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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Ramos-Vinolas could be the answer to Swiss puzzle

Del Potro can shine in Lyon

Albert Ramos-Vinolas has enjoyed a fine clay campaign
1 of 1

ATP Geneva Open

A raft of wild-cards have been handed to some high-class ATP stars this week and the top two seeds in Geneva, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori, are both recipients.

Wawrinka defends his title in his homeland. The 32-year-old is in the wilderness somewhat after winning three of the Grand Slams but he is unlikely to win Wimbledon, so he could again shine in Geneva.

Nishikori wants more practice on clay, but a long run this week could cause more harm than good to his French Open hopes.

Americans John Isner, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey are all seeded but Rome semi-finalist Isner may not do much this week.

Third seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas has shown this season by reaching the Monte Carlo final that he is good enough to mix it with the best on slow courts and he could add to his solitary ATP singles title won last year.

A Ramos-Vinolas
1pt 9-1 Coral, Ladbrokes

ATP Lyon Open

Tomas Berdych and Juan Martin del Potro, the third and sixth seeds in the inaugural clay-court Lyon Open, are the wild-cards in France this week.

The tournament has recruited well and there's a stellar field with Milos Raonic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nick Kyrgios all competing.

French players win a high percentage of ATP singles events in their homeland, but with such quality on show this week the likes of Tsonga, Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire could struggle to come up trumps.

Tsonga has been playing well, but would be no certainty to stop opponents such as Kyrgios, Del Potro or even Borna Coric.

Del Potro made the last eight in Rome last week – he was undone by Novak Djokovic – and with the French Open looking less of a priority for him than Wimble­don, he could prosper in Lyon.

JM del Potro
1pt 7-2 Ladbrokes

WTA Strasbourg International

Caroline Wozniacki is rightly chuffed at having returned to the top ten, but it must be slightly disappointing that her consistency this year has failed to yield a singles title.

The Dane has another oppor­tunity to put that right in Strasbourg this week but with an opening clash against dangerous Shelby Rogers, Wozniacki offers no value to triumph.

Daria Gavrilova also has a big shout at lifting the trophy after her quarter-final placing in Rome, but like Wozniacki her price looks plenty short enough.

At bigger odds, it could pay to take a chance on Natalia Vikhlyantseva surprising her big-name rivals. The 20-year-old from Volgo­grad has performed promisingly in previous main-tour outings and made the semis in St Petersburg in February.

N Vikhlyantseva
1pt each-way 20-1 Coral, Ladbrokes

WTA Nuremberg Cup

Bookmakers had not issued outright quotes for Nuremberg at the time of going to press but for anyone considering a bet on the tournament which starts Sunday, Laura Siegemund is a superb performer on the slow red courts and could add to her Stuttgart title in Bavaria this week.

Siegemund is seeded fourth and even though she will be looking forward to Roland Garros, she’s is still very much a bread-and-butter operator who would be hugely grateful to collect another clay crown.

She’s in arguably the weaker half of the draw – her chief threats are probably her fellow seeds Yulia Putintseva, Julia Goerges and Monica Niculescu.

Defending champion Kiki Bertens is the top seed and could take plenty of stopping after another fine clay campaign. But the Dutchwoman faces a potentially tricky early draw with possible clashes against Annika Beck and Ajla Tomljanovic unlikely to be easy.

Ramos-Vinolas has shown this season by reaching the Monte Carlo Masters final that he is good enough to mix it with the best on clay
E.W. Terms
Sky bet