ATP Tennis Betting: Pouille and Lopez set for tight Stuttgart final

It’s finals day on Sunday at the Ricoh Open and Mercedes Cup on week 24 of the ATP World Tour after another successful day’s grass court tennis betting on Saturday.

The expected serve-fest between Ivo Karlovic and Marin Cilic produced the two tie breaks we needed for a 2.85 winner on the over 1.5 tie breaks wager in Rosmalen to guarantee a very profitable week – even after the bad luck on the outrights.

Sunday’s two finals are expected to be played in rain-free conditions, with Rosmalen set for a lovely day of 28C sunshine and barely any wind, while Stuttgart should be cooler and cloudier with a bit of a breeze.

Feliciano Lopez vs Lucas Pouille

Not exactly the final that the Stuttgart event was hoping for, with no Roger Federer or Grigor Dimitrov or any Germans in sight, but it should be an intriguing clash of styles and I’m expecting another tight match.

Lopez has specialised in tight matches this week, winning just three more total points than both Mischa Zverev and Tomas Berdych in the semis and quarters and six more than Jeremy Chardy in the last-16.

He’s shown his bottle when it counts though, going big on numerous second serves against Berdych when in trouble and surviving another tough one against Zverev on Saturday from a set down.

You’ve got to wonder how much the 35-year-old has left in the tank for Sunday’s final, but he’ll definitely be up for it in his first championship match on grass for three seasons.

All three of Lopez’s previous grass court finals were very tight affairs and all went the distance, with a total of six tie breaks in the three matches.

There’ll most likely be at least one more on Sunday, with two players involved whose grass court profiles feature strong service hold percentages but pretty mediocre break of serve marks.

Indeed, Pouille is only at 15.6% breaks of serve over his last-10 main level matches on grass, and I’d have to make Lopez slight favourite for this match given his extra grass court experience and better break of serve percentage of 19%.

There’s little in it though, as was highlighted in the two matches on indoor hard that the pair contested towards the end of last season when they clashed twice in the space of 10 days in Vienna and Bercy.

Both matches ended in 2-1 wins – one for each man – and both were close, with three points in one and six points in the other, so a lot points to another tight battle in Stuttgart.

The over 2.5 sets at 2.18 and over 10.5 games in set one at 2.10 look the wagers of interest.

Ivo Karlovic vs Gilles Muller

This second final of the day at (not before) 13:30 UK time is a repeat of last year’s Rosmalen semi final that I was courtside for 12 months ago and is anyone expecting anything other than a tie break or three to decide the outcome?

Last year it was Muller who edged it 7-6, 7-6 and the pair went on to contest the Newport final just over a month later and the result that time was 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 to Karlovic, who won that Newport title 14-12 in the deciding set breaker.

At that time it looked like Muller was destined never to win a tour level title, but he’s since won Sydney (and made a final on clay in Estoril) so the pressure is off somewhat as he prepares for his eighth main level final.

For Karlovic this will be his 19th main level final and seventh on grass and in his previous six finals on the green stuff five contained at least two tie breaks – or to put it another way 11 of the 17 sets so far have been breakers.

The career series between Muller and Karlovic began at Queen’s Club back in 2002 when Karlovic won 10-8 in a final set breaker and in those two grass court matches they contested last season each man held serve 96.9% of the time.

So, as to who’s going to win it? Well, we may as well toss a coin, because it’ll surely just come down to who plays a great volley or gets a good bounce or net cord at the right time or maybe who chucks in a double fault at the wrong time.

Over 1.5 tie breaks is the obvious bet, but at 2.10 it’s not exactly great value, so this one will be a no-bet for me.

Best Bet
1.5 points win over 10.5 games in set one of Lopez/Pouille at 2.10