The Wimbledon Championships are over for another year and thanks to Roger Federer we ended the tournament on a high. The Swiss maestro’s win over Andy Murray ensured that we earned a decent profit of just under £40 to a £10 stake for the tournament and we move on this week to the clay of Europe and grass of the United States.
There are four men’s ATP 250 events to look at this week and for today at least I’m sticking with the grass courts, focusing on the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, USA.
My first bet today concerns the runner-up here for the last two years, Oliver Rochus, who should have too much grass court knowledge for Japanese player Go Soeda.
A return to the scene of past successes should give the diminutive Belgian a much-needed boost after a pretty poor run of form lately and an opening match against Soeda should end in victory. They’ve never previously met in their careers before today, but Rochus has more experience here in Newport and generally on grass.
Soeda is playing here for the third time. He failed to qualify in 2009 and losing in the second round in 2010 to Brian Dabul, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that he’s opted to come here this year.
Both players have endured quite poor grass court swings so far, with Soeda’s win over Igor Kunitsyn his best result. I’m not expecting a classic encounter between these two today, but I expect Rochus to come through at a price of around 1.53
The other player I fancy to grab a win today is American prospect Ryan Harrison, who takes on another Belgian, Ruben Bemelmans. These two are also meeting for the first time, but I expect Harrison to put on a much better display in Newport than 12 months ago when he was beaten in the first round by Arnaud Clement.
The 20-year-old doesn’t have the best of records against left handers so far in his career, but that can only get better and he should be up to the task of defeating Bemelmans today on home soil.
Bemelmans has played a fair bit of grass court tennis in his career but most of it has come in qualifiers and Challengers; he’s yet to make it past the second round of a tour level grass court tournament. He qualified at Wimbledon and scraped past Carlos Berlocq in the opening round before running into Richard Gasquet in round two, but the key stat for me in this one is this: the Belgian’s win over clay courter Berlocq is his only career win over a top-50 ranked player.
Harrison was also a little unfortunate in his draw at Wimbledon this year, running into Novak Djokovic in round two after a good win over Yen Hsun Lu in his opener, but he had a good run to the semi-finals in Eastbourne prior to that.
Wins over Lu again, Denis Istomin and Vasek Pospisil are good benchmarks of his ability on grass and although I expect Bemelmans to run Harrison close, I can’t see the world number 48 losing in the first round in Newport two years running.
Back Rochus to beat Soeda at 1.53
Back Harrison to beat Bemelmans at 1.5