Get up with the Jark in Stockholm
Our Andy Schooler has 45/1 and 80/1 picks among his selections for this week's action on the ATP World Tour.
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Sometimes you simply have to follow a player given their history at a certain event and this week I'm running with that theory.
Jarkko Nieminen is the man I'm turning to this week with his impressive track record at the Stockholm Open etched in my mind.
- 3pts Milos Raonic to win the Stockholm Open at 5/2 (Unibet, 888sport) - proven indoor performer with added motivation to succeed
- 1pt e.w. Jarkko Nieminen in the Stockholm Open at 45/1 (BetVictor, ½ 1,2) - loves this event; worth chancing at the price
- 1pt e.w. Philipp Kohlschreiber in the Erste Bank Open at 10/1 (Betfred, ½ 1,2) - holds strong claims in the bottom half & looked good in Shanghai
- 0.5pt e.w. Lukas Lacko in the Erste Bank Open at 80/1 (Betfred, ½ 1,2) - has shown good signs of late & could do some damage in a weak section
For the Finn, this is effectively his home tournament and he's made the most of such home comforts in the past.
Three times he's finished runner-up, most recently in 2011, while he also has two semi-final and two quarter-final appearances on his tournament record.
While his form is far from red-hot, there have certainly been enough good results this season to suggest Nieminen can raise his game and contend again in his favourite surroundings.
When indoors in Europe earlier in the season, the 32-year-old made the last four in Montpellier and the last eight in Rotterdam.
Then came a decent claycourt campaign which brought a final appearance in Dusseldorf and also saw him defeat Juan Martin Del Potro and Milos Raonic en route to the Monte Carlo quarter-finals.
More recently a quarter-final run in Tokyo gives further encouragament.
He's in the top quarter in Stockholm, so could meet top seed David Ferrer in the last eight but the Spaniard has been somewhat disappointing since the French Open, failing to make a final.
I'd suggest Nieminen would fancy his chances in these conditions should their paths cross.
At 45/1, the Finn looks worth chancing each way.
While Nieminen provides some value in the top half, the man I actually expect to win the tournament is Milos Raonic.
The Canadian has used his fearsome serve to good effect indoors this season and has already picked up titles in San Jose, when this column backed him, and more recently in Bangkok. And that's before you mention his perfomances in Davis Cup which took Canada to the brink of their first final.
With a first-round bye, Raonic will only need to win four matches in Sweden to claim the title.
He's in the weaker half of the draw with the out-of-sorts Kevin Anderson and notoriously inconsistent Grigor Dimitrov his main rivals in the section.
And, unlike Ferrer, he has the added motivation of needing points to boost his hopes of qualifying for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.
I'm prepared to take the 5/2 given the circumstances; others may want to 'roll up' his matches, round by round, as that may result in a bigger price.
In Vienna, the bottom half of the draw also looks the weakest and that's where I'm going to head in search of a winner.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2011 champion, is the top seed and favourite - like Raonic, he needs points for the Tour Finals race - but he looks short enough for me given he's got Gael Monfils and Vasek Pospisil lurking in his half. Both have proven how dangerous they can be in recent weeks.
Instead, at bigger prices, I like Philipp Kohlschreiber and Lukas Lacko in the bottom half.
Kohlschreiber, twice a semi-finalist at this event, looked in good nick when he came very close to defeating eventual runner-up Juan Martin Del Potro in Shanghai, losing 7-6 in the final-set tie-break, while he also pushed Nadal in Beijing. He won't run into anyone in that class in Vienna.
Kohlschreiber is another who only needs to win four matches to claim the title and frankly there's not a great deal for him to beat to reach the final, aside from second seed Tommy Haas.
However, the veteran German was last seen nursing a back injury in Shanghai, so how he'll be after the long flight and change of temperature is open to question.
Certainly this looks a good week to oppose Haas.
In fact the biggest challenge to Kohlschreiber could come from Lacko, a man who has been showing some good form of late and looks overpriced at 80/1.
He could do some damage in this section if on his game and the signs are that he may well be.
He qualified in Tokyo before reaching the last eight, beating the aforementioned Anderson along the way before losing to Raonic, which is no disgrace.
On his way back from Asia, the Slovakian stopped off in Tashkent and duly made the semis of a Challenger tournament.
He will arrive in Austria with plenty of confidence and for me the quote is just too big.
The ATP also heads to Moscow this week but little stands out from what is a very ordinary-looking draw.
What I do know is that Richard Gasquet looks short at 7/4, although he did win indoors in Montpellier earlier in the year and needs the points as he's another bidding to nail down a London spot over the next three weeks.
The second seed is Andreas Seppi, the defending champion, but punters have already been latching onto the other big seed in his half, Alexandr Dolgopolov.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a big-priced finalist here but it's anyone's guess as to who it might be so I'll happily stick with bets in the other events on this occasion.