The 2016 US Open main draw begins on Monday, with 32 men's singles matches on the schedule, and Sean Calvert returns with his best bets on day one...
"Klizan's stats on outdoor hard are really poor over the last year at main level, with just 62.8% of service games held and two wins from 10 matches in that time."
What looks the most open Open for years kicks off on Monday, with big fitness concerns surrounding defending champion and world number one Novak Djokovic and to some extent the other market leaders too.
Djokovic has what could be a tricky round one against Jerzy Janowicz to contend with as well as a wrist injury, while Rafa Nadal was last seen being thrashed by Borna Coric.
Both of these former champs play on Monday, but I like a few value wagers on day one, starting with Mikhail Youzhny at 16:00 UK time as underdog against Martin Klizan.
The Russian has been playing pretty well of late and I'm not too concerned that he pulled out of Winston-Salem after round one, as we was, for whatever bizarre reason, scheduled to play twice on the same day.
He cited a hamstring strain as the reason, but I'm sure he'll be fine for this winnable clash against Klizan, who has been inactive for a month and hasn't played on a hard court since March.
Klizan skipped the Olympics due to concerns over the Zika virus and was last seen on court losing to Santi Giraldo on clay in the Prague Challenger on July 29.
His stats on outdoor hard are really poor over the last year at main level, with just 62.8% of service games held and two wins from 10 matches in that time.
Clay and slow indoor hard are more the conditions that the Slovak enjoys and it should be advantage Youzhny here, with the Russian probably underdog due to the 0-2 head-to-head and Klizan being 28th seed.
But both losses were in final set tie breaks in slow conditions and four of the six sets they've contested were tie breaks. More relevant for me is Klizan's lack of activity and poor record at hard court majors.
If we look at the surface splits in Klizan's career we find that his winning percentage at main level on clay is 56%; indoor hard it's 64.5%; but on outdoor hard it's just 38.3%.
This fits with the sort of time on the ball he likes to hit his big shots, which he doesn't get on faster surfaces (winning percentage on grass is only 28.6%).
Klizan also struggles in the heat and with a hot and humid day (possibly with thunderstorms) in prospect there are plenty of reasons to take the Slovak on as favourite in this one.
The other one I like on Monday is the 2.111/10 about no tie breaks in the clash between Jordan Thompson and Steve Darcis, which should also be played early at 16:00 UK time (11:00 local).
Their stats on outdoor hard in their last 10 matches each show a weak 73% service hold mark for both players and tie break marks of 0.08 per set for Thompson and 0.14 for Darcis.
The young Aussie has played just one tie break in his last 24 sets on grass and hard courts, while the Belgian has played two in his last 18 sets and four in his last 31 on hard courts.
I also quite fancy no tie breaks in Stephane Robert's clash with Andreas Seppi, with both holding low tie break ratios of 0.12 and 0.14 tie breaks per set on outdoor hard this season at main level.
Back Youzhny to beat Klizan at 2.26/5
Back no tie breaks in Thompson/Darcis at 2.111/10
Tennis 2016 season P&L
Profit based on £10 stake per bet = £672.60
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