ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia
I SAID yesterday that Wednesday had the look of a tricky day's men's tennis betting in Rome and so it proved but at least this column came up with some winners.
My recommended bet of the day was a comfortable winner when Philipp Kohlschreiber destroyed Albert Ramos 6-4 6-1 in around an hour-and-a-quarter but the real drama was elsewhere.
My notes on the Andy Murray v Marcel Granollers match revealed I liked the Granollers +5.5 games on the handicap and that just about came in when bizarrely Murray retired after winning the second set from 4-1 down.
Murray was clearly in trouble with his fitness and revealed afterwards he's unlikely to play Roland Garros due to a lower back problem but some punters will have been burned by him quitting after winning the second set against the Spaniard who looked like he was never likely to serve it out himself.
Thursday's play and most probably Friday's too look they'll be severely affected by the weather and it seems to be the case that most of the matches won't be finished – or even started – today.
The clear spell seems to be set for this evening when Roger Federer takes on Gilles Simon at 8pm UK time and if they stick to the schedule in Rome it may be the only match that gets played today.
For me the only way to go in this is to oppose Federer at 1.23 which is a price on reputation and he isn't living up to that at the moment.
Conditions won't be to Fed's liking with the damp, slow courts playing much more into the hands of the human backboard Simon, whose tactic will be to make a lot of balls and wait for Federer's errors and it has worked before against the Swiss.
Simon has won two of their three completed matches and the one he lost went to five sets at the Australian Open a couple of years ago. They've never met before on clay and Federer's poor record (by his standards) in Rome added to the slow conditions make him a sketchy wager at long odds-on.
The Swiss has lost three times at short prices in his last four tournaments and the value lies with the Frenchman today for me.
The options are to lay Federer at 1.23 which could make a good start point to back him back later or stick with Simon or simply take the 1.92 about Gilles with a 4.5 game start on the handicap.
Back Simon +4.5 games to beat Federer at 1.92