Novak Djokovic’s slow, nervous start to the French Open final was the exact opposite of what was expected and required on a rain-affected day at Roland Garros.
But, somehow, our outright bet on the world number one is still live after a day of drama in Paris that may or may not continue today.
The Parisian drizzle had a huge affect on playing conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier leading to heavy tennis balls that Rafa Nadal was unable to put much of his trademark spin on and Nole surged back into contention. So, they may continue today, but the forecast looks grim, which is also the case in London for this week’s grass court tournament at Queen’s Club.
Looking at the weather forecast has become a bit of a busman’s holiday for me lately and it appears that the 90% chance of rain in London today will pretty much wash out play at the Aegon Championships, so it’s over to Halle instead. There’s only a 40% chance of rain in the German city, so there’s considerably more chance of play there.
Of the early matches, it’s not a great price, but surely Cedrik-Marcel Stebe will be too determined for clay court grinder Carlos Berlocq today at around 1.4
Neither of these players have many matches under their respective belts on grass, but Stebe has won six of his eight matches on the surface and playing at home in Germany this promising lefty should prove too strong for Berlocq.
Charly has a 2-7 career record on grass and I think it’s fair to assume that he’s not a huge fan of this part of the season, although both of his wins were at big prices, which is eye-opening.
The German was a player I flagged up at the start of the season as one to watch and I rate him quite highly.
Stebe is playing in Halle for the second time and last year he pushed eventual champion Philipp Kohlschreiber close. I think he’ll take this match today in his home country against a half-hearted opponent.
The second match that interests me is at a much bigger price and that concerns another German and last year’s Halle runner-up, Philipp Petzschner.
Milos Raonic takes on Petzschner today and he’s a massive favourite against the out of form Petzschner but he’s worth taking on playing his first match on grass for a year.
This is a repeat of last year’s quarter final in Halle, which Petzschner won and it’s worth taking the Canadian on against an opponent who does like playing on grass as his results over the years have proven.
Petzschner particularly enjoys Halle, where he’s reached the final and semi final in the last two years and he’s only been beaten on grass by Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Robin Soderling and Kohlschreiber in his last four losses on the green stuff.
He’s had an awful season, winning just three matches in an injury blighted campaign, but at 5.6 for the win and 2.65 to take a set it’s worth consideration that he can beat Raonic again here.
Despite having the tools for success on grass, Milos has just a 4-3 record on the surface and that doesn’t merit such a low price today having just switched surfaces from clay.
Raonic was unable to break Petzschner’s serve at all in three sets in that match here last year and the solid bet in this one is to back over 21.5 games at around 1.7 but the option is there for bolder bets.
Best Bets: Back Stebe to beat Berlocq at 1.4; Back over 21.5 games in Raonic v Petzschner at 1.7; Back Petzschner to beat Raonic at 5.6