After a break for the Davis the ATP Tour tennis calendar now switches to clay and we have two ATP 250 tournaments to focus on this week in Marrakesh, Morocco and one in North America, at Houston, Texas. Marrakesh is a new tournament that replaced Casablanca and suits traditional aggressive clay courters, while Houston is a long standing event that goes back to the 1970s and is played on fast green clay courts that suit big servers.
Defending champion Delbonis who was seeded four last year returns to defend his title but is unseeded this year, as is 2016 finalist Coric who was seeded three last year. The top two seeds have a poor record and the top seed has only won one of the last ten titles (in 2010) and was never a losing finalist in this period, which does not bode well for Dimitrov’s chances this week. The second seed has won one of the last ten titles (in 2015) and was a losing finalist once in this period (2013), which does not bode well for Ramos-Vinolas chances this week.
Seeded players in general have a good record and a player seeded no higher than eight has won six of the last ten titles (last Delbonis 2016) and a player seeded no higher than seven was a losing finalist eight times in this period (last Coric 2016). Unseeded players have a reasonable record winning four of the last ten titles but the last winner came back in 2013. They were a losing finalist twice in this period (last 2015).
Based on past statistics and form this year seventh seed Diego Schwartzman (12/1) from the bottom half of the draw is worth siding with this week as he’s a proven performer at this level having already won a title on the surface last year and he has winning form against some of the main dangers like second seed Ramos-Vinolas and compatriot and defending champion Delbonis (won last two on clay 2017 and 2016). From the top half of the draw top-seed and tournament favourite Dimitrov is worth siding with on current form and the player who could take advantage is Jeremy Chardy (22/1) has he’s comfortable on clay and should be prepared and in confident mood having helped France reach the semi-finals of the Davis Cup at the weekend.
Defending champion Monaco, who is unseeded again this year and 2015 winner (also 2016 finalist) Sock seeded one both return this year as does 2014 winner and fifth seed Verdasco and 2015 and 2010 finalist Sam Querrey. The top two seeds have not performed well at Houston over the last decade and the top-seed has never won the title in this period and they were a losing finalist twice in this period (2008 and 2013), which does not bode well for Sock’s chances this week. The second seed has not performed well over the last decade either and has never won the title in this period and they were a losing finalist once in this period (2012), which does not bode well for Isner’s chances this week.
Seeded players in general have struggled to win the title over the last decade winning four times in this period (last 2014) but a player seeded no higher than eight has been a losing finalist eight times in this period (last 2016) including in the last seven seasons. Unseeded players have a good record winning six of the last ten titles (last 2016) and they have been a losing finalist twice in this period (last 2009). Having analysed the draw and prices I can’t find any real value for Houston so will not advise any outright selections this week.
From a first round match betting perspective at Marrakesh and Houston there is one bet that interests me, which is a treble on Daniel and Albot at Marrakesh and Young at Houston that pays over 8/1.