Murray, Wawrinka, Berdych and Raonic all turn-out after a week off after the Australian Open, and it looks likely that one of them will take the title – though they’ll all have different post grand-slam hang-ups.
Murray looked in great form in Australia until being outwitted by Novak Djokovic in the final, but certainly had the upper-hand over Berdych in the semi-final, who he’s again drawn to meet in the semi-finals here.
Meanwhile, Wawrinka and Raonic also both succumbed to Djokovic – with Wawrinka faring the best by taking him to five-sets. He’s also got a 100% record against likely semi-final opponent Raonic and should at least make the final if fully motivated.
2 points each-way Wawrinka @ 9/2 Skybet
For the other bets this week, I’m concentrating on three first-round matches that are scheduled to be played on Tuesday, in which the stats point strongly to the selections.
Denis Istomin (23/20) vs Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (4/5)
This will be the fifth meeting between the pair, and the score currently stands at 3-1 to Garcia Lopez, although Istomin won their latest match which was at Eastbourne last year. Perhaps more prevalent is their one encounter on a hard-court, which Garcia Lopez won 6-2 6-4, arguably the most one-sided of their matches. World no.33 Garcia Lopez has also been in much the better of the two recently winning 7 of his last 10 matches compared to world no.64 Istomin’s 4 out of 10. Of course, Garcia Lopez won last week in Zagreb, but hopefully that wave of euphoria will carry him to victory here.
2 points Garcia-Lopez @ 4/5 (Skybet)
Jeremy Chardy (10/11) vs Julien Benneteau (evens)
I’m surprised to see Chardy chalked-up as slight favourite here. The pair have met twice before, both on hard-courts, and Benneteau has won both matches without dropping a set. Admittedly, Benneteau isn’t at the top of his game right now having won only one of his last five matches, but Chardy is only two from five. Benneteau is also ranked seven places higher than his opponent, was runner-up in this event in 2013 – and looks the value call.
2 points Benneteau @ evens (various)
Robin Haase vs Andreas Seppi
Haase and Seppi have met 6-times before with Seppi currently leading 4-2, which looks even better when you consider he’s won 4 of their 5 hard-court encounters. Three of those four hard-court victories were also won to nil, including the last two, one of which was last week. Haase, who is ranked 52 places below Seppi, has also lost his last four matches – and Seppi should be able to take this to nil.
2 points Seppi to win 2-0 @ 23/17 (888 or Unibet)