I said yesterday that Andy Murray might not have it so easy in his first round match against Nicolas Mahut and so it proved as the defending champion went out at the hands of the Frenchman. It was an easy winner for our overs bet though, although Denis Istomin went out to a great performance from Sam Querrey, which was disappointing.
Today’s matches at Queen’s Club look like ones for the favourites, but over in Halle I’m going to take a chance on an outsider against a home favourite.
In fact, there are a couple of Germans that I think have been overrated by the layers today in Halle, the first being Phillip Kohlschreiber, who looks plenty short enough against the dangerous Lukas Kubot and the other is Tommy Haas who plays Marcel Granollers.
Both Germans are priced up at around 1.38 and I’m going to be backing Granollers at that price to defeat the veteran Haas. The 34-year-old was around even money to beat Bernard Tomic in his previous match, which only lasted seven games due to Tomic being ill and I’m not too sure why he’s suddenly such a hot favourite for this match.
I can only assume that Granollers isn’t rated on grass, but he is effective on fast surfaces and grass doesn’t play that differently to any other surface these days anyway.
Haas does have a better record than Granollers on grass and he’s a former champion here and a former Wimbledon semi finalist, but at 34 and having had numerous injuries how much has he got left in the tank?
In his last five matches on grass Haas has won two - and one of those was the Tomic retirement. He lost the others to Gilles Muller, Andreas Seppi and a retirement of his own against Michael Yani, so he’s certainly very poor value today at 1.38
Granollers won the meeting between he and Haas on a hard court at Indian Wells earlier this year and as a player who always seems underrated by the layers, he’s worth taking a chance on today at an attractive price of 3.0
Back in London, the two that I like today at admittedly not the best prices are Querrey and Xavier Malisse. Both players are available to back at around 1.5 in their respective matches against Julien Benneteau and Simone Bolelli.
Querrey’s big game should prove too much for Benneteau, whose sole win over the American in five attempts came on slow clay in Rome, while the ones played on faster surfaces were all straight sets win for Querrey.
Benny isn’t much of a grass court player, although he possibly should be, as he can mix the play up well and volley OK, although his overheads are sometimes very shaky.
The Frenchman tends to struggle against a power game and he’s 11-20 lifetime against players over 6’4” in height, which goes some way to explaining his 1-4 record against the 6’6” Querrey.
Malisse meanwhile, despite having another of his occasional meltdowns at the officials in his match against Alex Bogomolov Jr yesterday, should have too much know how for the erratic Bolelli on grass.
The Belgian is a very decent performer on the green stuff, having reached the latter stages of tournaments on a regular basis and defeated Novak Djokovic here two years ago.
He tends to save his best for this time of year and performed well again at Wimbledon 12 months ago when he reached the fourth round before losing to an inspired Tomic.
Bolelli has no such record on grass and it was a bit of a shock that he beat Gilles Simon in the previous round here, although Simon is pretty average on grass himself at the best of times.
The Italian is a shot maker and if he has a day where they all go in then he can trouble anyone, but he’s too hit and miss for me and you have to go back to 2008 in Munich for the last time that he won three straight matches at an ATP Tour level tournament - a feat that he is trying to emulate today.
Best Bets: Back Granollers to beat Haas at 3.0; Back Querrey to beat Benneteau at 1.5; Back Malisse to beat Bolelli at 1.5