ATP Tennis Betting: Mathieu should prove too strong for Evans on grass

Wednesday is last-16 day at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, while it’s anybody’s guess what’s happening at the AEGON Championships in London.

Again it was pointless betting on any of the matches at Queen’s Club on Tuesday on another dismal day of foul weather in London and until this weather front moves on it’s little more than guesswork. 

Under the roof in Halle on Tuesday we saw a disappointing performance from Viktor Troicki, who threw in five double faults and was broken three times from three chances, while he failed on five of his own six opportunities against Alexander Zverev.

We did get a winner for the ‘sure thing’ when Dustin Brown and Florian Mayer both won their matches in Halle and again I’m by and large sticking to the German venue, which will have matches under the roof if needs be – and it looks like they will on Wednesday.

Joao Sousa vs Dominic Thiem

Fatigue seems to be a word that has no meaning in the Thiem vocabulary, with the Austrian seemingly able to push through the most hectic of schedules.

A couple of days off since winning Stuttgart is a virtual holiday for Thiem, who I must admit I did not expect to be taking a title on grass at this stage of his development on the surface.

But take it he did in Stuttgart and it’s hard to see Sousa beating the Austrian here given his poor record against Thiem and lack of any real weapons on this surface.

Thiem’s grass stats are only really relevant from last week, such was the improvement in his grass court game in Stuttgart from anything seen before from him and he held 91.8 percent of the time at the Mercedes Cup.

Prior to that he was at only 84 percent and his opponents held more often at 86.3 percent and that latter figure was even higher at 86.9 percent in Stuttgart, so his returning still needs some work.

Sousa holds on grass 83.8 percent of the time in his career at all levels and he’s yet to beat a top-20 opponent on grass. He hasn’t played a match on grass since Wimbledon last year and I can’t see his record improving on Wednesday unless Thiem has hit the wall, which seems unlikely.

Roger Federer vs Jan-Lennard Struff

The Swiss maestro should win this one, but he’s hardly been convincing in his few matches on the grass since his comeback from injury and he surely needs a full week here in Halle to have any chance at Wimbledon.

Federer lost from match points up against Thiem last week in Stuttgart, which is a result that would have been unthinkable last season on this surface, and edged Mayer in two tie breaks after dropping a set to Taylor Fritz.

So, I’m tempted by the 5.30 on a Federer 2-1 win in this one against an opponent who on his day can play to a very high standard, but lacks the consistency or the mental strength on a week-to-week basis.

Struff played well in Stuttgart last week, beating Marcos Baghdatis and taking a set from Gilles Simon, so at home in front of the German fans he has the potential to at least make this another tough day for the Swiss.

Over 9.5 games in set one is decent, with Fed having failed to win a set in nine games or fewer in his last five on grass, but in tricky conditions with the court cutting up and Federer still rusty we may get a run with Struff taking a set.

I was tempted by the 3.25 on Paulo Lorenzi as a ‘long shot’ too, with both the Italian and opponent Teimuraz Gabashvili having really poor records on grass and at least Lorenzi will be confident having won at Challenger level a few days ago.

Both have 79.7 percent service hold marks on grass and I don’t see much between this pair on this surface – they’re both equally poor. 

Daniel Evans vs Paul-Henri Mathieu

This is the only one I’m going to take on at Queen’s today and if it gets on to court (and off again and on again) I fancy PHM minus 2.5 games to beat the wild card in a match scheduled first up on Court 1 at 12:00.

Evans has done nothing on grass so far in his career and it’s easy to see why, with a feeble serve by modern standards and he’s managed only three wins in 11 matches on the green stuff at main level. 

Last week he was beaten by Marius Copil 6-4, 6-2 on grass at the Surbiton Challenger and it’ll take a big improvement from the Brit to win this one against an opponent much more experienced on the grass and who has seen all these rain delays many times.

Evans at all levels on grass – and he’s played a fair bit at Challenger level and Futures – is still only at 76.2 percent on service holds, while his opponents hold against him 80.2 percent of the time.

PHM has an 85.4 percent hold mark on grass and he should be covering a 2.5 game handicap against someone of Evans’ level, having tuned up last week in Rosmalen by beating Rajeev Ram and taking a set from eventual champion Mahut. 

Best Bets
Sure thing: Back Thiem to beat Sousa at 1.32
Value bet: Back Mathieu -2.5 games to beat Evans at 1.98
Long shot: Back Federer to beat Struff 2-1 at 5.30