ATP Tennis Betting: Troicki can heap more misery upon struggling Thiem

Day three of the 2017 Shanghai Masters features 11 matches from round two, with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal making their first appearances of the week on Wednesday.

I said it was going to be a really tough day for the players in the extreme humidity of Shanghai on Tuesday and it cost us one outright when Mischa Zverev retired four games after being a set and 5-2 up on Jan Lennard Struff and priced at 1.01 for the win.

There was not an eyebrow raised at all when Jack Sock added his name to the list of those unable to cope in the conditions or when Nick Kyrgios retired after a set.

I said in my pre-tournament preview that Kyrgios is yet to go deep the week after making a final and this time it was the right shoulder that was the part of his brittle body that wasn’t up to it.

It didn’t seem that serious though and for the second year in a row Kyrgios left the court in Shanghai to boos after a lame retirement after the opening set tie break didn’t go his way.

He later came out with the usual social media apology, no doubt under duress from his management team, and blamed a sick bug.

Things didn’t go our way in the daily bets either on Tuesday, with a poor performance from Yuichi Sugita and a puzzling one from Hyeon Chung, who should have been halfway to the locker room against Richard Gasquet after a set and a half.

Chung had break points in five of Gasquet’s 10 opening service games, but went 3-11 in converting them, allowing Gasquet back into it, and once he’d stopped pressing and become embroiled in the Frenchman’s web it was game over.

It’s set to be another very humid day in Shanghai on Wednesday, but not quite as hot at a bearable 22C, but windy at 25kph and around 80% humidity. Rain is also expected on and off.

One of the early matches at 06:00 UK time (13:00 local) would be to back Feliciano Lopez as underdog against Alexandr Dolgopolov, but given that Dolgo is involved I’ll have to pass.

Lopez has a fine record here, while before getting a retirement from Sock on Tuesday the Ukrainian had won one match here since 2012 – and that was against Michael Russell.

Slower, higher bouncing hard courts or clay are usually the better surfaces for Dolgo and he has a losing record against the net-rushers in my database too.

Lopez is one of the underdogs I feel has a very good chance today and the others are Viktor Troicki, Gilles Simon, Frances Tiafoe and perhaps even Diego Schwartzman.

Dominic Thiem vs Viktor Troicki

I think we have to take the struggling Thiem on again here, with the Austrian all at sea on quickish hard courts this summer and these courts in Shanghai are faster than any he’s played on so far.

Thiem comes into this tournament having lost to Guido Pella in Chengdu and Steve Johnson in Tokyo and before that losses to Schwartzman and David Ferrer have also shown his current limitations on fast hard courts.

His confidence must be very low at the moment and now he faces an opponent he’s never beaten on the quickest Masters 1000 surface of the year in incredibly humid conditions.

Troicki beat Rafa Nadal here in Shanghai last season and he started his 2017 campaign well by landing the spoils as underdog on Tuesday against another player that didn’t handle the conditions in Denis Shapovalov.

The Serb was underdog both times he beat Thiem – in a woeful performance from the Austrian in Thiem’s backyard in Vienna and when Troicki was coming back from his ban in 2014 in Gstaad.

Troicki has been in poor form himself for the majority of the year, but he could well catch Thiem cold again here and he should be confident in this one, having beaten Thiem twice and taken out Nadal at this tournament.

A price of 2.88 on the Serbian to win the opener looks the best wager here.

David Goffin vs Gilles Simon

As well as Lopez another man with a fine record here is Gilles Simon, who’s been a finalist and semi finalist in Shanghai in the last three years winning 12 of his last 15 matches at this tournament.

Gillou has had a dire season to date, but a return here, where conditions aid his flat hitting, should suit the Frenchman and after sacking his entire coaching team a few weeks ago he may see this as a fresh start.

He’ll certainly be facing an opponent in David Goffin who should be fatigued after back-to-back finals and it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Simon had the legs on Goffin in a clash that will probably involve a fair few long rallies.

On form Goffin is the clear pick, but it’s Simon that has had one match to get used to the almost uniquely quick conditions here in Shanghai, and we need to consider Goffin’s other commitments as well.

Goffin is scheduled to play at home in Antwerp next week and after that he has the Paris Masters and probably the World Tour Finals as well. He’ll be desperate to be fit and healthy for the Davis Cup final too, so I couldn’t back him at 1.44 here.

Roger Federer vs Diego Schwartzman

For once Federer has a tricky opener to a Masters Series tournament and it’s in the form of  Schwartzman, who has been in fine form all season on outdoor hard.

The Argentine has compiled a hold/break total of 107.8 in 2017 on outdoor hard at main level and that’s less than one percent worse than Alexander Zverev as a comparison.

He’s a different player now than the one Federer defeated three times between 2014 and 2015 and I had to go all the way back to the 2013 Cincy Masters to find an occasion (away from clay) where Federer was as big as 1.16 to win a round two match at a Masters,

That was against Philipp Kohlschreiber (won 6-3, 7-6), but looking at his record in R2 Masters matches one result stands out a mile – the loss here in Shanghai to Albert Ramos two years ago, which was Fed’s most recent match here.

Anything less than somewhere near the fine form he’s shown this season could see Federer in trouble here and over 20.5 games, tie break played at 3.25, or Schwartzman +1.5 sets can be considered, with excellent value on the tie break bet in what could be a close match.

Rafa Nadal may not have things all his own way against Jared Donaldson either and while it’s an ask to expect Donaldson to win it Rafa has lost to some less than star names here over the years and it’s undoubtedly too quick for him to be comfortable.

The American takes the ball early and hits it flat, so I don’t see why he can’t cause problems for the world number one if he doesn’t think too much about who’s on the other side of the net.

Yuichi Sugita was terrible against Sam Querrey on Tuesday, with a slew of unforced errors (rather like in Tokyo last week) handing the advantage on a plate to Querrey, but Frances Tiafoe will at least fight fire with fire here.

Quick conditions suit Tiafoe, who impressed at the Cincy Masters, and a tie break seems likely in this one, with both men serving big and Tiafoe not the best on return.

Sugita was so bad that it’s hard to take anything from that match in terms of Querrey’s form and it would be no shock to see the younger American do wellin this 06:00 start on Union Pay 3 court.

Talking of big servers, John Isner admitted after a tight win over Dusan Lajovic: “I don’t think I had any business winning that match, but that’s the reality of my game sometimes. I was very fortunate to win that one. The conditions were brutal. It felt like Atlanta in August. I think that could’ve been the hottest match I played all year.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas has been serving very well so far in Shanghai and a breaker or two seems inevitable in that one as well, but it’s hardly any sort of value.

Elsewhere, there should be wins for Alexander Zverev against the suddenly recovered Aljaz Bedene, who appeared not to be able to move much last week, Steve Johnson, Kevin Anderson and hopefully Grigor Dimitrov too.

Best Bets
1 point win Troicki to win set one vs Thiem at 2.88
1 point win Simon to beat Goffin at 2.80
1 point win tie break played in Federer/Schwartzman at 3.25