Two ATP 250 tournaments take place this week with the Russian Open taking place in St Petersburg and the Moselle Open taking place in France – and we’ve got analysis and tips for both tournaments.
Also known as the ATP St Petersburg, the Russian Open is played on the hardcourts of the Sibur Arena and, after Andy Murray won it twice a few years ago, the tournament had produced a number of low-key winners until Milos Raonic won it last year, beating Joao Sousa in the final.
The Canadian returns to defend his title this year, but it looks a decent event on paper with new US Open champion Stan Wawrinka heading the market, with Raonic second favourite, and Berdych third favourite.
Wawrinka looks a big price at 5/2 considering his proven class but, though the Swiss player could win this in his sleep if he was motivated to, he rarely gets to the final of these low-grade events. If that’s the case, then the top-half could be fought out between Bautista Agut and last year’s finalist Sousa. Bautista Agut holds a 5-2 head-to-head lead, but it’s Sousa that has won 2 of the last 3, and has previously proven his motivation for the event.
Meanwhile, the bottom-half looks at the mercy of Raonic, who holds a 4-1 hardcourt head-to-head lead over his potentially biggest hurdle Berdych – and it could well be a repeat of last year’s final.
Back Raonic @ 11/4
Back Sousa @ 25/1
The Moselle Open
Also known as the ATP Metz, the Moselle Open is played on the indoor courts of the Arenes, and the most noticeable statistic is that 6 of the last 7 renewals have been won by Frenchman, with the other being won Belgian David Goffin. Those 6 French wins were split equally between Jo Wilfried- Tsonga and Gilles Simon, but only Simon takes part this year, as Tsonga is injured.
Another player who has been struggling with injury recently is the bookies’ favourite Dominic Thiem, and the classy Austrian looks a market-leader to swerve this week. If Thiem does struggle, then that could be music to the ears of 3-times champion Simon who seems to love these slow courts having also lost to Tsonga in last year’s final, and he’s a must for anyone’s shortlist.
Meanwhile, the 3 players in the bottom-half of the draw who catch the eye are Goffin, Lucas Pouille, and 2012 runner-up Seppi. However, Goffin has a touch more class than either of those two – and a two-pronged attack containing Gilles and Goffin looks the way forward.
Back Goffin @ 7/2
Back Simon @ 15/2