ATP Tennis Betting: Back Zverev to go one better in Halle


The grass court action continues in week 25 of the ATP World Tour, with two ATP 500 tournaments in London and Halle.

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka will be at Queen’s for the Aegon Championships, while Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem head the field in Halle at the Gerry Weber Open.

Debrief
It was business as usual for the outrights last week, with once again the right idea of taking on the favourites in Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic and Roger Federer, but again the wrong result.

Hyeon Chung injured his ankle before a ball was even struck in Rosmalen and misses out this week too, while this happened to Alexandr Dolgopolov, also at the Ricoh Open and also an ankle injury.

Stevie Johnson developed a problem with his ball toss and despite producing an alarming amount of double faults still should have made the quarters, but failed from 4-2 up in the final set against Phillip Kohlschreiber in desperate fashion.

Conditions
Queen’s is played on a traditional, quick, low-bouncing grass court that’s faster than Wimbledon, using Slazenger Wimbledon balls, and it’s expected to be hot and humid until midweek when it’ll get stormy and windy.

Conditions are pretty much the same in Halle, perhaps a fraction slower, and the weather forecast is all over the place for the week, with a big of everything expected by the looks of it.

They do have a roof in Halle that takes about a minute-and-a-half to close, and that’ll probably be used at some point this week.

Trends
The suggestion that it’s a fraction quicker at Queen’s than in Halle is backed up by the tie break numbers, with a slightly higher amount of breakers in London than the German venue.

Over the past three years an average of 56% of the matches at Queen’s featured a tie break, while in Halle that number is 48%.

In terms of outright trends, well, over the years there have been a few unheralded and therefore decent-priced runners up and the odd winner, due to its position at or near the start of the grass season.

Upsets at least do happen here and Kevin Anderson provided a nice 66-1 each way result for me at Queen’s a couple of years ago.

And we don’t have to go far back in the history books to find a big-priced winner in Halle either, with Flo Mayer causing a shock last year when winning as a 66-1 chance.

Interestingly, the only player to win Halle in the last 20 years who wasn’t either German or a Grand Slam finalist was Nicklas Kulti back in 1996.

Draws and form


Andy Murray has been given a tough draw at Queen’s, with the five-time champion paired alongside grass court big hitters Sam Querrey, Gilles Muller, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marin Cilic, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios and Steve Johnson.

That is a very tough half indeed for all concerned and I couldn’t back Murray to come through it at a price like 2.40 in what looks a far more competitive part of the draw than the bottom half.

I prefer taking a chance on 50-1 option Sam Querrey, who’s a former champ here and who has a fine 16-8 record at this tournament.

The American has been playing well this season and we know that if he reaches his best level he can beat anyone, as wins over Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Kyrgios and Rafael Nadal in the last 12 months show.

The victory over Djokovic was, of course, at Wimbledon last season, and when he won Acapulco a few months back he came out of a half of the draw that included Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem, Kyrgios, Juan Martin Del Potro, and David Goffin.

So, Querrey is one option, but the player with the closest service hold/break numbers on grass behind Murray’s 121 mark is Cilic, who weighs in with 113.3 and he’s another former Queen’s Club champion.

The Croat is certainly better value than the mercurial Kyrgios, whose grass hold/break stats are mediocre in this company, with a 103.3 and on that stat alone he’s the sixth likeliest to make the final in that half of the draw.

But it really is a pick ‘em in that half, with so many in with chances and the price on Querrey stands out for me.

The value in the bottom half is with Nicolas Mahut at 21.0 to reach the final or 67.0 to win it.

The Frenchman has the best hold/break stats of any player in that half of the draw and if he’s fit the quick, slick, low-bouncing courts suit him down to the ground.

Milos Raonic is the obvious danger, but last year’s finalist has inferior grass stats to Mahut and is 6.50 to win it, so I’m not sure I’m seeing any sort of value there.

Grigor Dimitrov is a former winner here, so has to be respected on that, but third favourite with hold/break stats of just 100 and no form at all over recent months hardly inspires me to back him at a measly 11.0.

The other options look to be Stan Wawrinka, Feli Lopez and Tomas Berdych and these conditions are a challenge to both, with Stan very vulnerable first up against Lopez and Berdych too lumbering and robotic to be a grass court player on a ‘proper’ grass court like these.

Lopez would be my pick if he hadn’t just had a very tough week in Stuttgart, but he’s too short in price considering all the tight matches he had and he’s an injury concern after that exertion.

In Halle at the Gerry Weber Open Roger Federer looks to have a nice half, with Stuttgart winner Pouille, defending champ Mayer, Kei Nishikori, Ivo Karlovic and Mischa Zverev the opposition.

Jan-Lennard Struff should have beaten Pouille last week and may well do this week first up and you know we can get a price of 100-1 about a player who narrowly lost out to the Stuttgart champion last week?

If that player were anyone other than Benoit Paire that’d be a very interesting price indeed, as Paire played great last week on the grass and with Federer losing to the ancient Tommy Haas last week anything is possible.

I’m not sure I could recommend it as a bet, but surely 100-1 is too big going purely on last week’s grass form.

No-one else appeals in that half and the bottom half looks a pick ‘em between Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, with preference for the latter, who played well on grass last week and can steal a march on Thiem on home soil here.

Both Thiem and Zverev beat Federer on grass last season, so they’re the obvious choices in a half bereft of any other viable leading candidate.

Zverev weighs in with a hold/break mark of 108.5 and having made the final here 12 months ago he’s the pick, but if Richard Gasquet were fit he’d be a leading contender.

The Gasman leads the half, with an excellent 111.2 total, but he’s a fitness doubt yet again and it’s not easy to see him going all the way with his constant injury issues.

Which brings us back to our old mate Bernard Tomic, who’s been priced up here as having the same chance of winning the tournament as Albert Ramos, which should make the Aussie rage, though it probably won’t.

His stats are identical to Philipp Kohlschreiber’s at 106.8, yet Kohli is 20-1 and Bernie’s 120-1. On that basis he’s worth a few quid, but I imagine he’ll obligingly roll over in round one as part of Haas’s farewell tour.

Kohlschreiber is an option, but Zverev looks the bet ahead of him.

Conclusion
At Queen’s Club it’s Querrey and Mahut that offer value for me against the short prices on Murray and Raonic, while in Halle the temptation is to risk the crazy due of Paire and Tomic, but the sensible option has to be Zverev to go one better than last year now that he’s had a week on grass in Rosmalen.

Best Bets
1 point Querrey to make the Queen’s final at 26.0
1 point Mahut to make the Queen’s final at 21.0
2 points Zverev to win Halle at 6.0