Grass court tennis has a few more days left in it before the ATP World Tour heads towards the start of the hard court swing and my focus for the remainder of week 28 is on Newport, USA.
The Hall of Fame Championships is the only professional grass court tennis tournament in the United States and a large proportion of the game’s big servers are in attendance in Rhode Island this week.
And there is plenty to like about Wednesday’s schedule in Newport, with the likes of John Isner, Lleyton Hewitt, Ivo Karlovic and Sergiy Stakhovsky bringing their grass court games to the courts today.
We start at around 16:00 UK time (11:00 local) with a really intriguing clash between the defending champion and one of the up and coming talents of the game.
Nicolas Mahut doesn’t have a fabulous record here over the years, but he did finally land the title a year ago, thanks in part to a very kind draw, and this match today looks tougher.
Saville plays well on grass and showed some good form at Wimbledon, where he took down Dominic Thiem and he’ll be very keen to do far better than the last time he faced Mahut, when he won just one game.
The overs is worth considering there and the 2-1 Mahut win at 3.75, but I prefer taking on another of last year’s Newport finalists today.
Lleyton Hewitt vs Ante Pavic
Rusty seems to be playing out the last knockings of a fine career at the moment and he was pretty fortunate to get the better of Ryan Harrison last night in three sets.
That came after mediocre displays at Queen’s and Wimbledon and if he’s not getting results on grass one would have to worry about where he will get his wins for the rest of the season.
The win over Harrison came down to the far superior mental strength of the Aussie, who was playing poorly, but the American has problems of his own these days and capitulated on serve to hand the match to Rusty.
Pavic on the other hand has been compiling some very good results on tour over the last few months and played well at Wimbledon, beating the likes of Alejandro Falla and playing the in-form Feli Lopez tough.
He’ll certainly be the more energetic and eager of the two and I see no reason why the Croatian can’t at least make a good match of this after taking down big-serving Marius Copil in straights yesterday.
The straight win at 3.15, the +1.5 sets at 1.72 and +3.5 games at 1.69 all appeal here, with slight preference for the set handicap.
Since starting the season on fire in Brisbane, Lleyton has managed just two straight sets wins this season, with one coming on grass against Daniel Gimeno-Traver and the other over Bradley Klahn in Delray Beach back in February, so the chances of a 2-0 Hewitt win are statistically slim.
Elsewhere, Stakhovsky has a good chance as outsider against Ivo Karlovic and looks worth considering given his grass court skills and decent record against big servers.
Isner will probably find a way to go past the overs against Austin Krajicek, while Rajeev Ram is a former winner here and knows his way around a grass court, which may spell danger for Jack Sock.
Steve Johnson and Sam Groth should both win their matches today, while Adrian Mannarino and Dudi Sela are both inconsistent and unreliable and won’t be carrying any of my money today.
Back Pavic +1.5 sets to beat Hewitt at 1.72