SUNDAY wasn't the start to the week I was hoping for at Roland Garros as Lukas Lacko allowed Sam Querrey to walk away with a straight-sets victory on day one of the French Open.

Querrey's first 3-0 win in the tournament was achieved after a less than spirited effort from the unreliable Lacko which saw the American ease through without much of a challenge.

Monday's schedule at Roland Garros features defending champion Rafa Nadal, plus Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Richard Gasquet on the show courts and John Isner, Nicolas Almagro and Jerzy Janowicz among other on the outside courts.

And I don't rate the chances of Isner very highly today over five sets on clay against Carlos Berlocq when their match plays out at around 4pm UK time today.

Isner is awful on European clay and pretty poor generally away from the United States and 1.87 seems reasonable about Berlocq to put the big man out of his misery.

Isner has won four of his last 13 matches on European clay and defeats to Denis Istomin, Robin Haase and Pablo Andujar coming into this is hardly the kind of form you need coming into a major – and it's a major the American is yet to do anything in too.

The big man has never beaten anyone of the class or ranking of Berlocq at Roland Garros, where he's won just three matches since his debut in 2008 and in slow, cool conditions in Paris I can't see Berlocq not coming out on top.

Looking at the women's draw and the top seeds make their entrance today with British No.1 Laura Robson hoping to join them in the next round.

The world No.35 takes on Caroline Wozniacki and given the Dane's struggles on clay in recent weeks she will fancy her chances of sending the former world No.1 packing.

Wozniacki suffered a disappointing first-round exit in Rome just a fortnight ago, before the top seed in Brussels fell at the first hurdle again just last week.

As a result, her confidence will be shaky heading into this clash, with Robson looking to continue her ascent up the world rankings with another major scalp.

In fact the way Wozniacki's playing she'd probably lose to boyfriend Rory McIlroy at the moment – although she'd maybe beat him at golf the way he's performing!

Recommended Bets

Back Berlocq to beat Isner at 1.87
Back Robson to beat Wozniacki @ 1.86
Back Halep to beat Navarro @ 2.12
Back Pennetta to beat Flipkens @ 1.75
Back Stephens to beat Knapp 2-0 @ 2.3

Milesey (Betfair)

  1. Milesey 6 years ago


    Tournament History

    Originally called the Scandinavian Masters, the Nordea Masters was first played as recently as 1991 but in its short history, some illustrious names have taken the title. Colin Montgomerie won the inaugural event, Nick Faldo 12 months later, last year’s winner, Lee Westwood, has won it three times in three decades, Luke Donald was successful in 2004, and major winners, Vijay Singh, Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott have all also won it.


    Bro Hof Slott Golf Club (Stadium Course), Stockholm, Sweden

    Course Details
    Par 72 – 7,607yards (Check)
    Stroke Index in 2012 – exactly 72 strokes

    Touted as a future Ryder Cup venue and staging the event for the fourth year in-a-row, the Robert Trent Jones Jr designed Bro Hof Slott only opened in September 2007. It’s a long and very wind-exposed track with five par 5’s. The back nine weaves its way beautifully through fjords and the par 3 17th has an island green a la Sawgrass, so water is most definitely in-play. The fairways are of average width but they need to be found as the rough is fairly penal. The greens have a lot of run-off areas so players will have to hit plenty of accurate approach shots and/or scramble really well. Last year they ran at 10.8 on the stimpmeter.

    TV Coverage

    Live on Sky sports all four days, starting at 10.00am on Thursday

    Last Five Winners

    2012 – Lee Westwood -19
    2011 – Alex Noren -15
    2010 – Richard S Johnson -11
    2009 – Ricardo Gonzalez -10
    2008 – Peter Hanson -9

    What will it take to win the Nordea Masters?

    At over 7,600 yards long, it almost goes without saying that being able to drive it long is a big advantage around Bro Hof Slott – Westwood ranked second for driving distance last year and Alex Noren ranked seventh in 2011. All three winners at the venue have played the par 5’s in double-digits under par for the week so driving distance and par five performance are two stats to consider carefully.

    In breezy weather it’s a brute of a course so keep a close eye on the weather and look to the wind-specialists if it’s forecast to blow hard.

    Is there an angle in?

    There appears to be a strong correlation between this venue and Blackstone in Korea, home of the Ballantine’s Championship. Both events have only staged three events apiece but already there are a number of players that have shown a liking for both courses. Westwood has won at both, Noren arguably should have done so and this year’s Ballantine’s champ, Brett Rumford finished tied fourth at Bro Hof Slott in 2010.

    Is there an identikit winner?

    Three Swedes that have won the event in the last five years so the home contingency deserves close scrutiny and it might make sense to concentrate on the fancied runners…

    There have been a couple of shock winners of the event lately with Marc Warren in 2006 and Ricardo Gonzalez three years later, both going off at big prices but as detailed earlier, some famous names have won this title and most years the winner comes from fairly near the top of the market. Westwood was favourite when winning 12 months ago.

    In-Play Tactics

    If the first three events here are anything to go by, concentrate on the front-runners.

    Westwood was in front by halfway last year and powered away to win by five strokes and two years ago, Noren won wire-to-wire by seven strokes, despite a final round 77 in very windy conditions. Incredibly, he was 11 clear with a round to go! And R S Johnson was never far away three years ago – he was second at halfway and in front after round three.

    Market Leaders

    Noren is a perfectly obvious favourite at an entirely reasonable price. His course form is there for all to see and he’s in reasonable form. He’ll be disappointed to have narrowly failed to qualify for the US Open at Monday’s Walton Heath qualifier but I’m sure he’ll put that behind him soon enough. He has a sound chance, he’s a fair price and I wouldn’t put anyone off him.

    Second favourite, Francesco Molinari, has to lift himself after a disappointing weekend at Wentworth and third favourite, Matteo Manassero has to bring himself back down to earth after winning the BMW PGA Championship in Surrey.

    Both Italians are known for their accuracy rather than their power and the fact that neither man has played here before won’t help either and neither make much appeal.

    Peter Hanson was Westwood’s main adversary in last year’s renewal, eventually finishing third but he’s had niggling issues with his neck for months now and had to withdraw before the off last week and might prove a risky proposition, should he start.


    I’ve had Bernd Wiesberger in mind for this tournament for a very long time, as he has just the right game for the venue.

    The 2012 Ballantine’s champ started the year sluggishly but following a fifth placed finish in Morocco, with a respectable defence in Korea (31st) and a win in Indonesia, where he ranked first for driving distance and greens hit and sixth for putting, he’s finally starting to show some form. Last week’s top-12 finish at Wentworth was a more than satisfactory effort, given the course probably isn’t an ideal fit for the big-hitting Austrian and that he’d missed the cut there in 2012, when his game was in fine fettle.

    I don’t know what happened at Walton Heath on Monday, where he followed up a solid 67 with a sorry 77 to miss out on qualification but I’m happy to overlook one bad round and I was happy enough to take 34.0. He missed the cut on debut here in 2011 and finished tied 17th 12 months ago.

    I came unstuck with an American-based Swede last year when I backed Jonas Blixt who missed the cut but I’m going to try another one this year.

    Henrik Norlander plies his trade on the PGA Tour, having gained his card at the PGA’s Qualifying School last year. He averages 295 yards off the tee in the States this year so he fits the long driving angle-in and he should know the course really well, as Bro Hof is his affiliated club.

    With two missed cuts from two starts in the event he hasn’t exactly demonstrated his course knowledge yet but he’ll be a more confident and accomplished player this year after playing on the biggest stage of all and at a triple-figure price, I thought he was worth a small wager.

    Third up is the fast-improving young Dane, Morten Orum Madsen, who’s had quite a couple of weeks. After winning the DAT Masters on the little-known ECCO Tour, after shooting 63 in the final round to win by four, he came up just shy at the Madeira Islands Open two weeks ago, where he hit an unfortunate double-bogey at the final hole to lose by two. But his biggest achievement over the last few weeks, and one that will surely give him a huge boost, is his qualification at Walton Heath on Monday.

    I’m not sure I’m getting a fantastic price at 110.0 but he has the right game for the course, is in brilliant form and is improving fast. That might look big in a few months time but I’m hoping it looks big on Sunday!


    Bernd Wiesberger @ 34.0
    Henrik Norlander @ 100.0
    Morten Orum Madsen @ 110.0


  2. Milesey 6 years ago



    England take on old rivals Republic of Ireland at Wembley for the 1st time since 1991. Indeed the sides have only met once since that date and that was the ill fated match in Dublin which was almost abandoned.

    England go into the friendly in mixed form and also with a serious chance of missing out on another World Cup. In a group with Ukraine, Poland and Montenegro the English are making hard work of it. England sit in 2nd place in the group 2 points behind suprise leaders Montenegro but only 4 points ahead of Poland and Ukraine who both have a game in hand. Since the defeat to Italy on penalties in Euro 2012 England have won 4, drawn 3 and lost once. This run is including a friendly win over Brazil. They have scored 25 goals and conceded 8 but with 18 coming against whipping boys Moldova and San Marino results have not been great for England at all. As expected after the season has finished, England suffer a handful of withdrawals from the squad. Steven Gerrard, Andy Carrol, Jack Wilshire and Tom Cleverly all leave the side. The only suprise in the side is Manchester City’s Jack Rodwell, apart from him its the same old faces.

    Republic of Ireland are in battling away as usual, but seem to lack the quality and team spirit of the last few years. They are in a really tough group indeed, after being paired with all conquering Germany all the rest of group C were looking at the runners up spot at best. Ireland sit in joint 2nd position after 5 games. Since their awful showing in Euro 2012 Ireland have had a mixed bag of results. While 4 wins, 3 draws and 3 defeats seems like a decent return they have only managed to beat one side of note in Poland. Wins over Oman, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan will impress few people. With 15 goals scored and 12 conceded in that straight forward run of games it shows a weakness in the Ireland side. Germany walloped them 6-1 in Dublin and Serbia outplayed them for long parts of their 0-0 draw. The limited nature of the Irish squad is highlighted by the replacements brought into this game after the withdrawals of Paul Green, Kevin Doyle and Anthony Pilkington. Stephen Quinn makes his 1st squad for 6 years and Robbie Keane is given leave from the MLS to make the game.


    This should be a straight forward win for England in a match against one of their oldest enemies. The disparity in the squad strengths is there for all to see with Ireland struggling to name players from England league 1 these days. Every English player is head to head better than their opposing number and no Ireland player would get in the English 1st eleven. Ireland used to compensate for this with an incredible will to win and an unsurpassed team spirit but this has long since evaporated. The price on England is too short for our selection so we take England -1 at 1.75. England are shortening up all the time as the money is all for the home side so suggest an early bet before all value has gone.


  3. Milesey 6 years ago


    Serie B playoff final 1st leg sees Empoli go head to head with Livorno. Both sides deserved to make the finals as they were both well ahead of Brescia and Novara respectively.

    Empoli are in very good form but go into the game as outsiders to make the jump to Italy Serie A. They are in good form with 7 wins and 3 draw and 1 defeats from their last 11 Italy Serie B games. With 19 goals scored and just 6 conceded (with six clean sheets in that time) The team from Tuscany are a very strong all round side. They finished the season in 4thand ended up 7 points behind rivals Livorno, with a record of 20 wins, 13 draws and 9 defeats. Empoli have a very strong attacking squad and have two of the deadliest strikers in Serie B. Veteren duo Massimo Maccarrone and Francesco Tavano have 40 goals between them with fellow frontman Riccardo Saponara chipping in with 13 in what is a fearsome front three. Empoli dominated Novara in the semi finals in both legs. Holding the away leg in 1 -1 draw they then hammered Novara at home 4-1.

    Livorno were undone one the final day of the season as they went down to Serie B winners Sassuolo. The side from Tuscany were the clear 3rd best side in the division and are clear favourites to progress in this tie and also to get promoted to Serie A. Livorno are in good form with 5 wins and 3 draws and 2 defeats from their last 10 Italy Serie B games. With 18 goals scored and 9 conceded the team are playing well at the moment. Livorno went into the last game of the season with a tough match and ended up losing in a very tight affair. They finished the season in 3rd and ended up 9 points ahead of rivals Empoli, with a record of 23 wins, 11 draws and 8 defeats. Livorno have a very strong attacking squad and key players are Brazilians Paulinho and Emerson, with strong support from livewire striker Federico Dionisi.


    A two legged tie with slightly amended rules from the semi finals in case of a tie. If sides are locked together after two legs the game has a 30 minute extra time period in which a draw still would mean Livorno prevailed having finished higher in the league. More pressure heaped on Empoli in what should be a fascinating double header. The two games between these sides in the league so far have both ended in home wins and I take a low scoring home win in this match. Its a really close game for me but the home win just edges it in a two legged affair. Empoli to win at 2.40 with bet365 is the bet.



    All Argentine clash in quarter final 3 of this year’s Copa Libertadores. Newell’s held Boca to a goalless draw and La Bombonera to hold the advantage in this second leg.

    Boca Juniors are one of the powerhouses of Argentina and indeed South American football. With 30 league titles to their name, as well as 6 Copa Libertadores and 3 Intercontinental titles too. Boca were beaten finalists in last year’s edition, going down in a fierce battle with Corinthians. This season has been a disaster on a league front with Boca currently 19th from 20 teams with 2 wins, 7 draws and 6 defeats. They are safe from relegation (for now) under the countries complex three season aggregates ruling. In Copa Libertadores they have 4 wins, 2 draws and 3 defeats so far. They had a relatively straight forward group but struggled to dominate Nacional, Toluca and Barcelona, scraping though by 1 point. In last 16 knockout they were drawn against last year’s winners Corinthians again and no one outside of Buenos Aires predicted a Boca victory. However La Bombonera was rocking and they prevailed at home 1-0. In Brazil they were then expected to capitulate but with a game plan and a solid performance they matched Corinthians. A goal from returning hero Juan Riquelme from about 40 yards summed up the performance and Boca prevailed. Legendary coach Carlos Bianchi is back for a third spell and the belief in the club and fans is so high they could do it, even without a side anywhere near what they are used to.


    A home win was vital for Boca and they ultimately lacked the quality to nick a low scoring victory. Despite the red hot atmosphere and the fans playing their part they could not break down the defence of Newell’s. The tables will be turned now in Rosario and the home side will be big favourites to qualify. Newell’s have been several levels above all domestic opponents this season and with Boca in such poor form generally but especially away from home I see a home win here. Newell’s did beat Boca on Monday night 4-0 but that result should have little bearing on this match. We take Newell’s Old Boys to win the match at 1.85 (betsson)


  4. Milesey 6 years ago


    Tournament History

    First staged in 1976, the event is hosted by Jack Nicklaus on a course he built on land he bought in the 1960’s. This will be the 38th renewal of the Memorial Tournament – Jack’s tournament.


    Muirfield Village, Dublin Ohio

    Course Details
    Par 72 -7,366 yards
    Stroke Index in 2012 – 73.43

    Muirfield Village Golf Club is named after course designer and owner Jack Nicklaus’ favourite Open Championship venue. It’s a proper test and is always considered a good warm-up event for the forthcoming US Open.

    The fairways are fairly generous but the rough is demanding and the greens are tough to find from the long grass, and that’s pretty important as it’s a tricky place to get up-and-down.

    There are 73 bunkers and water comes into play on 11 holes. The greens are undulating and at 13 on the stimpmeter, very fast. Once again, this will get the players nicely tuned-up for the year’s next major in two weeks time.

    Muirfield Village will also host the Presidents Cup in October.

    TV Coverage

    Live on Sky Sports all for days, starting at 8.00pm on Thursday.

    Last Five Winners

    2012 – Tiger Woods -9
    2011 – Steve Stricker -16
    2010 – Justin Rose -18
    2009 – Tiger Woods -12
    2008 – Kenny Perry -8

    What will it take to win the Memorial Tournament?

    Without doubt the key stat is Driving Accuracy. Although the fairways are fairly generous missing them spells disaster and at a ranking of 17th last year, Tiger Woods was the first winner in eight years to rank outside the top-ten for fairways hit.

    This is again one of those weeks where accuracy will win over power and a good scrambling game won’t go amiss.

    The last four players to top the scrambling stats at the event have finished in the top-five.

    In-Play Tactics

    The front nine is much easier than the back nine and it’s a case of making your score early and hanging on. Two years ago, Steve Stricker went on to win the event despite playing the back-nine in four over par and he failed to make a single birdie there all weekend.

    This is yet another event where a fast start is essential. In the last 15 years, only Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk have managed to win the event from any further back than four shots after day one. But that’s a really bizarre stat, given that five of the last six winners were at least three back with a round to go…

    If recent history is anything to go by, it might just be worth taking on the third round leader. They used to have a very solid record but only one of the last six (Steve Stricker in 2012) has managed to do hold on for victory. Stricker won by a single stroke, having led by three through 54 holes, but the other five winners since 2006 had all been at least three back with a round to go. K.J Choi, in 2007, was fully five back, Kenny Perry, a year later, three and the other three all trailed by four with a round to go.

    Muirfield Village has a very strong finish and given the above record of third round leaders, anyone that gets into the house either leading, tied for the lead, or even one back, may be worth backing. Last year, holes 16, 17 and 18 ranked 1st, 4th and 5th hardest and in 2011 they ranked the three hardest on the course.

    Unsurprisingly, the four long holes, 5, 7, 11 and 15 consistently rank as the four easiest.

    Market Leaders

    There’s no doubt or debate surrounding who should be favourite this week, the only question is what price should he be?

    Defending champion, Tiger Woods, has won four of the seven PGA Tour events he’s played this season and he’s won this event five times in 13 attempts. His victory last time out at the Players Championship was particularly noteworthy as his record at the host course, Sawgrass, was ordinary.

    Second favourite, Rory McIlroy’s performance at Wentworth last week, where he missed the cut for the second year in-a-row, was much maligned but I wouldn’t read that much into it. He got the worst of the draw and has a poor record in the event anyway, and I expect a much improved effort this week. He missed the cut here last year but prior to that had shown a liking to the course. Tied 10th on debut was a decent effort in 2010 and he led after day one twelve months later before going on to finish fifth.


    When Tiger Woods took the title twelve months ago, thanks largely to this incredible birdie on the hardest hole on the course, the par 3 16th, he did so when seemingly out of form. How quickly things change, Luke Donald, who missed the cut by miles at Wentworth last week, was the favourite here last year. This time around he’s available at 50.0, and given how poor he played in Surrey last week, that’s not overly generous.

    It’s not often I disagree with Paul Krishnamurty but this is one of those rare occasions. Tiger has shortened up all week so far but that’s only because he opened-up too big. Given all the evidence we have, if this event was played out three times, Tiger would win it at least once and I believe, although it looks short, anything over 3.0 is still fair.

    I totally understand that taking a shade over 3.0 about anyone prior to the off in a competitive PGA Tour event is not everyone’s cup of tea but I thought he was a fair price on Sunday and early on Monday, so I’ve got him onboard at a decent wager.

    My only other selection is Rickie Fowler, who has already hit the front here twice in three years. The orange-clad wonder-boy is always seen at his best on the toughest of venues and I can see him contending again this week at a sporting price.


    Tiger Woods @ 3.7
    Rickie Fowler @ 70.0


    Branden Grace. Here we have a 25 year-old who has been prolific over the past year or so, winning four Race to Dubai titles. On the evidence so far, he is the best emerging prospect from a top golfing nation that has churned out a stream of major winners in the past decade. He’s in good form, reaching the World Match Play semis and following up with a top-25 at Wentworth, saving his best round for last.

    That resume sounds like a 50.0 chance at best, yet we can get a mammoth 190.0 about Grace winning the Memorial Tournament. Perhaps punters are worried that he hasn’t yet transferred that top-notch European form to the States, but 18th place at the Masters was a superb debut effort and 25th on last season’s Memorial debut was tidy enough too. Keep backing Grace at anything like these odds and you’ll do well in the long-term.

    Likewise, Russell Henley was all the rage after winning his first start as a fully qualified PGA Tour player, yet is now back at odds of 300.0. He’d shown enough beforehand, and bits and pieces since, to strongly suggest that Sony Open win was no fluke. Henley has particularly impressed in the short-game department and those skills are essential to succeed on this course. The fact he’s making his Muirfield Village debut is a negative, but many other top-class youngsters have performed well at Muirfield Village so don’t let that put you off too much.

    The trading plan is to stake 2.5 units on the pair, then place a relatively unambitious lay order at 20.0 to bank profit, then again at 3.0. If either just hits the first target, we’ll quadruple our money.

    Recommended Bets
    Back Branden Grace @ 190.0
    Back Russell Henley @ 300.0


    ( betfair )

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