Friday was a pretty miserable day all round really.
Players, spectators, staff, officials and certainly punters in both Eastbourne and s-Hertogenbosch were left frustrated by the on/off rain and gale force winds that made the day’s play a total farce.
In Eastbourne the wind was so strong that when the players threw the ball up to serve it quite often ended up not on their racquets but in the doubles tramlines.
The courts were also soaking wet from the overnight rain and it made for a ridiculous spectacle at times.
Punters who’d backed Marion Bartoli must have been incredulous after she lost a set and 4-0 lead to slump to a hobbling defeat to Tamira Paszek, while Klara Zakopalova simply couldn’t be bothered in the conditions and gave only token resistance to Angelique Kerber.
And Phillip Kohlschreiber scuppered one of my bets by retiring, while David Ferrer took too long to defeat Benoit Paire and Xavier Malisse lost to Philipp Petzschner.
So, it’s finals day in both grass court events today and with conditions an unknown, it might well pay to side with Petzschner in the Netherlands.
The final of the UNICEF Open kicks off at 11am and the German, who is yet to lose a set this week is a very tempting price indeed at around 4.65 to defeat Ferrer.
Although he’s played more matches than Ferrer this week due to qualifying, he did have a bye in the second round, so Petzschner shouldn’t be too fatigued as he bids for his first singles title since 2008.
Ferrer didn’t make anywhere near the impression that I thought he would on Benoit Paire’s serve yesterday, creating just two break point chances – both of which he took.
Indeed, Ferrer only won four more points than Paire in a rain-affected match and he’ll need to improve to have a chance of justifying the quote of 1.18 about him winning his second UNICEF Open title today.
Petzschner was impressive in his win over Malisse and we know he’s a tough proposition for the best around on a grass court from previous results in Halle and at Wimbledon.
I think Ferrer, who is by no means a great grass court exponent, is vulnerable today and Petzschner is worth taking a chance on at that price in the first career meeting between the two.
In Eastbourne I have to be on the side of Andreas Seppi, who should prove to be just too consistent for Andy Roddick at a price of around 1.64
I’m still firmly of the view that Roddick is vulnerable against pretty much anyone in the top-50 at this stage of his career and Seppi, who is defending his title today has the tools to deny Roddick another grass court win.
It’s hard to judge the merits of any of yesterday’s matches, so bad were the conditions, but the Italian was quietly impressive and didn’t allow frustration to overcome him, unlike Roddick, whose racquet bore the brunt of his anger at the wind.
The Eastbourne finalists have met on just the single occasion, which Roddick won at the US Open four years ago, but that must feel like a lifetime ago for the American who, apart from that freak win over Roger Federer in Miami, hasn’t beaten a top-30 player since Basel last October when he defeated Radek Stepanek.
The Italian number one is having a career season and just at the moment these two players are heading in totally opposite directions.
Roddick’s serve has lost a lot of it’s pace, although he still gets a good kick on it, but he’s surely going to be tired due to a lack of match conditioning today and Seppi will be motivated by the chance to defend a title for the first time in his career.
He should bring Roddick’s run to an end when this match takes place at around 1.30pm UK time. Weather permitting of course.
Back Petzschner to beat Ferrer at 4.65
Back Seppi to beat Roddick at 1.64