Wimbledon 2013 begins on Monday morning on the finely manicured lawns of the All England Club and our in-form tennis expert Sean Calvert casts his eye over today's first round matches in the men's draw..
"Melzer was awful in Halle last time out and you can't really blame him for giving it a go here with cash on the line, but assuming that Fogna is up for this, he should win comfortably.."
Feliciano Lopez's outright win in the Aegeon International on Saturday meant that those on my [17.0] tip approach Wimbledon with full pockets and the action in the men's singles begins today at 11.30am on the outside courts.
Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are all in action today and Murray begins his campaign as the final match on Centre Court against Benjamin Becker.
The Scot played Becker at Queen's Club a few weeks ago, where the surface tends to be quicker than those we'll encounter this week, which will help Murray and hinder the big hitting German.
Becker served at a very high 80% of first deliveries into play that day and that helped him keep it close and any slip from those standards will see his second serve become vulnerable, which is where the Scot will strike.
The German is at his best on grass, but he's never done well here in these slow conditions and he's yet to get past the second round, but he has been given a generous-looking +9.5 games on the handicap, which might be worth an interest.
Federer and Nadal have pretty straightforward-looking tasks against Victor Hanescu and Steve Darcis, although Rafa might take a while to warm up against the occasionally dangerous Darcis.
Several of my 'five potential first round upsets' are in action today and John Isner, Jerzy Janowicz and Radek Stepanek are all worth opposing, with Janowicz injured and he's revealed a dislike for the grass conditions. I will be laying him at [1.20] for sure against talented Brit youngster Kyle Edmund.
Another one that I like the look of at odds-against is Grand Slam legend Alejandro Falla, who is a backable [2.36] against limited Frenchman Stephane Robert.
The wily Colombian has been off the tour with a calf problem of late, but he's had a long time to rest it now since his last appearance and he always ups his game in majors.
Falla is one that you can't judge by recent form, as he only really turns up for slams as he showed last year by beating both Isner and Nicolas Mahut and at [2.36] he's worth a bet.
With the increased payments to first round losers this year we have the likes of Simone Bolelli, Jurgen Zopp, Adrian Ungur and Igor Andreev turning up with their hands out waiting for their cheques and I doubt any of them will complete their matches. All will surely lose easily today, but the layers know this and all are priced up accordingly.
Another one who is injured is Jurgen Melzer, who has a hernia, but is playing anyway against Fabio Fognini and the Italian looks a good bet to win minus 3.5 games on the handicap at around [1.70].
Melzer was awful in Halle last time out and you can't really blame him for giving it a go here with cash on the line, but assuming that Fogna is up for this, he should win comfortably.
It's also worth laying Adrian Mannarino to beat Pablo Andujar 3-0 when they meet on Court 5 this afternoon. The Frenchman is [1.3] for this based on Andujar's shocking record on grass, but this gives way too much credit to Mannarino, who has won just three matches lifetime in the main draw of majors.
Mannarino even managed to lose in Paris to Pablo Cuevas who hadn't played a tour level match for two years prior to their Roland Garros clash and I wouldn't back him with counterfeit money at the sort of price he is today.
Andujar clearly doesn't like grass, but he does put the effort in and has lost in five sets on the last two occasions he's played here and four sets the time before that, so he's never been beaten in three here and I can't see Mannarino being the first.