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Friday, 16 November, 2018

Ramos-Vinolas looks set to go a long way

Time is right to support Spaniard

Albert Ramos-Vinolas is at his best on clay
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ATP Grand Prix Hassan II
The clay court season kicks into gear this week on the ATP tour, with two tournaments on opposite sides of the Atlantic, and in Marrakech, now could be the time to catch Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The number two seed hasn’t managed to win a tournament yet this season but he’s come close on a few occasions, notably when just losing out to Dominic Thiem in Rio and Pablo Cuevas in Sao Paolo, and he seems to be improving as the campaign goes on.

One advantage that he has above most of the others players is that he’s already competed in a number of clay tournaments this year and acclimatisation is always vital on this surface.

He hasn’t been handed the easiest of draws but there’s no-one in the tournament that he’s not capable of beating, despite the presence of number one seed Grigor Dimitrov.

The Bulgarian was superb in the early part of the season but he’s a better player on a hard court and he could struggle to contain clay-court specialists such as Ramos-Vinolas.

Recommendation

A Ramos-Vinolas
1pt 9-1 bet365

ATP US Clay Court Championship

Houston is the venue for a tournament featuring an assortment of talented American players, with Jack Sock topping the bill as the number one seed, and the big-serving Nebraskan certainly has the ability to reach the latter stages.

However, he couldn’t finish the job last year despite getting to the final, and his draw this time around looks slightly more difficult.

Certainly, there are players capable of upstaging him, and the one who appeals most is Fernando Verdasco.

The Spaniard has been in excellent form on hard courts this season, notably reaching the final in Dubai, and considering he is a better player on clay he could be a tough nut to crack.

The draw looks relatively kind and he wouldn’t have to meet any of the top three seeds until at least the semi-final stage.

Recommendation

F Verdasco
1pt each-way 7-1 bet365, Betway

WTA Ladies Open Biel
There are also two tournaments on the women’s tour, one on clay and one on hard.

Biel hosts a surprisingly weak field for its hard court competition and the number one seed, Barbora Strycova, comfortably boasts the best form.

There’s no shame in recent defeats to Karolina Pliskova and Serena Williams, and she demonstrated in January that she’s well capable of troubling some of the best on the tour, beating players such as Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki.

There’s no-one of that calibre in this tournament and it would be a surprise if she didn’t manage to negotiate her half of the draw, particularly as she’s already beaten Roberta Vinci comfortably this year, who would probably be her main threat.

The second seed in the other half of the draw, Carla Suarez-Navarro, has not been in good form of late and the main danger could well be Timea Babos.

However, they wouldn’t meet until the final, and everything is in place for Strycova to go a long way in the competition.

Recommendation
B Strycova
1pt 13-2 bet365

WTA Claro Open Colsanitas
Bogota hosts its annual clay tournament and the one to be on could be Lara Arruabarrena.

Last year’s semi-finalist lost to Irina Falconi in the 2016 edition of the competition and everything looks set for another good run from the Spanish player.

Her recent form is probably the best in the draw, with notable scalps over Madison Keys and Irina-Camelia Begu in Miami, and given that she’s a more potent player on the slower clay surface, she will quite possibly have too much firepower for her rivals.

The top two seeds in the draw haven’t been in good form of late and much will depend on whether Kiki Bertens can return to her best. There’s little to say that she will, though, and the value is definitely with Arrubarrena, who clearly thrives at the venue.

Recommendation
L Arruabarrena
1pt each-way 9-1 bet365, Betway


Tournament lowdown

ATP Grand Prix Hassan II

Venue Royal Tennis Club de Marrakech, Morocco
Prize money €520,070 (€82,450 to winner)
Ranking points to winner 250
Surface Outdoor red clay
Ball Head ATP
When to bet Starts 11am today
Weather forecast Dry and mostly sunny all week, 28-33C
Time difference Marrakech is the same time as the UK and Ireland

ATP Fayez Sarofim & Co US Clay Court Championship

Venue River Oaks Country Club, Houston, Texas
Prize money $577,860 ($91,630 to winner)
Ranking points to winner 250
Surface Outdoor red clay
Ball Wilson
When to bet Starts 6pm UK and Ireland time today
Where to watch Live coverage on Eurosport 1 on Saturday and Sunday
Weather forecast Rain in the early part of the week and on Saturday. Dry with some sun Thursday and Friday. 28-32C
Time difference Houston is six hours ahead of the UK and Ireland

WTA Ladies Open Biel/Bienne

Venue Swiss Tennis Center, Roger Federer Allee, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland
Prize money $226,750 ($43,000 to winner)
Category International (280 ranking points to winner)
Surface Indoor hard courts
When to bet Starts 10am today
Where to watch Live coverage on BT Sport from today.
Time difference Switzerland is one hour ahead of the UK and Ireland

WTA Claro Open Colsanitas

Venue Centro de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo de Coldeportes, Bogota, Colombia
Prize money $250,000 ($43,000 to winner)
Category International (280 ranking points to winner)
Surface Outdoor red clay
Ball Wilson
When to bet Starts 3pm UK and Ireland time today
Where to watch Live coverage on BT Sport from today.
Weather forecast Thunderstorms and rain for much of the week, 19C
Time difference Bogota is six hours behind the UK and Ireland

He hasn’t been handed the easiest of draws but there’s no-one in the tournament that he’s not capable of beating
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