Richard Gasquet v Jan-Lennard Struff
The indoor hard courts have seen the best performances from Jan-Lennard Struff through his career and he has reached the Quarter Final in Antwerp. However he has had some trouble along the way and the match with Richard Gasquet is another step up from his previous opponents.
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The win over Gilles Simon was impressive, but I am not sure how much Simon had left in the tank after a long and gruelling week in Shanghai which had ended just a few days ago. Travelling all the way back to Europe and playing in this tournament doesn’t sound the most appealing of schedules but Simon still had enough chances to win that match with Struff.
Gasquet should be the best server that Struff has faced this week and that has to be a concern when you think he has given up 28 break points in just two matches. Struff should be full of confidence having won a Challenger event on this circuit recently but he is scheduled to be at the Vienna Qualifying this weekend and I wonder if he will have the fight to dig in if he does get behind by a set.
It hasn’t been the most productive few weeks for Gasquet, but he was an easy winner in the Second Round and has plenty of indoor hard court experience too. If he can use that effectively I think the Frenchman can come through with a 6-4, 6-4 win and a place in the Semi Final to come on Saturday.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Richard Gasquet -3.5 Games @ 1.78 with Pinnacle
Pablo Cuevas v Diego Sebastian Schwartzman
There is no doubting that Pablo Cuevas as a Seed in a hard court event is very vulnerable and his best tennis is restricted to the clay courts. He has been very good on the clay this season which has seen him move up to Number 22 in the World Rankings and likely a Seed for the Australian Open, but that means I tend to stay away from him when it comes to being a favourite on the hard courts.
Cuevas hasn’t shown a lot of positive form since the Tour moved onto the last quarter of the season which is predominantly a hard court time of the year. I think it is also telling that he has not won back to back matches on this surface in the last twelve months and so it might come as a surprise that I am going to back him to win this Quarter Final.
That has much to do with the opponent he is facing as he meets fellow South American Diego Sebastian Schwartzman, another player who doesn’t have a lot of hard court form behind him and who is much more comfortable on the slower surfaces. Schwartzman should be credited for winning two matches in Antwerp already, but he too had been struggling with the move back to the hard courts.
The match up should be one that Cuevas enjoys much more as it should be one that develops into the kind of rallies you would see on the slower surfaces. I do think Cuevas has the bigger serve, which could be key, although the doubt remains with his lack of results on the hard courts in the past. However, I think Cuevas won’t have too many better chances to reach a Semi Final of an indoor hard court event and I think he battles through with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Pablo Cuevas -1.5 Games @ 1.82 with 188BET
Julia Goerges v Daria Gavrilova
A couple of years ago Julia Goerges might have been considered a player that would be making the next step in her career to challenge some of the better players on the Tour. That hasn’t really happened for her on the Singles Tour, but she has performed better on the Doubles Tour which should see her competing at the WTA Finals next week.
For now she can concentrate on finishing her Singles season on a high as she gets set for this tough Semi Final with Daria Gavrilova. Both players have shown good form this week and I imagine Gavrilova will be going to Doubles partner Daria Kasatkina for tips having seen Goerges beat her handily in the Quarter Final.
I think Gavrilova has a little more power off the ground than Kasatkina at this stage of their careers though and that should give Goerges a few more things to think about. However Goerges has been setting up her play very well this week behind her serve and it should be able to keep her in this match and potentially win outright.
I really don’t think there is as much between the players as the layers clearly believe. Both should have their moments and, unless Goerges is thinking about heading to Singapore for the Doubles event at the WTA Finals, I think both realise how much is on the line in terms of vital Ranking points they can earn this week.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we need three sets to separate these players, but Goerges is the kind of streaky player that can be hard to stop when she is putting her tennis together like she has this week. Backing her with the games should be enough for the cover if this does go deep into a third set like I am anticipating, while I can’t rule out Goerges winning this one straight up and at odds against I will back her with the start.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Julia Goerges +2.5 Games @ 2.03 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.