Friday was scheduled to be semi finals day in week 25’s two ATP 250 grass court events, but rain has put a bit of a dent in the schedule.
Steady rain at the Topshelf Open in Rosmalen yesterday meant that my best bet Fernando Verdasco will resume his battle with Jurgen Melzer today needing to win their final set by two games.
Nicolas Mahut and Roberto Bautista-Agut barely got their match started and took a rain check as darkness fell in the south of Holland on Friday, while over in Eastbourne Feli Lopez and Jeremy Chardy failed to make it to the court due to drizzle.
The forecast is decent for today at the AEGON International, but it’s hard to see defending champion Lopez fancying two matches today and one tomorrow after a long week at Queen’s and Wimbledon in a few days’ time.
So, it’s advantage to Richard Gasquet or Denis Istomin in Eastbourne and to João Sousa or Benjamin Becker in Rosmalen, as they are now a day ahead, while the motivation of the others now has to be questioned.
João Sousa vs Benjamin Becker
The only wager that I like today given the circumstances at both tournaments is to side with Portuguese star Sousa to come out on top against grass-loving German veteran Becker.
The obvious bet is to take the experienced grass court player over the clay courter, but the slow conditions here in Rosmalen lead me to favour Sousa today.
Becker also had a much tougher match yesterday, with a near three-hour battle with Vasek Pospisil, while Sousa showed his quality against the big servers by taking down local hope Thiemo De Bakker in under an hour.
That has to be good news for Sousa, who I was put off backing in his matches earlier in the week as there appeared to be injury concerns, but a quick win yesterday can’t be bad and his last two wins have been over guys that can serve big.
Becker is a former winner here, but it was back in 2009 and the grass here seems slower these days and in the rallies I can’t see Benji having enough to hurt the athletic Sousa, whose grass game has really improved over the last few weeks.
João took Roger Federer to a tight three sets on much quicker grass in Halle last week and I’m going to go against the grain a little with this one and side with Sousa on this slow Rosmalen grass.
Over in Eastbourne my nemesis Denis Istomin continues to play some decent tennis on the grass and takes on Richard Gasquet today, who I said yesterday looked good minus 3.5 games against Martin Klizan.
That one came to fruition as the Gasman eased to a 6-3, 6-3 win and then declared himself to be “feeling better and better,” but also “not 100 percent,” so in the circumstances of arguably the biggest tournament in the world looming large on the horizon will he want to push himself today if it gets tight?
Normally I’d expect Gasquet to win this, but he did lose his last clash with Istomin and I personally won’t be getting involved in this one in these circumstances.
Back Sousa to beat Becker at 1.95