TENNIS analyst Gavin Mair (@gavinnightmair) returns with his best bets from this week's Gstaad Open.
ATP Gstaad | 24th-30th July 2017
In the weeks following Wimbledon the majority of the tour moves Stateside as preparations begin for the final Grand Slam of the season on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows.
However, the clay courts of Europe still see some action as surface specialists aim to score one last big week on the main tour this season.
This week there is a 250 event in Gstaad and a 500 event in Hamburg. Gstaad is played at altitude in Switzerland, whilst Hamburg is a slow track.
Gstaad – known locally as ‘The Wimbledon of the Alps’ – has returned a variety of champions in recent years. Serve-volley specialist Feliciano Lopez is the defending champion, and in the two prior years it was won by clay courters with strong weaponry in the form of Dominic Thiem and Pablo Andujar.
There are betting opportunities to be had at both events. As ever I analyse the events using methods that have returned +113.89 Units this season so far.
The top seed this week is David Goffin and he arrives in Switzerland attempting to rebuild form and fitness after a freak injury suffered at the French Open. Goffin is a past finalist here, but he looked short of his best last week and he should be opposed.
Goffin’s first match may be against Mikhail Youzhny, who although a declined force from his better days has fond memories of Gstaad as champion in 2013 and quarter-finalist in two of the past three editions.
It doesn’t get much easier for Goffin as he is projected to battle Robin Haase in the quarter-final. Haase relishes the pace of Gstaad having made a couple of finals in the past, and he tends to perform well generally in post-Wimbledon clay events.
The Dutchman looks a big price at 28/1 (Bet365) this week.
Defending champion Feliciano Lopez is an injury doubt. The Spaniard had an incredible few weeks on the grass before succumbing to injury at Wimbledon. It is unknown what kind of shape he is in, and he should be treated with caution.
The obvious alternative to come through this quarter is Thomaz Bellucci – a two time Gstaad champion. The Brazilian lifted a doubles title last week but his recent singles form has been atrocious.
Bellucci is playing at the moment without a coach, and is wearing a knee brace that may help explain his recent struggles.
One of Lopez and Bellucci should come out of this quarter if their fitness holds up, but it would not surprise me to see an unexpected name go deep this week from this section.
The third quarter features altitude specialist Paolo Lorenzi, but he has been unable to adjust his form to Gstaad. Furthermore, the Italian was runner-up in Umag last week and he is not a player that should be expected to make it to the latter stages week after week.
This is a weak looking quarter and I have chosen Fabio Fognini to come through. The Italian has taken a wildcard into Gstaad, in what will be his first appearance at this event for 10 years.
Despite no course form, Fognini is the premier clay courter in the field and he tends to perform well on the clay courts following Wimbledon, often contending for titles.
If the Italian makes the adjustment to the conditions he should fancy his chances against far from illustrious opposition.
The second seeded Roberto Bautista-Agut enters Gstaad, but he has struggled in the conditions previously having retired during matches in both of his previous appearances here.
He will struggle not to come through this quarter given his steady style of play and the lack of competent opposition but I don’t trust his motivations this week.
Dustin Brown has good course form, and Dusan Lajovic good week to week form and I think either of them offer better value this week than the questionable Bautista-Agut, but not enough to tempt me into backing them.