ATP Estoril Tips: Returning Thiem likely to have just enough to beat Bonzi

The BMW Open and Estoril Open continue their first round matches on Tuesday and Sean Calvert has a couple of big-priced picks in his preview of day two...

We started the week, with what ended up being a comfortable winner in the end with Daniel Altmaier, but it was anything but easy for most of the match, with some odd decision-making and peculiar errors hampering his progress against Philipp Kohlschreiber for much of the match.

Altmaier got it done, though, and we move on to Tuesday's play in Munich and Estoril, with another tricky looking schedule of matches in store for us on day two of the main draw at the Estoril Open and BMW Open.

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The first wager that looks a hint of value for me can be found in a match that's already started, but got called off due to the rain in Munich, and that's to take Dan Evans as slight underdog against Maxime Cressy.

Evans started that match with three double faults to get broken, but I expect him to come out with strong intent on Tuesday on the resumption and he should be able to claw that early break back and get the better of Cressy on damp clay - even at 500m of altitude.

Cressy was bageled by Elias Ymer on the clay in Barcelona last week and the American serve/volleyer is yet to beat anyone ranked inside the top-140 on clay at any level.

Evans started that match with three double faults to get broken, but I expect him to come out with strong intent on Tuesday on the resumption...

He's also failed to record a main level win since playing so well in Melbourne in January in much quicker conditions on hard courts and after losing to Daniil Medvedev there Cressy has gone 1-9 win/loss at all levels, with the one win coming against the world number 389 in Monte-Carlo qualies.

While the altitude in Munich should help him a little, it seems unlikely to be enough to be a major factor and Evans, who started this match as a 1.3 chance, has plenty of time to turn this around.

Elsewhere in Munich, Botic van de Zandschulp didn't look at all fit when he was beaten by Alex Molcan in Marrakech a few weeks ago and then he went to Monte-Carlo and lost in round one to Seb Korda.

Next, he skipped Barcelona, and it's guesswork as to his fitness this week, with the Dutchman saying: "Unfortunately I don't feel physically fit enough to play Barcelona next week. I will try to get fit and be able to play Munich the week after."

"Try and get fit" doesn't inspire confidence and it puts me off backing him against Brandon Nakashima, who's rather inexperienced on clay with only two main level matches played on the red dirt so far in his career.

Hugo Gaston has much better main level clay stats than Marcos Giron, so on this surface you would expect Gaston to have too much variety for baseliner Giron, but Gaston is hardly the most reliable of players, so I'll pass on that one, it could be one of those matches where the 2-1 win to the favourite is the play.

Gerasimov in a strong run of form on the clay

Purely on current form you'd have to give Egor Gerasimov a decent chance against John Millman.

I was happy to take Gerasimov on last week at 1.3 against Adrian Mannarino, as that price looked much too short and Mannarino traded at 1.3 himself to win that match after cruising through set one, but ended up donating his serve away at 4-4 in the decider to lose it.

Since beating Mannarino, Gerasimov has gone on to lose a tight one against Cam Norrie and then he's beaten Francisco Cerundolo, who had such a good Miami, and Thiago Monteiro (6-1, 6-1) to qualify in style.

That's made his price too short though and backing Gerasimov on clay at 1.8 to beat Millman doesn't strike me as being fabulous value.

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Over in Estoril, Joao Sousa is back for another tilt at the title that I still can't believe that he won in 2018 when he somehow escaped from what looked like another early exit, that time at the hands of Pedro Sousa, who served for the match twice and choked twice in a match he should have won all day long.

In 2022, Sousa is the underdog (a role that will probably help him here) against Sebastian Baez, whose rock-solid clay game should coax enough errors out of Sousa to get the win, but it will be interesting to see how Baez copes with the crowd firmly against him.

Thiem looking to step up his comeback in Estoril

I talked about Dominic Thiem last week ahead of his Belgrade campaign that lasted just the one match (a loss to John Millman) and you'd have thought that Thiem can only improve from that encounter.

Now he takes on Benjamin Bonzi and I do like the idea of backing Thiem to eventually get the win, but I can't imagine he'll find it an easy outing based on his current level and the 2-1 win to the Austrian should be around the 4.3 mark.

After the Millman loss, Thiem, who's always good for a quote, said: "I feel much better already than in Belgrade. The improvement is there every single day. In practice points I'm still having troubles - not with the wrist, the wrist is fine also in points - but [in] all the movement, all the reaction, all the anticipation, I'm still not 100 percent yet. It will take many more matches until I'm back at the top level there. So, I'm not feeling capable of winning this tournament."

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He's usually one of the more honest players on the tour when it comes to assessing his own level or fitness, so for me this is likely to be a match where Bonzi will have his chances, but he's not the sort of player you'd want playing for your life, that is for sure.

Similarly to Laslo Djere (and Miomir Kecmanovic) last week against Novak Djokovic in Belgrade, who both should have beaten Djokovic, Bonzi is highly likely to blink if he does get the chance to beat Thiem, so I'm happy to take a price of 4.3 on the Austrian winning this match 2-1.

Another player who's struggled with injury lately is Lloyd Harris, who played really well on the clay last week in Barcelona and who could be value today - but is he fit?

Harris blasted his way past two out and out clay grinders in Roberto Carballes Baena and Albert Ramos in Barcelona and now he faces a similar sort of opponent in lucky loser Carlos Taberner.

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It really might be Taberner's lucky week if Harris isn't fit and the fact that Harris retired citing a back injury against Alex De Minaur is obviously of major concern (Harris also withdrew from the doubles a couple of days prior) to Harris' backers.

But on a day where value looks thin on the ground to say the least, I like the idea of backing Harris to win this match 2-0 at a price of 4.0 and if he isn't fit he'll surely retire, making this a void. Risky strategy, yes, but I feel there's some value in it for just half a point.

Seb Korda was beaten convincingly by Taberner last week in Barcelona and I wonder if qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert can test out the hit and miss American here?

Herbert can be pretty effective with his kick serve on the clay and he wasn't far away from Korda when the pair met in Lyon on the clay swing last year, despite the fact that the Frenchman made only 40% of his first serves and threw in nine double faults.

Herbert can be pretty effective with his kick serve on the clay and he wasn't far away from Korda when the pair met in Lyon on the clay swing last year...

Korda won it 7-6, 6-4, scoring only nine points more than Herbert and now that Herbert has qualified in Estoril he'll be more match sharp than Korda, who has been mulling over that Barcelona shocker for the last week.

Herbert was actually priced up as 1.80 favourite for that match and now he's a 4.7 chance, largely because he's barely played in the last six months or so, due to injuries, not being allowed in certain countries (he's not vaccinated) and he had Covid at the start of the year.

My worry with him here is that he played getting on for three hours in the final round of qualies against Fernando Verdasco to get through to the main draw and given that he hasn't been playing week-in/week-out for a while his legs could be heavy.

Backing him to win set one at a decent price is one option there though.

So, a tricky day for bettors in what's always a tough week for value seekers and I'll take a point on Evans and half a point on each of the two risky set betting wagers on Tuesday.

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