First round action at ATP Miami continues on Thursday, and with 16 matches on the schedule, Dan Weston returns to discuss some of today's matches...
"Martinez picked up several good wins at the Australian Open, against Yoshihito Nishioka and the aforementioned Ruusuvuori, and while his preference is clay courts his numbers on hard court aren't bad at all and, again, the slower conditions should suit him more than Sandgren who would probably prefer quicker courts."
Verdasco among those with fitness doubts
Thursday's card at the Miami Open looks particularly trappy, with a number of players looking like value but with caveats as to why they probably shouldn't be. Fernando Verdasco is making his first appearance on tour since October and with full fitness, shouldn't be 3.3512/5 for his match against Challenger Tour regular Bjorn Fratangelo. The Spaniard was also a little underwhelming when the tour resumed and it's tough to know where his game will be at in advance.
This is also the case for others, such as Ilya Ivashka who we've only seen twice on tour since he won the Ortisei Challenger in November. Again, in theory, he should be decent value if playing at a standard level at 2.707/4 against Soonwoo Kwon, who hasn't really so far realised his potential demonstrated in Challengers himself.
Jordan Thompson is another - he retired at the Australian Open against Casper Ruud and until last week in Dubai was absent from tour. A defeat against Emil Ruusuvuori is nothing to worry about there, and against a very poor hard courter in Federico Delbonis, Thompson would ordinarily be value at 1.684/6. Perhaps the slower conditions likely in Miami will benefit Delbonis too.
Martinez Portero a false underdog against Sandgren
Another player who has struggled this year is Tennys Sandgren, with the American having recorded a solitary victory this year so far - when favourite against a Challenger player in John-Patrick Smith. I'm surprised that the American is a favourite at 1.738/11 for his match with Pedro Martinez Portero, who is a young player with some potential to rise up the rankings.
Martinez picked up several good wins at the Australian Open, against Yoshihito Nishioka and the aforementioned Ruusuvuori, and while his preference is clay courts his numbers on hard court aren't bad at all.
The slower conditions should suit him more than Sandgren who would probably prefer quicker courts. Martinez is our tentative pick here.
Galan can take battle of the clay-courters
The final spot I quite like to a slight extent is Daniel Galan Riveros against Thiago Seyboth Wild, in what is somewhat a battle of clay courters. Of the South American duo, the Colombian, Galan, has a better track record on hard courts - he reached the semi-final of the Cary Challenger in November and the final of the Newport Beach Challenger in February before the tour stopped.
Seyboth Wild has qualified to be here but wasn't really tested - I've never even heard of his first round opponent Toby Kodat - and has played half the matches which Galan has played on hard courts over the last couple of years. Galan has better return data in these matches and I think he looks a bit of value at a current price of 1.991/1.
Musetti and Korda among the high potential young players in action
I'm also interested in seeing a number of young players with strong potential play in a high level tournament. British prospect Jack Draper faces Mikhail Kukushkin in his first ever main tour match, while we also see the likes of Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda feature in some of the later matches on the schedule. If you aren't aware of the latter two, keep a good eye on them - they will be several of the names likely to fly up the rankings in the next couple of years.
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