It was a winning end to the French Open for this column on Sunday as Rafa Nadal did what I expected and delivered the men’s singles title with a comfortable win over David Ferrer.
Rafa’s 6-3, 6-2, 6-3, victory was pretty much what I had predicted and those on my Nadal –8.5 games best bet were collecting on that one as the champion made history by landing his eighth French Open crown.
The men’s tour moves on to the grass this week, with ATP 250 tournaments in Halle, Germany and London, UK for punters to get their teeth into.
Rafa was due to appear in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open along with Roger Federer, but the Spaniard has pulled out after his exertions on the clay this season, while Andy Murray tops the bill in London at the Aegon Championships at Queens Club.
At Queen’s last year there were memorable upsets in the second and third rounds and there will no doubt be some again this year. However, the first round was a happy hunting ground for favourites with 20 of the 24 opening round matches going their way.
Indeed, only Ryan Sweeting’s win over Dmitry Tursunov and Simone Bolelli’s victory over Ernests Gulbis were bigger than even money and they were only a fraction over.
Of today’s first round matches at Queen’s Club I like the idea of a double involving Xavier Malisse and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, which would pay around 1.85 if successful.
Malisse is at his very best on grass as he showed once again last season with a last eight showing here, followed by a semi-final in s’Hertogenbosch and a fourth round loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon. His opponent today has won one completed grass court match since 2010.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez can play on the green stuff, but hasn’t shown it for some time and with the Spaniard it’s all about confidence and that won’t be high after a straight sets loss to Jack Sock in Paris, followed by a thrashing by young Czech star Jiri Vesely in Prostejov last week.
Malisse has a 4-1 head-to-head record over GGL and the surface is his favourite, so assuming the Belgian is fit, he should win this one fairly comfortably.
Roger-Vasselin can also play a bit on the grass as he highlighted last season by taking down Andy Roddick here before losing a tight one to eventual finalist David Nalbandian and he also reached the last eight in s’Hertogenbosch.
Today’s opponent Guillaume Rufin is playing a warm-up event on grass for only the second time and he’s won just one match in the main draw of any grass court event.
The young French prospect is struggling to live up to his big billing, having won just a handful of matches at tour level this season. I would expect the more experienced of the two Frenchmen to win this one.
Best Bet: Back Malisse and Roger-Vasselin in a double at 1.85
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