It was two from three for our bets on Thursday on the grass courts of Queen’s Club and Halle. Sam Querrey and Xavier Malisse both obliged, but Marcel Granollers was outgunned by Tommy Haas. But no damage was done on the day and it’s on to Friday as the two ATP 250 events move into the quarter final stages.
There was some potentially damaging news for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga yesterday: not only was he surprisingly beaten by Ivan Dodig at Queen’s, but he injured his finger in the process and is now a major doubt for Wimbledon. The big Frenchman slipped several times on the grass and you shouldn’t be rushing to back him to win Wimbledon just yet.
Today’s tennis at Queen’s Club has the feel of a crap shoot about it, with pretty much anything possible in the matches scheduled there today. With rain forecast as well, I’m concentrating on Halle.
The German tournament has invested a lot in appearance fees for the very best and they’ll be delighted with the quarter final line-ups that they have, with the world’s best on display and two home players in with chances.
One of those players is Philipp Kohlschreiber, who takes on French Open champion Rafa Nadal. Kohlschreiber is a very decent operator on grass; if only he had an extra 10 per cent between his ears he could have gone on to achieve a lot more in the game. The same could be said for quite a few players, I suppose.
Kohlschreiber has excellent ground strokes, particularly a great single-handed backhand that can be joy to watch. Despite having a 0-9 record against Rafa, he has taken a set in four of their last five completed matches. The German is the defending champion here and he should be relishing the first ever meeting between him and Rafa on grass.
Rafa has to be tired after Roland Garros and he’s lost at this stage of his grass court warm-up tournament (Queen’s Club) for the last two years in a row after winning the French Open. I think there’s definitely a case for backing the German outright at 6.0 today, but the worry is that he could well choke if in a winning position. So the bet in this one is to take a motivated Kohlschreiber in front of his home crowd to take a set against a jaded Nadal at 2.80
The next match on is one that will please fans, as Milos Raonic takes on Roger Federer in a popcorn tennis match.
Despite his renowned grass court prowess, Federer hasn’t actually won a grass tournament since Wimbledon in 2009. He hasn’t won here since 2008, despite having a street named after him in Halle.
Raonic will be keen to keep that record going today, having run Federer very close in Madrid. The big Canadian has taken a set in each of their two meetings so far.
I have to admit that I’m not totally convinced by Raonic on grass yet and he’s going to have to return better than he did against Philipp Petzschner in round one if he’s to have any chance of breaking the Federer serve today. He created just one break point chance against the German.
Raonic always has that serve up his sleeve, though, and Federer only managed to break once in three long sets in Madrid. Although the altitude helped there, I don’t think breaking it on grass will be easy - even for Federer.
The play in this one is to take the overs at 24.5 games at a price of 1.87. If you want a bigger price, the 2.86 on Raonic winning set one could be value too.
Back Kohlschreiber +1.5 sets at 2.80
Back over 24.5 games in Raonic v Federer at 1.87