A quick update on the tennis front and the main news this week has been about the top seeds dropping like flies at their respective tournaments. At Acapulco the top three seeds Ferrer, Nishikori and Cilic all crashed out before the quarter-final stage. The biggest surprise came yesterday at Dubai when top seed and world number one Novak Djokovic lost his quarter final due to retirement (eye injury) against sixth seed and two time Dubai finalist Feliciano Lopez. Also, at the time of writing the trend of the top two seeds failing to make an impact at Sao Paulo continued as top seed Paire and second seed Bellucci both crashed out against unseeded opposition (Bellucci was knocked out by a Lucky Loser).
In Monday's article I advised Wawrinka (8/1) at Dubai and thankfully he's through to the semi-finals, where he's due to face one of the hottest properties in tennis at present Nick Kyrgios, who won Marseille at a stroll last week. It's impressive how he's continuing that form this week as it shows he has focus and is playing at a very high standard at present, which he proved by beating third seed and world number seven Tomas Berdych in straight sets for the second time in two weeks.
With quick conditions that suit his game perfectly, it’s going to be very tough for Wawrinka to stop Kyrgios in this type of form and, at 11/8, you might want to consider trading or hedging to at least cover your stake.
The other semi-final at Dubai is between veterans Lopez and Baghdatis. Baghdatis leads the head to head 3-1 and won their last two encounters on hard courts. I expect that trend to continue today and for Baghdatis to reach the final. Wouldn't it be great to see an old warrior like him get a chance at winning his first ATP Title since Sydney 2010?
In Sao Paulo they managed to catch up with the delayed schedule due to the rain yesterday and the quarter-finals will be played today. At the time of writing qualifier Gasto Elias was the first to make the quarter finals in the top half of the draw, followed by our 28/1 winner from last week third seed Pablo Cuevas. Elias will play Lajovic in the first quarter final and Cuevas will face Monteiro in the second.
In Monday's article we advised splitting your stakes between Cuevas and Almagro (6/1). After Almagro lost Cuevas is now the tournament favourite and has a very good chance of defending his title as he has a much better record on clay at this level compared to the remaining opposition.
In the bottom half of the draw it’s great to see fourth seed Del Bonis still challenging and I have a feeling he may go well this week as he's been already won and reached titles on the surface. He faces Inigo Cervantes next up for the first time and, at 26, the Spaniard is a bit of a late bloomer but he's ranked 65 now so will be no pushover. The remaining quarter final in the bottom half of the draw is between two unseeded Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Lucky Loser Carballes Baena, who knocked out second seed Tomas Bellucci yesterday.
The Acapulco quarter finals were played late Thursday evening. It's great to see qualifier and American teenage sensation Taylor Fritz reach the quarter final after reaching the final of his first ATP Tournament at Memphis recently. Unfortunately he was defeated in this round, going down in 3 sets to fellow American and Delray Beach winner, Sam Querrey.
Fourth seed Dominic Thiem has made the transition from clay to hard courts well this week and comfortably defeated seventh seed and former winner Grigor Dimtrov to take his place in the semi-finals. In the top half of the draw fifth seed Tomic is the only seeded player left standing and he duly advanced to the semis with a victory over Illy Marchenko in straight sets. The remaining semi-final spot was taken by Dolgopolov, who dispatched Haase in straight sets (6-3, 6-3).