PCB to recover from poor week in Barcelona
Poor weather in the middle of last week halted the progress of Pablo Carreno Busta, who struggled to adjust to heavy conditions caused by the rain. The victor in that match, Yuichi Sugita, was hitting the cover off the ball, his only hope at competing on the unfamiliar surface and this caught PCB by surprise.
Carreno Busta has an early opportunity to put that disappointment to rest as he lines up in Estoril as the number one seed. This is the third edition of the Portuguese event having moved from nearby Oeiras in 2015. In those two years Carreno Busta has made the semi final and the final, and with the ranking improvement that sees him as the top seed he is well positioned to better that record.
Does PCB fit the bill? As ever a statistical look at the draw quarter by quarter will reveal where the value lies.
PCB leads this section of the draw, in what is one of the more competitive sections.
In the Spaniard’s favour are a couple of finals at this level last season, the highest clay form in 2017 of any player in the entry list and a consistent record of matching or bettering his seeding.
He will have to overcome a couple of obstacles. Gastao Elias has shown an ability to go deep in 250 level draws from an unseeded position, and could potentially do same damage again this week in his homeland. Sean Calvert has tipped Elias as an Each Way selection in his excellent outright column – http://bet.unibet.co.uk/tennis/atp/atp-tennis-betting-schwartzman-can-go-all-way-istanbul-again
Defending champion Nicolas Almagro will have a tough first round match with Benoit Paire, and that could really go either way.
I fancy the steady PCB to come out on top.
The sharply declining David Ferrer can be found here, having asked for a Wild Card into Estoril. Ferrer is bang out of form, and his general level is a long way short of something resembling the familiar warrior.
The quarter is particularly weak but even then I have no confidence in Ferrer rolling back the years.
Juan Martin del Potro makes his first clay court appearance of the season. Del Po won at the Oeiras event a long time ago, but he plays very rarely on clay following his injury problems and shouldn’t be given much backing to win this year.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez also features in this section and he has good course form, but like his compatriot Ferrer, GGL looks a player long departed from his level best. That said I don’t believe he gave a top effort in Barcelona, where he lost to his friend Albert Montanes who was playing his last tournament before calling it a day.
The poor quality field of this event is surely confirmed by the fact that the anti-clay courter Gilles Muller is in the third seeded position.
Muller is a former quarter finalist in Estoril but that says more about the strength of the typical Estoril draw than endorses the Luxemburger as a credible clay court player.
Home favourite Joao Sousa can be found in the third quarter and has a decent history of finding a good week in the ATP 250 level tournaments. However, it has never really clicked for him in his home country and he tends to more often than not fall before his seeding.
This is another open quarter. Another Sousa, Pedro, comes into Estoril having scored a debut challenger title last week. There is not much to choose between him, Taro Daniel, Renzo Olivo or Paul Henri Mathieu, one of which will progress.
The feeble bottom half of the draw provides an opportunity for somebody to make an impact and the 4th quarter features a player who may be able to take advantage.
Second seed, and 2015 champion, Richard Gasquet leads the challengers but he is not long back from an appendectomy that stopped him playing for two and a half months. He was poor in Barcelona and there’s no reason to support him in Estoril.
Carlos Berlocq has gone well in Portugal before, winning the title at the previous venue in 2014. He is as good a pick as any to make a run this week, but I’m looking elsewhere.
Only a few weeks ago Kyle Edmund gave Rafa Nadal a run for his money, and last week in Barcelona he was undone by Dominic Thiem. Without a top level opponent on the horizon there is an opportunity for the Briton to show what he is made of.
Most of Edmund’s wins have come at the challenger level but he has won 75% of his clay court matches in Europe in the past 12 months and will probably play his best tennis on the dirt as his career progresses. This is as big an opportunity to make an impact as Edmund is likely to find.
Pablo Carreno Busta 3 units @ 7/1 Betfair
Kyle Edmund 3 units @ 12/1 Betfair