Thursday at the 2013 Gerry Weber Open in Halle was another excellent one for this column, with all three of my best bets proving successful.
Feliciano Lopez ensured that Thursday got off to the best possible start by defeating Julien Benneteau in a match held over from Wednesday, before Florian Mayer made things even better by comfortably covering the handicap in an easy win over namesake Leonardo Mayer.
Ernests Gulbis and Tommy Haas then played out the expected tight match, with the veteran German coming through in the end, despite managing to take just one of his 17 break point opportunities.
It’s quarter-finals day in both Halle and London. Starting in Germany, Roger Federer should have few problems with the limited leftie Mischa Zverev, who can be effective on the green stuff, but shouldn’t make the Swiss sweat too much.
But I like the chances of Mayer against Richard Gasquet, who seems very short at around 1.37 given that the home player defeated the Frenchman on grass at Wimbledon last year. It looks to me like the layers have underestimated Florian in this one.
Gasquet, like Mayer, enjoyed a comfortable win on Thursday, with the Gasman putting Jurgen Melzer out of his misery. I think this has the makings of a very good match and one that should be easy on the eye.
Mayer will be looking to expose Gasquet’s very average movement with plenty of angles and drop shots as well as the standard powerful ground strokes, so I’m going with Flo on the set handicap in this. The big German is 1.70 to win with a 1.5 set start and that looks good to me.
Gael Monfils won’t be at Wimbledon this year and he’s never been much of a grass court contender, but he is enjoying himself here in Halle and he takes on Haas at around 3pm UK time. They’ve never met on grass, but I would favour Tommy’s game on the surface, although 1.4 is too short for me.
Philipp Kohlschreiber has a great record against Mikhail Youzhny, leading 7-1. But they’ve never played each other on grass and, although the head-to-head is heavily in the German’s favour, I don’t think he’s a 1.4 shot today. Youzhny does well here and I would fancy this one to go to a deciding set, so I’m backing the over 22.5 total games at around 1.70.
At Queen’s, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is suffering with some sort of fatigue and throat virus that saw him quit the doubles, so he is to be avoided today, but Andy Murray should have few problems overcoming Benjamin Becker.
I also like Lleyton Hewitt’s chances against Juan Martin Del Potro and Tomas Berdych should beat Marin Cilic, but both he and Murray are too short in the betting for me.
Back Mayer +1.5 sets to beat Gasquet at 1.70
Back over 22.5 games in Kohlschreiber/Youzhny at 1.70