Like with so many of the ATP clay court events, Rafa Nadal has dominated this in recent years. However, I still think he’s a million miles away from the player he once was, and I can’t back him at a price of 2/1; even though those odds would have been unthinkable prior to his injury.
One of the main reasons I can’t have him is the toughness of his side of the draw which contains Federer, Berdych and Wawrinka – all of whom are capable of beating him, or giving him such a tough game that he’ll struggle to win his next match.
That’s why I’m looking at the winner to come from the other half of the draw this week and, having decided before the 2015 season began that I would follow Kei Nishikori on clay throughout the season, I see no need to desert the Japanese player now.
The tactic has already paid dividends this season as he won two weeks ago, and the draw has been kind to him here with Ferrer, Raonic and Murray in his half of the draw. In head-to-heads against his likely pre-final opponents he holds a 9-3 lead over Ferrer and a 5-2 lead over Raonic and, although Murray holds a 3-1 lead, Nishikori did win their last meeting.
Nishikori 2 points @ 9/2
First Round Matches
There’s just one first round match I fancy the look of this week.
Andujar vs Sock
Jack Sock and Pablo Andujar stand at 1-1 in their head-to-heads, but it was the improving Sock who won their last meeting 2-0. He’ll also be on a high after winning in Houston 2 weeks ago, whilst Andujar retired from his last match. That makes the 9/4 for Sock to win 2-0 look good value at 9/4.
Sock 2-0 @ 9/4 (Ladbrokes)
The Munich final had been agonizingly stopped for rain at the time of writing with 14/1 outright selection Kohlschreiber taking on Andy Murray. Meanwhile, our first round treble was hit by a redraw; voiding two of our selection and 1 winner. Still, a 4/9 winner is better than nothing.