Following on from our weekly podcast, nearly all of our first round tips across the two indoor hard-court events in Antwerp and Cologne were successful.
The ATP tour players have now had an entire week and a half to transition to the European indoor courts (with Cologne being very slow for an indoor hard court, and Antwerp only being marginally quicker).
Below are the tips focussing on the best value odds from the Round 2 matches taking place on Wednesday:
DAN EVANS (GBR) TO BEAT FRANCES TIAFOE (USA) AT 9/10
This match brings two players of contrasting styles together for a very interesting indoor hard-court encounter.
Dan Evans comes in as a narrow underdog despite leading the head-to-head 2-1; with all three of these results being played on hard courts, and the indoor-hard court record being tied at 1-1.
With regards to these players game-styles these players vary hugely. Tiafoe looks to dominate behind a large flat first serve, and then attack into the open space using his favoured forehand shot.
By contrast, Evans will look to mix up his serves in both spin and pace, and often looks to camp in his backhand corner delivering a barrage of slice backhands and keeping his unforced error count very low by only attacking upon clear openings.
It is because of Tiafoe’s large inability to control the rally off his backhand wing that we at Serving Up Clutch believe he will struggle in a match-up such as this. Of course, with a strong serving performance Tiafoe has a chance of snatching this, but as an underdog pick on a slow indoor hard court Dan Evans is the pick of the day.
MIOMIR KECMANOVIC (SER) TO BEAT ADRIAN MANNARINO (FRA) AT 9/10
This match again brings what we at Serving Up Clutch believe to be a surprise underdog in Miomir Kecmanovic.
The Serbian has been in electric form, picking up his maiden ATP title in Kitzbuhel on the clay in the weeks before the French Open. Despite this, a surprise defeat last week to Cameron Norrie and an early scare this week from Sumit Nagal (eventually prevailed in 3 sets) is likely what causes him to be placed as underdog tomorrow.
Adrian Mannarino picked up his first win in the first round here in Cologne since the 2nd September where he beat Jack Sock in the US Open. The Frenchman dominated the big serving Popyrin and looked in complete control throughout the match.
Unlike Popyrin however, Kecmanovic has a much greater ability to persist in groundstroke rallies and build his points to allow more realistic opportunities to attack his opponents. Given Mannarino’s inability to penetrate on his groundstrokes and obvious counter-punching style, it does not match him well against the patient nature of Kecmanovic.
Both of these players are equally capable on the slower indoor hard-courts we are presented with this week; but again taking current form and match up into consideration as underdog Kecmanovic presents great value.
PABLO CARRENO-BUSTA (ESP) TO BEAT UGO HUMBERT (FRA) AT 2/3.
Following on from an impressive semi-final run at the US Open (falling to Alexander Zverev in 5 sets), and a quarter final run at the French Open (falling to Novak Djokovic in 4 sets), Carreno-Busta looks to open his indoor hard-court campaign on the Belgian soil in Antwerp.
The indoor surface in Antwerp has a court pace index of 1.22, placing it firmly within the ‘fast-surface’ category. Carreno-Busta will be better suited to a faster court surface as it will give him the ability to penetrate through his opposition which he may struggle with on a slower surface (such as in Cologne), and this may be enough to give him the edge in tomorrows encounter.
Humbert however is no easy match for anyone on tour in present times, as he has proven himself to be a nuisance to many big names (including beating Daniil Medvedev in Hamburg on the clay, and taking a set off Andrey Rublev in St Petersburg last week). He provides a unique challenge as a left-hander, and tends to favour longer rallies waiting for an opportunity to attack with heavy topspin forehand on the change of direction.
Despite Humbert’s obvious strengths, Carreno-Busta offers a very similar challenge. Possessing one of the more consistent backhands on tour, this to a degree nullifies Humberts primary asset.
In current form, and taking the match-up of styles into consideration, Carreno-Busta is unlikely to lose this match; with his only slight concern being the transition onto a new surface from the clay. At 2/3 however this is a great pick for Wednesdays play.
TREBLE OF KECMANOVIC, CARRENO-BUSTA AND EVANS AT 5.2/1
The above treble includes all of the match-ups as advised above – and we at Serving Up Clutch think this has a fantastic opportunity of being successful. We advise a one unit tip on each of the above.
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