Monfils looks vulnerable against Isner
Frenchman not hitting heights of last season
BT Sport 1 & Sky Sports 3
Gael Monfils reached the last eight of last year’s BNP Paribas Open but the quirky Frenchman is clearly not in the same heart at present and could find his tournament cut short by big-serving home hope John Isner.
Monfils required a deciding set to see off world number 131 Darian King – a player who is yet to reach the main draw of a Grand Slam – in his opener and a repeat of that effort should be punished by Isner, who is difficult to stop when he is serving at his best.
Monfils looked out of sorts when losing in straight sets to Fernando Verdasco in Dubai a fortnight ago, where his first serve was operating at just 54 per cent, and at 4-7 the Frenchman looks a skinny betting proposition.
The world number 11 is the better all-round performer but he has struggled to match the sort of level he reached in 2016 and the giant American is the value bet.
Pablo Cuevas thrives at this time of year, highlighted by his victory at last week’s Brazil Open, but he remains vulnerable away from the clay courts and could be found wanting against Fabio Fognini.
Cuevas usually saves his best performances for his favoured clay surface and is yet to beat the Italian in two attempts on this evening’s speedier hard court.
Fognini can be difficult to trust but he undoubtedly has talent and judging by his opening-round success over the in-form Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, he will be tough to beat.
1pt 5-4 bet365, Betfred
2pts 4-6 general