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Vasek Pospisil (-1.5) to beat Gergoire Barrere on the game handicap at -118 at PointsBet Sportsbook
Gilles Simon to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina at +225 at PointsBet Sportsbook
Alexei Popyrin to beat Pedro Martinez 2-0 at +100 at PointsBet Sportsbook
Mikael Ymer to beat Jan-Lennard Struff at +175 at BetMGM
Gael Monfils to win ATP Metz (Moselle Open) at +800 at BetMGM
The indoor season is Pospisil’s time of year and I expect him to have too much for a limited opponent.
Barrere is just 1-6 at tour level in 2021 and while he has been playing on indoor hardcourts in the past couple of weeks on the Challenger Tour, he’s also won just one match during that period, losing to Liam Broady and Altug Celikbilek.
Pospisil hasn’t had the best of years but he loves playing indoors where his big first serve isn’t affected by weather conditions. It will get the added benefit of one of the tour’s quicker surfaces this week in Metz, too.
Last year he made two ATP finals indoors, while at the end of 2019 he helped Canada to the Davis Cup final with a string of fine performances under the roof in Madrid.
I’ll raise the Pospisil win price by backing him at -118 giving up 1.5 games on the handicap.
Simon looks a bit big here at +225 given his past record in Metz where he’s a three-time champion.
Admittedly there’s a reason he’s such a price. The Frenchman has endured a poor season, winning only three matches on the main tour to date, but having spoken publicly about his struggle and a lack of motivation, it’s notable that he’s using his protected ranking to play at a home event where he’s enjoyed great success in the past.
He did post a decent win over compatriot Arthur Rinderknech prior to the US Open, a tournament he was forced to miss when his coach tested positive for COVID-19.
Many of Simon’s recent defeats have been close final-set ones and here he’s up against a player also without much form to rely on.
Since reaching the last eight at Roland Garros, Davidovich Fokina has won only one of his six matches and simply looks too short here. A small Simon wager looks worth a try.
I’ve been increasingly impressed by Popyrin this season and he looks likely to be the much better player in the fast conditions of the Moselle Open.
The big-serving Australian posted some good serving numbers en route to the third round of the US Open where he managed to blow a two-set lead against Dan Evans before losing 7-6 in the final set.
Popyrin’s second serve was an issue that day but I’m not sure Martinez will have the same joy as Evans.
He prefers conditions much slower than this, as emphasized by the fact he headed back onto the clay for a week after his US Open exit.
Martinez has the limited indoor experience, playing only 13 career matches at all levels indoors. He’s won just four of those, the last coming in January 2018. Of the four victories, none has come against a player ranked in the top 350.
Popyrin, who won an indoor ATP title in Singapore earlier in the year, is +100 to win in straight sets and that looks fair enough.
Ymer’s price of +175 is another eye-catching one.
He played well in Winston-Salem just before the US Open, defeating both Frances Tiafoe and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the final. Both of those players went on to enjoy good runs in New York.
Ymer has well beaten in that final but he’ll have taken much from that good week and he should arrive back in Europe with confidence much higher than his opponent.
Since beating the new US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in Halle in June, Struff has a win-loss record of 1-8.
Yes, the German did make the semis here back in 2014, although they played on a Greenset court then; now it’s a Slamcourt surface. Outside of that, there’s little on his record in terms of indoor form.
I suspect it’s a bit quick for both men here but given the form and prices, I’ll happily take a chance on the outside.
The top four seeds in both Metz and Nur-Sultan all get first-round byes this week and there are a couple of those players who look like they could be vulnerable in their opening match.
In Metz, Alex de Minaur has won just one of his last six matches and may find home hope Arthur Rinderknech a touch challenge should the Frenchman win his opener.
Rinderknecht has enjoyed a strong breakthrough season and is already bedded in indoors having made the semi-finals of the Rennes Challenger last week.
In Nur-Sultan, the Astana Open’s top seed Aslan Karatsev may be worth opposing.
He’ll be playing indoors for the first time in almost a year but will open against a player who has competed in these conditions just days ago.
Emil Ruusuvuori, who made the last four at this event in 2020, played Davis Cup in Finland over the weekend, while Benjamin Bonzi was the winner of that aforementioned Rennes Challenger on Sunday.
Gael Monfils has rediscovered some form since his marriage to WTA star Elina Svitolina and looks set for a title bid in Metz.
The French have won this event 11 times out of its 17 stagings, with Monfils responsible for one of those in 2009. Overall, he has an impressive 15-4 record at the event, reaching at least the semis in four of his five visits.
|ATP Metz and Nur-Sultan Information|
|What||ATP Moselle Open and ATP Astana Open|
|Location||Metz, France; Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan|
|Time||Monday, September 20 to Sunday, September 26|
|How to Watch||Tennis Channel|
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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