The remaining matches in round two of this week’s ATP 250 grass court tournaments in Rosmalen and Stuttgart are scheduled for Thursday after rain delayed proceedings on Wednesday again.
I’m happy to say it’s set fair in Rosmalen where I’ll be on Thursday, and it’s forecast to be better for the coming days in Stuttgart too after only two matches were completed on day three.
We found a nice odds-against winner at the Ricoh Open when Stefan Kozlov easily covered the +1.5 set handicap over Stevie Johnson, winning the match in straight sets.
But the stats let us down in the Sam Querrey match when for only the fourth time in 32 opening sets on grass the American finished a set in nine games or fewer.
The value was there in that one, but not the result, and my other bet of the day is delayed until Thursday.
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Gilles Muller
After talking about tie breaks yesterday it was somewhat ironic that we saw zero in nine sets in Rosmalen and none in five sets in Stuttgart on Wednesday, but surely this match will feature one.
GGL and Muller clash for the fifth time in their careers at 10:00 UK time on Thursday and with GGL having won four of their five (including the one on grass) the Spaniard should fancy his chances here.
He probably won’t relish facing nemesis David Ferrer (most likely) in the next round, but having played at least one tie break in four of their five career clashes this pair look set for another tight one.
Muller’s serve allowed him to get past Robin Haase in round one and looking at his serve stats on grass we find that he holds 89 percent of the time in all matches and his opponents hold their serve against him 90 percent of the time.
All five of their opening sets against each other have gone past 10.5 games, with three breakers and two 7-5 scores, so this seems a good price about it happening again.
In comparison Ivo Karlovic and Igor Sijsling are 1.64 to go over 10.5 in their first set and I know which bet I’d rather take on.
Juan Martin Del Potro vs John Millman
It’s pretty much a straight choice for odds-on backers on Thursday as far as match odds go, with Delpo and David Ferrer the only two options that look relatively ‘safe’ to me.
It seems that Delpo’s decision to skip the French Open and concentrate on the grass was a wise one and any repeat of the form he showed against Grigor Dimitrov should be more than enough against the game, but chokey Aussie.
Dimitrov was dire mentally yet again versus Delpo and the result perhaps looks better on paper than reality, but the popular Argentine is clearly on the road back (at the moment) and he should have too much game for Millman.
Millman has a 3-10 record against the big servers on my list and he doesn’t seem to have the weapons to match Delpo here unless the Argentine struggles with his dodgy wrist.
Ferrer is less secure in my view against a capable grass courter in Dudi Sela given that Ferrer hasn’t won a match on grass since beating Pablo Carreno Busta at Wimbledon 2014.
He’s lost nine times as a sub-1.40 favourite in the last 15 months and while he ‘should’ beat Sela I would be a tad nervous backing him at that price these days and especially on grass as a late entry to this tournament.
Dominic Thiem vs Sam Groth
It should be very interesting to see how Thiem fares on the grass this summer after his exhausting clay swing, given that he hasn’t taken to it so far, and slick early season grass should be real challenge for him.
A first match up against big serving Groth could well be tricky and the 2.15 about over 10.5 games in this one as well looks the call, with Thiem never having faced any of the big servers on my list on grass in his career until now.
He doesn’t have a great record (15-14) against them on all surfaces and on grass he’s only played eight matches at main level and won only two of those.
His long backswings don’t look ideal by any means for grass and despite enduring a pretty wretched season so far Groth’s serve should keep him in this one for long enough for the overs to land.
The Aussie has a 91 percent service hold mark in his career on all matches on grass and an opponent hold ratio of 87 percent, so again odds-against seems generous there.
That can be doubled with Jan-Lennard Struff to take a set against Gilles Simon in what looks a tricky opener for the Frenchman, who admitted he’s struggling with his form after a loss at the French Open.
Early season grass against a big, powerful opponent like Struff, who played well against Marcos Baghdatis, looks tough for Gillou and I seem to recall that the German should have beaten Simon in their only prior career clash in Davis Cup.
On home soil and with some decent weapons on his day the +1.5 sets on Struff looks pretty good in this Stuttgart round two match.
Sure thing: Back Del Potro to beat Millman at 1.23
Value bet: Back over 10.5 games in set one of Muller/Garcia-Lopez at 2.43
Long shot: Back over 10.5 games in Groth/Thiem and Struff +1.5 sets at 3.76