Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v Horacio Zeballos
Last year was a rarity for Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in recent seasons on the Tour as he finished 2015 with a winning record. That is the only winning record he has had in the last five years on the Tour, but the Spaniard is in a position to make it back to back years with a winning record for the first time since 2010.
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Recent weeks have been difficult for Garcia-Lopez who will be hoping a move to the hard courts can help him change his form. It hasn’t been the best surface for him in recent years and he has a losing record on the hard courts since 2010, but there is enough to like about his game against Horacio Zeballos who hasn’t had much joy on this surface.
The latter hasn’t played a lot of hard court tennis in recent years and is coming off the clay courts to take in this tournament in Atlanta. Horacio Zeballos is dangerous thanks to the lefty serve which can be difficult for players to read, but he can struggle with the consistency and speed coming through the courts.
I will admit it is hard to fully trust Garcia-Lopez considering the relatively weak serve and poor form he has been in. The hard courts are also not his favourite surface, but he does enjoy more success on these courts than Zeballos and I think that can be a key in a very tight match that can see Garcia-Lopez edge through 76, 64.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Guillermo Garcia-Lopez -2.5 Games @ 1.99 with Pinnacle
Sergiy Stakhovsky v Ivan Dodig
The withdrawals from the Olympic Games meant there were late invitations for other players who had missed the cut. One of those was Sergiy Stakhovsky but he decided he won’t make changes to his schedule and will play in Atlanta for important Ranking points rather than accept the chance to play in Rio de Janeiro.
The only way it will be seen by him and his team in being the right decision is if Stakhovsky can have a decent week in his first tournament back on the hard courts. It won’t come easy as he will be faced by Ivan Dodig in the First Round, although the latter has lost six of his last seven matches including on the hard courts this summer.
That means Dodig has lost his last six matches on the hard courts and it is hard to stem that poor trend if the Croatian is not quite at full health. Dodig did play Borna Coric tough last week in Toronto, and his serve can be a dangerous weapon when firing at full potential.
Both players will look for their serve-volley game to dominate the other and it looks like it will be a close match between them. Like Dodig, Stakhovsky doesn’t have a strong record on the hard courts at the main Tour level, but he has won a Challenger title on the surface in 2016 and I think he will have a slight edge from a fitness level to come through 64, 67, 63.
HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Sergiy Stakhovsky -1.5 Games @ 2.00 with 188BET
Prices correct at time of writing.