Andy Murray finally got a win over Novak Djokovic in Italy, though the Serbian number one still managed to steal Murray’s limelight by giving his runner-up speech in fluent Italian. However, both players take a week off this week in a bid to be fresh for next week’s French Open.
Meanwhile, those still in need of some more clay-court practice are heading to either Geneva or Nice, which both play host to an ATP 250 Series Tournament this week.
The Geneva Open, as it is also known, was actually demoted to the Challenger Tour from 1992 to 2014, but returned last year to the main tour, when it was won by Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci, who beat Joao Sousa in the final.
Last year’s winner also appears to have fared reasonably well in the draw this week as he avoids top seed, and home favourite, Stan Wawrinka, but will probably have to beat David Ferrer if he wants to make it to the final.
Wawrinka and Ferrer are both exceptional clay court players, but the question this week is whether either of them will want to go the distance with two weeks of Roland Garros starting next week.
If either of them will be motivated, it may well be Wawrinka who is playing on home soil, and the 5/2 looks fair value. However, this week may be an opportunity for a lower-ranked payer to take advantage, and Bellucci looks fair value having already shown that the courts here suit his game.
Big-hitters Bet: Stan Wawrinka @ 5/2
Each-Way Value: Thomaz Bellucci @ 20/1
The ATP Nice, or Open de Nice Cote d’Azur as it is known in France, is another tournament that disappeared for an extended period (1996 to 2009), but returned to the main tour in 2010. Richard Gasquet won that comeback event though, with the Frenchman absent this year, this looks a fantastic opportunity for last year’s champion Dominic Thiem to continue his ascendancy.
He certainly looked on good enough form last week, when he beat Roger Federer before succumbing to Kei Nishikori. However, there’s nobody of that quality lying in wait here, and he really should be concentrating his efforts on winning here, knowing that he has no real pretensions of winning the French Open.
It’s also interesting that last year’s ATP Geneva runner-up Joao Sousa plays here this year, as this looks an easier event this time around, and he might just offer a bit of each-way value for those who fancy investing in a 22/1 shot.
Big Hitters Bet: Dominic Thiem @ 3/1
Each-Way Value: Joao Sousa @ 22/1