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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Pouille looks way too big to join roll call of home heroes

French second seed could be the answer to indoor riddle

Lucas Pouille looks ready to rule the roost in Montpellier
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Start Monday

ATP Open Sud de France
Lucas Pouille, who is seeded second for the Open Sud de France, has contested the Montpellier indoor tournament twice and could be overpriced to make it third time lucky there.

Pouille, who was granted a late wildcard entry to the event, can shine on any terrain and while there is improvement to come from him indoors, he is good enough to see off defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he could meet in the last four. Not that Tsonga, who was playing superbly well around this time last year, is sure to make it that far.

It may not be long before Andrey Rublev is seeing off allcomers indoors, but while the Russian is respected he may have to give best to Pouille.

Benoit Paire has started the season promisingly, but it's nigh on impossible to have faith that the world number 45 will suddenly find consistency.

In the top half of the draw, top seed David Goffin looks the one to beat, but the brilliant Belgian would do well to deny Pouille should the two highest-ranked players meet in Sunday's final.

Richard Gasquet played pretty well in Australia and the fifth seed comes into the reckoning, but his best days may be behind him.

Julien Benneteau is still searching for a maiden title on the ATP's main tour. But while that could still come and is likely to be earned in France if it happens, the seasoned French­man is due to try to qualify later on this week for the World Tournament in Rotterdam.

Recommendation
L Pouille
3pts each-way 13-2 Sky Bet


ATP Sofia Open
Stan Wawrinka played pretty well in the Australian Open after his injury layoff and if the Swiss ace is focused, there could be a title going begging in Bulgaria.

In the bottom half of the draw, with Gilles Muller possibly not at his peak, there are opportunities for Andreas Seppi and Laslo Djere to prosper. But that pair are due to take part in qualifying for next week’s action later this week.

Two of the seeds in Wawrinka's top half, Viktor Troicki and Joao Sousa, are also due to contest qualifying draws later this week so the top seed may be worth a punt.

Recommendation
S Wawrinka
1pt 3-1 general


ATP Ecuador Open
Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos-Vinolas are the top seeds in Quito this week, but there’s a concern that Carreno Busta is not always fully wound up for the early clay outings.

Gael Monfils, victorious in Doha last month, loves clay and having made the effort to travel to Ecuador he could carve his way through a tough draw.

Recommendation
G Monfils
1pt 11-2 Coral, Ladbrokes


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While there is improvement to come from Pouille indoors, he is good enough to see off defending champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
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