Vasek Pospisil to beat Alejandro Falla 2-0 @ 5/4
Alejandro Falla has been cleaning up on the challenger tour in recent weeks but spending so much time in lesser company looks set to backfire against world number 26 Vasek Popsipil in their first round clash at Delray Beach.
The world number 79 won 12 consecutive games on the way to beating fields in Noumea and Bucaramanga before withdrawing in Chitre but his big-serving Canadian opponent would have been fancied to do the same and marks a significant step-up in class.
Pospisil started 2014 the way he left his breakthrough past year, however, an injury to the 23-year-old’s back meant that he hasn’t played since pulling out of his third round match against eventual winner Stanislas Wawrinka at the Australian Open. If he returns to the form that guided him to the semi-finals of ATP Chennai in his first tournament of the year he will be very difficult to beat here.
It’s worth noting that the Columbian did win their only previous meeting at his home tournament in Bogota, however, not only was that the best result of the 30-year-old’s campaign but it also came before Pospisil recorded the best performance of his career in reaching the semi-finals in Montreal. That signalled the beginning of several impressive displays and if he reaches close to that level here he should win with ease.
Igor Sijsling to beat Nikolay Davydenko @ 8/13
Igor Sijsling has had an excellent start to 2014 and he can continue his form against an ageing Nikolay Davydenko in Marseille.
The Russian has never been further away from the level that took him to world number three back in 2006 and it’s difficult to see anything but another first round defeat.
The 32-year-old has crashed out at the earliest stage in seven of his last 16 events and although in the past he would have easily dismissed a player like Sijsling he just simply isn’t capable of playing well enough, for long enough to get the results anymore.
As Davydenko’s career goes south his opponent is only getting better as seen with an excellent week of results last time in Rotterdam. The 26-year-old upset the odds against Mikhail Youzhny and Philipp Kohlschreiber on the way to his maiden ATP semi-final and anything close to a reproduction of that standard should see the Dutchman safely into the second round.
Alejando Gonzalez to beat Pablo Cuevas @ 6/5
Tennis fans have not seen the best of Pablo Cuevas for some time with the Uruguayan struggling to return after having to miss out 2012 with a series of injuries, mainly affecting his back.
Once ranked 45 in the world, the 27-year-old has been sent to tennis orbit in his absence but will still start as favourite courtesy of reputation despite now being 155 places below his ATP Rio first round opponent, world number 76 Alejandro Gonzalez.
If it looked as if Cuevas was back to his best he would have to be backed, however, the man who won the French Open back in 2008 with Luis Horna is clearly still way off the pace and the advice is to back the underdog to inflict a fourth consecutive defeat.
Gonzalez is no world beater but will arrive with much more confidence having reached the final and semi-final of the Sao Paulo and Bucaramanga challengers respectively already this year and that might be enough to see him over the line in what the 24-year-old will see as an important match.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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