Sunday proved to be a quite remarkable day in tennis, with David Nalbandian coming up with a novel way to lose me a perfectly good bet.
For those that haven’t yet seen Mr Nalbandian’s fit of pique that saw him disqualified from the final at Queen’s Club whilst a set up against Marin Cilic, I suggest you head over to YouTube right away and check it out.
Things were going swimmingly after my first bet of overs in the Halle final between Roger Federer and Tommy Haas was successful, before Nalbandian took the lead against Cilic in London. We, the poor punters, could never legislate for the Argentine then opting to boot a chair, injure a line judge and get disqualified, handing the previously worried Cilic backers a frankly undeserved payout by default.
This week’s grass court tennis will hopefully be a little more ordered and we have ATP 250 events to enjoy this week in Eastbourne and the Netherlands.
The first bet that stands out to me is the overs market in the clash between Dmitry Tursunov and Philipp Petzschner in s-Hertogenbosch. The layers are unable to split this pair of very competent grass court exponents and have them priced up at around 1.88 each in what should be an encounter full of big serves, fiercely-hit forehands and not much in the way of subtlety.
Tursunov is the defending champion in the UNICEF Open, but this is a tough draw against the German, who enjoys playing on grass and hopefully won’t be sporting the same dreadful yellow knee socks that he wore in Halle last week.
They’ve met once before on indoor-hard in Rotterdam last year when Tursunov came out on top in three sets. With breaks of serve likely to be at a premium today, you have to feel that this one will be another tight affair.
Petzschner had to qualify for this and did so without dropping a set, while the Russian will be looking for better than last week’s surprising loss to Ryan Sweeting in London, which followed a run to the final in Nottingham. Back the over 23.5 games at 1.82
Over in Eastbourne I think there are a couple of outsiders to consider today. The first of these is Vasek Pospisil, who meets Ryan Harrison. The big Canadian is a player whose game should suit the grass courts and he’s been over here in Europe for the past few weeks playing in Nottingham, London and now Eastbourne to hone his game to the surface. He comes into this match having taken a set off Nalbandian at Queen’s before qualifying here by beating the big serving Lukas Rosol in straight sets.
Harrison, on the other hand, has rocked up here having played no match since losing in the first round of the French Open. He could find it hard to get any rhythm against Pospisil in his first match of the year on grass.
The temperamental American doesn’t have a great record on this surface, so I would have expected him to show more intent after losing early in Paris. He looks vulnerable today at 1.65.
The other outsider worth looking at is Britain’s Jamie Baker, who takes on Donald Young. Young has had an appalling season, winning just two matches and losing 12, including the last 10 in a row. He must be dreading playing an opponent who is far more attuned to grass court tennis than himself.
On paper Young is class above Baker, but he can’t be backed with any confidence after the run he’s had and with losses to the likes of Conor Niland and Guillermo Alcaide on his grass court resume.
Baker is no great shakes but he is improving and he’s used to the grass, whereas Young is declining and will be playing his first grass match of the season. It’s worth a shot at 2.20 that the Brit can win.
Back over 23.5 games in Tursunov v Petzschner at 1.82
Back Pospisil to beat Harrison at 2.18
Back Baker to beat Young at 2.20