Houston and Marrakech are drawing to a close, with the semi-finals the order of play today. Meanwhile the qualifications for the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters have gotten underway.
At 13:30 UK time, the first semi-final of the day gets underway in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. Jiri Vesely and Borna Coric will fight it out for the first place in the final, followed shortly by a 7th career meeting between Benoit Paire and Philip Kohlschreiber.
Coric leads the head-to-head with Vesely 2-0, having never dropped a set against today’s opponent. Their most recent meeting coincidentally being a semi-final match last year here in Marrakech which Coric took in two tie-breaks. However, since then Vesely’s ranking has been almost unchanged, moving up only 2 places, where as Coric has plummeted 37 places down the ranking, and he was almost knocked out of the tournament by local wild card El Amrani just a couple of days ago. I expect a tight match-up between this pair today but Vesely should have the confidence to edge past Coric here. Therefore the bets for this match would be for Vesely to win as underdog at 2.37, and if your after a bigger price, Vesely to win 2-1 at 5.00 is tempting.
The match between Paire and Kohlschreiber is anybody’s guess, with them sharing 3 wins each in their head-to-head. Paire has been playing well here in Marrakech with straight sets wins over Robredo and Albot, but he is very unpredictable even at the best of times. Whereas, Kohlschreiber has edged past both Chardy and Struff with a 2-1 victory. This match has the potential to be a thriller and is best watched, so no bets for this match.
Over in Houston, Texas, at around 19:00 UK time we have the first semi-final of the day which will be contested by Thomaz Bellucci and Ernesto Escobedo, followed by an all-American affair between Jack Sock and Steve Johnson at not before 20:30 UK time.
Escobedo managed to take down a jaded John Isner yesterday after just over 3 hours on court and that has probably taken its toll on his fitness, however Bellucci’s three matches in Houston have all gone the distance and this match looks a tricky prospect to call, therefore I’ll be leaving the betting alone on this match.
The second semi-final between Sock and Johnson is their 9th career meeting, with Sock slightly edging their head-to-head with 5 wins and a worth favourite in this match, having already beaten Johnson twice this season and curretnyl in terrific form on the tour. However, Sock looks a bit fatigued as of late and may struggle slightly against a man who looked full of confidence yesterday against Verdasco. It is also worth pointing out that Johnson hasn’t dropped a set yet in Houston and has only been broken once. This has the potential to be a long match with very few breaks of serve, and for that reason I would recommend 2.10 about there being a tie break in the match. For those looking for further value, the Johnson win at 2.75 is possible.
Vesely to beat Coric @ 2.37
Tie break between Sock and Johnson ‘Yes’ @ 2.10