Saturday is semi-finals day on the grass in London and Halle, with several of the stars of the men’s game in action as they attune their games to the green stuff ahead of Wimbledon.
Friday brought little reward in Halle, as Mikhail Youzhny disposed of a disappointing Philipp Kohlschreiber to foil my overs bet, while Florian Mayer can consider himself very unfortunate not to have at least taken a set against Richard Gasquet having faced just a single break point in the match.
Today’s matches in Halle look well worth watching and I’ll be backing the underdog in each, starting with Tommy Haas in the opening semi-final at 12pm UK time.
The German faces Roger Federer in a repeat of last year’s final here that Haas won in straight sets. Federer’s double bagel thrashing of Mischa Zverev yesterday appears to have made the layers forget last year’s match here and Federer’s fairly clear decline over the last 12 months.
For me the Swiss has lost speed and sharpness and he’s certainly no value at all to my mind at 1.27 against an opponent who is in form and defeated Federer in the same conditions last year.
That said, Federer will be keen to make amends and reclaim the Halle title. In what should be a close match, it’s worth siding with Haas either outright or with a +1.5 set start at 3.70 and 1.90 respectively.
I also like taking on Gasquet again today and although Youzhny is not exactly Mr Reliable, he has been playing some excellent tennis this week on the grass. In another contest that will showcase the beauty of the single-handed backhand, it’s worth taking the Russian +1.5 sets at around 1.60.
They’ve met on eight previous occasions with the score tied at 4-4, but this is their first ever meeting on grass. Both players enjoy conditions here, so it should be a very close match with Youzhny the value.
Mischa has enjoyed some fine wins over Kei Nishikori and Kohlschreiber here this week and this match will go the way of whoever’s backhand is firing on the day. There’s little value in the Frenchman at 1.48, so it’s worth siding with the bigger priced player in this one too.
Over at Queen’s Club, Lleyton Hewitt takes on Marin Cilic for the only the second time, while Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga meet for the 10th time in total.
I said yesterday that Hewitt had every chance against Juan Martin Del Potro and so it proved and today’s clash is equally winnable for the veteran Aussie at 2.16.
But one favourite who I will side with is Andy Murray, who I like to beat Tsonga minus 2.5 games at around 1.80.
Back Haas +1.5 sets to beat Federer at 1.90
Back Youzhny +1.5 sets to beat Gasquet at 1.60
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