This week’s ATP Tour action at Marrakesh and Houston has reached the quarter final stage and four of our six selections, Carreno-Busta (11/1) at Marrakesh and Sock (7/1), Smyczek (80/1) and Querrey (12/1) at Houston are still in with a shot at winning their respective titles.
Seventh seed Carreno-Busta faces fourth seed Delbonis today and, on paper, this was always going to be his toughest test as he trails the head-to-head 3-0, two of which came on clay last year at Kitzbuhel (7-5, 6-4) and Buenos Aires (7-6, 3-0 retired).
Carreno-Busta has improved since those encounters and there are only five places between them now in the world rankings. I’m quietly confident that Carreno-Busta is capable of redressing the balance today. However, if you prefer to play it safe, you may want to consider hedging your outright stake by backing Delbonis given their past encounters on clay.
Over in Houston, fifth seed Sam Querrey will face veteran Juan Monaco for a spot in the semi-finals and Monaco leads the head-to-head 3-1. They’ve met twice on clay at Estoril in 2007 and at Nice last year, Monaco won both encounters and Querrey’s only win came on home soil at Cincinnati on hard courts back in 2007. Querrey is a much stronger player on home soil and with Houston’s green clay courts playing much quicker than traditional clay courts, I expect him to come out on top on this occasion.
Tim Smyczek brushed aside compatriot Donald Young 6-2 6-4 in impressive fashion yesterday and will play third seed veteran Lopez for a spot in the semi-finals. They’ve met once before on the ATP Tour at the Canadian Masters on hard courts back in 2014, which was a tight encounter that Lopez won 7-5 6-4.
I expect this encounter to be another close one and if Smyczek can produce the type of form that he produced when beating John Isner at Miami last week, there’s no reason why he can’t produce another upset against Lopez, who will be 35 this year.
Finally Fourth seed Jack Sock breezed past qualifier Mathew Barton last night and will play the winner of the Verdasco vs. Baghdatis match, which was due to be played in the early hours of this morning.