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ABN Amro World Tennis: Handy draw gives Del Potro a great chance

Juan Martin Del Potro's draw makes him a good bet this week

"Del Potro's results on indoor hard lately have been very good, with back to back wins over Federer at the end of 2012 complementing titles in Vienna and Basel.."

Back Del Potro at 5.95/1
Back to lay Davydenko at 62n/a

The ATP World Tour heads to Rotterdam this week for the ABN AMRO World Tennis Championship and Sean Calvert has selected two players from the bottom half of the draw for his bets this week..

Last week's advice of backing Gilles Simon and Michael Llodra in Montpellier proved profitable for back to lay punters, with Llodra in particular an excellent trade.

Both players benefited from the withdrawal of top seed Tomas Berdych and when Llodra took down number two seed Janko Tipsarevic the event became wide open.

Llodra was available to lay at around 3.55/2 from an opening show and it was frustrating that both he and Simon were beaten by the enigmatic Benoit Paire - Llodra after leading his countryman in their semi final.

This week on the ATP Tour sees the clay courters make the journey from Chile to Brazil in the hope of emulating Horacio Zeballos and defeating Rafa Nadal on the red dirt in the 2013 Brasil Open in Sao Paulo.

North America's finest and a smattering of Europeans and Australian's are heading to California for the SAP Open in San Jose - an indoor ATP 250 event that to me looks a decent opportunity for Sam Querrey to land a first indoor title since Memphis in 2010.

Querrey has been drawn in the same half as favourite Milos Raonic, who Big Sam defeated twice last year and at more than twice the price he looks worth an interest at around 8.07/1.

But the biggest tournament of the week can be found in The Netherlands, where Roger Federer heads a top quality field in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

This ATP 500 indoor event has seen its surface slowed down in recent years thanks to the odd idea that spectators would rather watch a three-hour grindfest of a match than a display of big serving.

Formerly one of the quickest surfaces on the tour it will probably be quite slow again this year and the draw has handed what looks a good opportunity to Juan Martin Del Potro.

The Argentine skipped Davis Cup, so hasn't played since a shock loss to Jeremy Chardy in Melbourne, but his results on indoor hard lately have been very good, with back to back wins over Federer at the end of 2012 complementing titles in Vienna and Basel and a semi final at the O2.

With Federer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jerzy Janowicz, Llodra, Simon, Mikhail Youzhny, Marcel Granollers and Julien Benneteau battling it out in the top half, Delpo's section looks much more straightforward.

Richard Gasquet should be full of confidence after his Montpellier win, but he'll surely be tired after a long week in top of Davis Cup and with the possible exceptions of Bernard Tomic and Grigor Dimitrov Delpo's toughest match will likely be his opener against Gael Monfils.

The other seeds in the bottom half are Andreas Seppi, who was ill last week and Florian Mayer, who hasn't been at the races since last autumn.

It looks quite likely that we'll see the same finalists here in Rotterdam that we saw last year, with Federer and Del Potro making the championship match that the Swiss won in straight sets last year.

Federer has a 21-5 record in Rotterdam, but last year was the first time he entered the event for seven years and there are enough obstacles in the top half of the draw to put me off taking an interest at a skinny-looking 2.3811/8.

Tsonga would have to be the obvious threat to Federer, based on his return to form in Melbourne where he took the world number two to five sets and he'll have his backers at around 9.08/1, but I'm not convinced that the surface here will be to his liking.

As for some of the bigger priced runners, Janowicz might prove a threat in conditions he clearly performs well in and he'll be supported at around 41.0n/a, but getting past Federer will probably prove beyond him if he gets that far.

Tomic has it all to prove on indoor hard where his record is awful, but he has a chance on his Melbourne form - if he can play like that outside Australia, which has been a problem for him thus far.

I would prefer taking a chance on someone like Davydenko at around 62.0n/a as a back to lay investment. The Russian still has it in him to play top class tennis, as he showed in Doha and he was a semi finalist here last year when it took Federer three sets to beat him.

As a back-up to Del Potro and at a big price he's the best of the outsiders for me.

Recommended Bets
Back Del Potro at 5.95/1
Back to lay Davydenko at 62.0n/a

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11 February 2013

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