The expected rain pretty much put paid to proceedings at Queen’s Club on Monday, with only the first schedule match of the day being completed at the AEGON Championships.
I said yesterday that betting on matches that go on and off court numerous times wasn’t appealing and Richard Gasquet will doubtless be annoyed that his clash with Stevie Johnson ended up completing seven hours after it was meant to begin.
We had no such problems in Halle though when my only bet of the day on Benjamin Becker to beat Ernests Gulbis ended up a straight sets winner, with Becker taking advantage of a stroppy and less than focused Gulbis. There's a surprise on a grass court.
The weather forecast is again predicting a foul day in the Queen’s Club area, with a high chance of rain all day and 20mph winds and thunderstorms to add to the mix, so their schedule for Tuesday looks hopeful at best.
And it doesn’t look much better in Halle either, so again we’re limited really to matches under the roof, unless you want to bet on matches that may start and stop many times.
Vasek Pospisil said after his Queen’s quali win on Monday: “Warmed up nine times for the same match over two days but couldn't be happier."
It’s a shame, as the card looks good for round one in Queen’s, but until the weather settles down we’re left guessing.
Dustin Brown vs Albert Ramos
The ‘sure things’ today in Halle would appear to be Brown to defeat Ramos, who really struggles to hold his serve on the grass, and Florian Mayer to beat Brian Baker, whose comeback from injury will surely take a while.
Brown has two wins over Rafa Nadal on grass on his CV, one of which was here in Halle a couple of years ago, while Ramos’ only win in a completed match at main level was over a soon to retire James Blake.
Ramos only holds serve on this surface 68.3 percent of the time, which is the lowest of anyone in round one of Queen’s and Halle that I came across researching this week’s matches and playing at home on the main court in the evening we should see a performance from Brown.
Brown holds 86.5 percent of the time on grass in all matches in his career and in these slick conditions he should have too much for Ramos and if we add Mayer to the mix a 1.49 ‘sure thing’ double will hopefully be the outcome.
Mayer has never lost on grass as a 1.30 favourite or shorter in seven matches (Brown hasn’t lost in two matches in this price range either) and actually has a good 27-4 record overall at main level in that range.
He’s coming back from injury too, but is much further down the line than Baker, who has not won a match at main level since 2013, and he’s only played half a dozen matches on grass at Tour or Grand Slam level.
Mayer played well enough in Stuttgart last week, losing in the last eight in two tie breaks to Roger Federer, to be a very likely winner of this 11:00 UK time start.
Alexander Zverev vs Viktor Troicki
This 13:00 approx. UK time clash looks a tight one, with two players with very similar grass court stats meeting on this surface in Germany for the second season in a row.
Last year it was Troicki who prevailed in three sets against Zverev in Stuttgart and the Serbian was a 1.3 chance in that match, but how things have changed in the last 12 months.
Zverev is priced up as a 1.73 favourite for this one and I don’t personally see a lot of value in that, given that the young German has played only nine matches on grass at main level in his career.
He’s yet to show that he can be effective on it (as was Dominic Thiem before he went and won Stuttgart last week) and I’d rather side the overs in this match with two good servers facing each other.
Zverev holds 84 percent of the time and his opponents hold 82.5 percent of the time against him on grass so far in his short career on the surface, while Troicki holds serve 83.9 percent of the time and the Serb’s opponents hold 82.8 percent of the time against him.
So, it’s as tight on paper as it feels, and there’s not much between them in tie breaks either, with Zverev currently winning 50 percent of his on grass and Troicki 53.3 percent of his.
Over 23.5 games at 1.94 looks the one in this Halle clash.
Sure thing: Back Brown and Mayer in a double at 1.49
Value bet: Back over 23.5 games in Troicki/Zverev at 1.94