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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Alberto Ramos-Vinolas remains underrated on clay

Ex-champ Verdasco could be focused for American task

Albert Ramos Vinolas is a class act on clay
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Starts Monday

ATP Grand Prix Hassan II
The “European” clay season starts with the usual trip to north Africa for the Grand Prix Hassan II and Britain’s Kyle Edmund is seeded second on the sun-baked clay.

Edmund is no mug on the slow courts – he was more comfortable on it than on faster ones in his early years on the main tour. But considering he faces a potentially tough opener against Jiri Vesely, the Beverley ace can be swerved at the available prices.

Richard Gasquet could dominate this at his peak, but the Frenchman has had injury issues and may have one eye on the Monte Carlo Masters, which starts on Sunday.

The player Rafael Nadal defeated in last year's Monte Carlo final, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, tops the bill in Marrakech and consider­ing the Spaniard is still possibly underrated on clay as well as hard he looks the bet.

A Ramos-Vinolas
2pts 10-1 Betfred

ATP US Clay Court Championship
Should Nick Kyrgios and Fernando Verdasco meet in the US Clay Court Championship quarter-finals, the tennis world will be watching intently follow­ing their recent social media spat which resulted in Verdasco blocking Kyrgios after the Aussie described the Spaniard as “salty”.

Kyrgios is one of the world’s best, but Verdasco will have a huge point to prove and given how well the 2014 champion is playing, he could be the value.

Ernesto Escobedo’s best surface is still open to question and the Los Angeles native could be overpriced in the top half of the draw, which he shares with John Isner and Jack Sock.

Taylor Fritz is playing well and could figure prominently but clay may be his weakest terrain.

F Verdasco
1pt 14-1 Coral, Ladbrokes
E Escobedo
0.5pt each-way 80-1 bet365, 188Bet

WTA Samsung Open
The Swiss event that Marketa Vondrousova won on a fast indoor court in Biel-Bienne last year has been replaced by an outdoor clay tournament in Lugano and a mighty battle could be in store with home aces Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic ruled out due to injuries.

Kristina Mladenovic is the top seed but the Frenchwoman, while as sleek as they come on fast courts, may not be quite as effective on slow terrain.

Kristyna Pliskova made the quarter-finals in Charleston last week and the slow-burner of the Czech twins may be about to step things up more.

She’s worth chancing in the top half, while Viktorija Golubic, now Switzerland’s chief title threat, is no forlorn hope when she hits form and could go well.

Kristyna Pliskova
1pt 16-1 Betfred
V Golubic
1pt 20-1 Betfred

WTA Claro Open Colsanitas
The Claro Open Colsanitas in Bogota may not take much winning and world number 61 Tatjana Maria is the top seed.

The clay event provides oppor­tunities for talented duo Anna Blinkova and Anna Schmiedlova to strut their stuff, but Schmied­lova has gone off the boil a little after a decent start to the season.

In the bottom half, third seed Johanna Larsson could make her presence felt on the red clay, but preference is for a bet on one of the two Spaniards in the section.

Lara Arruabarrena, runner-up last year, knows how to battle on clay and is playing well, but if her compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo could serve better this title could be hers for the taking.

Sorribes Tormo’s general game looks in decent nick and this could be 21-year-old’s time to nail a first main-tour singles title.

S Sorribes Tormo
1pt each-way 50-1 bet365, 188Bet

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Last year's Monte Carlo finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas tops the bill in Marrakech and he looks the bet
E.W. Terms
Sky bet