Pablo Carreno Busta v Fabio Fognini
It has only been a couple of weeks since Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini were competing against one another in the Final of the ATP Moscow event. On that occasion it was Carreno Busta who came from a set down to beat the Italian and take the title home while he also made it two wins from two matches on the pro Tour against Fognini.
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That was the one week that both Carreno Busta and Fognini have really put some results together since the US Open with a lot of inconsistent performances prior to that. It was no surprise that neither was really able to back up the success with a strong week at their events last week, but fatigue shouldn’t be an issue in the opening match at the Paris Masters.
The losses suffered by Carreno Busta since the US Open have also mainly come against a higher level of quality than the defeats Fognini has suffered so I do think the Spaniard has an edge on the form. He hadn’t previously enjoyed playing on the hard courts as much as he has seemingly had in recent weeks, which is a concern, but Carreno Busta might be getting to grips with the surface a little more.
This is also not a match up where Fognini will blast him off the court and Carreno Busta will feel he can rally with Fognini and get the better of him. The Paris courts in this indoor tournament have played fast in the past, which should aid Carreno Busta with the slightly stronger serve and I think the Spaniard moves through to the Second Round with a 46, 64, 64 win.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Pablo Carreno Busta -1.5 Games at 1.80 with Pinnacle
Robin Haase v Fernando Verdasco
This has as much to do with wanting to oppose Fernando Verdasco as well as backing Robin Haase, although I would be lying if I am not putting more stock in the recent form shown by the veteran Spaniard. At this point of the season, I am not sure where Verdasco is going to find the motivation to end 2016 with a positive run at the Paris Masters with little chance of being Seeded at the first Grand Slam of the 2017 season in Australia.
Verdasco was beaten in the First Round at the US Open following a run to the Quarter Final in Winston Salem and that means he has lost eight of his last nine matches including the last four in a row. Defeats to Mikael Ymer and Pablo Carreno Busta, who had just won the Moscow title days before, in straight sets are not a good look for Verdasco and he has lost his last eight sets he has played.
Robin Haase has come through the Qualifiers for a second tournament in a row and has the tools to be successful on the indoor hard courts from a physical point of view at least. I do think Haase struggles with the mental aspect and having lost two of his last three matches against Verdasco it can be difficult to trust the Dutchman in this one.
Confidence might have come from Challenger wins on clay courts, but the Qualifier win over Nikoloz Basilashvili can’t be underestimated since the latter beat Tomas Berdych last week. If Haase serves well he can definitely put the pressure on Verdasco who has been struggling behind his own serve and I think Haase is in the better form of late.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Haase drops a set, although I do think he can come through with a 36, 63, 64 win and a place in the Second Round where he will face Andy Murray.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Robin Haase -1.5 Games at 1.87 with Eastbridge
Stephane Robert v Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Albert Ramos-Vinolas is very likely to be Seeded when the Australian Open rolls around in January but the hard courts remain one of his weaker surfaces as he has to battle for every point he wins. There have been some positive runs like reaching the Final in Chengdu, but Ramos-Vinolas still has a losing record on the surface.
2016 will be seen as a positive one for the Spaniard who is going to end with a career best World Ranking and there have been some really positive performances from Ramos-Vinolas. He has to take that confidence into next season, because I think he might have some issues against Stephane Robert who has been given a Wild Card into this Paris Masters.
I think one of the home favourites means Robert will be given plenty of support in the last match of the day and he has shown he can be very competitive in recent matches. The concern is that Robert hasn’t finished well when he has had players under the cosh and that has prevented him winning matches that he perhaps should have done.
That was the case again last week as Robert should have beaten Philipp Kohlschreiber but was beaten in a final set tie-breaker. With a strong run in Moscow behind him and seeing some of the losses that Ramos-Vinolas has had of late makes Robert look a player I want to back even with the limited games he is being given with a potential upset a real possibility in this First Round match.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Stephane Robert +1.5 Games at 2.01 with Pinnacle
Prices correct at time of writing.