Tuesday was a very poor day at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Championships, thanks to a couple of below par efforts.
Vasek Pospisil had an absolute shocker against Lleyton Hewitt and was hardly able to find the service box at all in an error-strewn performance that meant the Aussie barely had to break sweat for a comfortable win. It was one of the worst games of professional tennis I’ve seen for some time and I’d be demanding a refund if I had happened to be in the Newport crowd for that yesterday.
And that followed a comparatively better showing from Marinko Matosevic, who blew set points in the second set tie break of his match with Jesse Levine to go down in straight sets.
The second round in Newport tends to be a bit of a tricky affair, with only four of last year’s eight second round favourites making it to the quarter final stage and this year looks like it will be a similar situation.
Tommy Haas and Grigor Dimitrov were the heavy odds-on jollies that were beaten at this stage 12 months ago and if you fancy history repeating itself, Sam Querrey is at that sort of price today (1.20) against Dudi Sela.
And Kei Nishikori isn’t too far behind at around 1.36 in his match with last year’s runner-up Olivier Rochus and I’d probably rate the Belgian as more likely to score an upset than Sela, but I don’t really fancy either of them to produce the shock.
A couple of matches that could go the way of the underdog today include Nicolas Mahut in his latest match-up with John Isner and Jack Sock when he takes on Izak van der Merwe.
Mahut produced a very good performance against Marco Chiudinelli in round one where he didn’t face a single break point and achieved some very high percentages on both first and second serves.
Isner has been in a slump pretty much since losing in the final of Houston to Juan Monaco and the big man has chalked up a 5-5 record since then, with four of the five defeats coming when he was priced up between 1.15 and 1.49
It’s pretty much a given that Mahut will want to win this one and this is his best shot with Isner still seemingly struggling a bit in his narrow win over Sergei Bubka in round one here.
Big John scored just a single point more than Bubka in that match, who won 55% of the points on Isner’s second serve, which gives Mahut a great chance if those sort of numbers are repeated today.
I don’t fancy Isner at around 1.5, but the overs will probably be worth a bet, as these two aren’t the most prolific service breakers in the world and Mahut is worth siding with at around 2.38 outright as well.
The other match that I fancy a wager in today involves the all-American clash between Rajeev Ram and Michael Russell.
The latter is one of a select band of players on tour that you can pretty much rely on to give his all whatever the situation, so he’s a good player to back for or against, as you know what you’re getting.
And grass isn’t Russell’s strongest surface, with only one appearance in the third round of any grass court event throughout his long career – and that was back in 2002.
So, it would be something of a milestone if he were to beat Ram today in what will be their fifth meeting of a series that Russell has enjoyed the better of with three wins to Ram’s one.
But Ram is a former finalist here at Newport and his impressive opening round win over Grega Zemlja strikes me as better form than Russell’s three set victory over the hapless Donald Young.
Russell had never won a match at Newport before running into Young and I just feel that Ram’s game is better suited to the grass and he should come through at odds of around 1.80
Best Bets: Back Mahut to beat Isner at 2.36; Back Ram to beat Russell at 1.80.
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