over 40% in each of the quarters, semis and the final.
If you’d backed all of the dogs in Gstaad in the last five years you’d have made a small profit of £30 (£10 stake).
As far as tie breaks are concerned, Gstaad’s 1,050m of altitude means that it’s seen quite a few more breakers than Umag (42% of the matches in Gstaad in the last seven editions have featured at least one, compared to 29% in Umag) and service holds are higher in Gstaad, too (80% compared to 73% in Umag).
And one match that looks pretty likely to feature a tie break in Gstaad on Tuesday is the one between Arthur Rinderknech and Dominic Stephan Stricker.
It’ll be a first time meeting between this pair and in conditions that are expected to be hot and sunny and quick at altitude a breaker or two seems likely.
Stricker has adapted to the big step up from juniors to the main tour really well so far with wins in Geneva (in similar condition, but not quite as much altitude as Gstaad) over Marton Fucsovcis and Marin Cilic in a run to the quarter finals.
And he backed that up by beating Hubert Hurkacz, who went on to make the Wimbledon semis, on grass in Halle and he wasn’t far aware from a straight sets win over Sam Querrey in Halle, too.
His stats from the six matches that Stricker has played so far at main level this season show that exactly 50% of his sets have gone to tie breaks and that he’s held serve 81% of the time, so main level opponents have had a hard time breaking him so far.
Rinderknech has played surprisingly few tie breaks this season at main level, but 10 of his 16 matches at main level in 2021 have been played on clay – and slow clay at that in places like Belgrade and Bastad.
Here at altitude in sunny conditions I’d expect this one to be tight and if we look at Rinderknech’s record against lefties it shows that he’s held serve 87% of the time against them at all levels and won 16 of 23 matches.
Given also that 42% of Gstaad’s matches in the last seven years have produced at least one tie break that should mean that any match to feature one should technically be a price of 2.38. Betfair/Paddy go 2.50 that there’s one in this match, which looks decent value.
As far as match odds are concerned what we’ve seen from Stricker so far in big matches has been impressive and he’s more than capable of winning this, but the value looks to be on a breaker.
Elsewhere in Gstaad on Tuesday, Stricker’s sometime doubles partner Leandro Riedi plays his first match at main level (he’s only played two at Challenger level) and he faces Federico Delbonis.
Riedi lost to Stricker in the French Open Junior final last October, but he hasn’t tried his luck at main level quite as early as Stricker and, perhaps surprisingly, Delbonis has a handy record against players playing at home.
Crowd-silencer Delbonis is 16-5 win/loss on clay against such players, but the only time before today that he was ever priced up shorter than 1.10 to win a match at main level he lost – and I remember it well.
It was against Reda El Amrani, the world number 667 at that time, and Delbonis retired a set and 1-0 down as a 1.05 chance in Marrakech, so he’ll be hoping for a better outcome this time.
I haven’t seen enough of Riedi to have a bet on this one, but the youngster will be highly motivated to emulate Stricker and maybe he’ll produce a performance here.
The other one that’s interesting for me is the clash between Laslo Djere and Thiago Seyboth Wild.
These two met last week and I watched all of their opening set and there was nothing in it at all up until the tie break, with Djere under pressure in his first four or five service games.
I just wonder if the extra speed of the conditions at altitude on a hot day will allow Seyboth Wild to be able to hit through the solid defences of Djere and I also wonder what mood Djere will be in after he lost a poor one last week in the Hamburg semis.
He barely showed up mentally against Krajinovic and he’s the type of player to get into a funk about such results, as he showed after losing the Cagliari final when he lost his next four matches (all on clay).
Two of those losses were against Juan Ignacio Londero as a 1.31 chance (it was only Londero’s second win in 13 matches at all levels and the other one was against Mischa Zverev on clay) and Gianluca Mager also as a 1.31 shot.
You take your chances with the flashy Seyboth Wild, but if he’s on a day where it all works for him he’s certainly got the ability to take the opening set at least at 3.10 (Unibet).
There could also be a case made for taking on Tallon Griekspoor, who’s favourite against the aforementioned Juan Ignacio Londero after the Dutchman won the Amersfoort Challenger on Sunday.
It’s a tight turnaround though from a sea level event to one at over 1,000m of altitude in less than two days and Londero will have had more time to acclimatise having played his last tournament at around 500m of altitude in Salzburg.
Londero has played Bundesliga since then though (narrowly lost on Saturday to Pedro Martinez) and he’s hardly the most reliable of performers, but I couldn’t back Griekspoor on this turnaround having played three-setters in the quarters, semis and final last week.
Over in Umag, we have our big-priced outright, Andrej Martin, starting his campaign against the struggling Italian Salvatore Caruso in what’s a winnable match for our man.
Caruso has been awful for most of the year and he was thrashed by Jaume Munar in Bundesliga at the weekend (6-1, 6-2) and also beaten by Pedro Martinez, so losing has become a real habit for Caruso.
He did play very well the last time he was in Umag though, so he may raise his game today, but Martin also loves it in Umag and I’m expecting a performance from the Slovakian here.
I’m also expecting a good showing from Alessandro Giannessi, who stands a decent chance as underdog against Jiri Vesely.
It’s a first meeting between the pair and having come through qualifying in straight sets the Italian should fancy his chances against Vesely, who I’m never convinced about in really hit conditions.
Giannessi made the semi finals here in Umag in his only other appearance here back in 2017 and with Italians always getting good support here he should be motivated to go well again.
Vesely, on the other hand, has struggled in Umag with a 5-7 win/loss mark here and his form this season has been poor, with no back-to-back wins at any level since the Australian swing in early February.
The Czech does have a good record against fellow lefties, but he’s looked so out of sorts this season generally and again last week in Bastad that I don’t fancy him being up for the fight in hot conditions today.
So Giannessi is one that I fancy as slight underdog on a day where most matches are priced up as more or less 50/50, with only Carlos Alcaraz against Lucas Pouille being seen as likely to be one-sided.
Corentin Moutet had another one of his meltdowns last week and what puts me off him is that temperament that’s likely to be tested in very hot conditions when he faces Daniel Altmaier.
I talked last week about Almaier’s poor record at main level and Moutet definitely has the ability to win this, but I can see him losing his mind at some point in these conditions, so I’ll pass.
The other one that’s tempting as slight underdog is Bernabe Zapata Miralles against the ageing Pablo Cuevas.
Cuevas won here as a qualifier back in 2014, but he hasn’t won a match here in a couple of appearances since then and his form these days is rather inconsistent, with his last two clay matches ending in defeat as favourite to Norbert Gombos and Juan Igancio Londero.
Both of those are aggressive players and Cuevas was unable to handle it, but he should have fewer worries on that score with Zapata Miralles, who doesn’t have that sort of aggressive game.
It could be a long one though and I wonder what Cuevas has left in his legs for a long battle in the sun these days?
Aljaz Bedene is another possibility as underdog against Marco Cecchinato given his 7-1 career series lead over the Italian and all eight of their clashes have ended in straight sets so far.
Cecchinato finally got the win against Bedene when they met in Italy a couple of months back, but it’s difficult to back him at odds-on with the career series as a whole in mind.
1 point win tie break in match in Stricker/Rinderknech at 2.50 (Paddy Power/Betfair)
0.5 points win Seyboth Wild to win set one against Djere at 3.10 (Unibet)
0.5 points win Giannessi to beat Vesely at 2.1 (generally)