Tennis - this week's tourament preview
Yesterday’s ATP tennis finals at Stuttgart, between Thiem and one of my outright selections Kohlschreiber (12/1), and at s-Hertogenbosch, between Muller and defending champion Mahut, were both delayed due to the rain. The match between Thiem and Kohlschreiber will resume today at 3-2 to Kohlschreiber in the first set tie break while Mahut was a set up against Muller.
As advised in last week’s tennis article it paid to oppose the top-five seeds at s-Hertogenbosch on the ATP and WTA Tours with the exception of fifth seed Querrey, who I advised.
On the ATP Tour top-two seeds Ferrer (1.66) and Tomic (1.87) fell at the quarter-final stage, third seed Karlovic (1.8) lost at the semi-final stage and fourth seed Johnson (1.25 first match) fell at the second round stage. On the WTA Tour top-seed Bencic lost at the semi-final stage (1.57 n/a as played third seed Mladenovic), second seed Jankovic (1.19) lost at the second round stage, as did fourth seed Ostapenko (1.35) and fifth seed Siegmund (1.33) lost in the first round.
At Stuttgart only one of the top-five seeds made it to the final, third seed Thiem. Fifth seed Lopez (1.31) lost in the first round, second seed Cilic (1.53 first match) lost in the second round, fourth seed Simon (2.62) lost at the quarter-final stage and top-seed Federer (1.33 n/a as played third seed Thiem) lost at the semi-final stage.
Excluding Murray the top five seeds at the ATP and WTA grass court tournaments this week are as follows. ATP Queen’s: Wawrinka (2), Raonic (3), Gasquet (4) and Cilic (5). ATP Halle: Federer (1), Nishikori (2), Thiem (3), Berdych (4) and Goffin (5 n/a as advised as a selection this week). WTA Birmingham: Radwanska (1), Kerber (2), third seed withdrew, Bencic (4) and Kvitova (5). WTA Mallorca: Muguruza (1), Jankovic (2), Ivanovic (3), Mladenovic (4) and Putinseva (5).
On to this week’s ATP action and there are two high quality ATP 500 Tournaments at Queen’s, London England and Halle, in Germany. The table below suggests it’s worth opposing the top-five seed’s at both tournaments (except Murray at Queen’s and Federer at Halle).
The Profit and Loss figures are to a level 1 unit stake and going back 6 years ie 2010-2015. Profit and loss returns have been omitted for matches where the top five seeds played each other, for walk overs and in-play retirements.
Over the last decade Queen’s has been won by three Wimbledon champions, Hewitt (2006), Nadal (2008) and defending champion Murray (2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015), who will aim to win an unprecedented fifth title this week. The top-seed at Queens has a reasonably good record winning four of the last ten titles, but has never been a losing finalist in this period.
Murray (6/4) won three of his titles as the top-seed and the other as the second seed, which strongly suggests he will defend his title and win an unprecedented fifth this week. The second seed has a poor record at Queen’s having only won two of the last ten titles (last 2011) and they were a losing finalist once in this period (2008). This does not bode well for second seed Stan Wawrinka’s chances this week and he lost his first match as second seed here last year, albeit after winning the French Open.
Seeded players in general have a strong record at Queen’s and a player seeded no higher than eight won nine of the last ten titles, including the last five, and a player seeded no higher than ten was a losing finalist eight times over the last decade, including seven of the last eight. Unseeded players don’t have a good record at Queen’s only winning one of the last ten titles (last 2010) and they were a losing finalist twice in this period (last 2015).
At Halle the top-seed has a reasonably good record winning four of the last ten titles (last 2015) and they were a losing finalist once in this period (last 2010). Top-seed this week Federer won all four of his titles as the top-seed, he was also the losing finalist in 2010 and he will aim for an unprecedented fifth title this week. The second seed has a poor record at Halle only winning one of the last ten titles (2013) and they were a losing finalist twice in this period (2009 and 2012), which does not bode well for 2015 quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori’s chances this week.
Seeded players in general have a good record at Halle and a player seeded no higher than eight won seven of the last ten titles, including the last three, and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist five times in this period (last 2012). Unseeded players have a reasonably good record at Halle winning three of the last ten titles (last 2012) and they were a losing finalist five times in this period, including the last three and four of the last five.
Defending champion, Roger Federer (9/4), will be a popular choice this week having won four titles at Halle and, after his semi-final run at Stuttgart last week (lost to Thiem), he will be difficult to beat. However, he wasn’t exactly dominant in any of his three matches last week as he took three sets to beat Fritz, two tie breaks against veteran Mayer and lost from a set up against Thiem, who isn’t renowned as a grass court specialist. With that in mind I won’t be advising Federer this week.
Unseeded players have performed well at Halle in the past and a number of young players taking part this week have been making a big name for themselves on tour so far in 2016. As a result, it’s worthwhile highlighting a couple of such players who could go well at big prices this year.
Local hope Alexander Zverev (40/1) has been in great form this year. He has the talent and game to do well on grass and will enjoy playing in front of his own fans, as he did in Munich recently.
Wild Card Taylor Fritz (100/1) aged 18 has already reached his first ATP final at Memphis from qualifying this year, he pushed Federer really close at Stuttgart last week and, if he can reproduce his Memphis form, he could spring a surprise at big odds. Of the seeded players taking part this week, s-Hertogenbosch 2015 finalist and fifth seed this week David Goffin (16/1), who resides in the top-half of the draw, makes his first appearance since reaching the quarter-finals of the French Open.
Goffin is a very talented all court player and will be more than comfortable on the quick Halle grass courts. If he can re-produce his 2015 s-Hertogenbosch form he is more than capable of mounting a serious challenge this week and could be the player in the top-half of the draw, along with Zverev, to take advantage if Federer and the likes of fourth seed Berdych struggle to produce their best form.