It was a good start to the week yesterday, as both of my best bets were successful on the grass courts of Newport, USA.
Olivier Rochus began the day in winning style against Go Soeda by capitalising on the Japanese player’s second serve. Soeda won 35 points from 37 when he put his first serve in, but just 18 of 47 on the second and only three from 13 in the deciding set, which was the difference at the end of a fairly tight match.
And, as I suggested, the match between Ryan Harrison and Ruben Bemelmans was also a keenly contested affair, which lasted the best part of three hours before the American came through 7-5 in the decider. So, it was a bit of a late night watching the Harrison match, but it was worth it in the end.
Also on Monday, Donald Young managed to lose yet another match, making it 13 losses in a row now for Young, who is trying his best to emulate Vinny Spadea or Andrey Golubev in the consecutive loss stakes. But there was better news for fellow American, Jack Sock, who returned from injury and won his match against Igor Kunitsyn, while Nicolas Mahut set up another clash with John Isner by beating Marco Chiudinelli.
The first match that catches my eye today in Newport is Lleyton Hewitt versus Vasek Pospisil and I’ll be taking a chance on the Canadian at an attractive price of around 2.34. Hewitt looks pretty much gone to me at the moment after a series of injuries and surely it’s only the former world number one’s stubborn, competitive streak that’s keeping him plugging away on the tour.
He’s only won four matches on the tour this year due to injury (and one of those was a retirement) and is yet to win a single set in his grass court swing in 2012. Down at number 233 in the rankings, Hewitt will be relying on wild cards to get into tournaments and, along with Andy Roddick, we’re probably seeing the last of him on tour this year.
It’s always worth opposing these guys when they’re odds on and Pospisil is a talent, who certainly has enough about him to give this version of Hewitt a hard time. The Canadian has a big serve and plenty of winners in his locker, along with his share of unforced errors, but he could easily be too powerful for the Aussie today. I wouldn’t want to be on Lleyton at odds-on and I’m happy to side with Pospisil, who’s had plenty of matches on grass lately in this one.
My second wager today is also an odds-against shot in the form of Marinko Matosevic, who takes on Jesse Levine and is around the 2.20 mark. Matosevic defeated Levine in their only career meeting on a hard court a couple of years ago and also has a decent record against left handers such as today’s opponent.
The Aussie has won 17 of his last 20 matches against lefties and Levine looks a little on the short side today at around 1.64. Levine has won just three of his last 13 matches against top-100 ranked players and although he’s had some okay results on grass this year, he hasn’t beaten anyone of note as those stats suggest.
He’s never been past the last 32 in Newport in five attempts and Matosevic, who still has a great win over Richard Gasquet in Eastbourne fresh in his memory is worth backing at the current prices.
Best Bets: Back Pospisil to beat Hewitt at 2.34; Back Matosevic to beat Levine at 2.20.