Ivo Minar @ $2.78(10 Units)
Minar was all over Kiefer like a rash before the German retired with injury when trailing dismally deep into the fourth set. He served 54% of first balls in, produced 9aces and won 81% behind the first ball whilst he was also on-song from the back of the court making less than half the errors of Kiefer (26 to 54) and coming up with some very nice passing shots when the German was at the net. Jarkko Nieminen can go some way to erasing his poor 2008 with a good finish to the season, and he started off in style by accounting for disappointing local Scoville Jenkins. The Finn faced 10 break points and was vulnerable in the latter stages of the third, but the American made too many rash errors and was abysmal on the second serve where Nieminen managed to take 64%of the points to prevail in 3 sets. The only previous encounter was back when Minar was ranked outside the top 100, and was also on his least favoured clay surface. The improving Czech instead prefers the quicker surfaces that are more conjucive to his attacking and aggressive baseline approach, and this year has produced wins over Mahut, Schwank, Rochus, Chela, Isner, Kunitsyn and Hanescu. The win was just Minar's second in 12 career attempts which is bound to give him confidence, and given in recent times he has proved deceivingly difficult to break he could very well stick it out with the consistent Nieminen. The Finn is still lacking confidence and by no means in form, and when a predominantly defensive player is in that frame of mind they have a tendecy to try and overcook things as well as not delivering the killer punch when required. Wouldn't be touching Nimo at these odds, and I get a sneaky suspicion that Minar will set up a clash with Gonzo.
Kohlschreiber 7 - 6 First Set @ $7.40 (4 Units)
A Murray 3 - 1 @ $4.10 (5 Units)
Murray lost just 7 games in his first-round annihilation of the claycourt veteran Sergio Roitman looking sharp throughout especially on serve where he'd often fire up an ace or unreturnable just when you thought his mind was going elsewhere. The Scot made just 20 unforced errors, won 79% and 60% behind his first and second serves, was never broken in the entire match and won 13 of 17 advances into the net in what is proving a real improvement in the game of Murray. Michael Llodra was lacklustre in sets two and three against Gabashvili and was incredibly lucky that the erratic and inconsistent Russian squandered a 40-15 lead when serving for a 2-set-to-1-lead at 5-4 in the third. The Frenchman was on court for 3 and a half hours and his statistics would suggest it wasn't so much his quality play but the errors (including countless double faults) from Teimuraz that really let him off the hook. Murray is about 10 times as good a player than the Russian, and he was a convincing winner over the serve-volleyer when the pair met late last year in Llodra's home town - when Murray was just inside the top 20. Now, Andy is a career-best 6 and in sparkling form with his self-confidence beaming because he now knows he belongs among the game's creme of the crop after victories over Djokovic (2), Karlovic, Gasquet and a courageous defeat to Nadal in recent times. Murray is too good a defender to let Llodra get away with too many cheap points on the serve, and his baseline brilliance will have the big man clipping volleys at his feet. Murray is more likely to get break chances, is a better athlete, has superior stamina, the fresher legs, more variety from the back and is just all round such a better player. End of the road for sure for Llodra who can now focus on the doubles though the odds are hardly encouraging. Try a 3-1 value bet with Llodra to sneak an early tiebreak, but there is only one winner.
Under 37.5 Games Monfils vs Korolev @ $1.83 (40 Units)
Groenefeld 2 - 0 @ $1.59 (35 Units)
Groenefeld is really one to look out for in this tournament with such formidable lead-up form and getting back to some of her best tennis which pegged her in the top 20 a coouple of years back. Jess Moore outlasted a nervous and wasteful Melanie Oudin in R, but faces a much tougher task against the overpowering and self-confident Groenefeld who realises a big chance has opened up in the draw that could see ranking almost slashed in half this fortnight. Moore is a fighter but there's not much to her and she'll be overpowered and outmustered by the big hitting and precise line-skimming groundies of the German. Even as much as my patriotic heart would love to tell me otherwise, this will be a fairly straightforward victory for Groenefeld.
Su Wei Hsieh @ $10.50(5 Units)
Su-Wei Hsieh didn't drop a set during qualifying as she knocked over some capable types in Barrois, American teen talent Brengle and Espinosa who has produced some improved ITF results this year. Coming into her match with Rodina, the Chinese averaged 67% of points won behind the first ball and she carried that through against the Russian losing serve just once and winning 61% of second serve points. Petrova was a little tardy in patches against the outclassed Sanchez, the big burly Russian produced 7 aces and won 81% of points behind the first ball but was helped by Sanchez's 11 double faults and neither player managed to win over a third of points on their second balls which could be a concern for Petrova here. She is a formidable opponent at her best as we know, but she is prone to massive lapses in concentration and is no stranger to the big upset at GS level. Hsieh loves the hardcourts and showed at this year's Hopman Cup that she is a future force to be reckoned with - she also made the Round of 16 at the AO where it took a rampant Henin to stop her. Having won 11of her past 12 the confidence is high, and if Hsieh can catch Nadia on an off day she'll relish the pace coming onto her racket as she attempts to enduce her into error. I'm going out on a limb - I like Petrova and she's usually a good money-builder most of the time but some sneaky suspicion tells me that the talented youngster from Chinese Taipei is going to give the 19th seed one hell of a tough time so a small stab at the odds could prove worthy.
Kaia Kanepi @ $2.92(15 Units)
Kanepi's demoralising win over the in-form Niculescu should pose as a major concern for former world number one Amelie Mauresmo. The Frenchwoman came from a set down and almost lost a seemingly insurmountable 3rd set lead against countrywoman Dechy to book her berth in the second round, despite committing 12 double faults, 40 unforced errors and losing serve on 7 ocassions. She did beat Kanepi last week in New Haven where she was an eventual semi-finallist, but the Estonian looked awesome agaisnt the Romanian where she won 84% behind the first ball, never lost serve once and won 75% behind Monica's second serve. Kanepi enjoys going for her shots and on her day can overpower some quality opponents, and it's clear that the big stage of Grand Slam tennis doesn't overwhelm the youngster who gave Serena a fight on centre court at Wimbledon this year, made it to the QFs of the French beating Chakky, Medina and Kvitova along the way and gave Alicia Molik the scare of her life first up at the Aussie Open in January. Mauresmo is lacking self-confidence, she tries to guide her forehand which hence produces loads of errors or shank replies and is relying heavily on a serve/volley and chip/charge strategy that most women should eat up. Kanepi only needs to reproduce the serving stats against Niculescu to have Amelie right under the pump from the outset and I see this as the value bet of the tournament as the former junior world number 1 and Roland Garros winner cements herself a genuine top 30 proposition.