ATP Geneva Tips: Take a chance on enigmatic Paire in quick conditions against Ruud

Round two of the Geneva Open and the Open Parc Lyon completes on Wednesday on the ATP Tour and Sean Calvert is siding with a big underdog on day three...

The second round of matches is set to conclude on day three in Geneva and Lyon, with 10 matches in total on the schedule across both venues.

Starting in Geneva and I like the chances of Ilya Ivashka this week in the quick conditions and after he regrouped to take down Marcos Giron in round one on Monday he should prove very competitive against the erratic Denis Shapovalov.

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We saw the best and worst of Shapovalov in Rome, with the wild double faults and huge misses combined with some delightful shot-making and I wonder which Shapo will turn up on Wednesday?

He's beaten Ivashka in all three of their career meetings so far, but all were a little while ago when Ivashka was ranked between 100 and 150 in the world and even then Ivashka took sets in two of those meetings.

The problem that Ivashka has had against Shapo is breaking the Canadian's serve, with Shapo saving a big 77% of the break points against him and holding 90% of the time.

And it could be argued that Ivashka has a problem with lefties, having lost eight of his 11 main level matches against lefties, but in the last 12-months Ivashka has taken a set off Rafa Nadal on clay in Barcelona, lost in a final set to Shapo and beaten Albert Ramos and Fernando Verdasco.

Shapovalov has a record of starting slowly in tournaments with five opening match defeats in the past year and he's only won six of his 19 opening matches in straight sets in the last 12 months

Shapo made the final in Geneva a year ago, but it's some change in conditions from Rome to here and with Ivashka already dialled in he should at least test Shapo.

The Canadian has a record of starting slowly in tournaments with five opening match defeats in the past year and he's only won six of his 19 opening matches in straight sets in the last 12 months.

Of his 17 such matches played over the best of three sets, Shapo has only won three of them in under 22 total games, so with this match being the last one of the day in the night session and therefore in slightly slower conditions, the play looks to be the overs.

Shapovalov will do well to win this in two and over 22.5 games is a 2.0 chance for half a point.

Paire could surprise at a big price against Ruud

I said the other day that Benoit Paire was a decent underdog option against Emil Ruusuvuori and he gave us a glimpse of his full repertoire on Monday night in Geneva in a typically dramatic match that he should have won in straight sets.

Of course, he failed to do that and ended up getting a point penalty for ball abuse and racquet abuse, but he showed more intent than we've seen from him in a while and could he be a banana skin of an opening match for Casper Ruud?

Ruud has won all three of their completed matches (plus one more that Paire retired in), but Paire has taken sets in their last two and Ruud was nowhere near the Paire first serve when these two met at the quarter finals of this tournament last year.

Paire won 47 of his 50 first serve points (94%), hitting 16 aces, but he also threw in 13 double faults, which cost him dearly.

Ruud was nowhere near the Paire first serve when these two met at the quarter finals of this tournament last year

The enigmatic Frenchman adopted a serve/volley approach in that match and it was working pretty well until his first serve percentage dropped and given that Ruud is coming into this match cold from sea level in Rome, Paire may have his moments in this one.

It's always risky with Paire, but half a point on him to win a set at 2.63 on the Sportsbook looks the wager here.

Elsewhere in Geneva, I'm slightly tempted to take Reilly Opelka at around 1.92 to beat Christopher O'Connell on a hot sunny day at altitude.

If Opelka is up for this - and it's a big 'if' given his record in clay 250s in Europe - conditions should be perfect for him, but he's shown such a lack of appetite for these smaller tournaments outside of North America that it's not hard to see him putting in another weak effort.

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The number two seed makes his first appearance of the week in Lyon on Wednesday and I do wonder what sort of an effort we're likely to get from Pablo Carreno Busta this week.

PCB has been a bit of a mixed bag this clay swing so far, with some odd performances, such as the virtual no-show against Alexander Bublik in Monte-Carlo in which he almost lost to a Bublik that was himself going through the motions.

Then Carreno Busta made the final in Barcelona (losing to Alcaraz), before blowing a big lead against Botic van de Zandschulp in Madrid, followed by a bit of a tame ending in Rome to Karen Khachanov.

Federico Coria will make PCB earn this and it's one you'd expect the Spaniard to win in quick conditions that PCB should enjoy much more than Coria, but the latter says of this event: "I have good memories in Lyon because I won my first ATP Tour match here. I really like to play here."

It might be that Coria is the more motivated of the two here and there isn't much between the pair on their 12-month main level clay stats: Coria's hold/break total is 104 (PCB's is 106) and his service points won/return points won total is 102 (PCB 103).

On that basis, Coria might be a hint of value, but he had a two-hour-plus match in the hot sun on Tuesday and might be a bit fatigued ahead of this encounter.

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Number five seed, Karen Khachanov, faces an interesting clash of styles in his match with left-handed, drop-shot exponent Alex Molcan and this would appear to be one of those matches where Khachanov's power is too much in quick conditions or he gets defused by Molcan's defensive style.

Molcan hasn't been in the best of form since almost winning Marrakech in April, but his stats are still excellent and on his day he might force Khachanov into enough mistakes to frustrate the big hitting Russian.

So, a few decent options on Wednesday and with caution being the watchword this week I'll just take two small bets on day three.

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