ATP Lyon Tips: Otte could be underrated in lively conditions against Baez

The pre-French Open clay court action continues in Geneva and Lyon on Tuesday and Sean Calvert has two wagers to consider on day two...

It's a busy day of tennis on Tuesday in this pre-major week, starting at the Geneva Open where Pablo Andujar beat Roger Federer here in Geneva 12 months ago, going on to make the semi finals, and on his best form you'd expect him to defeat Joao Sousa today, but fitness is a big worry with Andujar lately.

He's lost four in a row now on the clay, with one being by way of retirement, and at 36 years of age it's risky at odds-on to assume that he'll be fit enough to beat Sousa in this one.

Talking of risky, that brings me to Nikoloz Basilashvili, whose form usually involves some sort of guesswork, and he's been priced up quite attractively at around 1.7 to beat qualifier Facundo Bagnis.

Basil's best tennis usually comes in either Germany or Doha and this time last year he lost in round one of Belgrade 2, which was played the week before the French Open.

Basilashvili's recent pre-slam form is poor and the last time that he won a match in a pre-slam week was at Lyon in 2019 when he made the semi finals

This year in Sydney (the week prior to the 2022 Australian Open) he lost in round one to Andy Murray and before that you have to go back to the 2021 Australian Open to find Basilashvili playing in a pre-slam week - on that occasion he lost as a 1.57 favourite to Mario Vilella Martinez.

So, his recent pre-slam form is poor and the last time that Basil won a match in a pre-slam week was at Lyon in 2019 when he made the semi finals.

If this was a regular tour week you'd expect Basil to beat Bagnis, but it might well be the case that Bagnis is simply more motivated than the hit and miss Georgian here, so I'll pass at these odds.

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Albert Ramos is another one for whom deep runs in pre-major weeks are rare, with the veteran Spaniard never having made a final in a week prior to a major (he's made five finals in weeks after majors) and in five visits to Geneva he's yet to better the quarter finals.

His recent form has been poor, with three defeats in a row on the clay and I wonder how fit he is at the moment?

He takes on Christopher O'Connell, who won the Split Challenger a few weeks ago and who qualified here in Geneva this week, so he should be more attuned to the conditions than Ramos.

All things being equal you wouldn't expect O'Connell to beat Ramos on clay (Ramos has a good record at altitude, too) and if I were backing the Aussie here I'd want a bigger price than 2.58.

O'Connell has only played two main level matches on clay in his career so far and fellow Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis is barely more experienced with only eight main level matches to his name on the dirt.

Fognini could be vulnerable against Kokkinakis

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Kokky takes on Fabio Fognini in round one and again the layers aren't certain about Fognini's pre-slam commitment here, pricing him up at the same price as Basilashvili at 1.72.

In these latter days of Fognini's career he's been bemoaning all the traveling and with it the fact that he doesn't see as much of his family as he'd like.

So, with this possibly being his last French Open this year at the age of very nearly 35, it's hard to see him being motivated by the Geneva Open, where he's 3-2 win/loss in his career so far.

Kokkinakis has won 11 of his last 13 clay matches in Challengers, so he can play on this surface

Kokkinakis hasn't played a main level tournament on clay since the 2018 Monte-Carlo Masters, but he has won at Challenger level on the dirt within the last year and won 11 of his last 13 clay matches in Challengers, so he can play on this surface.

And he won't find many more clay events better-suited to a hard court style of play than Geneva in 30C heat, so on what looks a very tricky day it might be worth taking Kokkinakis, but the price isn't feeling like value to me at just 2.36.

World n0.2 Medvedev back in action after injury

Top seed, Daniil Medvedev makes his return to the tour after hernia surgery and will face veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in an intriguing clash of styles.

The pair have met on three prior occasions, with Medvedev winning the latest two pretty comfortably on hard courts and given the quick conditions in Geneva at the moment the Russian should be able to play his natural game here and rush Gasquet.

The obvious issue with trusting Medvedev at odds-on is his likely rustiness after a couple of months off the tour and this looks a match to watch, rather than bet on for me.

Over in Lyon, it's a little bit of guesswork as to how their top seed Cam Norrie will shape up after an ankle problem last week in Rome put paid to his campaign in the Eternal City.

On paper, you'd expect Norrie to be too consistent for the powerful but erratic Francisco Cerundolo, whose win over James Duckworth on Sunday was a first main level win on European red clay (1-4 win/loss so far) for the Argentine.

The worries for Norrie backers at 1.5 are that ankle problem and with it his motivation levels this week

Notably, Cerundolo said after the Duckworth three-set win that "the court was fast" and it was a typical up and down performance from the inconsistent Cerundolo.

Norrie's lefty patterns of play seem likely to be troublesome for Cerundolo, who's 2-5 win/loss so far in his career at main level against left-handers, but the worries for Norrie backers at 1.5 are that ankle problem and with it his motivation levels this week.

Quick conditions can help Humbert

Talking of lefties, the quick conditions and home motivation of Ugo Humbert should allow the Frenchman to challenge Alex De Minaur in a repeat of a recent match in Barcelona that Humbert was close to winning.

In the end, De Minaur overcame a break deficit in the deciding set to beat Humbert and almost go all the way to the final in Barcelona that week, so ADM is the obvious favourite on form, but it was damp that week and the conditions may suit Humbert better in Lyon.

The quicker conditions with a hint of altitude in a warm, dry spell of weather might well be just what Humbert needs to boost his chances against De Minaur, who only scored six more points than Humbert in Barcelona over three sets.

In the circumstances, I don't mind risking half a point on Humbert +3.5 games at around 2.0.

Otte could be a hint of value against Baez

Another one that looks a possibility in Lyon on Tuesday is Oscar Otte, whose form this season on clay has been really good so far, against Sebastian Baez.

Otte has won six of his nine main level clay matches (three losses were to Holger Rune, Fabio Fognini and Emil Ruusuvuori) and in those nine matches he's held serve 82% of the time and broken 34% of the time for a stellar 116 total.

He's amassed a service points won/return points won total of 107 in those nine matches, too, and while it's clearly a small snapshot of his ability level, those are some great numbers and against some fair opposition in Opelka, Tabilo and Karatsev as well.

I'm not sure he should be this short in price in these lively conditions against a strong server like Otte

He was impressive again versus the mercurial Lucas Pouille on Monday and while I've been enjoying watching Baez's progress lately I'm not sure he should be this short in price in these lively conditions against a strong server like Otte.

Baez's stats this season are comparable to those of Otte and over a longer sample size of 21 matches (14-7 win/loss) with a 111 hold/break total and a 105 combined service points won/return points won total.

If we're thinking that Otte can carry on at his current level for a while longer - and he's not showing any signs just now that he can't - then Otte +3.5 games at around 2.0 is the bet for just half a point. Baez has been overpowered at times and that might be the case again today.

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The clash between Daniel Altmaier and Federico Coria is one between two players who'd like conditions to be slower than this.

Both of these two can be rushed into mistakes in quick conditions, but Altmaier is coming off a Challenger title in Heilbronn on Saturday at very similar elevation to Lyon, so the quick turnaround might actually favour the German.

Coria is in a little bit of a slump, having lost four of his last five matches and if Altmaier is on form he might be too powerful in these conditions, but it's always risky with Altmaier at this level.

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