The grass court season got off to a soggy start at Queen’s Club, but it was a pretty decent day for our bets under the roof in Halle. Cedrik-Marcel Stebe just about managed to get the job done against Charly Berlocq after wasting seven match points in a bizarre encounter that featured three breaks of serve from 29 break point opportunities.
And then Philipp Petzschner, sporting a pair of yellow, knee length socks reminiscent of Bethanie Mattek-Sands pushed Milos Raonic over the total games mark, but fell short of winning the match at a big price. There was no play at all in London and the forecast looks sketchy again for Tuesday, so I’m concentrating on Halle where there’s guaranteed to be action on the centre court at least.
The first match on centre at the Gerry Weber Open on Tuesday looks a good opportunity to back Marcel Granollers to beat Mischa Zverev at a very backable price of 1.81 Known by many as a typical Spanish clay courter Granollers is more versatile than that as his results on indoor hard in particular have shown in recent times.
He’s got a big serve on him and he’s pretty solid off both wings and although he probably wouldn’t class grass as his favourite surface the man from Barcelona hasn’t disgraced himself on the green stuff. Granollers has beaten Janko Tipsarevic on grass and on debut in Halle he should be too strong for injury-prone Russian-born German Zverev.
Zverev does have a fair bit more experience than the Spaniard on grass, having played much more regularly on it than Granollers and he has had some good results in Halle in the past, but he’s done nothing of note since 2010. The left hander has won just four of his last 11 grass court matches and three of those have come in qualifying here this week after losing in Nottingham last week to world number 300 John-Patrick Smith.
Granollers has an excellent record against left handers of 15 wins and four losses and two of the defeats came at the hands of Rafa Nadal and he also won the only meeting between he and Zverev on a hard court in 2009. I would have put Granollers in at shorter than this today and at the prices he’s worth a bet.
The next wager that I’ll take on today is backing over 23.5 games in the clash between Benjamin Becker and Viktor Troicki at a price of 1.95. German veteran Becker is very effective on grass with his big serve and aggressive all-round game and he’s coming off a win in last week’s Nottingham Challenger.
He really had to battle to win that event though, with all bar one of his matches going the full three sets and it is likely to be the same today against a classier opponent in Troicki. Becker reached the semi finals the last time he played here and is a former title winner in the grass court event in Den Bosch, Netherlands too.
Troicki is no fan of the grass with numerous early round exits on his record in grass court tournaments and this season has been a real struggle for the Serbian.
And a first match on grass since his loss to Yen-Hsun Lu at Wimbledon 12 months ago against a man who is clearly in great touch on the lawns is not something that Troicki will relish. The 4.25 about a Becker 2-1 win is tempting and worth consideration if you’re looking at a chancier bet today, but I think this one will go long and I’ll take the overs today.
Best Bets: Back Granollers to beat Zverev at 1.8; Back over 23.5 games in Becker v Troicki at 1.95