It’s quarter finals day on the ATP Tour at Umag and Bastad and at Newport the two remining quarter final ties play today which will complete the semi-finals line-up. It’s been a frustrating week for my tournament and match betting advice, especially on Wednesday at Umag when Bedene (advised 22/1) was in total control against Pella when he was a set and a double break up, but then proceeded to fall apart and went on to lose 5-7 6-4 6-4. This is not the first time this has happened to Bedene, it seems to be becoming more of a worrying trend and I suppose therefore that’s why he’s yet to win an ATP Tour tournament, even though he’s more than talented and capable enough.
Vesely (advised 20/1) added to the disappointment when he was a set up and on serve in the second set against third seed Cecchinato. However, a leg injury began to hamper is movement more and more in the second set and while he heroically carried on taking the third set to 5-5, he couldn’t fend off Cecchinato, who got the decisive break for a 6-5 lead and he served out for the win and place in tomorrow’s quarter-finals. Mahut (advised 25/1) at Newport was disappointing given his pedigree on grass as he lost against the little know late bloomer Jason Jung from Chinese Taipei, who is 29 and has only now reached a career high ranking of 131 this year.
Finally, we also lost Klizan (20/1) who become the third player after Bedene and Vesely to lose from a set up, which overall on the men’s ATP Tour is statistically uncommon, as overall a male player will usually win the match after winning the first set. We fortunately still have Johnson (advised 9/1) at Newport and Fognini (advised 6/1) at Bastad running for us and they win and Donskoy the remaining match bet won we will make a profit on the week.
Moving on to today’s quarter-finals and at Bastad there’s a host of potential high quality matches taking place. Second seed Carreno-Busta faces compatriot and fifth seed Verdasco and I think the younger Carreno-Busta should take this one, because he leads the head-to-head 3-1, won the last three between 2016 and 2018 in straight sets, including once on clay, and he also produced better results than Verdasco during the first half of this year’s European clay swing. Also, with conditions playing quick at Bastad, it should play to Carenno-Busta’s advantage, as he’s effective on quicker surfaces as his straight sets wins against Verdasco at Miami and Basel 2016 and Estoril 2018 prove.
If previous encounters are anything to go by then the match between third seed Fognini and the unseeded lefty Delbonis from Argentina could be another enthralling and entertaining match. The head-to-head stands at three two in favour of Delbonis, who won three of their four clay court matches between 2011 and 2016, and four of the five matches all went the distance and most of the sets were very close. He’s looked in decent form this week dispatching experienced and dangerous opponents Zeballos, and then Millman in straight sets yesterday. Factor this in with the above information and I’m not feeling confident about Fognini’s chances of winning today. The other two Bastad quarter finals are between fourth seed Gasquet and Norwegian NextGen star Casper Rudd and qualifier Bolleli and Lucky Loser Laaksonen and it’s the first time Gasquet and Rudd have met and Bolleli won the only encounter against Laaksonen on back in 2014 on the Challenger tour on hard courts.
At Umag there are only three seeded players left in the draw, third seed Cecchinato, fourth seed and defending champion Rublev and sixth seed Haase. There’s three unseeded players left, which are Lajovic, Pella and Djere and one qualifier Trungelliti, he of Roland Garros fame when he drove his Grandma, mum a brother from Barcelona to Paris after getting a last minute Lucky Loser call!
Lajovic faces Pella and the Argentine leads the head-to-head 1-0, which came indoors at St Petersburg last year 7-6 6-3. Third seed Cecchinato faces Djere from Serbia for the second time and Cecchinato won their last meeting on clay on the Challenger Tour 2016 6-2 6-2. However, both players have improved a lot since then and judging by their form this week, we should be in for a more competitive encounter than their last one. Qualifier Trungelliti will face Donskoy (advised 3/1) after he knocked out second seed Dzhumur in straights sets yesterday and Donskoy leads the head-to-head 2-0 recording three set wins at Stuttgart on clay in 2011 and on grass at Ilkley in 2017.
At Newport two unseeded players Smyczek and Ramanathan are already through to the semi-finals and will face each other for the first time. Both are ranked around the one hundred and thirty mark and have impressed this week, Smyzcek knocking out fourth seed and 2017 finalist Ebden and Ramanathan knocking out eighth seed and Halle finalist Kudla. Todays remaining quarter finals are between top seed Mannarino and Spanish veteran Granollers and third seed Steve Johnson and veteran Sela from Israel.
Granollers leads the head-to-head against Mannarino 2-1 and his wins came on the Futures tour back in 2005 on hard court and 2015 on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters. This will be the first time Johnson and Sela have met and the main thing that concerns me is the way Sela has dispatched similar payers to Johnson, Tomic and Karlovic this week, but it’s fair to say neither have been playing well as the American this year.