Seeking success with Seppi
After all the recent Masters 1000 tournaments, it's nice to see a wide-open draw to get our teeth into.
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Having a favourite at 9/2 is a welcoming sight for punters and means there has to be some value to be had somewhere.
That isn't the scenario in Barcelona where Rafael Nadal will go off a hot favourite to win the event for an eighth time.
- 2pts Andreas Seppi to win BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy at 13/2 (youwin) - much-improved player in decent part of the draw.
- 1pt e.w. Florian Mayer in BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy at 18/1 (Stan James, 1/2 1,2) - former champion in weaker half of the draw.
- 0.5pt e.w. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy at 66/1 (Paddy Power, 1/2 1,2) - Seems to be returning to form. Worth a poke at the price.
David Ferrer is on the other side of the draw and, if fully fit having pulled out of Monte Carlo, should reach the final.
The betting there is subsequently of little intesrest and so it's to the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest - home of the 9/2 jolly - we turn.
The draw looks somewhat bottom heavy with three-time winner and defending champion Gilles Simon heading the names.
However, he could have to face Monte Carlo quarter-finalist Jarkko Nieminen in his opener and Fabio Fognini, a semi-finalist last week, in the last eight. That's if Fognini gets past dangerous floater Gael Monfils.
It's certainly a tough section and anyone getting involved with those named above is a brave man.
Instead the player I like in the bottom half is Andreas Seppi, someone I've mentioned on previous occasions this season.
He's really come along in the last 12 months and certainly knows his way around a claycourt.
The Italian has made the quarter-finals here in each of the past two years.
His narrow first-round defeat ito Fognini in Monte Carlo last week was given some perspective by the fact his conqueror went so far into the draw.
With a first-round bye and little to fear in his quarter, I can see him easing into the semi-finals where he could well face someone with plenty of tennis in their legs.
The 13/2 seems worth a poke.
Given the strength of the bottom half, it seems wise to get involved with the opposing section too.
Janko Tipsarevic is the top seed but he's endured a torrid season so far, not helped by injury niggles which still appear to be bothering him. He has to be opposed.
I'm going to do that by siding with Florian Mayer and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Fifth seed Mayer will be relishing his return here given he won the event two years ago. He also has a semi-final and a quarter-final on his tournament record.
The German hasn't been in the greatest form but showed signs that the touch was returning by making the last 16 in Monte Carlo.
The fifth seed holds a winning record over dangerous potenital quarter-final foe Mikhail Youzhny, both overall and on clay.
Mayer is worth a shot at 18/1.
I'm also tempted by Garcia-Lopez's odds of 66s.
The Spaniard is no world beater but won't need to be here. He can play on clay and, after a dodgy start to the season, seems glad to be back on the dirt.
He made the quarter-finals in Casablanca and has followed that up by reaching the final of a Challenger tournament in Rome.
In what's a fairly weak section, backing a player coming into form looks a risk worth taking, albeit to small stakes.
- The Barcelona tournament is being televised live in the UK by Sky Sports from Thursday.