May 2013 Archive


Friday, May 31st, 2013.


A frustrating day yesterday as rain dominated the schedule.  The matches that did get completed didn't favour us much either - Dimitry Tursunov retired midway through a second set tiebreak against Victor Hanescu and Lukas Rosol didn't show his best against Fabio Fognini.  In the women, Yaroslava Shvedova lost in straight sets after having to come off court midway through serving for the second set, and she also had an arm injury that required a medical timeout.  Many of yesterday's picks carry over until today so I will wait until today is completed before updating the profit and loss.


Friday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA:-


1pt Monica Puig +1.5 sets to beat Carla Suarez Navarro at 1.92 Pinnacle Sports

1.25pts Petra Cetkovska +1.5 sets to beat Roberta Vinci at 1.83 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Svetlana Kuznetsova to beat Bojana Jovanovski at 1.33 Marathon Bet

1pt Dinah Pfizenmaier +6.5 games to beat Agnieszka Radwanska at 1.91 Ladbrokes


ATP:-


1pt Kevin Anderson to beat Milos Raonic at 2.50 StanJames

2pts Roger Federer -7.5 games to beat Julien Benneteau at 1.74 Marathon Bet

0.5pts Jeremy Chardy to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 4.65 Marathon Bet

3pts Jeremy Chardy +2.5 sets to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 1.62 Paddy Power

1pt Nicolas Almagro to beat Andreas Seppi at 1.25 StanJames

2pts Nicolas Almagro -6 games to beat Andreas Seppi at 1.80 Marathon Bet


Today's Brief Trading Recommendations:-

(Write ups to resume in week two when there are less matches)


WTA:-


Bartoli v Duque Marino - Lay Bartoli a break up

Lisicki v Errani - Lay Lisicki a break up

Jovanovski v Kuznetsova - Lay Jovanovski a break up (as long as Kuznetsova price is over 1.60)

Radwanska v Pfizenmaier - Lay-to-back Radwanska.  Lay her pre-match at around 1.15 and back her if she falls a break down or hits 1.35-1.40 in running.


ATP:-


Youzhny v Delbonis - Lay Youzhny a break up

Istomin v Davydenko - Lay Istomin a break up

Pryzieszny v Gasquet - Lay Pryzieszny a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets, or a break up when Gasquet is priced over 1.60.

Benneteau v Federer - Lay Benneteau when a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets (unlikely)

Troicki v Cilic - Lay Troicki a break up as long as Cilic's price is over 1.50.

Seppi v Almagro - Lay Seppi a set up, a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets.  Pretty much at any point that he is leading.


As always, good luck in the markets today!


Thursday, May 30th, 2013.  


I've updated the profit and loss in the pre-match tips tab - we had a -0.65 point loss on Tuesday and -1.82 points on Wednesday.  With the 13.69 points profit from Sunday and Monday we are running at 11.22 points profit for Roland Garros so far, and the profit for May currently runs at 38.37 points from a stake of 331 points (11.59% ROI).  


Frustratingly, rain is forecast for today so we may be on and off the courts throughout the day.  


Thursday's Pre-Match Tips:-

(Posted at 11pm Wednesday UK Time)


ATP:-


1.5pts Dimitry Tursunov to beat Victor Hanescu at 2.48 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Lukas Rosol to beat Fabio Fognini at 2.88 Marathon Bet

1.5pts Lukas Rosol +1.5 sets to beat Fabio Fognini at 1.91 Paddy Power

1pt Federico Delbonis to beat Mikhail Youzhny at 4.20 Marathon Bet

2.5pts Federico Delbonis +2.5 sets to beat Mikhail Youzhny at 1.54 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Robin Haase to beat Jerzy Janowicz at 4.05 Marathon Bet

2.5pts Robin Haase +2.5 sets to beat Jerzy Janowicz at 1.49 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Janko Tipsarevic to beat Fernando Verdasco at 2.32 Marathon Bet

1pt Ryan Harrison to beat John Isner at 3.90 Various Bookmakers

2pts Ryan Harrison +2.5 sets to beat John Isner at 1.49 Pinnacle Sports

3pts Nikolay Davydenko to beat Denis Istomin at 1.53 Stan James


WTA:-


3pts Yaroslava Shvedova to beat Paula Ormaechea at 1.67 SportingBet

1pt Anna Schmiedlova to beat Jamie Hampton at 2.62 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Anna Schmiedlova +1.5 sets to beat Jamie Hampton at 1.66 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Silvia Soler-Espinosa to beat Alize Cornet at 3.05 Marathon Bet

0.5pts Silvia Soler-Espinosa +1.5 sets to beat Alize Cornet at 1.79 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Vania King to beat Sloane Stephens at 3.25 Various Bookmakers

1pt Vania King +1.5 sets to beat Sloane Stephens at 1.82 188BET

2pts Petra Kvitova to beat Shuai Peng at 1.51 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Mariana Duque Marino to beat Marion Bartoli at 2.32 Marathon Bet

3pts Francesca Schiavone to beat Kirsten Flipkens at 1.88 Pinnacle Sports


Today's Brief Trading Recommendations:-

(Write ups to resume in week two when there are less matches)


With the players I advise laying a break up, I recommend taking the profit if and when the break back occurs.  If no break back occurs by the end of the set, trade out with equal red.


WTA:-


Cibulkova v Erakovic - Lay Erakovic when a break up (as long as Cibulkova is priced over 1.60)

Ormaechea v Shvedova - Lay Ormaechea when a break up

Oudin v Zheng - Lay Oudin when a break up

Beck v Azarenka - Lay Beck a set and break up

Barty v Kirilenko - Lay Barty a break up (as long as Kirilenko is priced over 1.60)

Kvitova v Peng - Lay Peng a break up

Bartoli v Duque Marino - Lay Bartoli a break up


ATP:-


Pouille v Dimitrov - Lay Pouille a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets, or a break up when Dimitrov is priced over 1.60.

Wawrinka v Zeballos - Lay Zeballos a set and break up or a break up when Wawrinka is priced over 1.60.

Youzhny v Delbonis - Lay Youzhny a break up

Istomin v Davydenko - Lay Istomin a break up

Pryzieszny v Gasquet - Lay Pryzieszny a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets, or a break up when Gasquet is priced over 1.60.


As always, good luck with what you bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 29th, 2013.


Not the best day for the pre-match picks with Kuznetsov's loss scuppering a day of profit.  If Govortsova had converted any number of chances (including match point) then things would have been different too.  It's a clear illustration of the small margins that can decide a tennis match, and sometimes profit and loss.


I'll updated the profit and loss in the pre-match tips tab after today's play.  I'm still waiting for the Schmiedlova, Hradecka and Pospisil bets to be concluded after yesterday's rain.  The forecast today in Paris is some sun and cloud, so we should get a full day of play in the French capital.


Wednesday's Pre-Match Tips:-


ATP:-


2.5pts Viktor Troicki to beat Daniel Gimeno-Traver at 1.80 StanJames

0.5pts Nick Kyrgios +2.5 sets to beat Marin Cilic at 2.31 Pinnacle Sports

0.75pts Joao Sousa to beat Feliciano Lopez at 3.90 Marathon Bet

1.25pts Joao Sousa +2.5 sets to beat Feliciano Lopez at 1.57 Paddy Power

2pts Blaz Kavcic to beat Andreas Seppi at 3.10 Marathon Bet

1pt Blaz Kavcic +1.5 sets to beat Andreas Seppi at 1.97 SBOBET

0.5pts Blaz Kavcic -4.5 games to beat Andreas Seppi at 4.50 Paddy Power

1pt Roberto Bautista-Agut to beat Jeremy Chardy at 3.45 Marathon Bet

1pt Igor Sijsling +2.5 sets to beat Tommy Robredo at 1.55 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Jan Hajek to beat Sam Querrey at 2.80 BoyleSports

3.5pts Ernests Gulbis to beat Gael Monfils at 1.74 Pinnacle Sports


WTA:-


2pts Dinah Pfizenmaier to beat Urszula Radwanska at 2.64 Marathon Bet

1pt Petra Cetkovska to beat Anastasiya Pavlyuchenkova at 3.00 Ladbrokes/Stan James

2.5pts Johanna Larsson to beat Sorana Cirstea at 3.25 StanJames

2pts Johanna Larsson +1.5 sets to beat Sorana Cirstea at 1.83 BoyleSports

2pts Virginie Razzano to beat Zuzana Kucova at 1.81 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Monica Puig to beat Madison Keys at 2.30 BoyleSports


Today's Brief Trading Recommendations:-

(Write ups to resume in week two when there are less matches)


With the players I advise laying a break up, I recommend taking the profit if and when the break back occurs.  If no break back occurs by the end of the set, trade out with equal red.


WTA:-


Schmiedlova v Wickmayer - Lay Wickmayer when a break up.

Zahlavova v Beck - Lay either player a break up.

Pavlyuchenkova v Cetkovska - Lay Pavluchenkova a break up

Wozniacki v Jovanovski - Lay Jovanovski a break up.

Kucova v Razzano - Lay Kucova a break up


Favourites Kvitova, Lepchenko, Suarez Navarro, Errani and Ivanovic can also be backed a break down but only when their price is over 1.60.


ATP:-


Gimeno Traver v Troicki - Lay Gimeno Traver a break up.

Montanes v Ferrer - Lay Montanes a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets.

Seppi v Kavcic - Lay Seppi a break up.

Devvarman v Federer - Lay Devvarman 2-0 up in sets.


As always, good luck with what you bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 28th, 2013.


We built on Sunday's solid start with more pre-match profit yesterday at Roland Garros, with superb wins from Kyrgios, Donskoy, Zemlja and Harrison in the men's.  Larsson was also a superb victory, with a facile win over Niculescu having been backed down from 3.00 the night before - Cepelova was also nice in a mixed bag for the women.


I'm not sure how many matches will be completed today as there is considerable rain currently (10am) so it's always worth considering which players will benefit from a rest or fragmented match.  An example of this would be Granollers v Lopez yesterday, in a match that was interrupted at 2 sets all on Monday night.  When looking at the records of the two players in deciding sets, I'd have been on Granollers for this - especially considering Lopez had only played two matches since coming back from injury.  However this delayed 5th set definitely negated Granollers' advantage and Lopez came through to win the decider.


Current Updated Pre-Match Tips Stats:-


178 Bets

40.84 Points Profit

280.5 Points Staked

14.56% ROI


Tuesday's Pre-Match Tips:-


ATP:-


1pt Federico Delbonis to beat Julian Reister at 2.68 Marathon Bet.

4pts Alex Kuznetsov to beat Lucas Pouille at 1.59 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Victor Hanescu to beat Bernard Tomic at 1.40 Various Bookmakers

0.5pts Dimitry Tursunov to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov at 4.75 Marathon Bet.

2pts Dimitry Tursunov +2.5 sets to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov at 1.61 Pinnacle Sports.

2pts Pablo Andujar to beat Mikhail Youzhny at 2.00 888 Sport.

1pt Jiri Vesely +2.5 sets to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber at 1.68 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Vasek Pospisil to beat Horacio Zeballos at 2.56 Marathon Bet.

1pt Vasek Pospisil +1.5 sets to beat Horacio Zeballos at 1.80 Boyle Sports.


WTA:-


1.5pts Olga Govortsova to beat Marion Bartoli at 2.75 Ladbrokes/Stan James.

2pts Olga Govortsova +1.5 sets to beat Marion Bartoli at 1.72 SBOBET.

1pt Lauren Davis to beat Kristina Mladenovic at 2.52 Marathon Bet.

1pt Lauren Davis +1.5 sets to beat Kristina Mladenovic at 1.60 Pinnacle Sports.

2pts Dominika Cibulkova to beat Lesia Tsurenko at 1.26 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Anna Schmiedlova to beat Yanina Wickmayer at 2.64 Marathon Bet.

1pt Anna Schmiedlova +1.5 sets to beat Yanina Wickmayer at 1.59 Pinnacle Sports.

1.5pts Lucie Hradecka to beat Ashleigh Barty at 1.52 Pinnacle Sports.


Today's Brief Trading Recommendations:-

(Write ups to resume in week two when there are less matches)


With the players I advise laying a break up, I recommend taking the profit if and when the break back occurs.  If no break back occurs by the end of the set, trade out with equal red.


WTA:-


Bartoli v Govortsova - Lay Bartoli when a break up.

Date Krumm v Stosur - Lay Date Krumm a set and break up or a break up in the final set.

Cornet v Koehler - Lay Koehler when trading under evens when a break up.

Begu v Soler-Espinosa - Lay Begu when trading under evens when a break up.

Cibulkova v Tsurenko - Lay Tsurenko when a break up (as long as Cibulkova is >1.6).

Schmiedlova v Wickmayer - Lay Wickmayer when a break up.

Zahlavova v Beck - Lay either player a break up.


ATP:-


Delbonis v Reister - Lay Reister a break up and a set and break up.

Falla v Dimitrov - Lay Falla a set and break up or 2-0 up in sets.

Kuznetsov v Pouille - Lay Pouille a break up or a set and break up.

Youzhny v Andujar - Lay Youzhny a break up or a set and break up.

Djokovic v Goffin - Lay Goffin 2-0 up in sets (unlikely!)

Serra v Davydenko - Lay Davydenko a break up.

Paire v Baghdatis - Lay Baghdatis a break up.

Kubot v Teixeira - Lay Teixeira a break up and a set and break up.


As always, good luck with what you bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow!


Monday, May 27th, 2013.


It was a very positive start for us at Roland Garros as followers should have been well in profit from yesterday's pre-match tips.  Let's hope there's more to follow from today's bumper bundle of matches!


Monday's Pre-Match Tips:-


Current Updated Pre-Match Tips Stats:-


144 Bets

32.99 Points Profit

230.25 Points Staked

14.33% ROI


ATP:-


0.5pts Martin Alund to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin at 3.90 Marathon Bet.

2.5pts Martin Alund +2.5 sets to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin at 1.52 Pinnacle Sports.

2.5pts Igor Sijsling to beat Jurgen Melzer at 1.80 Various Bookmakers.

0.5pts Nick Krygios +2.5 sets to beat Radek Stepanek at 2.08 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Evgeny Donskoy to beat Jan-Lennard Struff at 2.80 Marathon Bet.

1pt Aljaz Bedene +2.5 sets to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 2.28 Marathon Bet.

1pt Grega Zemlja to beat Santiago Giraldo at 3.10 Marathon Bet.

1pt Ricardas Berankis to beat Julien Benneteau at 4.05 Marathon Bet.

1pt Ricardas Berankis +1.5 sets to beat Julien Benneteau at 2.55 Sportingbet.

2.5pts Ricardas Berankis +2.5 sets to beat Julien Benneteau at 1.52 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Philipp Petzschner +2.5 sets to beat Marin Cilic at 2.69 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Ryan Harrison to beat Andrey Kuznetsov at 3.00 Various Bookmakers.

1.5pts Ryan Harrison +1.5 sets to beat Andrey Kuznetsov at 2.20 Boylesports.

1.5pts Kenny De Schepper +2.5 sets to beat Robin Haase at 1.49 Pinnacle Sports.

4pts Lukas Rosol to beat Pere Riba at 1.40 Various Bookmakers.

1.5pts John Isner to beat Carlos Berlocq at 2.10 Sportingbet.

2pts Rhyne Williams to beat Michael Pryzsiezny at 2.38 Stan James.

2pts Albert Ramos to beat Jerzy Janowicz at 2.34 Marathon Bet.


WTA:-


1pt Anabel Medina Garrigues +5.5 games to beat Li Na at 2.00 Ladbrokes.

2.5pts Johanna Larsson to beat Monica Niculescu at 2.63 Stan James.

2.5pts Vania King to beat Alexandra Cadantu at 2.02 Marathon Bet.

0.5pts Jana Cepelova to beat Christina McHale at 3.35 Marathon Bet.

0.5pts Jana Cepelova +1.5 sets to beat Christina McHale at 1.83 Boylesports.

0.75pts Melanie Oudin to beat Tamira Paszek at 1.38 Marathon Bet.

2.5pts Chanelle Scheepers to beat Mathilde Johansson at 1.50 Sportingbet.

1.5pts Barbora Zahlavova Strycova to beat Bojana Jovanovski at 2.00 StanJames.

2.5pts Angelique Kerber to beat Mona Barthel at 1.40 Various Bookmakers.

1pt Laura Robson to beat Caroline Wozniacki at 1.85 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Vesna Dolonc to beat Jie Zheng at 3.35 Marathon Bet.

1.5pts Vesna Dolonc +1.5 sets to beat Jie Zheng at 1.77 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Pauline Parmentier to beat Magdalena Rybarikova at 3.10 Marathon Bet.

1.5pts Pauline Parmentier +1.5 sets to beat Magdalena Rybarikova at 1.81 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Karin Knapp +1.5 sets to beat Sloane Stephens at 1.67 Pinnacle Sports.

1pt Flavia Pennetta to beat Kirsten Flipkens at 1.73 Various Bookmakers.


Today's Brief Trading Recommendations:-


First of all - please be careful with liquidity.  With 56 matches today there may not be enough money to cover all the matches and please be aware in advance of whether you can exit the market easily when you want.


With the players I advise laying a break up, I recommend taking the profit if and when the break back occurs.  If no break back occurs by the end of the set, trade out with equal red.


ATP:-


Kamke v Lorenzi - Lay either player a break up in this.

Sijsling v Melzer - Lay Melzer a break up.

Beck v Fognini - Lay Beck when 2-0 up in sets or when a set and break up.

Klizan v Russell - Lay Russell when 2-0 up in sets or when a set and break up.

Berdych v Monfils - Lay Monfils when 2-0 up in sets or when a set and break up.

Monaco v Gimeno-Traver - Lay Gimeno-Traver a break up, when 2-0 up in sets or when a set and break up.

Riba v Rosol - Lay Riba when 2-0 up in sets or when a set and break up.

Pryzsiezny v Williams - Lay Pryzsiezny when a break up or when a set and break up.


WTA:-


Halep v Suarez Navarro - Lay either player a break up in this/oppose their serve at pressure situations.

Mattek-Sands v Lino - Lay Lino a break up/oppose her serve at pressure situations.

Niculescu v Larsson - Lay Niculescu a break up/oppose her serve at pressure situations.

King v Cadantu - Lay Cadantu a break up/pressure point/oppose her serve at pressure situations.

Paszek v Oudin - Lay Paszek when she is trading odds on a break up.

Scheepers v Johansson - Lay Johansson when she is trading odds on a break up and in pressure situations.

Zahlavova Strycova v Jovanovski - Lay Jovanovski a break up.

Barthel v Kerber - Lay Barthel when she is trading odds on a break up.

Wozniacki v Robson - Lay either player a break up in this, especially Wozniacki.

Zheng v Dolonc - Lay Zheng a break up in this/oppose her server at pressure situations.

Parmentier v Rybarikova - Lay Rybarikova a break up in this.

Knapp v Stephens - Lay Stephens a break up in this.

Pennetta v Flipkens - Lay Flipkens a break up in this.


As always, good luck with what you bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow!


Sunday, May 26th, 2013.


Roland Garros Preview:-


The French Open is upon us!  In less than 3 hours time the second Grand Slam of 2013 starts and there's plenty for us to get our teeth into today with 32 matches on the card.  This week I will be posting my pre-match picks and trading recommendations - however with the sheer workload I will be very brief with my previews - straight to the point!


Both the men's and women's stats indicate that this venue is pretty average for court speeds - the 12 month ATP mean service hold currently stands at 75.3%, here last year it was 75.5%.  For the WTA, the average was 61.2% holds in the last 12 months and here last year 60.0% of serves were held.


In the women, there have been no consistent winners in the tournament as you have to go back to 2007 for the title to be retained, by Justine Henin.  That was also the last time the tournament was won by the top seed.  Serena Williams has not won this since 2002, and both those statistics count against the American favourite.  The fact that she is 20-1 on clay in the last year possibly doesn't...


Rafael Nadal has won 7 out of the last 8 men's tournaments and starts a shade of odds-on this year.  I think he deserves to be favourite but Novak Djokovic will be confident in their scheduled semi-final, having beaten the Spaniard on clay in the final of Monte Carlo in April.


As with all Grand Slams on the men's side, favourites tend to have a good record.  The longer best of 5 format usually ensures that.  In the last four years, 72% of men's favourites have won here, which is above the overall clay mean of 66%.  However, it's the lowest average of all Grand Slams (the other three average 76% between them) so we may get some opportunities to at least profitably trade favourites from a low price this week.


Another stat related to this worth considering, for the men is that players priced over 3.0 have a terrible return on investment.  This gets even worse after a 5 set match.  To read an article I wrote on the dangers of backing players after a 5 set match, please click on this link.


http://sbbcolumns.co.uk/an-insight-into-tennis-implications-of-playing-a-5-set-match-in-tennis/


Sunday Pre-Match Tips:-


ATP:-


4pts Blaz Kavcic to beat James Duckworth at 1.69 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Leonardo Mayer +2.5 sets to beat Andreas Seppi  at 1.73 Paddy Power

0.75pts Lleyton Hewitt +2.5 sets to beat Gilles Simon at 1.81 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Pablo Carreno-Busta +2.5 sets to beat Roger Federer at 2.71 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Somdev Devvarman to beat Daniel Munoz De La Nava at 2.26 Marathon Bet

2pts Denis Kudla to beat Jan Hajek at 2.82 Marathon Bet

1pt Viktor Troicki to beat James Blake at 1.28 Pinnacle Sports


WTA:-


1.25pts Petra Martic +6.5 games to beat Ana Ivanovic at 2.16 Marathon Bet

1pt Monica Puig to beat Nadia Petrova at 3.50 Marathon Bet

1.25pts Monica Puig +1.5 sets to beat Nadia Petrova at 1.83 188BET

2.5pts Kiki Bertens to beat Sorana Cirstea at 1.67 StanJames/Coral

2pts Dinah Pfizenmaier to beat Mandy Minella at 1.67 Ladbrokes

1pt Venus Williams to beat Urszula Radwanska at 1.64 Pinnacle Sports


Selected Brief Trading Tips:-

(Assuming no injuries)


ATP:-


Kavcic v Duckworth - Lay Duckworth a break up in any set, take profit if Kavcic breaks back, red out if Duckworth wins the  set.

Raonic v Malisse - Lay Malisse a set and break up or two sets up.

Sousa v Soeda - Lay Soeda a break up in any set (assuming Sousa price is >1.5) and lay him when 2-1 or 2-0 up in sets.

Hajek v Kudla - Lay Hajek a break up in any set and when 2-1 or 2-0 up in sets.

Troicki v Blake - Lay Blake a break up in any set and when 2-1 or 2-0 up in sets.


WTA:-


Pavlyuchenkova v Hlavackova - Lay Hlavackova when a break up or in pressure points. 

Bertens v Cirstea - Lay Cirstea when a break up or in pressure points.

Lisicki v Arvidsson - Lay Arvidsson when a break up or in pressure points (assuming Lisicki price is >1.5)

Pfizenmaier v Minella - Lay Minella when a break up.

U Radwanska v V Williams - Lay Radwanska when a break up (1st set only)


The Fantasy Tennis Competition is available for entry until Monday morning at 9am UK time so if you haven't entered a team, get involved!  


Good luck in the markets today and here's to a profitable French Open!  More tomorrow.


Friday, May 24th, 2013.


Basically a break even day in the pre-match tips with the WTA giving us a lot of success but the ATP letting us down.  Some matches were rained off, so the tips on Doi, Hradecka and Kanepi hold over until today.


May's Profit is currently 35.66 points from a stake of 196.25 points - Return on Investment 18.17%!


I've stressed it all week but I'll say it again.  With the French Open starting in several days player motivation is going to be variable.  Please be careful and keep your stakes low.  On that subject - the draw for the French Open is just a few hours away so after you've seen the draw, why not enter the TennisRatings Fantasy Tennis competition?  It should be fun and entry is free so what have you got to lose?  Click on the link above for more information.


Friday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA Strasbourg:-


3pts Eugenie Bouchard to beat Alize Cornet at 2.18 Marathon Bet


WTA Brussels:-


1.5pts Romina Oprandi to beat Shuai Peng at 1.63 Various Bookmakers


ATP Nice:-


2pts Edouard Roger-Vasselin to beat Albert Montanes at 2.20 Sportingbet

0.5pts Pablo Andujar to beat Gael Monfils at 3.03 Pinnacle Sports

1pts Pablo Andujar +1.5 sets to beat Gael Monfils at 1.83 Pinnacle Sports


ATP Dusseldorf:-


1pt Igor Sijsling to beat Jarkko Nieminen at 2.50 Various Bookmakers


Friday Match Previews:-


In a recurring theme this week, some of yesterday's matches were rained off until today - the Pennetta v Doi, Hradecka v Larsson and Kanepi v Lepchenko all falling victim to the weather.  I've posted the previews I wrote yesterday for those matches below...


Flavia Pennetta may have aspirations of getting through a few rounds at Roland Garros so I wonder how bothered she will be this week.  Today she faces Misaki Doi who has made us some money as a good underdog this week already.   I'm going for her to take a least a set from Pennetta today who starts at a very low 1.23.  This looks a lay from the start to me.


I've also gone small on Lucie Hradecka today against Johanna Larsson.  Larsson did well for us yesterday against Virginie Razzano but I'm going with the big serving Czech today.  She hasn't played a lot lately but she's held serve 94.1% of the time this week which clearly is highly impressive.  If she can keep that up, the 1.74 about her looks an absolute steal.  As you might expect, this may not be the match to look for if you want to see service breaks...

Kaia Kanepi also looks value if you can get about 1.5 or bigger on her for her match with Varvara Lepchenko.  Lepchenko is a decent clay court player but Kanepi's recent form is far superior - 71% to 60% win record on clay in the last 3 months and holding serve 12.5% more (76.2% to 63.7%).  Considering Lepchenko breaks only marginally more then there is clear value on the Estonian.  Getting over even money on Kanepi in-play a break down definitely appeals.  


I'm expecting a lot of breaks in the match between Eugenie Bouchard and Alize Cornet.  Both players have well over the WTA average percentage for breaking their opponent's serve so we can expect more today.  Particularly Cornet has a weak serve and I'm very surprised to see her favourite today - I suppose the bookmakers have factored in home advantage and the fact she is defending runner up points this week.  However I make Bouchard favourite for this and I feel the 2.20 about her is very generous - Cornet starts at around 1.85 and if we can get a fair bit shorter in-play if she leads by a break I'm willing to lay her.


The prices look about right in the match between Jamie Hampton and Roberta Vinci.  Hampton came back from the dead yesterday, winning the final set 7-5 against Kirsten Flipkens after being 1-5 down - smashing 1.01 on the Belgian in the process.  How much that will have taken out of her is unsure, but Vinci will have aspirations of doing well in Roland Garros so may not have much motivation herself.  A tough one to call and I'll probably leave this alone.


Romina Oprandi has looked impressive all week and has impressed me generally this clay season.  Today she takes onShuai Peng who had a surprisingly easy win over Sloane Stephens yesterday.  Oprandi is available at 1.67 and for me, that's a bet.  Peng's projected hold is low so if I can get over evens on Oprandi in-play when a break down, I will probably enter the market.  


The men haven't suffered with rain as much as the women and we are at the semi-final stage in both of our tournaments.


In Nice, I'm surprised to see Albert Montanes as 1.82 favourite over Edouard Roger-Vasselin.  I've opposed Montanes all week and I'm not stopping now - if he wins the tournament then I guess I lose!   ERV was a similar price yesterday against Sam Querrey and got the job done despite being a break down.  Montanes had a facile win over Paul-Henri Mathieu which I was quite shocked about.  I feel the price may be a little over-reaction based on the style of victories yesterday and as I rate 'ERV' much higher on clay currently than 'PHM' I am very perplexed to see Montanes a shorter price than he was against Mathieu.  Projected holds are above the ATP mean so it's tough to see many viable in-play entry points.


Pablo Andujar impressed against Gilles Simon yesterday and can follow up that success with a win over Gael Monfilstoday.  I really think these two should be much closer to evens than the 1.47 on Monfils starts at - especially bearing in mind that Monfils has played a lot of tennis recently.  


Over in Dusseldorf, Guido Pella is in his first ATP semi-final after beating Viktor Troicki yesterday and he faces a much tougher task today against Juan Monaco.  Monaco starts 1.23 favourite and actually I make that a touch of value (but won't be taking that position myself).  If Monaco wants to win, he will win.  If he is bigger in play and looks interested, I may back him.  He should be able to pressure the Pella serve which has a very low projected hold.


Finally Jarkko Nieminen will be fresh after getting a walkover from Tommy Haas and he has a track record of doing well in these pre-Slam events (e.g. before the Australian Open), so he clearly will be giving his all.  He takes on Igor Sijsling, who has surprised many (including me) with his run this week.  This is another match I feel should be closer to evens and I can't see the 1.65 about the Finnish veteran being any value.  Projected holds are very close in this one.


That's it for the week for me.  I'm taking the weekend off for a number of reasons - firstly I will need to start preparation for Roland Garros with the avalanche of matches taking place next week.  Secondly it's Mrs.TennisRatings' birthday tomorrow so want to have a tennis free day!  Spreadsheet subscribers will still get their daily email as usual but apart from that I won't be in the tennis world too much!  So if you are interested in the weekend's action, perhaps it might be a good time to try out the spreadsheets, so you can get the projected holds and my model price and other information for each match.  


I'll try and do a Roland Garros preview at some point over the weekend, probably on Sunday or very early Monday morning. Good luck in the markets and check back then for more updates!


Thursday, May 23rd, 2013.


Pre-match tips were a bit too up and down for my liking yesterday with a bad start before an afternoon recovery led by Misaki Doi helped us.  


In today's quarter-final action there is still some value about - but as with previously this week we must be careful regarding player motivation.  


Thursday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA Strasbourg:-


2pts Eugenie Bouchard to beat Anna Tatishvili at 1.50 888 Sport

1.25pts Chanelle Scheepers to beat Alize Cornet at 2.42 Marathon Bet

0.75pts Misaki Doi +1.5 sets to beat Flavia Pennetta at 2.38 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Lucie Hradecka to beat Johanna Larsson at 1.74 5 Dimes


WTA Brussels:-


0.5pts Jamie Hampton to beat Kirsten Flipkens at 2.87 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Jamie Hampton +1.5 sets to beat Kirsten Flipkens at 1.76 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Romina Oprandi to beat Jie Zheng at 1.55 Unibet

1pt Kaia Kanepi to beat Varvara Lepchenko at 1.50 Various Bookmakers


ATP Nice:-


2pts Edouard Roger-Vasselin to beat Sam Querrey at 2.08 Marathon Bet

1.25pts Paul-Henri Mathieu to beat Albert Montanes at 2.15 Marathon Bet

1pt Robin Haase to beat Gael Monfils at 2.89 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Robin Haase +1.5 sets to beat Gael Monfils at 1.77 Pinnacle Sports


ATP Dusseldorf:-


2pts Jan Hajek to beat Igor Sijsling at 1.90 Stan James


Thursday Previews:-


We start in about 25 minutes at 9:30 in Brussels with Kirsten Flipkens taking on Jamie Hampton to start the day's play. Flipkens, in her home country, doesn't appear to be any value at 1.57 today.  Stats on either player on clay are pretty limited but from what I do have it appears value would be on the American at 2.87.  Projected holds are close and as they are near the WTA mean so that limits our in-play options a little.


Jie Zheng had a fantastic Wednesday with a 3 set win over Mallory Burdette, scuppering our pre-match play on the American, and a very easy win over Caroline Wozniacki, who appears to be in a terrible place with her game right now.  Today she faces Romina Oprandi, who defeated Melanie Oudin for the loss of just four games and then benefited from Julia Goerges' retirement.  The fact that Oprandi played 3 sets to Zheng's 5 yesterday has to count in her favour and with the stats also indicating value on the Italian, I like the 1.55 about her pre-match.  Zheng's projected hold is very low so if we can get over evens on Oprandi in-play when a break down, that will also definitely appeal - Oprandi should be able to pressure her serve a lot today.


Kaia Kanepi also looks value if you can get about 1.5 or bigger on her for her match with Varvara Lepchenko.  Lepchenko is a decent clay court player but Kanepi's recent form is far superior - 71% to 60% win record on clay in the last 3 months and holding serve 12.5% more (76.2% to 63.7%).  Considering Lepchenko breaks only marginally more then there is clear value on the Estonian.  As with Oprandi, getting over even money on Kanepi in-play a break down definitely appeals.  


Over in Strasbourg, Eugenie Bouchard seems to have got over any concerns about her ankle and is a huge 1.50 to beatAnna Tatishvili.  Tatishvili has held just 52% on clay in the last year, and with Bouchard breaking 46.9% in the same time, projected holds for the Georgian is very low.  The 1.50 available still with 888 Sport is a gift.  She should be about 1.25 for this match.  I'll be selectively opposing Tatishvili's serve in play for sure here.


Alize Cornet is defending runner-up points here so will have motivation for her match with Chanelle Scheepers.  However I feel the South African has come into a bit of form lately and with Cornet highly inconsistent the value definitely lies with Scheepers at around 2.4 as the 12 month clay stats would indicate she should be slight favourite.  The clay stats this season indicate she should be even bigger favourite - she has a 6-3 win-loss record compared to 9-6, holding 70.7% compared to 57% and breaking 41.1% to 40.9%.  I really like the option of a pretty cheap lay of Cornet when a break up in this - she starts at about 1.7 so we can get a lay in a lot lower than this in that scenario.


Flavia Pennetta may have aspirations of getting through a few rounds at Roland Garros so I wonder how bothered she will be this week.  Today she faces Misaki Doi who has made us some money as a good underdog this week already.   I'm going for her to take a least a set from Pennetta today who starts at a very low 1.23.  This looks a lay from the start to me.


I've also gone small on Lucie Hradecka today against Johanna Larsson.  Larsson did well for us yesterday against Virginie Razzano but I'm going with the big serving Czech today.  She hasn't played a lot lately but she's held serve 94.1% of the time this week which clearly is highly impressive.  If she can keep that up, the 1.74 about her looks an absolute steal.  As you might expect, this may not be the match to look for if you want to see service breaks...


Moving over to the ATP, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Sam Querrey start us in Nice and I like the price on the Frenchman to get the win at odds against.  To me he should be a lot shorter than this and definitely deserves favourtism when you consider their performances this clay season.  Querrey still has won only 2 of 7 on clay this season and 'ERV' has won 50% of his 16 matches.  Projected holds are high so don't expect many breaks but Roger-Vasselin clearly has the edge in the stats department with the higher projected hold - breaking a lot more and holding only a little less.  The 2.10 on Roger-Vasselin looks extremely generous.


Both Paul-Henri Mathieu and Albert Montanes have cost us this week but again I'm siding with the Frenchman in this.  Hopefully several wins will have helped him boost his confidence and despite his price being offered at 2.20, I make him very marginal favourite for this.  Both players don't have the best serve or the best return stats either - projected holds are very close in this one.  So I've got to take the underdog.  


There should be breaks in the clash between Pablo Andujar and Gilles Simon and I like the in-play approach of laying either player a break up.  Simon's matches tend to make excellent trading material with that strategy and I'll be going for more today.  With Simon starting at 1.61 and, in my opinion, being no value at that price, I like the option of laying him a break up particularly in-play.


Amazingly, Robin Haase managed to beat John Isner yesterday without the need for a tiebreak!  Today he faces Gael Monfils and I'm wondering how tired the Frenchman will be after winning Bordeaux last week as well as two matches this week.  Certainly, with projected holds close, I like the pre-match price of 2.89 on the Dutchman, who is more than at home on the dirt.  


Over in Dusseldorf, Juan Monaco will see a pretty straightforward path to the final if he wants it and today he faces the fellow weak serving Tobias Kamke.  Kamke has really improved his stats though, in this clay season, and isn't without a chance today.  Previously he was money laying him against top 20 players as I felt he was mentally beaten before the start of the match but I'm more sceptical about this play now after his win over Del Potro recently.  However the German has a very low projected hold so if Monaco looks like he wants to win but is a break down, taking the bigger odds on him may be worthwhile in-play.


I'm not sure about how good Guido Pella's win over Janko Tipsarevic was yesterday but he can get to his first ATP semi-final if he defeats Viktor Troicki today.  He definitely has a chance as an underdog - Troicki is always inconsistent - and projected holds are low, and not that dissimilar.  I might look at opposing Troicki a break up in this - he starts at 1.57 and we can get a pretty low lay in if that happens.


I think the bookies may have over-reacted to Igor Sijsling's win over Philipp Kohlschreiber yesterday.  It cannot be disputed that he does not enjoy playing on clay and has pretty weak stats.  His opponent Jan Hajek certainly does enjoy the surface - it's where he picks up the bulk of his ranking points - and I'm surprised the Czeck is so generously priced at 1.9 today.  I make about 1.65 much more accurate so a pre-match position on Hajek appeals.  I also like laying Sijsling at odds-on when leading by a break in this as Hajek has very good return stats, breaking above the ATP mean despite his limited ability.  Considering Hajek is 29 years old and has a career confined mainly to the Challenger Tour, and is ranked just outside the top 100, I'd be surprised if he wasn't interested in picking up the extra ranking points and money this week.


Finally Tommy Haas clearly wants to be here this week, grafting through an extremely arduous 3 setter with Ivan Dodig yesterday (and coming from a set down).  I make the 1.35 about him against Jarkko Nieminen pretty fair as the stats suggest he should have a reasonable edge in this.  Nieminen should have his serve pressured a fair bit by the German veteran today.


As always, I hope you enjoyed reading and good luck in the markets today!  More tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013.


A mixed bag yesterday in the pre-match bets, with some great underdog victories (Giorgi, Davis, Bedene, Zemlja, Rufin) but also some disappointing defeats - particularly Giraldo and Annika Beck who both took the first set but lost (Beck was a set and break up against Hsieh). 


The P&L is now updated in the pre-match bets tab - we made 15.10 points for Monday & Tuesday combined and this puts our account up 49.61 points this month (34.27% ROI).


Today's Trading Spreadsheets have now been sent out (they are always sent out in advance of the website update) so if you would like to take advantage of seeing where the value is before I update the website, as well as a fantastic trading edge from just £1 per day, please click the link above to subscribe or for more information.


Wednesday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA Brussels:-


Tips posted for the rain delayed matches posted under Tuesday's entry.


WTA Strasbourg:-


2pts Lauren Davis to beat Lucie Hradecka at 2.00 5 Dimes

1pt Monica Niculescu to beat Anna Tatishvili at 1.35 TitanBet

1.5pts Misaki Doi to beat Su Wei Hsieh at 3.15 Marathon Bet

2pts Misaki Doi +1.5 sets to beat Su Wei Hsieh at 1.79 Pinnacle Sports

2.5pts Johanna Larsson to beat Virginie Razzano at 2.37 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Magda Linette to beat Alize Cornet at 3.50 Various Bookmakers

1pt Magda Linette +1.5 sets to beat Alize Cornet at 2.02 Pinnacle Sports


ATP Nice:-


2pts Victor Hanescu to beat Albert Montanes at 1.67 5 Dimes

2.5pts Sergiy Stakhovsky to beat Sam Querrey at 2.40 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Yen-Hsun Lu to beat Pablo Andujar at 5.68 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Yen-Hsun Lu +1.5 sets to beat Pablo Andujar at 2.50 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Robin Haase to beat John Isner at 2.20 Various Bookmakers

0.5pts Guillaume Rufin to beat Gilles Simon at 3.15 Marathon Bet

1pt Guillaume Rufin +1.5 sets to beat Gilles Simon at 1.84 Pinnacle Sports


ATP Dusseldorf:-


2pts Grega Zemlja to beat Viktor Troicki at 2.50 Ladbrokes

1pt Roberto Bautista-Agut to beat Jarkko Nieminen at 3.15 Marathon Bet

2pts Roberto Bautista-Agut +1.5 sets to beat Jarkko Nieminen at 1.84 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Ivan Dodig to beat Tommy Haas at 5.20 Bet Victor

0.75pts Ivan Dodig +1.5 sets to beat Tommy Haas at 2.50 Paddy Power


Wednesday Match Previews:-


Brussels was rained off yesterday so the matches are rescheduled for today.  I've copied and pasted the previews for yesterday's matches now being played today below...


Shuai Peng was in doubles action in Rome as recently as Sunday when her and Su Wei Hsieh won the title.  Both may have some fatigue and I'm really surprised to see Peng so short at around 1.5 against Sofia Arvidsson, who looks a bet at 3.00.  I actually make Arvidsson marginal favourite for this so it's a very pleasant price - part of me thinks why is it so big?!   I'm particularly interested in laying Peng below SP if she leads by a break.  I'd be really surprised if this was a straightforward victory for the Chinese player.


I don't have a lot of stats on Alison van Uytvanck but she appears to be value against Yulia Putintseva, based on the stats I do have.  I'm expecting breaks here and as projected holds are fairly close, I like the price of 3.00 on the Belgian at home.  Putintseva has a very poor serve, having held a mere 46.7% on clay in her 5 WTA matches in the last year and if we can lay her a fair bit below the 1.5 SP when she is leading by a break this would appear to be a good low-risk/high-reward opportunity.  


Mallory Burdette might lack experience but I'm not sure she's so lacking on the ability front.  Odds of 1.9 really appeal against Jie Zheng - she holds more and breaks more across all surfaces, and has a 53% to 43% winrate in the last year.  She is 2-2 on clay in WTA matches in the last year, and with Zheng 2-5 (and Burdette holding 8% more in those clay matches) you wonder if the bookmakers have this really wrong.  I'll be looking to oppose Zheng if she trades odds-on inplay when leading.


Julia Goerges clearly warrants favourtism against Coco Vandeweghe, in the clash between two pretty decent servers, but I think the American lucky loser can keep this pretty close and the 1.3x on Goerges should be about 1.45.  I can never back Goerges at short odds-on, she is way too unreliable for that.


Kaia Kanepi has a much better clay record this season than Dominika Cibulkova, in what is arguably the match of the day.  There wasn't much to choose between the two in the year long clay stats but this season Kanepi's record is 8-4 compared to Cibulkova's 3-3 record.  In those matches, Kanepi has held 74.8% compared to Cibulkova's 58.2%.  With Cibulkova only breaking 5.9% more, recent form would indicate Kanepi could be some value at 1.6.  I'm leaving it alone from a pre-match perspective, although laying Cibulkova at odds-on when leading by a break could be viable.


Jamie Hampton has a terrible 1-6 record on clay in her career and has only held 40% of her serves in her two defeats on the surface in the last year.  I don't especially rate Yanina Wickmayer but I will be looking to oppose Hampton at a fair bit shorter than SP in running (about 2.80).  Wickmayer should be able to pressure the Hampton serve, with a projected hold of under 50%.


Finally for the women, I feel the oddsmakers have made a huge mistake pricing up the match between Kirsten Flipkens and Madison Keys.  The promising young American should be about 1.5 for this based on Flipkens' clay record which is highly unimpressive.  Flipkens has very little experience on clay and is 1-3 in the last year on the dirt - and 9-19 all time.  If this was a hard court it would be a completely different issue but it's not!  Furthermore, Flipkens hasn't looked great at all since she retired with a back injury against Goerges in Stuttgart and lost 6-4, 6-0 to Wickmayer in Rome last week.  Over evens on Keys is incredible value in my eyes.


Strasbourg is back on schedule after a bumper day yesterday with 16 matches all being played.  Today we are in last 16 action and in the early match at 10am Lauren Davis looks value at 2.00 to build on her excellent underdog win over Christina McHale to defeat Lucie Hradecka.  Hradecka hasn't played much on the main tour lately and with her you can usually expect a strong serving performance but few breaks.  With both players projected holds much higher than WTA mean, it should be fairly close but the stats give Davis a clear edge as she should be able to pressurise the Hradecka serve much more than the other way around.


Under normal circumstances the 1.8 about Eugenie Bouchard against Camila Giorgi would appear very generous but despite her facile win over Silvia Soler-Espinosa I feel I have some reservations still about her ankle and won't get involved.  I do expect breaks here - Giorgi had an incredible 16 double faults in 9 service games yesterday against Marion Bartoli and has a very low projected hold here.  If Bouchard appears in good shape but falls behind a break, taking the above evens in play would be a good entry point in my opinion - if she breaks we can take the profit.


Anna Tatishvili has only held 50.6% of her service games in the last 12 months on clay (2-6 record) so the short price on her opponent, Monica Niculescu appears reasonable, and actually I feel it's a touch of value at 1.35.  Niculescu should be able to create plenty of break point chances so if Tatishvili gets in front we should be able to get a much better price on Niculescu, which would be a good time to enter in-play.


You could selectively work both players serve in the match between Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor and Flavia Pennetta.  Pennetta's stats have really dipped this year so I believe the prices pre-match, making her about 1.9 favourite are pretty reasonable.  This match definitely isn't priced on reputation.  Torro-Flor has held 54.1% of her service games on clay in 2013, and Pennetta isn't much better at 58.5%.  Torro-Flor has actually broken more often (way above WTA average at 47.2%) so should be able to pressure the Pennetta serve today.  Laying either player a break up wouldn't be the worst strategy.


The price on Misaki Doi against Su Wei Hsieh appears too good to be true in a 'bad vs bad' clash.  Both players have little affinity to clay and I can only think that the ancient 4-0 head to head lead for Hsieh has influenced the market.  In all these matches both players were ranked outside the top 150 so it's not relevant at all.  My stats make Doi marginal favourite in a close match where both women should hold serve fairly often.


I also think that Johanna Larsson may be a touch of value at 2.4 against Virginie Razzano - but this needs to be tempered by a lack of recent stats on the French player.  She probably has a better peak performance than Larsson (Serena Williams can testify to that) but she also is very inconsistent.  


Alize Cornet has a lot to prove to me still after her capitulation last week and I can't see her being any value at 1.36 in the battle of the bad servers against Magda Linette.  Again, sample size on Linette isn't the best but I make Cornet a little higher priced than the market does.  


We start at 10am in Nice and the early match features Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Ricardas Berankis.  Some people appear to be tipping ERV for a long run in this tournament and I guess that's due to the weak top half of the draw.  I don't see him as any value today against the Lithuanian, who doesn't have much clay experience but has had reasonable results and stats in the matches he has played on the surface.  I make the bookies odds of about 1.57 on the Frenchman right for this one.


Victor Hanescu won for the pre-match tip followers on Monday night with a superb win over Albert Ramos.  I'm looking for him to follow this up with another victory over a Spaniard, this time against Albert Montanes.  I rate the 1.67 about the Romanian as extremely generous based on this year's clay stats - Hanescu has a 5-3 record compared to Montanes' 4-5, and has held and broken more in those matches.  


In the form that Sam Querrey is in, I don't think he deserves favourtism against Sergiy Stakhovsky.  Projected serves, as you might expect for a Querrey match, are high but Stakhovsky actually edges those - and the Ukrainian will be comfortable with the conditions having qualified and having a straightforward win in the first round yesterday.  For a big server, Querrey's serving stats on clay in 2013 are not at all impressive.  In his 6 matches (5 were defeats) he has only held 77.3% which is only a touch over the 75.8% clay average for men.  In those matches he's only broken 9.1% as well.  Not good at all.  I accept that Stakhovsky is a mediocre tour player but all things considered I feel he should actually be slight favourite for this.


Yen-Hsun Lu is under rated by the market today against Pablo Andujar, who despite getting to the semi finals in Madrid has very mediocre clay stats considering his best results are definitely on the surface, holding 71.2% and breaking 23.4% in the last year.  Lu, despite not being that comfortable on clay, is a competent opponent and if a more illustrious opponent has an off-day, can definitely spring a surprise as evidenced by his win over Andreas Seppi on Monday.  This should be close today and the 1.22 on the Spaniard is definitely no value in my eyes.


Even though he won yesterday against a fellow out of form player, Paul-Henri Mathieu still has a shocking record this year and his opponent Carlos Berlocq can be backed at around 1.50 today.  Mathieu has a very low projected hold for this and considering Berlocq breaks 31.5% of the time on clay he should be able to pressure the Frenchman's serve a lot today.  If we can get above evens on Berlocq a break down that would be a good entry point in my opinion.  


Robin Haase's match with John Isner has torn me somewhat.  Haase has picked up some reasonable results lately and Isner has not shown much at all on clay this season - so based on my stats I'd have the starting odds which make Isner the 1.82 favourite pretty much the other way around.  However we must consider that with projected holds at around 90%, tiebreaks are very likely and that's a big problem for Haase.  So I've only gone for a small recommendation on the Dutchman on that basis.


The all-French match between Guillaume Rufin and Gilles Simon should be good for opposing servers, as both players hold below the ATP mean.  Simon's serve is especially weak but he has one of the best opponent break percentages on tour.  I think the 1.43 about Simon is pretty short though as I feel Rufin, having qualified, is more than capable of taking at least a set in a potentially swingy match.  I'm looking to lay Simon at a short price if he leads by a break in this.


There's not that much that interests me in Dusseldorf today as I feel the prices are about right for most of the matches.  A few caught my attention though...


There should be breaks of serve in the match between Tobias Kamke and Aljaz Bedene.  Bedene starts as a very slight favourite at 1.86 and that's fair enough.  I'll be looking to lay the player a break up in the first set in this.


I feel Grega Zemlja should be much closer to evens against the inconsistent Viktor Troicki.  Zemlja won impressively as an underdog against David Goffin yesterday, dropping a mere 2 games in the final two sets.  Troicki needed to come from a set down as 1.25 favourite against the unheralded Michael Russell.  Troicki starts as 1.65 favourite, and he shouldn't.  I'll be looking to lay him a break up in this.


Another player that is under rated today is Roberto Bautista-Agut.  Jarkko Nieminen's price is based more on the names than their clay ability and the 1.45 about him today is super short considering his record on clay in the last year is still a losing one (6-8) and Bautista-Agut has really improved lately after a slow start stepping up from Challengers.  In Challengers last year the Spaniard was 11-4 on clay with impressive stats so is more than capable of taking this.  Nieminen looks a lay from the start and as with the two matches above, definitely will be a break up in this.


Finally, Ivan Dodig has really improved on clay this season with a number of impressive results.  He takes his form into a match with the in-form home favourite Tommy Haas and based on the stats and the questionable desire Haas would have for the effects that a tiring run would have on his 35 year old legs shortly before a Grand Slam starts, I feel he is no value at 1.25.  Dodig fights for pretty much every match and could spring a surprise here...


As always, good luck in the markets today and there will be more tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 21st, 2013.


Good morning everyone.  We have just the 34 matches today after rain in Strasbourg postponed all of the matches there yesterday - 16 there today!  The pre-match bets for there still stand although you won't be able to get the 1.7 on Razzano now as she has shortened.  


The pre-match bets did great in the matches that were played - it was almost a clean sweep in Brussels as we were only let down by a strange performance from Stefanie Voegele where she let leads slip in both sets against Elena Baltacha.  Underdog wins for Jana Cepelova and also Victor Hanescu in Nice were fantastic, and we are in with a chance of a third as Tsvetana Pironkova (who has - unless there is a retirement - already covered the 1.5 set handicap) is 2-2 in the final set against Sloane Stephens.


Assuming there is no retirement in that match, we banked another 5.91 points yesterday in profit.  P&L will be updated in the pre-match tips tab after today's matches as there were many tips carried over from yesterday.


Spreadsheet Subscriptions have proven popular so far and if you want to take advantage of that for today's matches you will need to make payment by 9am so I can email you the spreadsheet in advance of the start of play.


Tuesday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA Strasbourg:-

(Some tips carried over from yesterday - see Monday's post for those)


2pts Magda Linette to beat Olga Puchkova at 2.00 Paddy Power

1pt Marta Domachowska to beat Shelby Rogers at 3.00 Bet365/Stan James

1pt Marta Domachowska+1.5 sets to beat Shelby Rogers at 1.80 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Elena Svitolina to beat Flavia Pennetta at 2.87 Pinnacle Sports.

1.5pts Elena Svitolina+1.5 sets to beat Flavia Pennetta at 1.79 Pinnacle Sports

3pts Annika Beck to beat Su-Wei Hsieh at 1.83 BoyleSports


WTA Brussels:-


2pts Sofia Arvidsson to beat Shuai Peng at 3.00 at Bet365/BetVictor

2pts Sofia Arvidsson+1.5 sets to beat Shuai Peng at 1.81 Pinnacle Sports

0.25pts Alison van Uytvanck to beat Yulia Putintseva at 3.00 SportingBet

3pts Mallory Burdette to beat Jie Zheng at 1.90 Unibet

0.5pts Coco Vandeweghe to beat Julia Goerges at 4.00 BetVictor

0.5pts Coco Vandeweghe+1.5 sets to beat Julia Goerges at 2.11 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Yanina Wickmayer to beat Jamie Hampton at 1.54 Pinnacle Sports

2.5pts Madison Keys to beat Kirsten Flipkens 2.10 BoyleSports


ATP Nice:-


1.5pts Rogerio Dutra da Silva to beat Sergiy Stakhovsky at 2.13 SBOBET

2pts Ryan Harrison to beat Paul-Henri Mathieu at 2.30 BoyleSports

2pts Santiago Giraldo to beat Gael Monfils at 2.65 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Santiago Giraldo+1.5 sets to beat Gael Monfils at 1.65 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Guillaume Rufin to beat Paolo Lorenzi at 2.55 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Guillaume Rufin+1.5 sets to beat Paolo Lorenzi at 1.64 SBOBET


ATP Dusseldorf:-


0.5pts Evgeny Korolev to beat Igor Sijsling at 1.57 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Grega Zemlja to beat David Goffin at 2.37 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Aljaz Bedene to beat Nikolay Davydenko at 2.80 BoyleSports

3pts Aljaz Bedene+1.5 sets to beat Nikolay Davydenko at 1.72 SBOBET


Tuesday Match Previews:-


Rain ruined the schedule in Strasbourg yesterday and it's catch up day today with 16 matches on the card - starting in a few minutes time at 9am.


Below, I've copied the previews from yesterday so you can see my thoughts on the rescheduled matches.


Eugenie Bouchard injured her ankle in Fed Cup action in April and hasn't played since.  Stats would make her favourite over Silvia Soler-Espinosa normally on clay but the injury doubts mean we need to adjust that.  I don't feel I can get involved here pre-match although I do feel, with projected holds low, we can oppose both servers in selected spots today in-play.  I especially like opposing Bouchard this way - in case she the Canadian injured I'd recommend caution laying Soler-Espinosa without Bouchard looking reasonably competitive.


Caroline Garcia is on home soil and today takes on Anna Tatishvili, who in her seven outings on clay has won just one and held serve a mere 44%.  That makes the 1.38 on Garcia seem pretty fair at least.  Bigger on her when a break down would appear a very attractive proposition.  


Another decent price is the 1.5 about Monica Niculescu against Marina Erakovic.  Neither of these women are great on clay (both have a 2-6 record in the last year) but Erakovic has only broken 17% of opponent's service games in this time and with Niculescu breaking 38% (and holding only slightly less) this would appear to be a decent price on the Romanian based on the 58%-75% projected holds.  


It's only a few more weeks for Tamira Paszek to wait until the grass season starts and today she is underdog yet again (after drifting significantly) against Virginie Razzano.  Razzano starts at around 1.7 and I'd recommend a small wager on the French player.  Paszek is 1-5 on clay in the last year, breaking a mere 10.5% of opponent's serves in that time.  Razzano is no great shakes, but she 'boasts' a 44% career winrate on clay on the WTA tour, as opposed to the 24% from Paszek.  Razzano can also boast she is the last woman to beat Serena Williams on clay in last year's French Open...


Petra Cetkovska hasn't played since November so how she performs today will be anyone's guess.  Her clay record last year was pretty reasonable (5-3 win-loss record, and she held 61% and broke 44%) but I've no idea of her physical condition.  Therefore I'd leave her match alone, even though I don't particularly rate her opponent, Johanna Larsson.


Marion Bartoli has been in very mediocre form lately and her 3-6 record on clay in the last year is far from impressive.  Today she faces the promising young Italian player, Camila Giorgi, and I feel there could be a shock on the cards here.  Based on Giorgi's stats from qualifying in several clay tournaments (a reduction multiplier for holds and breaks is applied by my model), as well as the tiny sample we have in main draw matches, I have this much, much closer.  With both projected holds low (below 60%) expect breaks here.  I particularly like opposing Bartoli in-play when a break up, when much shorter than the 1.5 SP.


Finally there is an all-American clash between Christina McHale and Lauren Davis.  Sample size on clay, on Davis, isn't the best but the stats I do have appear to indicate she is value at about 3.70.  It's hard to say much about McHale's recent clay form - she beat a fatigued Karin Knapp in the first round of Rome last week and then was a set and double break down to Sara Errani before staging a miraculous comeback to take the second set (she lost easily in the third set though).  Apart from this she's just won the matches where she was favourite, and lost when she should have (and lost a fairly even priced match to Varvara Lepchenko).  I would have gone bigger on this pre-match but the sample size is a big issue for me, and also last year at the French Open, McHale beat Davis 6-1, 6-3.


With those seven matches out of the way, we still have another 27 to negotiate for the day!  So I'll be concise and will focus on the matches that interest me (which to be fair is most of them today!).


Based on the stats I have, Magda Linette appears to be great value for her match with Olga Puchkova.  The market clearly agrees as she is shortening by the minute!  She dropped a mere 11 games in 3 matches in qualifying (6-0 in sets) and Olga Puchkova is nothing special whatsoever.  I make Linette a decent favourite in this so odds of 2.0 really appeal.  Puchkova has a really weak serve too (48% hold in WTA in her career and 57% hold in the last year across all surfaces) so if we can lay her when a break up at odds on then that would appear to be a good inplay option.


Projected holds are fairly high and close, based on the limited stats I have, for the match between Shelby Rogers andMarta Domachowska, but Rogers appears very short at 1.4.  I can't see where the bookies have that price from as I'd make her closer to 1.7 for this.  I can only think it's an over-reaction because Rogers beat Vesna Dolonc in the final qualifying round.  


Pre-match prices based on the clay for the all-French match between Alize Cornet and Mathilde Johansson appear fair, making Cornet 1.6 favourite.  However if Cornet plays (and cries) like she did against Nastassya Burnett last week she will have no chance whatsoever.   This could be a good match to work the server both ways as projected holds are both low, so breaks will be expected.  If you can lay Cornet below 1.4 or so in the first set, this would appear a good opportunity.  It's worth bearing in mind that Johansson isn't the best at serving under pressure too.


Flavia Pennetta has been unimpressive lately and this season she has far worse stats on clay than last year.  In the last 12 months her record is 7-7 and she has held 61% on clay and broken 43.8%.  Fairly good stats, you would say.  However - this year she is 2-5, holding 55.3% and has broken 36.4%.  That's a clear drop in those seven matches and that's the reason why I feel her opponent, Elena Svitolina, could be value despite her inexperience in main draw WTA matches.  I make this much closer to evens.


There should be breaks in the match between two weak servers in Annika Beck and Su Wei Hsieh.  In the last year, Beck has held 53.6% of her service games, and Hsieh 52.4%.  With Beck's high break percentage, this sends Hsieh's projected hold below the 50% mark - so we can expect her to have big problems holding serve.  I like Beck as she never gives up and has some very impressive results lately.  I'm really surprised to see her at 1.8 here because I make her around 1.5 - Hsieh has only won two of eleven matches in her career on clay in the WTA.  Laying both servers selectively is an option but I do like laying Hsieh especially when in front.


Both Hsieh and her doubles partner, Shuai Peng, were in doubles action in Rome as recently as Sunday when they won the title.  Both may have some fatigue and I'm really surprised to see Peng so short at around 1.5 against Sofia Arvidsson, who looks a bet at 3.00.  I actually make Arvidsson marginal favourite for this so it's a very pleasant price - part of me thinks why is it so big?!   I'm particularly interested in laying Peng below SP if she leads by a break.  I'd be really surprised if this was a straightforward victory for the Chinese player.


I don't have a lot of stats on Alison van Uytvanck but she appears to be value against Yulia Putintseva, based on the stats I do have.  I'm expecting breaks here and as projected holds are fairly close, I like the price of 3.00 on the Belgian at home.  Putintseva has a very poor serve, having held a mere 46.7% on clay in her 5 WTA matches in the last year and if we can lay her a fair bit below the 1.5 SP when she is leading by a break this would appear to be a good low-risk/high-reward opportunity.  


Mallory Burdette might lack experience but I'm not sure she's so lacking on the ability front.  Odds of 1.9 really appeal against Jie Zheng - she holds more and breaks more across all surfaces, and has a 53% to 43% winrate in the last year.  She is 2-2 on clay in WTA matches in the last year, and with Zheng 2-5 (and Burdette holding 8% more in those clay matches) you wonder if the bookmakers have this really wrong.  I'll be looking to oppose Zheng if she trades odds-on inplay when leading.


Julia Goerges clearly warrants favourtism against Coco Vandeweghe, in the clash between two pretty decent servers, but I think the American lucky loser can keep this pretty close and the 1.3x on Goerges should be about 1.45.  I can never back Goerges at short odds-on, she is way too unreliable for that.


Kaia Kanepi has a much better clay record this season than Dominika Cibulkova, in what is arguably the match of the day.  There wasn't much to choose between the two in the year long clay stats but this season Kanepi's record is 8-4 compared to Cibulkova's 3-3 record.  In those matches, Kanepi has held 74.8% compared to Cibulkova's 58.2%.  With Cibulkova only breaking 5.9% more, recent form would indicate Kanepi could be some value at 1.6.  I'm leaving it alone from a pre-match perspective, although laying Cibulkova at odds-on when leading by a break could be viable.


Jamie Hampton has a terrible 1-6 record on clay in her career and has only held 40% of her serves in her two defeats on the surface in the last year.  I don't especially rate Yanina Wickmayer but I will be looking to oppose Hampton at a fair bit shorter than SP in running (about 2.80).  Wickmayer should be able to pressure the Hampton serve, with a projected hold of under 50%.


Finally for the women, I feel the oddsmakers have made a huge mistake pricing up the match between Kirsten Flipkensand Madison Keys.  The promising young American should be about 1.5 for this based on Flipkens' clay record which is highly unimpressive.  Flipkens has very little experience on clay and is 1-3 in the last year on the dirt - and 9-19 all time.  If this was a hard court it would be a completely different issue but it's not!  Furthermore, Flipkens hasn't looked great at all since she retired with a back injury against Goerges in Stuttgart and lost 6-4, 6-0 to Wickmayer in Rome last week.  Over evens on Keys is incredible value in my eyes.


In about 5 minutes time the match between Rogerio Dutra Da Silva and Sergiy Stakhovsky starts in Nice.  Both have qualified for this and I think the prices should be the other way round based on clay form.  Stakhovsky starts 1.85 favourite and I feel that's vulnerable if Silva can build on his clay Challenger stats.  With my reduction multiplier applied, my projected hold model makes him 1.88 favourite.  The ATP stats are a little misleading for Silva - in 6 clay matches in the last year he has broken just 14.3% but in Challengers over a much bigger sample (51 matches) he has broken 39% in the last year.  Hence I would expect this 14.3% to increase given a bigger sample.  There will probably be breaks in this as both projected holds are marginally below average but I'm especially looking at laying Stakhovsky at shorter odds-on when leading by a break.


It's a big day for 20 year old Mauro Cecchinato as he has qualified to play his first ever ATP main draw match.  He faces his countryman, Fabio Fognini, and may not be without a chance.  Fognini starts at 1.20 but has lost his first round match in Nice every time has played here (2010-2012) losing to Chiudinelli, Gulbis and Darcis, and was 1.5x favourite against Chiudinelli and Darcis in those matches.  Cecchinato's qualifying stats recently are not terrible and with Fognini seemingly not too bothered about this event, you never know...


I'm very surprised to see Paul-Henri Mathieu at 1.7 against Ryan Harrison.  Neither player is in great form but at least Harrison has been able to go through qualifying, where he lost to Guillaume Rufin (not a huge disgrace) but got in as a lucky loser.  Mathieu in particular has been in wretched form, losing all 5 of his matches in the last 3 months, holding a mere 55.1% of his service games.  Harrison has only won one from six himself in that timeframe but at least has held 73.2% and broken marginally more too.  The prices should be the other way around.  


Another match which I feel the bookies have it wrong is Santiago Giraldo versus Gael Monfils.  Monfils has just won the Bordeaux Challenger, so I feel that is the reason for this short price of 1.6 about him.  He may be tired and who knows about his motivation.  It's also worth noting that in winning  in Bordeaux, his stats were actually worse than Giraldo's in clay Challengers in the last 3 months.  I actually make Giraldo very marginal favourite for this so odds of 2.65 appeal.  


Finally in Nice, Guillaume Rufin is not without a chance against Paolo Lorenzi.  Lorenzi is rightly favourite but should be a fair bit bigger, in my opinion, than 1.6.  It's also worth noting that Lorenzi's record at break points (both saving and converting) is horrific.


There are four matches in Dusseldorf and I expect breaks of serve in pretty much all of them.


Evgeny Korolev will be pleased with qualifying and then getting lucky drawing Igor Sijsling, who is not adept at all on clay (0-3 record in the last year).  Korolev starts at around 1.57 and I'd expect the Kazakh to pressure Sijsling's serve so getting over evens on Korolev when losing appeals.  


I've got the match between David Goffin and Grega Zemlja much closer to evens than the bookies think pre-match.  Goffin got to the final in the Challenger in Bordeaux last week and failed to hold when serving for the match against Monfils. He may be a little tired and may not be that strong mentally after that and Zemlja is more than capable of winning this.  Goffin has only held serve 69.5% on clay in the last year on the ATP Tour, but he has broken 31.8%, so we should expect a fair few breaks and swings in this.


Another match where the prices should be nearer evens is the one between Aljaz Bedene and Nikolay Davydenko.  Davydenko starts at around 1.55 but the Russian has not impressed on clay this season with a 2-5 record.  Based on this year, I'd have Bedene as favourite for this, having held more service games, broken more and with a 3-4 record.  Clearly the market agrees as he's being backed significantly.  Both players don't have the strongest serve so breaks could occur here too.


Finally I'm no fan of Viktor Troicki but he should have too much for the American veteran, Michael Russell.  But no way can I back the volatile Serb at 1.25.


I hope you enjoyed reading today, and as always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on.  More tomorrow!


Monday, May 20th, 2013.


We are one week away from the French Open!  What that does mean, however, is that with lower level tournaments being played this week (with the possible exception of WTA Brussels) that maximum effort may not be ensured.  


The poor quality of tournaments is illustrated by the names on the entry list.  A fair few players have very little recent (or even career) experience on the surface and perhaps we can look to take those on selectively.  I would advise caution with stakes though this week.  Save the bigger stakes for next week...


To show the lack of effort in these pre-slam tournaments, at ATP Nice, for example, the favourite win percentage 2010-2012 was 59%.  That's below the clay ATP 250 mean of 63%, and the overall clay mean of 66%.  This illustrates that we can expect some surprise results and possibly a few dubious tanks this week.  I've never taken Dusseldorf seriously as a betting proposition in the past as it was a glorified exhibition so don't have any reliable stats for that tournament.  However I'd be surprised if we see much different.


Regarding court speed, all courts last year were within 2% of the ATP or WTA means, so there shouldn't be a great deal more holds or breaks than we'd usually expect.  Brussels is the slowest court, 1.9% below WTA mean for service holds last year.  We can treat projected holds on their merits this week (assuming full effort from each player is given).


My daily trading spreadsheet is now available to purchase.  For full details click on the details link above.  From just £1 per day I feel it offers exceptional value and will really help your decision making when trading the markets.  It also illustrates my model's starting price for each match, so would be very useful for pre-match bettors as well.


Monday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA Strasbourg:-


1pt Caroline Garcia to beat Anna Tatishvili @ 1.37 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Monica Niculescu to beat Marina Erakovic @ 1.50 SportingBet/William Hill

2pts Virginie Razzano to beat Tamira Paszek @ 1.70 BetVictor

1pt Camila Giorgi to beat Marion Bartoli @ 3.20 Marathon Bet

1pt Camila Giorgi+1.5 sets to beat Marion Bartoli @ 1.72 SBOBET

1.5pts Lauren Davis to beat Christina McHale @ 3.70 SportingBet

1.5pts Lauren Davis+1.5 sets to beat Christina McHale @ 1.94 Pinnacle Sports


WTA Brussels:-


2.5pts Olga Govortsova to beat Aranxta Rus @ 1.44 Pinnacle Sports

1.5pts Varvara Lepchenko to beat Bojana Jovanovski @ 1.36 William Hill

0.5pts Jana Cepelova to beat Lesia Tsurenko @ 2.92 Marathon Bet

1pt Jana Cepelova+1.5 sets to beat Lesia Tsurenko @ 1.77 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Stefanie Voegele to beat Elena Baltacha @ 1.26 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Tsvetana Pironkova to beat Sloane Stephens @ 3.62 Pinnacle Sports

0.5pts Tsvetana Pironkova+1.5 sets to beat Sloane Stephens @ 1.98 Pinnacle Sports


ATP Nice:-


1pt Victor Hanescu to beat Albert Ramos @ 3.20 TitanBet

1pt Victor Hanescu+1.5 sets to beat Albert Ramos @ 1.85 188BET


ATP Dusseldorf:-


No recommended bets.


Monday Match Previews:-


With 22 main draw matches today, workload is again, high!  Although come Monday next week when the French Open starts, I'll probably wish there was only 22 matches...


Because of this I'll focus on the streamed matches and those that interest me the most.  That rules out Dusseldorf, unfortunately as none of the five matches there appear to be shown live anywhere today.


We start at ATP Nice shortly after 11am with Marinko Matosevic facing the highly inconsistent Robin Haase.  Haase is better on clay than other surfaces, however, and it's not Matosevic's favourite surface, for sure.  His experience on clay is fairly limited.  I've got the 1.48 as about right on Haase today although I wouldn't ever want to back him at that sort of price. Matosevic's 6 matches in the last year on clay have featured many breaks and you can generally expect that from the Dutchman too.  With Matosevic only holding 67% on clay in the last year I'd be highly surprised if he held with great regularity.  For those who are unaware, Haase holds the world record for consecutive tiebreaks lost.  I've lost count of how many it is now but it must be close to 20.  Something to bear in mind...


Leonardo Mayer picked up a back injury in March and makes his return to the tour today against Carlos Berlocq.  Projected holds are close but you can't look at them solely in these cases.  I'd have these about evens apiece if fitness was guaranteed but as it's not, I can't recommend taking the 3.6 about Mayer today.  I'll probably leave this alone, although it's worth noting Mayer is one of the best players on tour for saving break points.


Yen-Hsun Lu has only played 11 matches on clay in his whole career at ATP level so clearly is no fan of the surface.  Andreas Seppi is much more comfortable on it and starts at about 1.13.  Seppi took just 8 games combined in his last two outings - defeats by Tommy Haas and Mikhail Youzhny - and on that basis I cannot for one minute have that price.  'Rendy' may not like clay but is a competent player and if Seppi's head isn't right then this may not be as easy as the price suggests.


Another player with little recent experience on clay is Lleyton Hewitt.  He has only played two matches (both defeats) on clay in the last year, and hasn't played since losing to Martin Alund in Houston at the start of April.  Pablo Andujarappears to have come through his rut of bad form and performed outstandingly in Madrid two weeks ago.  Therefore, based on that and the projected hold stats, the 1.4 appears fair on the Spaniard.  It's hard to get a good sample for Hewitt's surface stats but I've gone on what I can and his projected hold of 70% would appear low.  I'd recommend laying him a break up in this.


Finally the bookmakers often appear to over-rate Albert Ramos and I feel they've done it again today.  It happens a fair bit on clay in the 'Latino name v non-Latino name' clashes.  Victor Hanescu is a more than capable player on clay and I feel the odds of 1.4 on Ramos are horrific, considering I make him about 1.7.  Hanescu pushed David Ferrer very close last time out and he's more than capable of taking at least a set in this.   Projected holds are both a touch above the ATP mean.  I'd be surprised if this wasn't closer than the odds suggest.


We start just after 11am also in Strasbourg, France, for the lower level of our two WTA tournaments this week.


As with the men, there are a few players here with highly questionable form or fitness...


Eugenie Bouchard injured her ankle in Fed Cup action in April and hasn't played since.  Stats would make her favourite over Silvia Soler-Espinosa normally on clay but the injury doubts mean we need to adjust that.  I don't feel I can get involved here pre-match although I do feel, with projected holds low, we can oppose both servers in selected spots today in-play.  I especially like opposing Bouchard this way - in case she the Canadian injured I'd recommend caution laying Soler-Espinosa without Bouchard looking reasonably competitive.


Caroline Garcia is on home soil and today takes on Anna Tatishvili, who in her seven outings on clay has won just one and held serve a mere 44%.  That makes the 1.38 on Garcia seem pretty fair at least.  Bigger on her when a break down would appear a very attractive proposition.  


Another decent price is the 1.5 about Monica Niculescu against Marina Erakovic.  Neither of these women are great on clay (both have a 2-6 record in the last year) but Erakovic has only broken 17% of opponent's service games in this time and with Niculescu breaking 38% (and holding only slightly less) this would appear to be a decent price on the Romanian based on the 58%-75% projected holds.  


It's only a few more weeks for Tamira Paszek to wait until the grass season starts and today she is underdog yet again (after drifting significantly) against Virginie Razzano.  Razzano starts at around 1.7 and I'd recommend a small wager on the French player.  Paszek is 1-5 on clay in the last year, breaking a mere 10.5% of opponent's serves in that time.  Razzano is no great shakes, but she 'boasts' a 44% career winrate on clay on the WTA tour, as opposed to the 24% from Paszek.  Razzano can also boast she is the last woman to beat Serena Williams on clay in last year's French Open...


Petra Cetkovska hasn't played since November so how she performs today will be anyone's guess.  Her clay record last year was pretty reasonable (5-3 win-loss record, and she held 61% and broke 44%) but I've no idea of her physical condition.  Therefore I'd leave her match alone, even though I don't particularly rate her opponent, Johanna Larsson.


Marion Bartoli has been in very mediocre form lately and her 3-6 record on clay in the last year is far from impressive.  Today she faces the promising young Italian player, Camila Giorgi, and I feel there could be a shock on the cards here.  Based on Giorgi's stats from qualifying in several clay tournaments (a reduction multiplier for holds and breaks is applied by my model), as well as the tiny sample we have in main draw matches, I have this much, much closer.  With both projected holds low (below 60%) expect breaks here.  I particularly like opposing Bartoli in-play when a break up, when much shorter than the 1.5 SP.


Finally there is an all-American clash between Christina McHale and Lauren Davis.  Sample size on clay, on Davis, isn't the best but the stats I do have appear to indicate she is value at about 3.70.  It's hard to say much about McHale's recent clay form - she beat a fatigued Karin Knapp in the first round of Rome last week and then was a set and double break down to Sara Errani before staging a miraculous comeback to take the second set (she lost easily in the third set though).  Apart from this she's just won the matches where she was favourite, and lost when she should have (and lost a fairly even priced match to Varvara Lepchenko).  I would have gone bigger on this pre-match but the sample size is a big issue for me, and also last year at the French Open, McHale beat Davis 6-1, 6-3.


WTA Brussels starts at the slightly later time of 12:30pm UK time and Aranxta Rus, in the opening match, will hope that this week will finally see her have a change of fortune.  She hasn't won a main draw match on the WTA tour since August last year and she's just got worse and worse since then.  In the last 3 months her record stands at 0-5 and she's only held 35% of her service games in that period.  That's a whopping 27% below WTA average and it's hard to see where her next win is going to come from.  Today she faces Olga Govortsova who is a player I love opposing when winning because she tends to let her opponents back into matches - she seems better when in adversity.  I don't think I can lay Govortsova when winning today based on Rus' stats (her projected hold is 37.1% which is the lowest of any player that I can remember for a good while).  I feel the 1.44 on Govortsova is huge, all things considered.


Bojana Jovanovski has an atrocious record on clay but beat Caroline Wozniacki last week (or should I say Wozniacki beat herself) despite being apparently injured.  It could have been just cramp though in which case she should be fine today for her match with Varvara Lepchenko.  Lepchenko starts at 1.36 and I think that's big considering she is more than competent on the dirt (10-7 in the last year).  Jovanovski is 5-11 on clay in her career and 2-4 in the last year.  In those 16 matches on clay she's only held her serve on 46% of occasions, so we can expect Lepchenko to be able to create a lot of pressure on her serve today.  Jovanovski lacks patience on slow surfaces and we can expect to see that today.  Getting bigger on Lepchenko when a break down would also appear to be a viable entry point in-play.


I expect breaks in the match between Jana Cepelova and Lesia Tsurenko.  Both players have a very low projected hold percentage, and both appear to be poor on clay based on their stats.  I'm going for the underdog here, in this 'bad v bad' clash - there's a very limited sample on Cepelova but from what I have I'd make this match much closer to evens.  Laying the player a break up would be a reasonable strategy in-play, and I especially like this move on Tsurenko considering she starts at around 1.5.


Elena Baltacha has a wild card into this event in her first main draw event since the Olympics last July.  She's been battling injuries and I think at one point even announced her retirement but she's back!  She's played a Fed Cup match and several ITF events on clay with mixed success.  She lost to WR 202 Maria Irigoyen in the Fed Cup and Sharon Fichman (she retired in this match) and Alison Riske in two ITF events in April in America.  A slightly better showing ensured last week in an ITF tournament in France where she lost in the last 16 to Teliana Pereira (no disgrace there) in a tight match.  It's tough to see how she can lift her level to the main draw and therefore I feel the 1.26 on her opponent, Stefanie Voegele, should be a fair bit shorter.  I'm especially looking to oppose Baltacha when leading and in the latter stages of the match when her fitness should be tested.  She's lost 3 of her 4 deciding sets since coming back.


Finally for today, Sloane Stephens takes on another player who can't wait for grass, Tsvetana Pironkova.  Stephens is clearly back in favour with the bookies after getting to the last 16 in Rome and therefore she is super-short for this at 1.36.  She is the definition of a player that the oddsmakers react to form in the extreme on, and I'm not sure that's the best approach given her inconsistency.  Based on clay stats in the last year, there's little between these two.  Stephens holds a touch more, and Pironkova breaks slightly more.  Stephens 9-6 record on clay against Pironkova's 6-9 record shows she should be justifiably favourite, but 1.36 is ridiculous.  


I hope you enjoyed reading and as always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on.


Saturday, May 18th, 2013.


It was another good day on the pre-match tip front with more profit.  Our day started inauspiciously though, with Marcel Granollers taking just one game in his thrashing by Benoit Paire.  Who knows the level Paire can go to if his mentality is good (a big if though)?


However we stormed back with Tomas Berdych not only covering the 1.5 set handicap but getting the win over Novak Djokovic, and then Sam Stosur comfortably covered the 5.5 game handicap, actually losing a break lead in the final set over Victoria Azarenka.


P&L updated in the pre-match tab as usual - after yesterday's 3.94 point profit we now have a fantastic 34.13 point profit for May, from a stake of 95.75 points (ROI 35.64%).


With it being semi-final day today, we only have 4 matches and with their being 4 short priced favourites, we don't have a great deal to work with.  I've gone with two small selections today.


Saturday Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA:-


0.5 pts Sara Errani to beat Victoria Azarenka @ 4.00 Sporting Bet.

1 pt Sara Errani +4.5 games to beat Victoria Azarenka @ 2.00 Pinnacle Sports.


ATP:


1.5 pts Benoit Paire +4.5 games to beat Roger Federer @ 2.25 Marathon Bet.


Saturday Match Previews:-


It's a shame that our four quarter finals, on the surface, appear fairly uncompetitive.


Simona Halep has had a great run this week and eclipsed Jelena Jankovic in an epic yesterday.  I considered that a moral victory as my highly detailed stat analysis changed my original opinion (and year long stats) that Jankovic was value.  Only the extremely ambitious would give her a chance against Serena Williams, who dropped 2 games to Carla Suarez Navarro yesterday, one more than she did against Dominika Cibulkova.  Halep has a low projected hold for today and I'd expect her to be broken with regularity.  If we can get Williams at over 1.5 on a Halep service game, I might be interested in this.


Victoria Azarenka stumbled past Sam Stosur last night whilst Sara Errani could rest after Maria Sharapova withdrew from their match before the start.  I don't rate Azarenka nearly as highly on clay as on other surfaces and I feel she should be about 1.48 for today, so the 1.34 about her does not appeal whatsoever.  Errani, as I mentioned yesterday, will be very different to Stosur as she doesn't have nearly as potent a serve but a much better return game.  I'm going for her to keep this close too with a 4.5 game start, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if she got the win.  I've not been too impressed with Azarenka at all this season in her few clay matches.


Tomas Berdych's 'reward' for beating Novak Djokovic is Rafael Nadal today.  Nadal again defeated David Ferrer yesterday in a deciding set, and Ferrer clearly has a mental block against his compatriot.  Nadal leads the head to head against Berdych 14-3, although only three matches (all wins for Nadal) were on clay.  I think the prices, considering Nadal has played two long 3 setters against Ferrer and Gulbis, of 1.18 on Nadal to be about right.  I'll probably leave this alone unless Berdych can push Nadal's price out somewhat from SP.  Ideally I'd like to take on the Berdych serve at some point.


Finally the success story of the men this week, Benoit Paire, takes his sizzling form into the semi final where he meetsRoger Federer.  Federer appears to have hit his stride a little better this week than last although he needed to recover from a break deficit in the second set yesterday against Jerzy Janowicz, breaking the Pole when serving for the set.  I'm going with the Frenchman to cover the 4.5 game handicap in this - there should be a few breaks in this.  If he can carry his form of the last two games into this match he has a good chance of not only covering that but even winning - based on the projected hold stats I'd much rather be on 1.18 on Nadal than 1.15 on Federer, that's for sure.  Paire has a low projected hold though so if we can get much bigger on Federer than this (I want 1.5-1.6 at least) it might be worth taking on some of Paire's service games.


A lot of people have contacted me regarding my projected hold model.  I can't say exactly how it is formulated, but from Monday I am offering the opportunity to have access to that exact data (and other data) for each match by making my daily trading spreadsheet available.  There will be an update on Sunday with more information about this, so if you are interested in this please check back then!


As always, good luck with what you decide to bet or trade on and there will be an update tomorrow.


Friday, May 17th, 2013.


We earned more profit in the pre-match tips yesterday (P&L updated in the pre-match tab), although we got a little lucky.  Ayumi Morita was 6-1, 2-0 down to Victoria Azarenka when she retired, voiding our game handicap bet which looked doomed to lose.  However I feel we deserved that piece of luck after the reverse happened to us when Marcel Granollers +1.5 sets bet lost due to Andy Murray's retirement on Wednesday.   


Jerzy Janowicz seems on a personal quest to make us some money this week and again did the job against Richard Gasquet, coming back from a set down for us to win both the outright bet and set handicap bet.  I didn't see Gilles Simon's match against Roger Federer but I'm highly surprised at the scoreline.


There's not much in the way of tips today - a fair few deserved short prices but there's several matches that interest me.


Friday's Pre-Match Tips:-


WTA:-


2 pts Sam Stosur +5.5 games to beat Victoria Azarenka at 1.92 Marathon Bet.

2 pts Sara Errani +5.5 games to beat Maria Sharapova at 1.93 Sporting Bet.


ATP:-


3 pts Marcel Granollers to beat Benoit Paire at 2.70 Pinnacle Sports.

3 pts Tomas Berdych +1.5 sets to beat Novak Djokovic at 2.70 Boyle Sports.


Friday Match Previews:-


We start at the slightly later time of 11am today, and it's quarter finals day in Rome.  With the three best clay court players on each tour still in the tournament we can expect tomorrow's semi-finals and Sunday's final to be great contests.  


Serena Williams takes on Carla Suarez Navarro in the first women's match today.  Suarez Navarro has a really good record in the last 3 months on clay (13-5) and I've done well from her in this time but in this period Williams is 13-0 and I feel the 1.06 on the world number one is fair.  With there being a large difference in projected holds, as might be expected, only one outcome can be reasonably considered.  


The match between Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic is an interesting one.  I consider clay to be Jankovic's best surface and the year long surface stats make the price of around 1.75 good value on her.  However, when we consider the clay stats of the last 3 months (and also this week), the match is much more even, so I'm leaving this alone pre-match.  I'm struggling to find much of an edge to this match - projected holds are fairly average - the only thing that stares out at me is that Halep has good break point saving stats.  She was only broken once by Vinci yesterday, and only gave two break point opportunities, so she's clearly serving well (although Vinci was pretty poor yesterday too).  


Ayumi Morita injured her left thigh yesterday against Victoria Azarenka, voiding our game handicap bet but I'm looking at similar today with Sam Stosur.   Azarenka starts at around 1.2.  I feel the 1.92 on Stosur +5.5 games line is reasonable when you consider Stosur has the second best serving stats on clay on the WTA Tour behind Serena Williams.  She holds 76% of the time in the last year which is marginally better than Azarenka's 75.5%.  So I feel that Stosur will be able to keep this close, at least.  Getting her first win over Petra Kvitova (and winning in a decider - a rare outcome for her) should give her confidence, so whilst an outright win is fairly unlikely, I do feel that the game handicap offers value.  As you might expect for a match involving two servers a fair bit over the 61.8% mean for WTA holds, projected holds are high (64% Stosur, 76% Azarenka) and hence I feel there won't be many breaks in this match.


Sara Errani hasn't played close to her best in recent weeks but that has led to some nice pre-match prices which have won despite the fact she hasn't been on her best form.  She was more impressive yesterday against Maria Kirilenko, who retired in the second set.  Her serve is never going to be her strongest asset but I felt her return game was better than other recent showings.  As with the Azarenka match, I expect Errani to be able to keep this close, but for different reasons - there are likely to be more breaks in this than in the Azarenka-Stosur clash but Errani will be able to pressure theMaria Sharapova serve much more than Stosur will to Azarenka.  Sharapova starts at the 1.2 mark as well and Errani is available at 1.93 with the 5.5 game start.  I don't feel Errani will win (generally her record against top opponents is very poor) but she can keep this close.  I'll be looking to oppose Errani in-play if she leads by a break.


Moving onto the men's matches, Benoit Paire cost me yesterday against Juan Martin Del Potro, as I opposed a few of his service games expecting the Argentine to pressure the volatile Paire.  Paire kept his composure, which after some fairly creditable showings against Rafael Nadal recently, leads me to believe that he respects the bigger names a lot more and saves his antics for the lower level players.  That's the category his opponent Marcel Granollers falls into today and it would be absolutely typical of Paire to blow this.  The market appears in love with Paire, with his price around the 1.5 mark, and I can't help feeling that's a huge over-reaction to his first win over a top 10 player.  If anything, Granollers' opponent yesterday, Jeremy Chardy, played a lot better than the lethargic and disinterested Del Potro, and surely Granollers will be able to pressure the Paire serve more than Del Potro bothered to.  


Granollers has the better clay stats in the last year winning 14 and losing 8 matches, as opposed to Paire's 11-10 record and their serve and return stats are almost identical.  This also holds in the last month too.  This week, Granollers has actually held more (77% to 74%) and broken more (32% to 28%) - so the 2.7 on the Spaniard pre-match looks great value.  With projected holds around the 70% mark, I'd expect a fair few breaks in this.  Opposing Paire a break up certainly wouldn't be the worst move.


When you look at the dominant 13-1 head to head lead that Novak Djokovic enjoys over Tomas Berdych, you'd be forgiven in thinking today's match is a foregone conclusion.  However they've only once met on clay, in Monte Carlo in April 2012 and Berdych took the first set in that match.  Indeed, Berdych has won a set in 5 of the 8 matches they've played since the start of 2011 and appears to be capable of testing the world number one for periods of matches.  I also feel clay brings these two players levels a little closer together and whilst Berdych may have mental issues getting the win here, he is more than capable of taking a set.  The 2.70 on him doing this represents very good value in my eyes. 


I also feel there will be breaks in this match.  Djokovic drops his service hold to 81.3% on clay as opposed to 86.9% across all surfaces and this is a fair bit more than the mean difference.  I feel opposing either player a break up wouldn't be a terrible strategy.  


The last two men's matches appear pretty straightforward.  


Rafael Nadal starts at 1.16 today and that's generous because even in times of adversity, he appears invincible on clay against David Ferrer.  It makes me wonder whether Ferrer's solitary clay win over Nadal in 2004 (their first career meeting) will be the only time he will ever beat him on the surface.  Nadal was tested by Ernests Gulbis yesterday, who was excellent, but Nadal just seems to get the job done even when their opponents are playing superb tennis.  It's hard to go against Nadal today.  I'll look to get bigger than SP in-play if Nadal falls behind, but I want at least 1.5.


Jerzy Janowicz appears intent on dominating French tennis after his run in Paris last year and ousting their top two players, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet, in the previous two rounds.  Janowicz has attracted a lot of criticism for his antics recently and to be honest I couldn't care less about that.  I'll leave that to the fans (and commentators).  For me, players with personality is a good thing and I actually hope he gets under Roger Federer's skin today.  Federer starts at around 1.17, and whilst I feel Federer is vulnerable on clay against top players and also good returners, I don't think Janowicz can test him today.  Federer has a projected hold of 94.7%, and whilst this matchup gives him a low percentage for saving break points, I'm not sure Janowicz will even get that far.  I just don't see how Janowicz can break him here, so tiebreaks would appear to be his best chance.  I'll take the same approach with Federer as Nadal - I want a lot bigger than SP before I get involved.


As always, good luck in the markets.


Thursday, May 16th, 2013.


It was another day in profit yesterday for our pre-match tips (P&L updated in the pre-match tabs page), and it could have been a lot better if our Granollers +1.5 sets bet hadn't have been voided by one of the most strange retirements I can remember, with Murray retiring after winning the second set tiebreak...


There's not a lot that excites me on the pre-match front, so I've just got a few low-stake picks which I feel are slight value.


WTA:-


3 pts Ayumi Morita + 7 games to beat Victoria Azarenka at 1.86 Pinnacle Sports.

0.25 pts Ayumi Morita to beat Victoria Azarenka at 11.38 5 Dimes.


ATP:-


0.5 pts Jerzy Janowicz to beat Richard Gasquet at 3.54 Pinnacle Sports.

1 pt Jerzy Janowicz +1.5 sets to beat Richard Gasquet at 1.83 Pinnacle Sports.

1 pt Gilles Simon +1.5 sets to beat Roger Federer at 2.50 BoyleSports.


Thursday Previews:-


Both the men and women are scheduled to start at 10am today but whether we start on time is in question as the weather forecast in Rome is not looking fantastic today.  According to my trusty iPhone, it doesn't look like the rain will clear up until about 7pm tonight UK time, so we may at least have some evening action.  I'll do the previews as normal, and if they get put back to tomorrow, then we can just use them then.


Kevin Anderson would appear to be value based on projected holds of 78% to 83% in his match with Tomas Berdych at 4.00 but the 7-0 recent head to head in favour of the Czech worries me greatly.  It's the only reason why I haven't tipped Anderson today, despite the fact that he's playing some great stuff on clay and has made real strides in the last year or so.  I don't see any really obvious match up difficulties but Anderson choked badly at the end of each set against Berdych last week in Madrid and I can't viably recommend backing him because of that, and the other 6 matches! 


Novak Djokovic starts at 1.1 against Alexandr Dolgopolov and I think only the extremely optimistic Dolgopolov fan would think he has a decent chance of taking this.  Djokovic dropped a break early to Albert Montanes before coming through very easily, whilst Dolgopolov could put his feet up after Stanislas Wawrinka withdrew pre-match yesterday.  I'll be looking to take on Dolgopolov's serve if he gets a break up in this.  Djokovic breaks 36% on clay (12% above average) so we can expect him, as you might expect, to put pressure on the Dolgopolov serve.


I think Benoit Paire may have a marginally better chance of an upset against Juan Martin Del Potro, who starts at 1.2 but I feel hasn't been on the top of his game for a short while now.  However, Paire may lack the consistency to beat a top player as he can lose focus and composure very easily.  As with Dolgopolov, I'll be looking to take on the Paire serve if he gets a break up.  Paire's projected hold of 68% means that play is mandatory.


The closest match in the ATP competition today is undoubtedly between Jeremy Chardy and Marcel Granollers.  Chardy beat Kei Nishikori in facile fashion, in a shock result.  Chardy appears to be serving pretty well in this tournament so far, and gave the Japanese, who is usually excellent on return, no break point opportunities yesterday.  He also won 72% of points on his second serve, which is very high.  I didn't see the match as I had to go out yesterday afternoon for a short while, so I wonder how much Nishikori's fragile body was up for any sort of fight.  As we all are aware, Granollers had a bizarre match with Andy Murray yesterday, taking the opening set before completely choking a double break lead away against an injured player in the second set before Murray incredibly retired after winning the second set tiebreak.  The stats make Chardy a marginal favourite and the bookies also see it that way, pricing up the Frenchman at 1.83, which I consider about right.  I make Granollers somewhat the weaker server but the better returner, but bearing in mind Chardy has had impressive serving stats in both matches so far, I would prefer taking on the Granollers serve.  So after some consideration, I'll look to oppose the Granollers serve in selected situations, especially if he is trading odds-on.


Some people appear to fancy Ernests Gulbis' chances against Rafael Nadal today but I don't.  In fact, if I was a fan of backing short odds, the 1.13 about Nadal looks attractive to me, considering projected holds are 60.4% and 87.5%.  Therefore, should Gulbis get in front in this and Nadal is over the 1.4-1.5 mark, I'll look to oppose Gulbis' serve in selective situations.  I really fail to see how he can hold much more often than this percentage.


David Ferrer isn't in great form currently, but how much we can read into his tough victory over Fernando Verdasco, I'm unsure of.  I'm sure many people expected him to roll Verdasco over, but matches between those two tend to be tight and Ferrer deserves some credit for coming back from a set down.  Today he faces Philipp Kohlschreiber, who undoubtedly is in good form after straight set victories over Milos Raonic and Albert Ramos.  Ferrer starts at 1.3 today and based on the stats and form, I can't encourage any taking of that.  I have him about 1.35-1.40, so there's no great value on Kohlschreiber too.  I'll be looking on getting bigger on Ferrer should he fall behind.  Kohlschreiber has served well so far but hasn't faced a returner close to the ability of Ferrer.  


Jerzy Janowicz gained pre-match tip followers some good money yesterday as he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.  Today he faces another tough game against a Frenchman, this time against Richard Gasquet.  I'm going with the big-serving Pole for a shock again today, but as there's less of an edge based on my model, the stakes are smaller.  Gasquet, based on the stats in this match up, should struggle to save break points, so Janowicz may be able to break on several occasions if he can get a few chances.  


Finally with the men, Gilles Simon takes on Roger Federer.  Simon matches tend to be exceptional to trade, and yesterday's win over Mikhail Youzhny was no different.  Breaks and leads were exchanged with regularity, which regular readers may know suits my trading style down to the ground.  Simon, it must be noted, has given the Swiss legend a few problems in the past, although they last played in 2011.  I don't particularly rate Federer on clay, but I think the 1.22 about him isn't too far off the mark.  I have him at 1.25 so there's little difference.  Simon has a low projected hold so if he gets in front, and you can get much bigger on Federer, I'll look to oppose Simon's serve in selected situations.


Jelena Jankovic and Na Li get us started in the women's tournament, and personally I feel Li is short at 1.5.  Jankovic failed a test for the pre-match tips, so I left her out of it but I feel Li is no value at 1.5 based on the clay stats.  Jankovic's clay stats are impressive - she wins more matches, holds more and breaks more than across all surfaces so I feel Li should be about 1.65 for this.  Having said this, I feel the Jankovic serve may be a little vulnerable so I'll look to oppose it selectively, if she trades odds-on.


Roberta Vinci appears to be some value against Simona Halep, who has had an excellent run in this tournament so far, defeating Kuznetsova and Radwanska.  Vinci struggled past Elena Vesnina in three sets and then Nastassya Burnett was defeated in straight sets, although she had some opportunities in the second set for a 5-3 lead.  I'm not sure Vinci is playing near her top level and there are feelings her shoulder may not be 100% or close to it, so I can't recommend any tip on her, even at the apparently generous 1.82.  I'll be looking to oppose the Halep serve when odds-on in this match if Vinci appears to be reasonably competitive.


Sara Errani capitulated in the second set against Christina McHale before taking the match in the third set.  Maria Kirilenko is a higher level opponent and should test her much more, but I think the 1.57 about Errani is about right.  Kirilenko has a 60% projected hold - she is a good server but with Errani breaking 50.4% on clay in the last year, I can see the Italian pressuring Kirilenko's serve on many occasions and will look to oppose the Russian selectively today.


Unfortunately, the best match for working bad servers both ways is the only match not streamed!  That's the match between Carla Suarez Navarro and Lourdes Dominguez Lino, who are both pretty weak servers but impress much more when receiving serve.  With projected holds both below the 55% mark, I'd recommend any strategy you employ in this involves taking that into consideration.  Laying both servers selectively should work well - especially if Lino starts well and the 1.4 pre-match (which I believe is no value) on Suarez Navarro goes a fair bit higher.


There are three women around the 1.1 mark pre-match - Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka.  I feel out of the three Azarenka is the most vulnerable but I don't feel Ayumi Morita will win - but she should be able to keep it competitive as she's held 72% on clay in the last year and Azarenka doesn't break nearly as much on clay as other top players (39%) so that's why I've gone for Morita +7 games on the handicap today.  That, to those who don't like maths is a 6-3, 6-3 loss or better.  6-2, 6-3 is money back.  I'd be pretty disappointed if Morita couldn't pick up more than 4 games.  Dominika Cibulkova caused Williams problems recently in Miami, in March, with the world number one coming back from a set and break down if I recall correctly.  I feel she should keep it closer than Sloane Stephens will against Sharapova, although I'd be surprised if either took a set.


Finally, the bookmakers appear to be unable to split Petra Kvitova and Sam Stosur and neither can I.  Projected holds are 73.9% and 73.8% so it's understandable why that is the case!  I suppose that makes Kvitova some value at 2.04 but it's not a big enough edge for me.  I'd expect this to be very close with few breaks.  A very difficult match to call.  It's always worth knowing that Stosur has an awful record in deciding sets, and a deciding set is more than possible today.


I hope you enjoyed reading today's previews, and as always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on today, and there will be more tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.

(First Posted 5:35pm Tuesday, May 14th, 2013)

(Edited 9:30pm Tuesday)


Pre-Match Tips for Wednesday:-

(FINAL VERSION)


WTA:-


3pts Sara Errani (anything over 1.33) against Christina McHale (edit: price never arose - void unless 1.33 becomes available)

1pt Julia Goerges to beat Victoria Azarenka at 7.00 Bet365

1.5 pts Julia Goerges +1.5 sets to beat Victoria Azarenka at 2.88 BoyleSports/Paddy Power

2.5 pts Lourdes Dominguez Lino to beat Yanina Wickmayer at 2.38 StanJames

2pts Kiki Bertens to beat Sloane Stephens at 2.22 Pinnacle Sports

1pt Carla Suarez Navarro to beat Romina Oprandi at 1.75 Pinnacle Sports


ATP:-


2 pts Marcel Granollers +1.5 sets to beat Andy Murray at 2.63 BoyleSports.

1.5 pts Albert Ramos to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber at 2.38 Ladbrokes/Marathon Bet.

1 pt Jerzy Janowicz to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 3.5 Sportingbet. (edit: Now available at 4.1 MarathonBet)

1.5 pts Jerzy Janowicz +1.5 sets to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at 1.99 SBOBET.

3pts Gilles Simon to beat Mikhail Youzhny at 2.20 5 Dimes

1pt Viktor Troicki to beat Ernests Gulbis at 3.75 Marathon Bet

1pt Viktor Troicki +1.5 sets to beat Ernests Gulbis at 2.06 Pinnacle Sports


As I felt last night, Bertens and Simon both drifted so by waiting on them we got the better price.  As I mentioned then - it's almost always worth waiting backing Simon until closer to the start of the match as he almost always drifts against reasonably competent opponents.  He opened at 1.95 with Pinnacle Sports last night, so by waiting we gained a much better price.


Yesterday was a mixed bag but we did net some profit overall with our biggest bet, Carla Suarez Navarro, coming through in a third set tiebreak to put us in the green.  I've updated the P&L on the pre-match tips tab.


Wednesday Previews:-


We start at 10am today in the women's tournament, and 11am in the men's, so I'll preview the women's matches that interest me first.  With 23 matches on the card today, again workload is high so I'll mainly focus on the matches I find interest me the most.


Sample size is small for Nastassya Burnett against Roberta Vinci so how much I can read into her stats is in question.  However I will say she cost me badly against Alize Cornet on Monday (biggest loss this year) so I hope I can recoup some today!  Vinci toughed out Elena Vesnina yesterday in a match she possibly should have won a little more comfortably and I wonder whether her shoulder is still causing her a few problems.  On that basis I can't possibly recommend the 1.29 price pre-match and will see how this develops before making a move.  If Burnett leads but Vinci appears competitive (a little like the Wawrinka match yesterday) then I will consider backing Vinci at a bigger price.  But it would probably be for small-ish stakes.


There is an all-Chinese encounter at 10am as well, with Jie Zheng taking on Na Li.  Zheng actually leads the head to head 4-1 but her four victories were between 2004 and 2006.  So that head to head is worthless.  However I will say, and it well may be a figment of my imagination, that I find that Asian players tend to have 'strange' results when playing each other.  If you buy into that, Li is available to lay at about 1.15!  Based on the stats, the price is justified at least.  Zheng only holds 52.3% on clay in the last year and when you take Li's returning ability into the equation, she should hold less than 50% of her service games.  Therefore, should she get herself into a winning position, it could be worth taking the bigger prices on Li as she should be able to pressurise Zheng's serve on many occasions.


Melanie Oudin benefited from a retirement against Ekaterina Makarova on Monday but will have been pleased just to get herself into a position where that was possible.  She faces Dominika Cibulkova today, who recovered from a horror first set against Kristina Mladenovic to win in three sets.  Cibulkova is priced at around 1.3, and with her breaking 49% on clay in the last year this should ensure she puts the weak Oudin serve under pressure today.  I'll be looking to oppose the American when a break up, and in pressure situations such as serving for the set or staying in the set.


I'm kicking myself for not taking the 1.3 available on early prices on Sara Errani yesterday afternoon.  Few bookmakers had priced it up and I felt I could get a little bigger later on.  Now she has shortened to 1.22 for her match with Christina McHale today, and that's more realistic.  Unless she plays horrifically I can't see her having any problems with the American, who after some promising results last year has faded back into mediocrity.  How much of that can be attributed to her illness, I am unsure of, but based on the stats I'd be shocked if McHale won this.  I'll be looking to oppose McHale when leading and in pressure situations.  She almost let Karin Knapp back into the first set yesterday - that match wasn't streamed but I guess Knapp must have been tired after reaching an ITF final the week before.


I'd be surprised if Bojana Jovanovski gave Jelena Jankovic much of a game.  She was basically on one leg against Caroline Wozniacki yesterday, who choked away a 4-0 lead in the final set and a 5-2 tiebreak lead in it as well.  Jovanovski's clay stats are weak at the best of times, and if she hasn't significantly recovered from yesterday, today won't be those best of times!  With Jankovic starting at 1.21, I'll take the same approach as I detailed with Errani.


Both Sloane Stephens and Kiki Bertens came through potentially difficult matches against home opposition in the first round and they meet again today.  The pre-match tip is a pure stat play based on my model, with Bertens breaking 7% more on clay than Stephens and holding only 2% less.  Therefore the 2.22 appears to be some value.  I'm not sure I'll do too much with this in play.  Both players are close to the average service hold mark.


I like the look of the match between Lourdes Dominguez Lino and Yanina Wickmayer for trading.  Wickmayer starts as favourite, at about 1.75.  This match should swing both ways as both women should be well capable of breaking each other.  I have Wickmayer at 58.4% projected hold with Lino marginally higher at 60.0%.  I also feel Lino is good value pre-match at around 2.38, on that basis.  I'll be looking to oppose the player a break up in this, for sure, and maybe some other situations too where I feel the risk/reward is good.


I like the 1.75 about Carla Suarez Navarro against Romina Oprandi later this afternoon.  However I've kept it small because I am worried a little how much the tough match late yesterday will have taken it out of the Spaniard.  Oprandi has a low projected serve in this - 52.8% to Suarez Navarro's 61.6% so this should indicate there should be some opportunities to oppose her serve as well.  


I have considered adding Ayumi Morita at 1.74 to the pre-match tips but decided against it.  She plays Urszula Radwanska today and I feel the price is generous based on my model.  Radwanska only holds 56.2% on clay in the last year which isn't good enough against most opponents - I've given her a little slack though which is why I haven't tipped Morita as her clay matches have generally been against good opposition where she has been an underdog, so they may have a little scope for improvement.  With a hold that low, however, I'll look to oppose the Pole when leading by a break at odds-on prices.


Finally for the women, I've taken a bit of a flier on Julia Goerges to beat Victoria Azarenka as well as on the set handicap.  Azarenka totally imploded last week against Makarova and she's only played one match on clay all season.  Projected holds are also a lot closer than the 1.17 about Azarenka would suggest, so whilst I don't feel conditions are ideal for Goerges, it's more of an opposition of Azarenka than a back of Goerges...


Time is running out before the matches start in 15 minutes so I'll be pretty concise with the ATP.  


I feel Jerzy Janowicz can really push Jo-Wilfried Tsonga today.  He gave Tomas Berdych a very good match recently and I rate Berdych much higher than Tsonga on clay.  Projected holds are pretty close too, which definitely indicates value on the Pole.  He also doesn't appear particularly overawed against top opposition either.


Gilles Simon is another player I feel has been under-rated today.  Mikhail Youzhny is highly inconsistent and I feel the Frenchman, however unimpressive he was yesterday against Filippo Volandri, is the better clay-courter.  I'm not sure Simon would lose to Hanescu without putting up a fight as Youzhny did recently, anyway!  This is a match where we can work the server both ways as both players have a low projected hold, so I'll look to oppose the player a break up (especially Youzhny) in this.


The same approach can also be taken with Benoit Paire (as usual) and Julien Benneteau.  74.3% and 72.8% projected holds respectively are below average and should indicate slightly more breaks than normal.  Especially Benneteau lately has had problems holding in pressure situations so it wouldn't surprise me to see one of these broken serving for a set or serving to stay in a set.


Andy Murray is too short against Marcel Granollers today.  I read a quote somewhere saying 'Murray on clay - lay' and I can't argue too much with that.  His stats just aren't good enough to test the best and whilst Granollers isn't the best, projected holds are a lot closer than the starting odds of 1.19 on the Scotsman suggest.  I can see breaks here too.


I was pleased to see Kei Nishikori bounce back, winning in facile fashion against Paolo Lorenzi on Monday and he starts at 1.47 against Jeremy Chardy this afternoon.  Chardy survived an arduous 3 setter against Feliciano Lopez yesterday and that result may not be as impressive as it was only Lopez's second match after injury.  Chardy has a 74% projected hold so I'd expect the Japanese to put pressure on his serve, so I'll look to get over evens on Nishikori if he falls behind.


I'm probably not going to get involved with Stanislas Wawrinka's match with Alexandr Dolgopolov.  Stan appeared tired and to have a tight thigh at points during his tough win over Carlos Berlocq yesterday and surely he will have to lose against a mediocre opponent soon.  Ever time I back him right now I feel that I'm walking a tightrope!  Dolgopolov can easily win but can easily go away without putting up any fight at all.  Based on stats, the 1.71 on Stan is huge value, but of course the bookies have factored the fatigue factor in!  


With projected holds both at 78%, I like the bet at 2.38 on Albert Ramos to beat Philipp Kohlschreiber.  However I probably won't get involved with the match in-play as I feel that there's a decent chance that whoever breaks first, wins the match.


Finally I feel Ernests Gulbis should be favourite against Viktor Troicki but 1.37 is an insult.  I feel that 1.5-1.55 would be much fairer so a lay of the Latvian pre-match with a view to greening up later on at a higher price could well be worthwhile.


As always, good luck with what you decide to bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 14th, 2013.


Pre-Match Tips for Tuesday's Remaining First Round Matches:-


WTA:-


3 pts Dominika Cibulkova to beat Kristina Mladenovic at 1.36 Coral/Ladbrokes

1 pt Jie Zheng to beat Magdalena Rybarikova at 2.59 Pinnacle Sports

1 pt Julia Goerges to beat Andrea Hlavackova at 1.35 Pinnacle Sports

2.5 pts Flavia Pennetta to beat Sloane Stephens at 1.58 Pinnacle Sports

4 pts Carla Suarez Navarro to beat Nadia Petrova at 2.00 Titanbet

1 pt Petra Kvitova to beat Sabine Lisicki at 1.83 Pinnacle Sports/SportingBet


My model also indicated recommendations on Karin Knapp and Anabel Medina Garrigues but they were filtered out due to fatigue issues.  Also Romina Oprandi failed the last test as well.


ATP:-


1 pt Filippo Volandri to beat Gilles Simon at 3.44 Pinnacle Sports

1.5 pts Lukas Rosol to beat Viktor Troicki at 1.75 Bwin


Yesterday's results were disappointing.  I'm not sure what happened to Alize Cornet (apart from losing me 50 ticks when receiving serve when she started crying).  Martin Klizan threw a set lead away against Albert Montanes, whilst Francesca Schiavone threw away a lead in the first set tiebreak to capitulate against Kiki Bertens.  Santiago Giraldo blew 11 break points against the big serving Jerzy Janowicz, and you don't win matches doing that.  Laura Robson did get the job done in impressive fashion yesterday against Venus Williams, who looks older by the match.  P&L updated in the pre-match tips tab.


Tuesday Previews:-


Only the 29 matches today!  So we should have something for everyone today.  With such a high amount of matches, I'll stick to the matches that particularly interest me, that I feel we have the biggest edge.


Dominika Cibulkova is a player I've recommended pre-match at 1.36 against Kristina Mladenovic, who still appears highly inconsistent on clay.   Cibulkova has broken 48% on clay in the last year and I feel she will pressure the Mladenovic serve today, which has a very low projected hold of 48.4%.  I'm looking to take bigger in-play if Cibulkova falls behind in this by a break and then take the green if she breaks back.  I'll also look to back the Slovak if she falls a set and break down.


Carla Suarez Navarro was tipped at evens last night against Nadia Petrova and now she's been backed into 1.8.  I've beaten the market there and I can only do that - the rest is in her hands now!  The prices are a lot more realistic now.  If Petrova leads by a break in this, I'll be looking to take bigger on the Spaniard.  She has the lower projected hold at 61% compared to 69%.


Who knows which Caroline Wozniacki will turn up today when she faces Bojana Jovanovski, but she's been in horrific form lately.  However, Jovanovski, with a 1-3 record on clay in the last year and 4-10 career record on the surface, doesn't appear to be a big fan of the dirt and I'm not sure she has the patience for a slower surface.  I'm not sure I want to back Wozniacki at 1.25 but I think she will win. 


Jie Zheng's match with Magdalena Rybarikova is one of particular interest.  I'm looking to oppose either player a break up as I feel this match will be very swingy with both ladies struggling to hold serve.  Rybarikova starts at 1.58 and to me that's no value at all with a lower hold and break percentage on the surface than Zheng - hence the tip on Zheng pre-match.  


If Karin Knapp is fresh she should have good chances against Christina McHale, who hasn't been in superb form lately.  Knapp lost in the final of an ITF event at the weekend and may be a little tired but if not, she would be a super price pre-match at around 2.2, as the stats indicate she should be favourite.  She breaks 44.4% on clay and this should mean that McHale will feel pressure on her serve today.  I'll be looking to oppose McHale when a break up should Knapp appear competitive.


Lesia Tsurenko should also have issues holding today against Varvara Lepchenko, and with a projected hold of 57%, I'll be looking to lay her when leading and in pressure situations.  This is the same projected hold that Sloane Stephens has against Flavia Pennetta, and I'll be taking the same approach.  The young American hasn't impressed me at all lately.


I can't see Simona Halep causing many issues to Agnieszka Radwanska, and I feel the 1.36 on the Pole is perhaps a little generous.  Halep cost me badly against Kuznetsova yesterday and should she beat Radwanska today without suffering a few breaks on the way, I feel the same could happen today!  I'll be looking to oppose Halep when leading and in pressure spots, for sure.  I can do little else considering Radwanska breaks 50.4% on clay in the last year, and Halep only holds 57.5% on the surface.


I would be really surprised if Ana Ivanovic, Julia Goerges or Serena Williams went out today, but perhaps Williams may be a lay-to-back pre-match.  She may be a little fatigued and despite her dominant performance against Maria Sharapova on Sunday, she was generally below-par in Madrid.  Laura Robson was superb under pressure yesterday against Serena's older sister, Venus, and she doesn't appear to be overawed against big-name opponents.  Who knows!


Stanislas Wawrinka has got to the last two finals so surely must be looking for some time off soon.  He starts at 1.47 against the Argentine clay-courter Carlos Berlocq and without considering fatigue, that appears to be value.  However, it definitely is in the equation and I can't back Stan here.  In-play all depends on his motivation.  If he is behind perhaps a little unluckily, I will back him at a much bigger price.  If he falls behind due to carefree unforced errors, not a chance.


Fernando Verdasco appeared a little more confident last week than recently and he is about 1.55 against Horacio Zeballos.  I feel there may be a touch of value on Zeballos but not enough to convince me of a pre-match tip.  I'm waiting for a fair bit bigger on Verdasco before I back him.


Lukas Rosol defeated Viktor Troicki 6-3 6-1 on the clay in Bucharest last month on the way to the title and I feel he is value again today at around 1.71.  On clay, his stats are far superior - holding 87% to 75%, and breaking 25% to 27%.  This would give Troicki a fairly low projected hold of 73%, so especially considering he loses concentration a lot and gifts breaks back, I'll look to oppose Troicki when leading by a break in this or in pressure situations.


Tommy Haas has been in superb form lately, rolling back the years week after week.  Today he faces Mikhail Youzhny,and unless Haas is getting tired from his exertions, I can't see the Russian causing him too many problems.  Haas has broken his opponents 31% on clay in the last year and that should mean he pressures Youzhny's serve today, as my model gives him a projected hold of 67.4%.  If Youzhny leads, I'll look to oppose him.


Filippo Volandri should enjoy conditions here and I've tipped a very small wager on him against Gilles Simon.  This should be a game where breaks are plentiful, as both players have projected holds in the 60%'s.  Volandri has one of the worst serves on the ATP tour and Simon should be able to take advantage of that - however, Simon himself has a weak serve and has been broken a great deal lately.  Volandri does have a good return game and should also be able to pressure the Frenchman.  I'll be looking to oppose the player leading by a break in this, and I'd expect that to be a trade with a high expectancy of profit.


The four short priced men - Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro should all win but the ones I feel are most vulnerable are Del Potro against Andrey Kuznetsov, who hasn't had some bad results lately (beating Rosol in qualifying) and I feel that Del Potro hasn't been at the races to some extent lately, and Federer against Potito Starace.  Starace had a hard-fought win over Radek Stepanek and surely will be motivated by the partisan support and will give his best after an injury lay-off has caused his ranking to plummet into the 400's, at it's worst.  However he probably is a top 50-60 player on clay and whilst I expect Federer to win, I'm not a backer of him at 1.07 on clay.  


As always, good luck with whatever you bet or trade on and there will be more tomorrow.


Monday, May 13th, 2013.


Pre-match tips:-


WTA:-


5 pts Alize Cornet to beat Nastassya Burnett at 1.57 PaddyPower/Coral

2 pts Laura Robson to beat Venus Williams at 2.30 BetVictor/BoyleSports

2 pts Francesca Schiavone to beat Kiki Bertens at 1.61 Pinnacle Sports


ATP:-


3pts Martin Klizan to beat Albert Montanes at 1.94 Pinnacle Sports

2pts Andreas Seppi to beat Fabio Fognini at 2.20 Various Bookmakers

3pts Santiago Giraldo to beat Jerzy Janowicz at 2.28 Pinnacle Sports


Good morning everyone!  A big week in Rome beckons this week as we continue our build-up to Roland Garros.  Most top players will be using this as good preparation (and probably won't play next week) for the Grand Slam so we can rely on maximum effort from the majority.  There are 22 matches today so workload is high!  Due to this I'll be fairly concise with my thoughts and focus on the matches that interest me the most.


We start in around 20 minutes, shortly after 10am with two ATP and three WTA matches.  


Juan Monaco takes on Benoit Paire first up and I see the 1.31 about Monaco, who is in good form on clay, as fair.  Paire, as we all should know by now, is super-inconsistent and tends to give breaks back very often.  I'm looking to oppose either when a break up today, especially Paire who has a very low projected serve of 62.8% for this match.  There could be a few swings in this one.


I feel the match between Albert Ramos and Jan Hajek to be closer than the 1.35 starting prices suggest, but I expect the Spaniard to come through eventually.  I'll be looking to oppose the Czech if he gets a break up in this - he should hold about 70% of service games which is pretty low.  Ramos has a poor 79% record when a set up but Hajek, with only 3 wins from a set down out of 22 matches in the last year, may not be able to take advantage of this.


I'm probably going to leave the match between Sorana Cirstea and Ayumi Morita alone.   They actually played last week with Morita retiring 3-0 down in the first set.  Too many intangibles here for me.


One match that I do expect many swings is the match between Monica Niculescu and Shuai Peng.  Both ladies should have difficulty holding serve - Niculescu holds 53% and Peng 61% on clay, with Niculescu breaking 40% and Peng 31%.  This would indicate the SP of 1.82 on Niculescu looks about right.  Both players are also around 7% below WTA average for saving break points, in this matchup.  So I'll be looking to oppose either player when a break up in this match, for sure.  Niculescu has a 5-9 (36%) record in deciding sets so may struggle should it get that far.  


Finally at 10am I quite like opposing Sabine Lisicki with a lay-to-back pre match against Mallory Burdette.  This match should be a lot closer than the 1.5 on the German would indicate - I expect a high percentage of holds with both women around the 70% mark.  Lisicki has a horrendous 72% winrate when a set up, which is way below the WTA average.  However Burdette's comeback ability is mediocre.  The American qualifier is, however, 64% in deciding sets in the last year, which is way better than Lisicki's 41%.


Marin Cilic has not impressed at all in his last two outings, losing as heavy favourite against Ivan Dodig and Pablo Andujar.  He goes for the hat-trick today, priced at 1.21 against the Kazakh qualifier, Andrey Golubev.  Golubev's projected hold is very low, at around 61%, but I do worry that there may be something untoward with Cilic at the moment so may be fairly cautious with this match.  Golubev, mainly in Challengers, has a below-average 79% win rate when a set up (against worse opposition) and with Cilic winning 32% when a set down, backing Cilic if he loses a set up should be a positive EV play (based on the stats) but risky (based on the current form of Cilic).


I feel Martin Klizan should be priced around 1.65-1.7 against Albert Montanes so the price just shy of evens about him is very nice.  He has a marginally better clay record (8-9 vs 8-11 in the last year), and holds more (73.9% to 73.2%) and breaks much more (26% to 19.4%).  I'm also looking to get a bigger price on the Slovak if he falls behind by a break in this - Montanes has a low 70% projected hold.  Klizan's record a set up is mediocre (81% winrate) whereas Montanes impresses a set down, winning 28% of matches from that scenario.  So it may be worth hedging if you back Klizan pre-match and he takes the first set.


Jarkko Nieminen has now lost all five of his matches with Ernests Gulbis, including two very recently, so the bookmakers have taken no chances pricing the Latvian up at 1.3 today.  I'll be looking to get bigger on him should he fall behind.


Andreas Seppi was favourite against Fabio Fognini last month in Monte Carlo but after he threw away a set and break lead in that, Fognini went on an impressive run of form.  However, he himself choked in Madrid last week, losing from 40-0 on his serve when serving for the match.  Seppi starts at 2.3 today which I feel is great value - I cannot see how recent events have moved him from 1.7 (which probably in itself was value) to 2.3.  For me, Seppi should be around 1.9 for this, based on the stats.  He has a higher projected hold of 71% to Fognini's 70%, which will indicate there will be breaks.  Certainly laying the player a break up is definitely a viable strategy.


I feel the bookmakers have Santiago Giraldo and Jerzy Janowicz's price the wrong way round.  Janowicz, as I've mentioned previously, does have a decent Challenger record on clay but I think that this price is way too short on him.  Not only does Giraldo has better Challenger stats on clay, he also has much more ATP experience on the surface, and leads the projected holds 83% to 80%.  


Kei Nishikori was incredibly disappointing against Pablo Andujar in the Madrid quarter-finals but hopefully he can regain his focus today against Paolo Lorenzi.  Lorenzi is a prime example of a player that is a little too good for Challengers but not good enough on the ATP tour.  If anything, Nishikori at 1.36 represents a bit of value, but I prefer taking bigger in-play should the Japanese fall behind.  Lorenzi only holds 74.9% on clay in the last year, and with Nishikori with a higher than average break percentage, I can see him struggling on serve.  Nishikori wasted a whole host of break points against Andujar but it's worth noting that Lorenzi has an appalling record saving break points.  I have him as 5% below ATP average for that, in this match.


Back over to the WTA, I feel the qualifier, Nastassya Burnett will struggle against the French clay-courter, Alize Cornet.  Burnett is 0-4 in main draw matches in the last 12 months and has held less than 50% of her service games in those matches.  Overall I have Cornet at 63% projected hold, and Burnett at below 50%, so I feel that the 1.57 on Cornet pre-match is great value.  I'll be looking to get bigger as well, should she fall behind in play.


Venus Williams hasn't played for a month and I feel she will be rusty against Laura Robson, who did well last week with an excellent win over Agnieszka Radwanska and taking Ana Ivanovic all the way to a final set tiebreak.  This match, I would imagine, will feature a lot of swings and whilst I feel the 2.3 pre-match is good value on Robson, we may see bigger in-play.  I'll be looking to lay the player a break up in this match.  


Another player I'll be looking to lay when leading is Mathilde Johansson, in the all-qualifier match against Garbine Muguruza.  Muguruza is highly rated by many, although I would like to see a little more before I totally commit myself to that assertion.  She is rightful 1.4 favourite today though, and she should give Johansson's mediocre serve a tough workout today.


Svetlana Kuznetsova has a good record here and takes on Simona Halep.  Halep only holds 54.9% in the last year on clay and Kuznetsova can take advantage of that.   Whilst I feel the 1.4 on Kuznetsova pre match is about right, if I can get bigger in play when she is a break down, I will, as I can see Halep struggling to hold serve in this.


Finally I make Francesca Schiavone a touch of value at 1.62 over Kiki Bertens.  Bertens has suffered two straight defeats since injuring her ankle in the final set against Dominguez Lino, so her fitness level is anyone's guess.  She may get a little frustrated on a slower court, as well.  With projected holds 69% to 58%, I'll be looking to take the above evens on Schiavone should she fall behind by a break in this.


As always, good luck with what you decide to bet or trade on, and there will be more tomorrow.


Saturday, May 11th, 2013.


I’m having the weekend off from the gambling world as site admin (father of TennisRatings) is staying for the weekend.  However we will be working on some changes to the website, which I hope you will enjoy.


In lieu of recommended tips/trades for the weekend, I’ve written an early statistical preview of next week’s tournaments in Rome.   Hopefully it will give you some insights into how we can expect the next week to go.


Rome Preview:-


We move from the Spanish capital, Madrid, to the Italian capital, Rome for our tennis action next week.   With there being a week between the end of this tournament and the start of Roland Garros, there should be no need for any top players to tank in this event, so we should get maximum effort from the vast majority.

 

I for one am pleased to move to a slower clay court because this increases our options in-play with a fair few more breaks of serve on the cards.  As regular readers may well remember, the ATP mean for service holds on clay is 75.6%, and Madrid in the last year had a very high 81.5%.   However in Rome, last year saw 74.4% of service games held, and this falls further below average slightly with 73.8% of service games being held there all-time.  

 

Rafael Nadal has a much better record on the slower courts in Rome than on the faster courts of Madrid with an exceptional 36-2 career win/loss record.  Novak Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in last year’s final in straight sets, has the only other remotely comparable record and even that is somewhat worse, at 23-5.  These two have shared the tournament in the last 8 years, with Nadal winning on 6 of those occasions, including three of the last four years.   So those who are keen on backing a long priced winner may be disappointed here…

 

Last year backing favourites had an excellent record in the men’s tournament, apart from the first round where there were some surprise results.  Overall 74% of favourites won here last year, and the average from 2009-2012 has 67% of favourites winning their matches.  This is marginally higher than the 66% clay average but a touch below the 68% average of favourites winning Masters events, and the 70% average for favourites winning Masters events on clay.

 

The women also had a marginally below-average service hold last year, with 61.4% of service games held, compared to the 61.7% overall in the last year on clay.  This is exactly the all-time mean as well, so this figure would appear to be pretty reliable.  We can pretty much treat each match in its individual merits, therefore, without worrying too much about court speed this week.

 

There have been various winners here in the past ten years, with Maria Sharapova taking the last two titles, beating Na Li and Sam Stosur respectively in the last two finals.  In a shock in 2010, the unseeded Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez took the title.  Going back a few years, Jelena Jankovic has had some success here, winning in 2007 and 2008, and being runner up to Martinez Sanchez in 2010.  However her game is not at those levels and I’d be pretty surprised if she reached close to the final.  Svetlana Kuznetsova has been in reasonable form lately and was runner up in 2007 and 2009 so, depending on the draw, may be a good bet for a quarter final berth.

 

Last year in Rome, 70% of women’s favourites won in the main draw, and between 2009-2012 the mean was 68% of favourites winning.  This is pretty much the same as the WTA average for favourites winning on clay, which is 67.9%.  Again these figures indicate that we can treat every match on it’s individual merits, as opposed to any underlying trends.


Please check back for pre-match and trading recommendations on Monday morning UK time.


Friday, May 10th, 2013.


Our pre-match bets had another fantastic day yesterday as we added a further 10.96 point profit to our account.  Kei Nishikori stunned Roger Federer (although it wasn’t such a shock to those of us who looked at the surface stats prior to the match) whilst there were also straightforward (if you don’t count Kanepi’s Medical Timeout) wins for both of our WTA bets, albeit at fairly short prices.  Gilles Simon couldn’t hold onto a set and break lead against Andy Murray, finally losing in a third set tiebreak, but he did cover our game handicap bet very easily and that left us in slight profit for that match.  It could so easily have been a clean sweep, but Fernando Verdasco lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga after taking the first set.  It’s worth noting that all of yesterdays tips would have been able to produce significant profit in-running, as every one of them traded much lower.  


There are only several bets today because we are down to the quarter final stage of the competitions.  I’m not going to post up bets for the sake of it and if I feel that there are no viable propositions, then I won’t recommend anything.  This will be more likely to happen in the latter stages of tournaments when there are less games to choose from.


Today’s Pre-Match Bets:-

(Reasoning will be added in the match previews)


WTA:-

Sara Errani to beat Ekaterina Makarova 5pts at 1.61 Pinnacle Sports. - WON 3.05 pts


ATP:-

Tomas Berdych to beat Andy Murray 5pts at 2.05 TitanBet. - WON 5.25 pts


Friday Previews:-

We are at the quarter final stages today and there are some interesting, competitive, clashes today.  There are also several one-sided affairs, unfortunately.


Serena Williams kicks us off at 10am against Anabel Medina Garrigues.  Williams destroyed Maria Kirilenko yesterday and I think very few people would consider another outcome today against a worse opponent.  When you hold 87% and break 47% on clay, you tend to win your matches pretty comfortably...


In the very unlikely event of Williams falling a break down in the deciding set I will back her.  Garrigues has an awful record in deciders and, as you might expect, Serena doesn’t.


It’s a real shame Kaia Kanepi got injured yesterday against Daniela Hantuchova because I feel she could have given Maria Sharapova a good match if she was fully fit.  She particularly looked very strong on serve so I was considering a game handicap bet on Kanepi today before her injury.   I feel that if she was fit, she’d be able to keep this close, at the very least.  If the oddsmakers had this at 1.12 Sharapova without an injury to Kanepi, I would have thought that was excellent value on the Estonian.  However, because of those doubts, I will be very unlikely to touch this match.


Sara Errani is a bet I like today pre-match at about 1.61 (she has drifted a little since the pre-match tips were published) to beat Ekaterina Makarova.  I fail to understand how the market respects Makarova so much considering she had a losing record on clay for the last 12 months before this week, when she’s playing a clay courter that routinely wins against worse opponents.  I can only assume it’s a huge over-reaction because of her wins over Azarenka (who completely lost the plot) and a clearly far from her peak Bartoli.  Projected holds are 86% to 66%, so this would indicate gigantic value on the Italian.  I very rarely read too much into the events of one match/one week on a player as good form can often be mistaken for positive variance, especially in a sport like Tennis where very fine margins often decide the outcome of matches.


To round off the women’s previews, if you took the early price of 2.1 on Ana Ivanovic to beat Angelique Kerber, congratulations.  You got fantastic value.  However the market quickly realised the wrong player was favourite and corrected the opening prices.  Ivanovic now is about 1.88 with Pinnacle and perhaps that still would be a touch of value as I make her about 1.8 for this.  One worry is that whilst projected holds are 66.5% for Kerber and 72.0% for Ivanovic, Kerber is much more clutch saving break points.  This match-up would make Kerber about 4.7% above average for saving break points, with Ivanovic 4.1% below average.


The men start at about 2:15pm with Rafael Nadal 1.12 to beat his bunny, David Ferrer.  I’m a big fan of Ferrer but he struggles against Nadal, with a 5-18 head to head deficit.  Nadal is 14-1 on clay against Ferrer, and you have to go back to 2004 (in their first ever meeting) to find the Ferrer win on clay.  Nadal was ranked at 57 in the world at that point...


Projected holds make this a little closer than 1.12 Nadal but bearing in mind the history between the two players, and the fact Ferrer has not been fantastic at all lately, I’m leaving this alone.  I’ll look to get bigger on Nadal should he fall behind in running.


Kei Nishikori earned us good money yesterday and I think he will have a much easier task today against Pablo Andujar.  The Japanese starts at around 1.3 and I think that’s pretty fair, and may even be a touch of value.  Projected holds are 88% to 69.5% so these would indicate that Andujar’s serve (he only has held 72% on clay in the last year) would come under severe examination today.  Therefore I can have no option than to oppose it in pressure situations such as serving to stay in a set, or for the set, and also when a break in front.  Nishikori’s deciding set is much the better, so if we can get much bigger than SP in the deciding set this could also be a viable entry point.  Overall, this is a great opportunity for Kei to reach his second Masters event final.


The match I’m most interested in is Andy Murray against Tomas Berdych.  Murray is marginal 1.95 favourite with the price going down on Berdych all morning as punters realise the bookmakers have priced this match on reputation rather than clay ability.  Murray has not impressed at all this week (and doesn’t impress me on clay full stop) and Florian Mayer and Gilles Simon have comfortably covered the game handicaps against him, and could easily have knocked him out already, with Murray winning all three tiebreaks in the last two rounds.  Furthermore, he played late last night, almost finishing at midnight, so Berdych should be a lot fresher.  Berdych should be about 1.65 for this with projected holds 82.9% to 73.5%, and you also consider he has won both their two previous meetings on clay.  When you consider Murray has always been favourite (and sometimes very heavy favourite) for all their encounters, the 4-4 head to head record does not appear good for him at all.  In only one of the eight matches, Berdych has failed to take a set from the Scotsman.  As well as recommending a pre-match back of Berdych at odds-against, I also am looking to lay Murray at shorter prices than SP if and when he has a break lead in this match.  Simon had plenty of chances against his serve yesterday night and I can only see the same for the Czech today.


Finally today, another competitive match beckons as Stanislas Wawrinka takes on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Wawrinka has played a lot of tennis lately but I feel the 1.7 about him is pretty fair when you consider that.  It would have been a little generous if both players were equally fresh.  I don’t particularly rate Tsonga on clay against high level opposition, and Stan is much more comfortable on the surface.  Whilst many people appear to be very keen on his chances today, I think his price is reasonable, but no better than that.  The 1.9 or so that he opened was great value, however.  It is also worth mentioning that Tsonga beat Wawrinka just last month in Monte Carlo, also on clay, and in the French Open last year too.  Furthermore, in their four previous meetings, the matches have been extremely close.  All of them have gone to a final set.


If Wawrinka takes the first set, his price will be around the 1.25 mark and I feel that laying him at this point could be considered.  For a top 20 player his record when a set up is poor, whilst Tsonga takes 34% of matches when a set down, which is a fair bit above average.  


As always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on, and I will update later with a preview for next week.  


Thursday, May 9th, 2013.


It was a superb start for our pre-match bets yesterday as we bagged an 11.59 point profit across the 5 bets (13 points staked).  Kevin Anderson gave us our best priced winner with his marathon win over Juan Monaco priced at 3.00, and there was also a nice odds-against win for Kaia Kanepi (priced at 2.72) who beat Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets.  It wasn’t pretty, but eventually Angelique Kerber managed to see off Svetlana Kuznetsova in a deciding set to win our third bet.  


Robin Haase was so close to a shock over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, losing both sets in tiebreaks (no surprise he lost both of those) but the stats indicated the match would be close and it was, so we can take huge heart from that.  Even if he had taken a tiebreak or held from 2-0 up in the second set, our +1.5 sets bet would have ended in profit too.


Not much stands out today in the ATP, and I’m going with three underdogs in Verdasco, Nishikori and Simon to cause surprises over three more illustrious opponents perhaps not so well suited to clay.  Very small stakes there, though.  


In the WTA, I’ve gone with two fairly short priced favourites to do the job against opponents I feel are over-rated after a big win in the last round.  I’ll explain my reasoning more in the daily previews below.  The pre-match bets should feature in their own tab at the top of the page by the weekend.  There should be some changes to the website this weekend so please look out for that!


Pre-match bets:-


WTA

Kaia Kanepi to beat Daniela Hantuchova 4pts at 1.46 Pinnacle Sports. - WON +1.84 pts

Sara Errani to beat Varvara Lepchenko 4pts at 1.45 MarathonBet. - WON +1.80 pts


ATP

Fernando Verdasco to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1pt at 3.40 MarathonBet. - LOST - 1.00 pts

Kei Nishikori to beat Roger Federer 1pt at 6.20 SportingBet. - WON +5.20 pts

Kei Nishikori +1.5 sets to beat Roger Federer 1pt at 2.63 BoyleSports.- WON +1.63 pts

Kei Nishikori +4.5 games to beat Roger Federer 1pt at 1.91 PaddyPower. - WON +0.91 pts

Gilles Simon to beat Andy Murray 0.5pt at 5.69 Pinnacle Sports. - LOST -0.5 pts

Gilles Simon +4.5 games to beat Andy Murray 1pt at 2.08 MarathonBet. WON + 1.08 pts

Daniel Gimeno-Traver to beat Pablo Andujar 2.5pts at 2.42 MarathonBet. - VOID


Thursday Previews:-


With the withdrawal of Yaroslava Shvedova, we only have five matches in the women’s tournament today.  All of the matches feature favourites at around 1.5 or below, so the oddsmakers feel they may not be that competitive.  


We start at 10am in the WTA with Sabine Lisicki facing Maria Sharapova.  These courts suit Lisicki’s ballbashing style where she can hit a lot of winners due to the pace of the court.  However taking on Sharapova may be a step too far.  The Russian starts as a strong 1.13 favourite and I think that’s a pretty standard price for this matchup.  I honestly cannot see her having too many problems with Lisicki today and with a projected hold of 85% (compared to Lisicki’s 63%), I’d be highly shocked if Sharapova lost this.  She also has a far superior deciding set record, so if things go badly for her and she falls behind by an early break in the final set, I will be backing Sharapova to turn around the deficit.


Serena Williams is, as is mostly the case, priced at 1.0x (1.07 today) again.  She takes on Maria Kirilenko and I think, whilst she is possibly a little short at that price, it’s not something I will get involved in pre-match, and I don’t really see any big edges in-play either.


I love the 1.46 about Kaia Kanepi to beat Daniela Hantuchova.  As I explained yesterday, Hantuchova has had a horror year and I was shocked she turned it round to beat Petra Kvitova yesterday.  However, as is often the case, the bookies have over-reacted to a big win and made Kanepi a generous price today.  Kanepi was very impressive as she reversed last weeks defeat (on a much slower court to this week) against Carla Suarez Navarro in straight sets at a very nice price.  Personally I felt she should have been marginal favourite yesterday and the oddsmakers have underestimated her again today.  My projected holds are 86% to 68% so I’m not sure this match will feature a ton of breaks, but this warrants a much shorter price on the Estonian than is currently available.  This match also features a superb illustration of a useless head to head advantage for Hantuchova, who leads 3-1 but her 3 wins were in 2010 or before, and she was also ranked in the top 30 on all those occasions.  Kanepi has won the only fairly recent meeting, in 2012, on hard court, 6-2 6-1.  So anyone who considers Hantuchova value and uses head to head as justification is, to be blunt, an idiot.


Ekaterina Makarova had a magnificent win over Victoria Azarenka yesterday, who completely lost the plot in the deciding set after throwing a break advantage away.  Today she faces Marion Bartoli, who hasn’t played well lately and scraped past Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor on Tuesday.  Bartoli should be the fresher with a days rest, although she did appear to injure herself during the second set of that match and I’m not sure she is 100% fit (I also don’t think her general physical condition is great either).  With players like Makarova that have a huge win, they often disappoint in the next match, and I don’t think the 1.52 on the Russian is a price I want to get involved in.  If anything, there may be a touch of value on Bartoli, but there isn’t much of an edge in my opinion.  Makarova’s generally poor return game may not pressure Bartoli’s mediocre serve (she also served a high number of double faults against Torro-Flor in the second set) and projected holds of 82% and 75% indicate there’ll not be many breaks today.  


In the final WTA match today, Sara Errani is the other favourite I consider value at around 1.45 as well for her match with Varvara Lepchenko.  Lepchenko beat Roberta Vinci, Errani’s best friend, in the first round so you can be sure the Italian will be looking for revenge today.  Furthermore, Vinci has had a shoulder problem recently and I feel the bookmakers have over-reacted to this win and also Lepchenko’s win over Errani in recent Fed Cup match in February.  In that, Errani was priced 1.18, so are they saying she has a 16% chance less of winning today than then?  I don’t think so at all.  Lepchenko’s clay stats are mediocre, holding 62.9% and breaking 37.6% in the last year, whilst Errani holds 69.1% and breaks 52.5%.  I know who I’d want my money on when comparing this...


I also am interested in taking the bigger prices on Errani should she fall behind by a break in this.  With a projected hold of 55%, Lepchenko should give Errani plenty of opportunities to recover a deficit.


There are 8 matches in the men’s draw today and they start later, at 1pm.


In the first match, many people fancy Kevin Anderson to cause Tomas Berdych some problems, and my stats back that up.  However, whilst I usually am pretty blase about head to head leads, the 6-0 lead Berdych has over Anderson (all in 2012 and 2013) worries me greatly.  Out of the 18 sets they’ve played (3 were in Grand Slams), Anderson has taken only 3 so I can’t possibly recommend Anderson on that basis.  Furthermore, with this matchup giving Berdych a 6.8% above average record saving break points and Anderson being 4.4% below average, this gives an insight into why Berdych may have the edge in previous encounters.  In close matches with big servers, stats like this are even more vital and I feel that the oddsmakers have been pretty smart in making Berdych 1.4 instead of the bigger price the basic stats indicate.


One match where a player has a dominant head to head but I feel it means absolutely nothing is Pablo Andujar’s 5-2 lead over Daniel Gimeno-Traver.  Whilst Andujar has the lead, 5 were in Challengers and 1 was in a Qualifier and all of those were from 2005-2008, and both players were ranked well outside the top 100!  The only other clash was still over two years ago.  I can’t read anything into this at all, but it’s clear the bookmakers have because they make Andujar the wrong favourite.  He starts at about 1.7 and with my model making DGT about a 1.95 favourite I can only imagine that they’ve had a quick glance at the head to head and made a bad judgement.  Projected holds are 79.3% to 78.9% so whilst both players are below ATP average themselves for service holds, the fast courts make it difficult to oppose either player when leading as the projected holds are too high.

I do feel there will be some shocks tonight (more on this later) but Rafael Nadal probably won’t be one of them against Mikhail Youzhny, who surely will be tired after two marathon three setters in the last two days.  Nadal starts at an ever generous 1.02...


When I first saw the price of 1.56 on David Ferrer against Tommy Haas I thought there would be huge value on the Spaniard but looking at the stats closer, I feel it’s about right.  In fact there may even be a little value on the German veteran, who has been so impressive in recent weeks.  Ferrer is 82% on clay (27-6) whilst Haas is close at 76% (16-5).  Projected holds are close with Haas at 73% and Ferrer 77%, so we may see more breaks in this than most other clashes today.  I think my preferred course of action is to oppose Haas when leading by a break.  Ferrer hasn’t been superb in the last few weeks but is still one of my favourite players to back in-play as he hardly ever gives up.  If we need him to recover a deficit in this, he surely will give it his all.


Another price which I think is about right is the 1.61 about Stanislas Wawrinka against the conqueror of Novak Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov.  If anything the odds are a touch short on Stan but it’s not a huge edge, although this match interests me for several reasons.  Firstly, how will Wawrinka cope with a lot of matches recently?  And secondly, how will Dimitrov deal with the aftermath of his huge win over Djokovic, where he had a lot of cramping problems?  With the odds about right, and projected holds pretty high, this may be a match best enjoyed as a fan.


The last three matches all feature favourites that are not as comfortable on clay as other surfaces and appear way too short based on the stats...

Firstly, I am backing Fernando Verdasco to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  The 3.4 about the Spaniard is superb value considering my model has him priced at around 2.5.  He has been notoriously poor lately but really impressed me in his win over Raonic, and showed good mental strength (which he has been lacking lately) winning the third set in a tiebreak.  Tsonga needed two tiebreaks to defeat Haase and apart from those (which he was always expected to win given Haase’s record in them) the match was very even.  Verdasco has great memories of this venue, having beaten Rafael Nadal here last year and I’m tipping him, with a small stake, to go well again today.


Kei Nishikori, from when he was 2-5 down to Viktor Troicki yesterday, was superb and some of his winners were out of the top drawer.  Roger Federer appeared rusty in his victory over a poor clay-courter in Radek Stepanek and he will surely be tested much more by the Japanese, who I am a huge fan of.  Nishikori has good clay stats both in the last year and in his career, and with it not being Federer’s preferred surface I make this much closer than the starting odds of 1.2 on the Swiss suggests.  


Finally there is no way that Andy Murray should be 1.2 against Gilles Simon.  The 10-1 head to head is the only reason why I have kept this small but I feel that Murray on clay is a liability and, in a match that should feature breaks, I’m looking at the Frenchman to come away with a long-odds victory.  Out of those 11 head to heads, Simon has his one victory on clay and lost the other three matches.  Encouragingly, he has taken 3 out of the 10 sets on clay as well.  Murray has been dominant on other surfaces, which I absolutely expect, as he has a much bigger edge away from the dirt.  But clay should be a great leveller between these two and with projected holds between 70% and 73%, I can also see both players serves being under some pressure.  I’ll definitely look to oppose Murray at super-short prices should he lead by a break.  


As always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on, and there will be more tomorrow.


Wednesday, May 8th, 2013.


Pre-match Betting:-


I’m now offering pre-match betting tips to readers as well as in-play trades (today’s previews are below).  With pre-match betting it’s vital to realise that it’s very possible (as it is with trading although with trading it depends on your attitude to risk) to have bad runs of variance but as long as the tips have a mathematical and logical edge then any bad run will come to an end.  What is important to know is that a tipster cannot be proven to have a winning edge until they have around 700-1000 matches in their portfolio.  This is generally about the sort of level of sample you need to have a z score of over 2 (which would mean that the tips success would be <2.27% luck).  If you’re interested in this you can read more athttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_score.  With tennis, an excellent return on investment would be anything over 3%.  I don’t know many pre-match gamblers that can boast of a return on investment over 5% when a statistically significant sample size is considered.  There are many sharp tennis brains at tennisinsight.com and there’s only one tipper, to my knowledge, that has an ROI over 5% over a high level of turnover.


However, whilst 3% ROI does not sound anything particularly exciting, if you re-invested your winnings daily making 3% on average per day, you will be able to build your bankroll pretty quickly.  I would recommend investing no bigger than 5% of your bankroll on an individual bet pre-match.  My tips will have a maximum stake of 10 points per bet, although I will rarely recommend bets over 5 points.  That would need to have an absolutely huge edge for me to do that.  It would make sense if you assign 1% of your bankroll to 1 point per my recommendations.


My tips will need to pass several tests before they are published.  First of all they need to represent value based on my projected hold model, and secondly I take into account other factors regarding the match-up.  Many of these are the mental side of the game that I feel many people don’t consider, such as fatigue due to playing too many matches or travelling/jet lag.  I consider ‘dominant’ head to head records but do not consider scores like 2-0, 2-1, 1-0, 3-1.  Despite what the media may tell you, they mean nothing - I’ve done the research.  I’m talking a lead of 4+ matches.


I will add the pre-match bets every day to a separate tab at the top of the page in the next day or two.   I will endeavour to keep a running total of profit and loss on there as well and readers will need to check there every day for the latest opportunities.  To clarify my policy on retirements, any match where I tip and one set has been completed I will consider to be a win or loss because they are the rules with Pinnacle and Betfair (who I mostly use).   If the first set is yet to be completed at the time of retirement, the bet will be voided.  Any set handicap bet (win or lose) will be voided completely in the event of retirement as per Pinnacle rules.  I will try and post these bets as early as possible, and I feel that the vast majority when posted early enough will beat the closing price at Pinnacle Sports. This is considered to be the benchmark for value in the pre-match betting market.  


It’s vital that followers have many bookmaker accounts to take advantage of the best prices.  If you don’t take the best prices, you will find that it’s very difficult to maintain a good level of profit (if at all).  If you do well, you will be restricted eventually but that’s just the way it is.  If you are creative and determined enough, you can still manage to get bets on with all bookmakers.


It’s upto you how you proceed with these tips.  You can ‘lump and leave’ - effectively betting on them pre-match and then waiting for them to win or lose, or you could consider laying the player off if they win the first set or when they are a set and break up.  I’m not necessarily sure that hedging pre-match bets blindly has expected value, but some people prefer it as it is slightly less stressful!  Anyone who backed Fognini against Youzhny yesterday will testify to that...


Today’s Pre-match tips:-

(As I’ve just posted them, some near to the start of the match, some may be at starting price)


WTA 

Kanepi to beat Suarez Navarro 4pts at 2.72 Bwin. - WON +6.88 pts

Goerges to beat Lepchenko 2.5pts at 2.42 Pinnacle Sports. - VOID

Kerber to beat Kuznetsova 3pts at 1.57 SportingBet. - WON +1.71 pts


ATP 

Anderson to beat Monaco 3pts at 3.00 StanJames. - WON +6 pts

Haase to beat Tsonga 1pt at 5.40 Marathon Bet. - LOST -1 pts

Haase +1.5 sets to beat Tsonga 2pts at 2.50 BoyleSports. - LOST - 2pts


Wednesday Previews:-


It’s another busy day in the Spanish capital today with 16 matches scheduled for today, with the vast majority in the round of 32.   In a marked change from Masters Tournaments in the USA, all matches are streamed which is fantastic for us traders, with there being much better liquidity in the markets.  Unfortunately, from an in-play perspective, there isn’t a great deal that excites me today.  I will, as I have been all week, be very selective with my entry points (I only traded four matches yesterday), and I recommend that readers take the same approach.


Kaia Kanepi appears to be an attractive price at 2.72 with Bwin, pre-match, against Carla Suarez Navarro.  Whilst Suarez Navarro breaks more (51% to 46% on clay), Kanepi holds more on the surface (71% to 63%) so I’d have this match much closer to the evens mark.  In-play, I’m looking to lay Suarez Navarro when she gets a break lead - She will start at around 1.55 or so it means that we can probably lay around the 1.35 or below mark in the first set when she is a break up, which would appear to be a good low risk/high reward trade.  It’s also worth knowing that Kanepi, when facing Suarez Navarro today, should be 5.6% above WTA average for saving break points.


Varvara Lepchenko will start around the 1.7 mark as favourite against Julia Goerges, and unless Goerges is still ill (I doubt she will be after she won despite apparently not feeling great against Jovanovski at the weekend), I’m looking to oppose Lepchenko here.  On a slow clay court like last week in Oeiras, she was ineffective, with her ballbashing style not reaping rewards, and she quickly loses patience on those surfaces.  However, Madrid is playing fast and we saw with the high number of winners from a similar player, Lisicki, yesterday, that the ballbashing types can thrive on this surfaces.  We also saw this with Goerges, to some extent, at her beloved Stuttgart.  Pinnacle Sports are offering 2.42 about Goerges and I feel that is great value based on logic and the stats.  Her projected hold, at 72%, is marginally higher than Lepchenko’s 70% so these would indicate Goerges should be marginal favourite.  Goerges does, however, have a poor deciding set record in the last year, so I’d look to oppose her in play at some point in the third set.


Victoria Azarenka’s match with Ekaterina Makarova should feature few breaks.  Both women are strong servers, holding over 70% on clay in the last year.  Furthermore, Makarova breaks just 25% on the surface which puts Azarenka’s projected hold at 93%, which is exceptionally high for the WTA.  Azarenka has a superb deciding set record so it may be worth considering backing her should much bigger prices than the 1.15 SP be available in a third set.


I feel Angelique Kerber is in marginal value territory pre-match at 1.57 with SportingBet for her clash with Svetlana Kuznetsova.  I make her about 1.4-1.45 for this based on the stats.  I’m not sure I expect breaks here - Kuznetsova at 68% projected hold is the weaker player yet she was only broken 4 times (from 10 break points) by Petrova yesterday in 16 service games.  She also took 4 of her 6 break points against the Russian.  Both women have a decent final set record but it’s worth mentioning that with Kuznetsova’s victory yesterday, she improved her record to 10-1 for the last 12 months in deciders.


Maria Kirilenko should have few issues with Kristina Mladenovic but I’d stop short of backing her at about 1.33.  However I will be looking to take the bigger prices on offer should she fall a break behind in the match.  Mladenovic hasn’t got great clay serving stats (53% hold in WTA main draw matches in the last year) whilst Kirilenko breaks on 44% of opponent’s service games.  So she should get plenty of opportunities to get back on level terms if she falls behind.  


I don’t think much of Daniela Hantuchova’s chances against Petra Kvitova today, as her form this year has been very poor.  In the last year she is 36% (14-25) on all surfaces compared to an all-time average of 58%.  She has only won one of her three matches on clay in the last year and had an embarrasing defeat to Olga Puchkova recently in Marrakech.  Kvitova herself hasn’t played as well as she’d like, but for me at the moment Hantuchova is in the unbackable territory and I can’t see that changing any time soon.  Hantuchova, when she does win, never does it easy either so we may well see chances for Kvitova to reduce losing deficits in-play.  


The final women’s match is Ana Ivanovic against Laura Robson, with the young Brit hoping to build on her excellent straight sets victory over world number 4 Agnieszka Radwanska on Monday with another one over a much higher ranked opponent today.  Based on the stats I’d be surprised if Robson could do this - there’s actually a bigger difference in projected holds between her and Ivanovic than there was between her and Radwanska.  I’ll be looking to take bigger prices than the 1.3 SP on the Serb should she fall behind by a break in this.  


The ATP matches start at 10am as well, with two good servers in Jerzy Janowicz and Tomas Berdych clashing in the first match.  Berdych starts at around 1.4 and I think that’s pretty fair.  Projected holds have him 90% for this, so don’t expect Janowicz to break much.  However both players have a below expectation for saving break points in this (Janowicz -4.5%, Berdych -5.7%) so perhaps either player can take a couple of the few chances they may have.  


Kei Nishikori disposed of Jurgen Melzer with few issues on Monday and today meets the inconsistent Viktor Troicki.  The Japanese is priced at around 1.35 pre-match, and again I feel that is reasonable.  I’ll be looking to take bigger prices on him in-play if he falls a break behind.  Troicki is notoriously flaky and lets leads slip on a regular basis against much worse opponents.


It’s the battle of the Tommy’s at around 11:30 with Tommy Robredo facing Tommy Haas.  Haas starts at around 1.5 which appears fine to me.  Both veterans have played a lot of tennis lately so either could have some sort of fatigue issue.  I’ll be looking to oppose Robredo if he leads in this.  He was a break down to Baghdatis (who I don’t rate on clay at all) in the first set yesterday before coming back to win.  Haas has been in imperious form lately and I’d be surprised if that changed today.  


Juan Monaco hasn’t appeared to be great pre-match value for a week or two now, and that’s not changed today for his match with Kevin Anderson.  Various bookmakers have the South African priced at 3.00 and I think that’s a price I like based on the stats.  Anderson has played well on clay this season and has a projected hold of 79%, compared to Monaco’s 83%.  That would make Monaco’s price around the 1.8-1.85 mark, not the 1.5 he currently is.  Monaco has a break point save percentage of 5.4% below ATP average so Anderson may well be able to convert a couple of chances today.


I also like the price of 5.00 which various bookmakers are offering about Robin Haase today against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  I did predict Haase’s upset against Alexandr Dolgopolov in the previous round and, despite losing yet another tiebreak, the Dutchman was much the better player.  He is a lot better on clay than on hard courts (where I will almost always oppose him) and the projected holds here are way closer than the starting prices illustrate.  This match may come down to key points, in which Haase may struggle, but I can’t ignore the general clay stats which has this as huge value.  Haase can definitely take at least a set, and the 2.50 on him on the set handicap with Boylesports looks attractive.


Nicolas Almagro retired yesterday with a hip problem in his doubles match so only the insane will consider his odds of 1.27 against Mikhail Youzhny.  It’s anyone’s guess how this match will go but a lay of the Spaniard pre-match (or now before a lot of people are aware of this) is surely a decent proposition, as I’m sure we will then be able to back him at a bigger price to green up later on.


Stanislas Wawrinka appears short at 1.2 against Santiago Giraldo.  He’s played a lot of tennis recently and can often be carefree when that is the case.  Giraldo is very comfortable on clay and I feel Wawrinka should be about 1.33 for this.  He appears another player worthy of a pre-match lay-to-back, as I can see Wawrinka trading at a bigger price.  Despite winning in Portugal last week, he dropped sets to Ramos and Carreno-Busta so there’s no reason Giraldo can’t do the same.  


David Ferrer has had some issues with his form lately but surely will be way too good for Denis Istomin, who is not adept on clay at all.  Starting odds of 1.08 reflect this.  The ‘way too good’ tag can also be placed on Rafael Nadal against Benoit Paire.  It would be a huge shock if either of these two lost.


Key in-play recommendations:-


(I may take many other options in play but these are entry points I like in advance of the matches)

Lay Carla Suarez Navarro when a break up on Kaia Kanepi.  Green up if Kanepi breaks back, take the red if Kanepi fails to break back at the end of the relevant set.

Lay Kristina Mladenovic when a break up on Maria Kirilenko.  Green up if Kirilenko breaks back, take the red if Kirilenko fails to break back at the end of the relevant set.

Lay Laura Robson when a break up on Ana Ivanovic.  Green up if Ivanovic breaks back, take the red if Ivanovic fails to break back at the end of the relevant set.

Back Varvara Lepchenko in a deciding set against Julia Goerges.

Back Victoria Azarenka in a deciding set against Ekaterina Makarova (may well be worth waiting for her to be a break down).

Lay Viktor Troicki when a break up on Kei Nishikori.  Green up if Nishikori breaks back, take the red if Nishikori fails to break back at the end of the relevant set.

Lay Tommy Robredo when a break up on Tommy Haas.  Green up if Haas breaks back, take the red if Haas fails to break back at the end of the relevant set.

Lay Denis Istomin and Benoit Paire when a set and break up (unlikely scenario!) against David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal.  Let the trade run until Ferrer or Nadal break back (leave green on Ferrer or Nadal until they win that set) or the trade loses.


As always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on, and there will be more tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 7th, 2013.


Action in Madrid is mainly concentrated on the men’s tournament, with 15 matches as opposed to the 8 in the women’s tournament today.

It all starts at 10am today, with four ATP matches all scheduled to start then.  In the early matches, the enigmatic Italian Fabio Fognini takes on Mikhail Youzhny, with Fognini in much the better form on clay currently.  He’s available at around 1.7 and I’d say that’s fair.  I’m looking to take prices above 2.0 should he fall behind a break in this.  Youzhny is highly inconsistent and has shown questionable motivation in recent events.  Furthermore, his projected hold is low at 73%, so we should have an edge with a move like this.  


Against an opponent as mediocre as Joao Souza, I can’t take the typical Benoit Paire move of laying him when leading, hoping for the standard implosion.  Paire starts at around 1.4, and that’s what sort of price I was expecting for this encounter.  It’s worth noting that Souza has a terrible record of saving break points, so Paire should get a few breaks on the Brazilian’s serve.


A match many neutrals are looking forward to is Janko Tipsarevic’s match with Juan Monaco.  I feel the bookmakers have fallen into the trap of ‘it’s clay, the latino sounding player will win’ thinking, although I suppose it could be a form play too, as well.  Monaco is rightly favourite but on a fast clay court where Tipsarevic has had some success before the Argentine shouldn’t be as short as 1.5.  I’d make this more like 1.75-1.8 in favour of Monaco.  So I’d recommend taking the 3’s about the Serb pre-match.  


I’m also interested in backing Santiago Giraldo against Martin Klizan.  Neither player have shown that much lately but the projected holds indicate this should be evens apiece, so the 2.36 about Giraldo appears attractive.  I’m not sure I can see many breaks in this - Klizan is super clutch saving break points (this match-up has him 12% above average for the ATP).  


Unless Stanislas Wawrinka tanks after winning last week in Portugal, Marius Copil won’t have a chance today.  Copil has a 38% winrate on clay in Challengers (compared to 63% on indoor hard and 60% on hard court) so the 12.5 on him is basically an implied tank chance from Wawrinka.  Because of this, and also because Copil has a decent serve, I can’t risk backing Wawrinka when behind.  


Richard Gasquet should have little bother from Daniel Gimeno-Traver today but the 1.18 about him reflects that.  I’ll be looking to lay Gimeno-Traver when leading.  He struggled past Feliciano Lopez, who was making a return from injury.  He also has a low projected hold percentage (74%) which is somewhat lower than Gasquet’s 90%.  


Tommy Haas may well be tired after winning in Munich, but I think the oddsmakers have got his price about right at 1.6 versus Andreas Seppi.  There could be a few breaks in this - Haas isn’t the best at saving break points, but has broken 31% of the time on clay in the last year.  Seppi’s projected hold is lower than average for this so I’ll look to oppose him when leading, unless Haas looks really tired.  


Anything could happen in the clash between Viktor Troicki and Marcel Granollers.  Both players have a tendency to gift leads away so we could see a few flips in the market today.  I make the Serb marginal favourite for this, so if you can still take the evens about him that appears a reasonable bet.  Although with Troicki any reasonable looking bet can quickly look stupid when the match starts...


Granollers especially has a tendency to trade breaks with players, so I’m looking at opposing him when a break up in this.  The stats would indicate this is definitely a trade with a positive expectation.


Marcos Baghdatis has a career win percentage on clay of 43%, and is 3-6 in the last year.  So those suggesting Tommy Robredo is too short for this are just reacting to the name of his opponent, as opposed to doing any detailed research.  The 1.33 on the Spaniard appears fair.  I’ll be looking at taking a bigger price on Robredo if he falls behind in this match by a break.


Gilles Simon was unbackable at opening prices of around 1.45 in the all-French encounter with Jeremy Chardy but the drift on him has put him into marginal value territory at about 1.7.  Simon has a superb 33% break percentage on clay in the last year, and with Chardy’s projected hold being around the 73% mark, I’m looking at opposing Chardy when a break up in this match.  It’s worth mentioning, however, that Chardy has a great break point save percentage for this match up, so it may be worth profit taking at a score like 0-40 or 15-40 on his serve as opposed to waiting for the break.

Roger Federer makes his seasonal clay debut here and today he is 1.08 against the veteran Radek Stepanek.  I have a feeling the Swiss legend may start slowly and I like taking a bigger price on him if he falls behind by a break.  A lay-to-back of Federer could also be considered.  I’m also looking at backing Federer if he loses the first set.  Stepanek doesn’t have the best record a set up.  


I feel Andy Murray’s match with Florian Mayer may be closer than the odds of 1.11 on him suggest.  I don’t rate Murray on clay at all and have mentioned previously he’s a short priced disaster waiting to happen on clay - and was proven right against Wawrinka.  The same could be on the cards here against the German - the stats have Murray at about the 1.35 mark so anyone taking the 1.11 pre-match needs their head read.  Murray does have a superb record a set down, so if he drops the first set the prices may be a little more attractive.  Certainly if Murray is below 1.75 or so after losing the first set, I couldn’t touch that.  


If you look at the year-long clay stats of Fernando Verdasco against Milos Raonic you’d think that laying the Canadian at 1.38 would be mandatory.  However this season on clay, Verdasco has only held 72% and broken 20%.  Those stats give Raonic a projected hold on a fast clay court of 99% and a starting price of about 1.1.  With a big server like Raonic, don’t expect breaks (he wasn’t broken yesterday against Davydenko) but I will look at opposing Verdasco if he takes the first set.


I think Grigor Dimitrov is getting closer to a big win and the talented young Bulgarian could shock Novak Djokovic today.  Despite the success in Monte Carlo, the Serb’s fitness must still be questioned and he had extra motivation with living in Monte Carlo too.  This could be very different today, and I think a lay-to-back of Djokovic at around 1.06 is a good option.  


When I first saw Marion Bartoli’s price was over evens against Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor I wondered if she had to play with one arm!  However, when considering the last 12 months on clay I can see why Torro-Flor is marginal favourite.  She is 4-5 on clay with Bartoli 3-6, and it’s obvious that Bartoli isn’t in a great spot at the moment.  I’m expecting breaks here today - both women have a low projected serve hold today and I feel that opposing the leader a break up is an excellent strategy for this match-up.  I’m also looking to lay Bartoli after winning the first set.  Her record in this scenario isn’t the best at all, especially for a player around the top ten.


I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel that Yaroslava Shvedova is over-rated, but on a quick clay court she is effective and I feel that againstKirsten Flipkens today, she is value at 1.9.  Shvedova is 29-22 on clay in her career (7-3 this year) whereas Flipkens is 9-17 on clay in her career.  With Shvedova having a projected hold of 78% to Flipkens’ 69%, this would also indicate the 1.9 is great value pre-match.


Serena Williams has only lost one match on clay in the last year so should have few problems against Lourdes Dominguez Lino today, and the odds of 1.04 reflect that.  


Madison Keys has huge potential but I feel she is a little short at 1.55 against Anabel Medina Garrigues today.  The stats have her about 1.75-1.8 for this.  I don’t expect breaks in this though, with projected holds around the 75% mark.  I’m looking at backing Keys in a decider though - Medina Garrigues’ record in these is horrific.


Dominika Cibulkova appears to be another player not in a great place right now but anything can happen in her match with Sabine Lisicki.  Lisicki herself is highly inconsistent and is not generally a player I like to have my money on.  I’ll probably keep my money in my pocket in this match.

There appears to be a touch of value on Svetlana Kuznetsova against Nadia Petrova at around 1.76.  This could be due to her poor display against Romina Oprandi in Portugal last week, but her form generally has been reasonable and especially in the WTA I’m not sure we can read too much into one defeat.  Projected holds of 75% and 69% indicate there may not be that many breaks in this.


Chanelle Scheepers has had a couple of decent wins lately and I feel the 1.2 about Ana Ivanovic is short.  I’m not a fan of backing Ivanovic at short prices and this appears to be a reasonable lay-to-back opportunity.  I do expect Ivanovic to win eventually but I’ll be looking to take much bigger prices on her when a break down at various stages than pre-match.  Scheepers projected hold of 60% is below WTA average, and a fair bit below as my model also has court speed built in.  It’s also worth considering Ivanovic has a very poor deciding set record.


Finally I don’t expect I’ll have the chance to, but I’ll be looking to back Maria Sharapova when losing at any point to Christina McHale.  McHale appeared to have a medical timeout yesterday in her win over Shuai Peng (her odds went from 2.0 to about 5.5 between the end of the 2nd and start of 3rd set (no video was available at the time) but she defied a potential injury (and her awful 3rd set record) to win.  


As always, good luck with whatever you decide to back or trade on, and there will be more tomorrow.


Monday, May 6th, 2013.


With there being 19 matches today, I’m going to focus mainly on the matches that interest me.  Our action starts at 10am in Madrid today with the beaten finalist in Oeiras, Carla Suarez Navarro, facing Sam Stosur.  Purely on the stats this match looks to be evens the pair but Stosur starts at 1.73.  Does she have an extra 8% chance because Suarez Navarro may be tired this week?  It probably won’t help the Spaniard but I think 8% is a bit much to assign to that chance.  So slight pre-match value on Suarez Navarro, in my opinion.  Projected service holds are around the 74% area so it’s unlikely there will be many breaks.  Stosur is the more solid on serve (81% of holds to 63%) but Suarez Navarro breaks a lot more (51% to 32%).  Assuming there’s no fatigue issues, I’ll be looking to oppose Stosur in a deciding set - nerves frequently get to her and her record on these is not good at all for a top 10 player.  


Angelique Kerber found things tough going for a while against Hsieh Su-Wei on Saturday but came through in three sets.  Today she facesAlize Cornet, who is a fan of clay.  Kerber starts at 1.26, and I think that’s pretty fair.  I believe Cornet’s serve will be tested today as she holds a mere 58% of the time, with Kerber breaking 42% on clay.  So I’ll be looking to lay Cornet when in front and in pressure situations.


The 1.53 about Silvia Soler-Espinosa against Kristina Mladenovic appears attractive pre-match.  Mladenovic has done nothing to impress me at all on clay with 47% of holds in her 6 matches on the surface in the last year.  Furthermore, as I have noted before, she has fitness issues and had a long run in the doubles in Oeiras, making the final which was played on Saturday.  Projected holds indicate huge value on the Spaniard and this is a price well worth taking, in my opinion.  I’ll also be looking to oppose Mladenovic when serving in front in the first set and in pressure situations.


There are three favourites all priced around the 1.16-1.18 mark and I feel that Victoria Azarenka is the most vulnerable, for her match with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  Pav has had a new lease of life since hiring Martina Hingis as her coach and impressively won in Oeiras, whilst coming back from deficits several times.  Azarenka has yet to play on clay this season and it wouldn’t surprise me if she started slowly.  Not only that, the projected holds are a lot closer in this than the other two matches.  A back-to-lay opportunity could be taken here at the start of the match, for sure.  


Agniezska Radwanska should be better for already playing here and today faces Laura Robson in the second round.  Robson flatters to deceive against mediocre opponents but often steps up against better players, with victories over Na Li and Petra Kvitova in the last year.  I can see Robson leading this at some point but eventually failing to get the job done.  I’ll be looking to oppose her serve when leading as her projected serve is low at 57%.  Her win over Kvitova in the Australian Open featured many swings, and I feel that if she does take this, it will almost always be after a saga.  


Sara Errani loves the clay and and I feel should be too good for the inconsistent Sorana Cirstea.  The Romanian failed to push Kaia Kanepi in Oeiras and I fail to see how she will step up against a better player today.  The projected holds indicate great value on the Italian clay-courter and it’s hard to see past that.  Again, I’ll be looking to get a bigger price on the favourite by backing her if Cirstea leads by a break.


The men start at around 11am, and I’m interested in Marinko Matosevic’s clash with Florian Mayer.   Mayer seems to have had some results without playing well lately, and whilst clay clearly isn’t Matosevic’s favourite surface, his stats aren’t too bad.  He took a set off Mayer just last week in Germany, and having qualified here as a lucky loser, will be accustomed to the courts already.  I like the 3.1 about the Australian to go one better today.   There could be breaks in this and I’ll look to oppose either player when leading - especially the German.  I haven’t seen much reliability from him recently.


Jurgen Melzer’s recent clay record (and recent record in general) is unimpressive and he is 3-7 on the surface in the last year.  I lost money backing Kei Nishikori against Albert Ramos last week but I’m giving him another chance here because I feel the 1.47 available pre-match is great value.  Melzer has only held 68% on clay in the last year and has broken a mere 16%, and those stats won’t get the job done against a top 100 player, let alone a top 20 one.  If he takes the lead in this we should get over evens on Nishikori, and that would be an outstanding price.  I’ll be looking to get involved should Melzer lead in this.  With Melzer having a terrible 73% win rate when a set up in the last year, and Nishikori above average at 33% when a set down, I’ll be looking to oppose the Austria should he take the first set here too.


It’s hard to get excited over Feliciano Lopez’s chances against Daniel Gimeno Traver considering that he is making his return from a wrist injury.  I have a policy of not backing players on their return from injury, so despite the apparent value at 2.3, I can’t back him here.  


However, one Spaniard I feel is slight value is Guillermo Garcia-Lopez against the out of form John Isner.  Garcia-Lopez is coming off a great run in Bucharest where he defeated three players as pre-match underdog, his confidence will be high.  Furthermore, he has qualified here and will be better for playing two matches on these courts already.  Projected holds are also close at 87% for GGL and 89% for Isner, so the 2.45 on Garcia-Lopez appeals.

  

Nicolas Almagro should have no problems getting a win over Tobias Kamke but 1.08 prematch appeals to very few of us.  Kamke’s serve is very weak (66% projected hold) so I recommend opposing the German when a break up.  Almagro would have to play very badly for him not to get that back fairly quickly.  Almagro rarely does things easily so this opportunity may well arise.


Alexandr Dolgopolov’s first round record is notoriously poor and I feel the 3.05 available on Robin Haase may well be value.  Projected holds are close at a little above 80% and their win records on clay in the last year are also very similar.  Haase is much better on clay than on hard surfaces, in my opinion, and his surface win percentages back that claim.  Dolgopolov marginally shades the records with 8-6 versus 12-11 but this again indicates that a price below 1.5 on the Ukrainian is not a great price.  Just don’t back the Dutchman in a tiebreak...


Sam Querrey hasn’t played for a month since the Davis Cup defeat to the injured Novak Djokovic, and today faces Jerzy Janowicz, who was a little unlucky in both his clay defeats this season, blowing set points in the second set to Kevin Anderson and a set lead to Albert Ramos.  Janowicz has a superb clay record in Challengers (21-3 in the last year) and there’s no doubt that he should be able to convert that to a winning record on the main tour too.  He is 1.8 for this and I feel that’s fair.  With two big servers, don’t expect breaks.


As always, good luck with what you decide to bet or trade on, and there’ll be more tomorrow.


Sunday, May 5th, 2013.


MADRID PREVIEW:-


We are back to red clay in Madrid this year after the disastrous experiment with blue clay last year.  The blue clay proved to play fast, with there being 81.8% of service holds last year in the men’s competition.  This would be more akin to an indoor hard court for service holds, with the clay average for the year being 75.6%.  The women also found it much easier to hold on average, with 69.3% of holds compared to the year long mean of 61.6%.  Clearly if those statistics still applied, we would have to adapt our strategies dramatically towards favouring servers instead of opposing them.


I’ve checked out the qualifying data this year, and in the two qualifying rounds, 77.33% of ATP service games resulted in holds.  It’s reasonable to assume that this figure will be below the main draw average, as qualifying rounds tend to feature poorer servers.  The all-time average for qualifiers at Madrid is 76.7%, so this is pretty much the same.  The women held 64.42% which is similar to the average of 63.8% for qualifiers.  So we have no alternative to assume that this year’s tournament will play similar to the average Madrid tournament with regard to service holds - which is above average (79.2% for ATP and 66.9% WTA).  We definitely need to be very selective when opposing servers this week.


With regard to players, Roger Federer’s 34-6 and Rafael Nadal’s 27-8 records at the venue are the best.  Nadal went out to Fernando Verdasco in memorable match where Verdasco, showing mental strength that is rarely visible these days, came back from a double break down in the final set to emerge victorious.  There was speculation Novak Djokovic tanked to his fellow Serb, Janko Tipsarevic, in a protest over the surface.  Federer, in what is these days a rare tournament win on clay, defeated Tomas Berdych in three sets in the final last year and has won three out of the last seven tournaments here.  Perhaps surprisingly, Nadal has won here just twice.  It’s no surprise that him and Djokovic are the favourites for this.


In the women’s tournament, Serena Williams is considered favourite for every tournament she plays and she is defending champion, having thrashed Victoria Azarenka in the final.  Azarenka has lost the last two finals and is one of several top players yet to participate on clay this season.  Perhaps Maria Sharapova, after her win on clay in Stuttgart, may have the benefit of having spent more time on the surface and win this week.  It’s hard to see past these three players to find a victor.


Some matches were played this weekend, although I didn’t trade anything.  I’m looking forward to getting back into action tomorrow, with a very busy trading day on the cards.  Already, in the women’s tournament, Caroline Wozniacki and Na Li are high profile casualties, losing to players outside the top 30.  In the case of Wozniacki, it will be increasingly difficult to price her matches should she not come out of her slump.  The bookmakers may make some serious mistakes in the near future.


There will be a full preview of the day’s play tomorrow morning, so check back then for more updates.


Saturday, May 4th, 2013.


Hi everyone - after a decent week trading I’m taking the weekend off.  The weather is nice so I thought I might enjoy that outside rather than cooped up inside trading!  I’d encourage everyone to have a healthy work/life balance.  I’ll do an update on Sunday night/Monday morning with some stats from previous Madrid tournaments, and this weekend’s qualifiers too.  


Have a great weekend and there will be more tomorrow/Monday...


Friday, May 3rd, 2013.


We have a good day in prospect today with there being four quarter finals in each ATP event and in our one WTA event this week, we are at the semi final stage.


Our action starts earliest in Munich, as it has done all week.  Regular readers will have noticed that I stated that I was keener to focus on action in Oeiras mostly this week and it holds true here as well.  Not one player has a projected hold low enough to consider laying when in front in Germany today.  Ivan Dodig at 77% and Florian Mayer at 78% are the lowest, and that’s too high for me to have an edge.  Furthermore, Dodig has cost me this week with his displays and I’m not sure taking him on against Alexandr Dolgopolov, who can quickly veer from the sublime to the ridiculous, would be the smartest move.  The clay service and return statistics would indicate that there’s value on Dolgopolov at 1.52 but I’m not sure I want to pull the trigger after watching Dodig this week.


Further considering the pre-match prices, I feel there is a touch of value on Mayer in the all-German clash with Tommy Haas.  Whilst I don’t expect him to win, and I’m not his biggest fan, but I do feel his chances are better than the odds of 4 suggest, based on the clay statistics.  Also, Haas isn’t particularly clutch on break points on both his and his opponents serve.  I feel he could trade a fair bit higher than 1.3 today.


Janko Tipsarevic’s match-up with the big-serving Daniel Brands on a court with fewer breaks than average would suggest a tight match.  Because of Brands’ limited return game, Tipsarevic’s projected hold according to my model is 93%, which is extremely high.  The pre-match odds of 1.53 on the Serb appear pretty fair.


Similarly to Mayer, Viktor Troicki is a player that I hate to back, but I can’t be having the 1.37 about Philipp Kohlschreiber in this match.  He hasn’t won many matches in straightforward fashion lately and I feel that he may well trade over evens in this, at least.  Troicki gave Radek Stepanek too many chances in the last round but still came through in straight sets.


The two women’s semi finals in Oeiras are scheduled before the men’s quarter finals.  The first match is an intriguing one between Romina Oprandi and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.  The prices are moving around all the time in this one and it’s pretty much evens the pair right now.  At first glance I was highly surprised at this, considering this great value on the Russian.  However when you consider that Oprandi has a higher projected hold at 66% to 63%, and indeed has held serve 88% of the time and has broken 56% of the time this week, you could probably make a reasonable case for her being shorter.  I’m struggling to ascertain whether those stats this week on Oprandi are just positive variance, or whether the conditions suit her so much.  As those sort of stats long-term would make her world number one I feel that it’s possibly a bit of both, with the emphasis on positive variance.

With a fair few doubts, I don’t think I’ll touch this match much.  One avenue I may consider is backing Pavlyuchenkova in a decider, certainly if I can get odds against. She has a really good record in these and again won another tight 3 setter against Elena Vesnina yesterday.


The second semi final is between Carla Suarez Navarro and Kaia Kanepi.  Suarez Navarro actually starts as slight pre-match favourite, at odds of around 1.89.  I personally consider her to be the wrong favourite as I have priced Kanepi at about 1.75 for this.  So according to my statistics there’s good value on the Estonian.  What we can almost guarantee in this match is breaks of serve, with both players having an excellent return game, breaking 51% and 47% respectively on clay.  It’s not a move I make often, but I’m actually considering laying both players serve until there’s the first break in this.  It shouldn’t take long...


I especially like laying the Spaniard’s serve in this on a fair few occasions, such as when leading by a break or when serving to stay in the set.  As she holds 10% less than Kanepi (62% to 72% on clay) we should see her serve come under a high level of pressure.  It could pay to take the same approach with Kanepi too but it must be noted that she is much more clutch when facing break points - this matchup indicates she should save 5.3% of break points more than the average WTA player.


The men’s quarter finals in Oeiras immediately follow this match, with Gastao Elias and Stanislas Wawrinka kicking us off shortly after 2pm.  Wawrinka starts at 1.15, but although that will probably only interest those with high stakes, I believe it to be pretty reasonable.  Elias has little ATP Tour experience and it’s no secret Wawrinka loves the dirt.  This is a huge step up for Elias from his match against Denis Istomin yesterday.  I’m not saying that Elias won’t give the Swiss a decent game, but I’d be very shocked if he came away from this match in his first ATP semi final.

I think I’m looking at laying Elias for sure if he does lead in this - Wawrinka came back from a set down yesterday and there’s a huge chance that the Portuguese may struggle under pressure.  Wawrinka, also, may be worth laying if leading.  He’s not the most consistent player and has a mediocre record a set up.  A few things to consider there, for sure.


When considering the match between Pablo Carreno-Busta and Fabio Fognini, I initially felt there was some value on the impressive young Spaniard at around 3.00.  However I don’t think I want to take that because I feel that Fognini’s experience on clay and recent good form will have too much for Carreno-Busta eventually.  Furthermore, I’m extremely worried about Carreno-Busta’s break point stats which show him to be 8.7% below expectation for this match for saving break points.  Whilst his ATP sample is small (6 matches), for him to have won four of them but still having won 9% fewer break points than ‘normal’ points on his serve is concerning.  If he continues like that he won’t get higher than the level of someone like Lorenzi.  It’s probably why his matches are superb for traders, though.  I can definitely see breaks in this.  I’m looking at opposing the player leading, particularly if it’s Carreno-Busta.


The penultimate match, which sees Victor Hanescu with the unenviable task of playing the excellent David Ferrer doesn’t hugely interest me unless Ferrer falls a set and break down.  He’s had a tendency lately of letting mediocre players back into matches, so I suppose that’s possible here.  With Hanescu starting at odds of around 11, I feel that can be the only viable entry point without a huge liability compared to the potential reward.  


Finally Andreas Seppi takes on the in-form, but surely tired, Tommy Robredo. Seppi hasn’t played superbly lately but had a very facile win over Alejandro Falla yesterday.  Robredo starts as a 1.84 favourite, and I feel that’s about right as he has a marginally higher projected hold.  Seppi’s inability to save enough break points may be the key factor in this match.  I’ll probably look to lay either player when leading by a break in this.  Robredo let Haase back into the match in the first set yesterday.  I’ll also look at laying Seppi, unless Robredo looks shattered, if he takes the first set.  His record when a set up is below average (81% win in the last year), whilst Robredo is slightly above average at 27% when a set down.  


I hope you enjoyed reading today’s preview and, as always, good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on.


Thursday, May 2nd, 2013.


Hi everyone, it will have to be a fairly quick preview today as it’s now 11:30am and I’ve been on the road from 7am-10am and then couldn’t access a plug point until now in the hotel I’m staying in.  Thankfully Mrs.TennisRatings was driving and I managed to prepare for today on the laptop...

I’m just going to focus on the matches that specifically interest me today.


I feel Monica Puig represents good value against Carla Suarez Navarro today.  The promising young Puerto Rican is one of the young players I feel can make a big impression in the WTA and odds of 3.5 appeal in a match which should feature a few breaks.  Projected holds are 51% and 56% respectively and I feel a lay-to-back of Suarez Navarro at 1.37 may prove lucrative.  


I’m looking to oppose Ayumi Morita against Kaia Kanepi, the defending champion, should she lead this match at various points.  Morita had an easy win over Urszula Radwanska yesterday but from reports I’m not sure Radwanska was especially motivated.  Kanepi looked pretty strong against Cirstea (who herself showed questionable motivation).  With Morita having a 57% projected hold there should be opportunities for Kanepi to recover deficits.


Gastao Elias’ match with Denis Istomin intrigues me, as the young clay courter with a good Challenger Tour record takes on an ATP regular who is not particularly adept on the surface (Istomin is 4-8 on clay in the last year).  However Elias at 1.68 is short.  I’d have him about 1.9 myself for this one.  I’m looking to oppose both players serve regularly in this match, with projected holds between 60% and 65% for both players.  Elias has a great record (37% in the last year) when a set down (albeit mostly in Challengers) so a lay of Istomin, probably at about the 1.3-1.4 price if he takes the first set, appeals.


Robin Haase is not fancied by many to beat Tommy Robredo but I feel he may have a chance at odds of around 3.5.  Robredo has played an awful lot of tennis lately and he struggled past Gimeno-Traver in three sets on Tuesday.  At his age playing a lot of tennis must be difficult and with projected service holds much closer than the pre-match prices indicate, I’m considering opposing the Spaniard pre-match here.  However, that approach must be tempered by the fact that Haase is mentally weak and has now equalled the record for consecutive tie-break losses.  Haase blew (but saved) a lot of break points against Andujar.  Backing him doesn’t excite me but I might have a go with small stakes.  Certainly opposing either player a break up should be a trade we can have a positive expectation in.  I’ll also lay Haase when serving to stay in a set, for example at *5-6.  He got broken at that scoreline last week and getting to another tie-break may be playing on his mind.


Some people like the 3.25 about Alejandro Falla against Andreas Seppi, but I’m not a big fan myself.  The prices seem pretty fair to me.  Neither player is in good form but Seppi is much the better player on the surface.  I’ll look at getting bigger than the 1.41 SP on him if he falls a break down in this match.  


Apologies for the late and short update, and as always good luck with whatever you decide to bet or trade on.  More tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 1st, 2013.


Before I start today’s previews, I wanted to write on the subject of the relevant surface statistics this week.  Those readers who can remember my week’s preview (posted on Monday) will recollect that I predicted that the Munich courts would have much fewer breaks than those in Oeiras.  Whilst I didn’t expect those windy, cold conditions in Portugal, which no doubt have contributed at least slightly to the amount of breaks (the Goffin v Sousa match springs to mind), it has to be said that my hypothesis has been proven correct.


The courts in Munich have got statistics more akin to a Hard Court currently, with 80.38% of 1st round service games being held.  This is a fair bit above the current ATP clay average of 75.5%.  However, we see the opposite at the men’s tournament in Oeiras, with only 69.86% of 1st round service games being held.  We can really use this information to help us make good trading decisions.  There will be much fewer comebacks, and far fewer opportunities to lay a server in Munich than there will be in Oeiras.  


The women’s tournament in Oeiras, however, is pretty much exactly at WTA average currently.  That stands at 61.5% service holds, whilst in Portugal it’s currently 62.46%.  With a difference so small, I don’t feel we can read anything specifically into this.  So we do not need to adjust our selection criteria based on those stats.  


Because of these stats, I can see myself focusing on matches in Oeiras for the rest of the week.  There may be several opportunities in Germany, but the majority will definitely lie in Portugal.


The matches start first in Munich, and having said that matches here don’t overly interest me earlier, one match I will consider is the 10am clash between Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic.  Cilic is favourite at around 1.24, and to me that appears fair.  Dodig isn’t the best on clay, and without watching it, it’s hard to know how interested Davydenko was in the last round.  Certainly he dropped a few break points at key situations, from looking at the live scoreboard.  I can’t see Dodig taking two sets off the tournament favourite today - even one would be an achievement - so I’m looking to oppose the Croat in pressure situations or a break up in this.


Sadly, only half the matches are streamed at WTA Oeiras today, and yesterday’s non-streamed matches didn’t have the best of liquidity.  I wanted to get involved in the Arvidsson v Voskoboeva and Rezai v Cabeza Candela matches yesterday but after not getting trades even close to fully matched I let them go.  That was a shame especially with the Rezai v Cabeza Candela match featuring breaks in over half the service games (predicted holds were around the 50% mark).  


So I’ll only preview the streamed matches today.  An interesting match at around 11am starts us off, with Kaia Kanepi at 1.62 to defeat Sorana Cirstea.  Looking at the projected holds (52% Cirstea, 76% Kanepi) this should be no contest, but it’s important to remember that Kanepi hasn’t hit close to her best since returning from injury.  With an absence like that, I feel it takes at least 5 matches to get back to near the level of before, and she’s in that kind of time frame now.  Also worth remembering is that Kanepi is defending champion.  She’s dropped a little more than 20 places since her injury and now stands at 40 in the world.  If she goes out today, that will plummet further.  So she should have plenty of motivation for this match, being well aware of that fact.  I’m looking to lay Cirstea when in front here.  I feel that can be the only option with a projected serve hold of 52%.  Cirstea has an excellent long-term record of coming back from a set down, so this approach should be tempered if Kanepi takes the first set.



Carla Suarez Navarro is a 1.35 favourite for her clash with the out of form Yanina Wickmayer.  Wickmayer did her best to throw away a set and 3-0 lead against Anna Tatishvili in the last round, and that sort of profligacy will not serve her well against Suarez Navarro who reeled off 11 games in a row in her 6-3, 6-0 win over Marina Erakovic on Monday.  Suarez Navarro’s price appears fair when you consider the players’ respective clay records.  In this I’m looking to oppose the Wickmayer serve whenever reasonable - entry points such as if she breaks to lead and in pressure situations.  When you consider Suarez Navarro breaks 51.6% of opponents serve in the 25 matches she has played on clay in the last year (her favourite surface), that appears to be a hugely viable entry point.


We have a break in the streaming until 2pm, where there is an interesting clash between the promising Monica Puig, who had an excellent win over Julia Goerges (it’s definitely not Stuttgart here, Julia), and the Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone.  Schiavone is 1.42 favourite and I believe that could be a little vulnerable today.  She’s played an awful lot of tennis recently and had a three setter over Lourdes Dominguez Lino yesterday.  Puig, having qualified as a lucky loser, should be well accustomed to the conditions by now and may be in a prime spot to take advantage of Schiavone’s fatigue.  Furthermore, whilst the serving stats show Schiavone to be a justifiable favourite, they aren’t that far apart and I think a price of around 1.6 on Schiavone would be much fairer.  One thing that worries me is that in her 8 WTA matches in the last year, Puig doesn’t appear fantastic at saving break points.  That may be down to small sample size or perhaps her inexperience, but that’s all we have to go on right now so it’s definitely worth noting that.  


Finally at around 4pm the bookmakers cannot seperate the matchup of Urszula Radwanska and Ayumi Morita.  Radwanska is the very marginal 1.95 favourite, and in a strange twist, I can’t separate either of these too.  Both have a projected hold of exactly 58.0% (Morita has the stronger serve but Radwanska breaks much more) and I can see this being really tight with a fair few breaks.  I’m looking to lay the player in front here.  I’d also be surprised if both players didn’t trade quite a bit shorter in this - those traders that like to lay both players under SPs, may find joy laying both at a price such as 1.6 in this encounter.  


The men’s matches at ATP Oeiras are all streamed with the charismatic and volatile Frenchman Benoit Paire slight favourite at 1.69 for his match with Victor Hanescu, due to start just before 1pm.  Both players have slightly below average service hold percentages so we may see a few breaks in this.  In the last round, Paire, taking the unconventional approach of playing in his hoodie, did not play close to his best but still defeated Igor Sijsling in straight sets.  He did, however, give 9 break points in 10 service games (Sijsling taking just 3).  Hanescu offered even more opportunities to Rui Machado, who was only able to take 1 of his 10 break points.  Those stats all point to breaks, and break chances today.  Opposing the serve in selected spots would appear to be the way to go.  We can definitely consider laying the player a break up or opposing the server at times like serving to stay in the set.


It will be interesting to see how David Ferrer plays after his shock third set capitulation against Dimitry Tursunov last week in Barcelona.  Today he takes on Edouard Roger-Vasselin, and whilst the Frenchman is fairly limited at this level, I rate him as better on clay than Tursunov so if Ferrer has some sort of fitness issue (I doubt he has, otherwise he wouldn’t be here for a 250 event) then he could take advantage.  There’s certainly no point in taking the 1.07 about Ferrer pre-match!   It’s tough to recommend a play here.  A fully fit Ferrer will easily win, and if he’s not fully fit, then I’m not sure I want to back him, even at a significantly bigger price.  I may not get too involved here.


At around 4pm, there is an all-Italian clash between Paolo Lorenzi and Fabio Fognini.  Fognini’s confidence must be sky-high after his run to the semi-finals in Monte Carlo a fortnight ago.  He withdrew from Bucharest last week with fatigue, but I don’t blame him for that at all.  I certainly respect him a lot more for doing that than tanking in the first round.  Fognini starts as a 1.4 favourite, and that appears to be about right looking at the stats, although I can see there being plenty of breaks in this.  Despite clay being Lorenzi’s favoured surface, he still has a losing record on it at ATP level, winning 10 and losing 11 in the last year.  Fognini is 18-12.  They both hold around the 72% mark on the surface, but Fognini breaks much more (31% to 21%).  I can see there being breaks here today.  I’m especially looking to oppose Lorenzi when ahead and in pressure spots.  It’s also worth mentioning that Lorenzi’s record shows him to be atrocious at saving break points (this matchup has him being -11.9% below average for that).


Finally the match at around 5:30pm between Pablo Carreno-Busta and David Goffin is, to me, a fascinating one.  Carreno-Busta has really impressed me so far in his recent ATP matches and currently his matches also fit the ‘traders dream’ profile.  I did well from his match with Julien Benneteau yesterday, where breaks were traded and broken back with regularity.  It must be said that Carreno-Busta saved a fair few break points in key situations to get through.  Goffin’s first round match, in very windy conditions, against Pedro Sousa on Monday featured just the 18 breaks from 32 service games!  I must say I expect a lot of breaks in this too, although I’d be pleasantly surprised if it hit those heights.  Goffin starts as underdog at 2.25 and for me that’s great value.  He’s much more experienced at this level and just last week some tipsters were making a case for him to win Bucharest.  He has a better projected hold at 68% to Carreno-Busta’s 61%, so for me the odds are the wrong way around.  I’m especially looking to oppose the Spaniard when leading in this match.


I hope you enjoyed reading today, and as always good luck with whatever you decide to trade or bet on.  There will be more, as usual, tomorrow.



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