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Marc-Andrea Huesler to beat Daniel Galan at +110 at FanDuel
Ugo Humbert to beat Benjamin Bonzi at -124 at FanDuel
Henri Laaksonen to beat Mackenzie McDonald at +333 at bet365
Jenson Brooksby to win the San Diego Open at +450 at BetMGM
Huesler is my best bet of the week – frankly I’m surprised he’s the outsider for this opening-round clash at the San Diego Open.
The Swiss has been in fine form, reaching the semi-finals of last month’s Winston-Salem Open where Ilya Ivashka, the defending champion, and Jack Draper were among his victims.
He followed that up by pushing 19th seed Denis Shapovalov all the way to a fifth set at the US Open.
Both men arrive here off the back of Davis Cup ties in South America at the weekend but, significantly, Huesler was playing on a hardcourt in Ecuador and should have an easy transition to make than Galan, who was competing on clay in his Colombian homeland.
The fairly fast conditions expected in California also help Huesler, whose serve has been in fine working order – in Winston-Salem he won 78% of points behind his first serve and a very healthy 64% on his second delivery.
Over the weekend, Huesler won two of his three rubbers in the Davis Cup and he can add another win after his trip north.
There’s also plenty to like about Humbert ahead this all-French clash in Metz.
Admittedly it’s been a pretty miserable season for the left-handed star but things may just have turned if the past week is anything to go by – and it should be.
Humbert won the Challenger Tour event in Rennes, holding his serve throughout the tournament and not losing a set en route to the title.
When at the top of his game, he’s very difficult to beat in slick, indoor conditions and Metz’s Slamcourt surface usually provides those.
A former world number 25, Humbert will likely arrive in much more positive frame of mind than Bonzi, who lost all three rubbers he played in Davis Cup in Hamburg last week.
Those matches were played in slower conditions too so he’s also facing a quick transition and may struggle to get used to the faster courts.
Admittedly, Bonzi did win their recent battle at the recent US Open – in five sets – but Humbert was victorious in their only previous indoor match in straight sets.
At -124, Humbert looks a good play here.
For a long shot this week, let’s try Laaksonen.
To be honest, it’s probably more a vote against McDonald than one in favor of Laaksonen but the Swiss does look rather large at +333.
McDonald has struggled of late, summed up by his first-round loss at the US Open to Joao Sousa.
That stretched his poor run during the summer hardcourt swing to 2-5 – and one of the wins was against a player who clearly had other things on his mind (Nikoloz Basilashvili won just one game on the day before a court appearance).
This is supposed to be a good time of year for McDonald but it hasn’t been and I’m sure he’ll have plenty of doubts coming into this match given his form, or lack of it.
Laaksonen has also been struggling for victories of late but in quick conditions in Cincinnati he did win two qualifiers and they play on the same Laykold surface in San Diego where this contest will take place.
It’s largely a price play but one which may just reward.
The top four seeds at both ATP events this week get byes to the second round – so let’s take a look at which of them might be vulnerable first up.
The aforementioned Huesler will likely trouble fourth seed Pedro Martinez should they meet – it’s likely going to be too quick for the Spaniard’s liking in San Diego.
And in Metz, Holger Rune could fall to Humbert should the Frenchman make it through – Rune has now lost 11 of his last 14 matches on the tour.
Lorenzo Musetti could also be under threat. He’s due to meet either home hope Hugo Gaston or Sebastian Korda in his first match and neither will be easy in what will be much faster conditions than he was playing in for Italy in Bologna at the weekend.
Jenson Brooksby will surely win an ATP Tour title sooner rather than later and the 21-year-old looks to have a great chance of that debut win at the San Diego Open.
The Californian, who unlike many of his title rivals hasn’t been playing in the Davis Cup over the past few days, should enjoy playing on home soil where he’s up against a pretty weak field.
He is one of only two players ranked inside the top 50 playing in the Golden State, Dan Evans being the other.
Brooksby made the final in Atlanta during the summer hardcourt swing and he followed that up by reaching the third round of the US Open where losing to the eventual champion, Carlos Alcaraz, was far from a disgrace.
As a +450 chance, Brooksby gets the vote.
|What||ATP San Diego Open; ATP Moselle Open|
|Location||San Diego, CA, USA; Metz, France|
|Time||Monday, September 19 to Sunday, September 25|
|How to Watch||Tennis Channel|
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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