Fabio Fognini v Albert Ramos-Vinolas – ATP Vienna
For the third tournament in a row Fabio Fognini and Albert Ramos-Vinolas will meet on the Tour and it is the Italian who has improved his head to head to 9-0. I backed Fognini to cover last week and this time he is being asked to cover another game but I can’t ignore the match up and how much the Italian has seemingly enjoyed it against Ramos-Vinolas.
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Last week showed Fognini is the stronger player when it comes to the rallies and he has a good read of what Ramos-Vinolas wants to do on the court with the serve. Negating that lefty serve and forcing Ramos-Vinolas to beat Fognini in the rallies has proven to be a huge edge for the Italian whose only serve is then backed up effectively by being the stronger player off the ground.
Fognini did reach the Final in Moscow where he came up short and he can’t always be trusted to put in back to back big weeks on the Tour. That is especially the case on the hard courts where he is not at his best, but he has had a few days to recover from Moscow and Fognini’s match up here can’t be ignored in the First Round.
I’d be surprised if Ramos-Vinolas doesn’t make this more competitive than the four games he won when they played last week. However I still think Fognini comes through with a 64, 64 win and move through to the Second Round while making it ten out of ten against Ramos-Vinolas.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Fabio Fognini -3.5 Games @ 1.81 with 888 Sport
Kei Nishikori v Paolo Lorenzi – ATP Basel
The place at the ATP World Tour Finals has already been booked by Kei Nishikori and he is simply looking for some form to take into the tournament in a couple of weeks time. Having a strong showing in Basel would be a good start to that end and Nishikori was an impressive winner in the First Round.
The match up with Paolo Lorenzi should be a good one for Nishikori to continue to build his rhythm to take to London as that is what the Italian will give him. The first serve is actually working very effectively for Lorenzi, but he is facing a very solid returner in Nishikori and I don’t really like his chances of winning a lot of the extended rallies against the Japanese star.
The issue for Lorenzi is going to be getting enough first serves in play to earn some short balls where he can begin to dictate the rallies from the beginning. The second serves will be much harder to protect against Nishikori and I do think we will see Nishikori get into a position where he will break serves around four times.
A key to this entire spread is Nishikori serving well enough to keep Lorenzi at bay and I think that has been an issue for him through his career. There are too many times sloppy service games means Nishikori is having to expend more energy than he would like to, but I think he should have enough to protect serve for long enough to record a 64, 62 win in this match.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Kei Nishikori -5.5 Games @ 1.93 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage
Robin Haase v Juan Martin Del Potro – ATP Basel
It is so much fun to see Juan Martin Del Potro not only enjoying his tennis again, but getting back into a position to challenge the very best players on the Tour. A first title since 2014 was won on Sunday in Stockholm and Del Potro has every chance to end 2016 by adding to his Silver Medal from the Olympic Games with a Davis Cup win.
Del Potro is back as the Argentinian Number 1 and is likely going to be used for two Singles rubbers in the Davis Cup Final while he is back up to Number 42 in the World Rankings. He might not have enough to be Seeded by the time the Australian Open comes around, but Del Potro has nothing in terms of points to protect for a while and that would be a great achievement for him if he can do that.
It is going to be interesting to see how much he has in the tank both physically and emotionally having won the title in Stockholm. The organisers in Basel have been good enough to give Del Potro a few days to prepare himself for this First Round match against Robin Haase who had to come through the Qualifiers.
Haase has been putting together plenty of wins on the Challenger circuit on the clay courts to help him move up the World Rankings, but he is still very inconsistent. He should have a serve that offers him more, although the problem remains backing it up with the right plays at the right times and the Dutchman can sometimes collapse in matches.
I do think Haase might be facing Del Potro at the right time though and he can stay with the Argentinian. As long as Haase serves well, he can potentially steal a set if Del Potro is not completely focused in his opening match here and that might be enough for him to make these games count.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Robin Haase +4.5 Games @ 2.19 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.