Rosol sweet at 16s
Our tipster Andy Schooler feels Lukas Rosol's claycourt form makes him worth backing in Umag on the ATP World Tour this week.
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1pt e.w. Lukas Rosol in Croatia Open - in form on the clay & appears to have been underrated
Lukas Rosol appears to have been underrated for this week's ATP tournament in Umag, Croatia.
The Czech may still be best remembered for his Wimbledon 2012 win over Rafael Nadal but has long since been enjoying his best results on clay and the last few weeks have been a case in point.
Rosol was runner-up in Stuttgart recently when Roberto Bautista Agut was a winner for this column, while last week he made the quarter-finals in a strong Hamburg field, beating seeds Joao Sousa and Tommy Robredo before falling to Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Prior to Wimbledon - where he gave Nadal another big scare - he won a Challenger in his homeland - beating the talented Jiri Vesely in the final - and so throw all that together and he's actually won 12 of his last 14 matches on the red dirt.
If you want more evidence of his propensity for this surface then note that he was also runner-up in Bucharest earlier in the season.
Indeed, all three of his ATP finals have come on clay and, at 16/1, he looks worth chancing to make another this week.
Tournament jolly Marin Cilic is the big danger to Rosol - the pair are seeded to meet in the quarter-finals.
Cilic did win in Croatia earlier this season when the tour visited Zagreb, but the conditions here are much slower. While to suggest Cilic can't play on the clay would be total nonsense, this is a surface on which he is more vulnerable and such is the form of Rosol that I'm prepared to take a chance on the Czech to cause an upset at that last-eight stage and push on from there.
The other claycourt event in Europe this week is the Swiss Open in the picturesque setting of Gstaad.
Here the favourites look worth opposing. I touched last week on Mikhail Youzhny's ropey form, while Fernando Verdasco is also not having the best of seasons.
I also mentioned in last week's column about Guillermo Garcia-Lopez's decent efforts on clay this year and although he let us down early in Hamburg, he could be worth chancing again this week, albeit it at a much-reduced price of 9/1.
Meanwhile, the countdown to the US Open gets into full swing in Atlanta where John Isner looks a worthy favourite.
The American looks the North American hardcourts and can usually be relied upon to perform at this time of year.
Twelve months ago he won here before reaching the finals in Washington and Cincinnati.
The question is whether you can trust him to do the business at 5/2.
Isner receives a first-round bye so will only have to win four matches to claim the title but two of those are due to be against Marinko Matosevic, the big-serving Australian who has claimed some fine wins of late, and the mercurial Gael Monfils.
Both those matches would come before the final stage so I'm concerned enough not to wade in at the price despite feeling Isner, who has also been to two other finals in Atlanta in his four visits, is the most likely winner of the event.