The rain abated for long enough for some tennis to finally take place at Queen’s Club yesterday, while the action continued under the roof in Halle.
My tips were looking good when Marcel Granollers eased past Mischa Zverev in straight sets at a great price before Benjamin Becker held three set points to win the second bet.
Incredibly, Becker blew a 6-3 lead in the second set breaker against Viktor Troicki, including one bizarre moment where he stopped and challenged a ball that landed on the baseline right in front of his nose. I was already counting my winnings on that one as the German threw it away, losing five straight points. Such is tennis, though, and it’s on to Wednesday’s play on the grass.
Weather permitting, we should be seeing Andy Murray second on centre court at Queen’s Club in a tricky-looking opening match against Nicolas Mahut.
Mahut has found some form in recent weeks, notably when he recorded a career best performance at the French Open and extended the great Roger Federer to four sets. The Frenchman clinically dispatched Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the first round here, so he comes into this match in great form.
This match-up should suit Murray pretty well though, as the Scot loves a target at the net and he’ll surely get plenty of chances to pass Mahut. I would expect the world number four to be able to pick Mahut off eventually, but he might not be able to do it quite as easily as the pre-match odds of 1.10 suggest.
Murray has won all three of their meetings so far, but he hasn’t done it comfortably since their first match in the slow conditions at Indian Wells back in 2007. This will be their first meeting on Mahut’s favoured grass courts and the in-form Frenchman should have enough to take this match over the 20.5 total games mark at 1.80
There are a few outsiders to consider today and on my list would be Yen-Hsun Lu, Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Denis Istomin and Gilles Muller.
Of these I think that Istomin has the best chance of causing a minor upset against Sam Querrey, who he has beaten before on grass. Istomin has also beaten the likes of Stan Wawrinka and Nico Almagro on grass and his solid game always causes problems for the impatient Querrey. who tends for go for one shot too many against him.
Steadily moving back up the rankings with the help of Brad Gilbert, Querrey is back inside the top 80 in the world after injury, but he’s still got a way to go to return to the dizzy heights of the top 20.
Isomin is established in the top 50 and eased through his first round match with Kenny de Schepper in straight sets, whereas Querrey was made to work by Olivier Rochus.
Querrey’s status as a former finalist gives him the edge in the betting at 1.70 but Istomin has won two of their four meetings including the most recent one on indoor-hard in San Jose this year.
This match is very likely to go long, so the overs bet will be a good one here, but having watched their match on grass in Eastbourne a few years ago, back when Big Sam was a big name, I believe that Istomin has enough to take the win today.
Back over 20.5 games in Murray v Mahut at 1.80
Back Istomin to beat Querrey at 2.10