Libema Open Preview (Bottom Half) Tennis Betting Tips - 6/10/2019
Libema Open bottom half draw breakdown
from 10th to 16th June 2019
Seeds: #4 Fernando Verdasco, #5 David Goffin
David Goffin is still the only player that managed to take away a set from Rafael Nadal in this years Roland Garros. I don't believe that is much of a consolation prize, looking at his YTD record (13-13), which is nowhere near the expectations. Qualitywise, he is a borderline top 10 player, but he wasn't performing that way this season. Still, looking at some of his latest play, I think his form is slowly creeping upwards. He is hitting the ball with less hesitation and much more confidence then earlier this year and that will give results sooner or later. Whether that is going to happen this week at Libema open or not, I'm not sure. Facts are that he was never very successful on grass, holding a negative career record on this surface (14-16). Although, last time he played here, he was a runner up in 2015. But I think that was more of a product of his high level of tennis at that period, combined with mediocre strength of the field in 2015 edition of Hertogenbosch. He is getting a qualifier in first round, but a very tricky opponent in next round. Whether that will be Herbert or Ebden, I don't know. They are both solid grass court players.
With Nando you never really know what you're getting, especially in these smaller tourneys. Also, he tends to be somewhat of a slow starter. And when playing on grass, if you're not feeling it from the get-go, there is no much time to adjust and find the rhythm, because the match can be over in a hurry. Still, we have to give him respect for his experience and 54% win rate on this playing surface. He played quarterfinals in Hertogenbosch several times (including last year when he lost to Tomic) but never made it past that stage. He brings in so many variables in the equation that is making it difficult to figure him out in this spot. But he could be a fade material early in the tournament in certain matchups when being favored.
Sleepers: Pierre-Hughes Herbert, Adrian Mannarino
Strides made by Pierre-Hughes Herbert to become a more complete player are very impressive. In last year or so he became very competitive on all the playing surfaces. His career record (9-10) might not show it, but the grass should be the one where he feels at home the most. It is like that for all the players that use serve & volley as an integral part of their game. And now, when he became much more solid as a baseline player, he doesn't need to charge to the net all the time and expose himself to easy passing shots. He has the tools to construct the points better and raise the percentage of points won at the net. Negative record on grass might be the reason for concern, but in my opinion that win percentage will improve as it did on other surfaces, once he became a better player overall.
Adrian Mannarino with a dreadful season so far, winning only 5 of his 17 matches. The sad part of it is that he had to drop down to challenger level to get some of those wins. But he came alive on the grass courts more than once in his career, after disappointing clay season. His win percentage raises more than double when he makes this transition and jump from miserable 25% to respective 58%. Never won a title on grass, but was the finalist twice in Antalya. In Hertogenbosch, he never got past the quarterfinal barrier. He shouldn't have many problems with De Bakker in the first round and has an interesting matchup with Verdasco in second.
Rest of this group is formed by De Bakker, Mathew Ebden and the qualifier. Already mentioned De Bakker who showed some promise as a younger player, but never really made that breakthrough. Most of his good play came on clay courts anyway. Lately, he is mostly appearing on the challenger tour. 2-5 at Hertogenbosch, alongside 6-10 lifetime grass court record.
Ebden on the other hand was pretty close to get into the sleeper category. I decided not to place him there due to a rough draw that he needs to fight through in order to get somewhere in this tourney. But he is somewhat of a specialist. 48% win rate that he holds on grass is his best of all three surfaces and he was a runner-up in Newport couple years back which is his best result on ATP tour. It is worth mentioning that he already had a good hit on grass, competing at Surbiton challenger last week, getting into quarterfinals.
Seeds: #2 Borna Coric, #7 Christian Garin
Potentially the weakest part of the draw. I love Borna as a player. I think he has massive potential and will make a Novak Djokovic type of breakthrough sooner or later. But at this point, his game is just not that good on grass. Especially not in a way to justify the odds that he'll be getting as the No.2 seed. His serve is inconsistent and can hardly be considered a weapon, while his forehand doesn't have enough zip on it. His style is too defensive for a fast playing environment that favors good ball strikers. Grass is the only surface where he's holding a negative record (7-8) and he is making his debut in Hertogenbosch. He should get tested vs Taylor Fritz right away.
Similar situation with Christian Garin. As a #7 seed, he'll get some credit for his 19-7 season score, which has nothing to do with fast court tennis, because it was mostly built on clay. But, he should not be considered as a complete dummy in these playing conditions, because he successfully fought through Wimbledon qualifiers in back to back years, only to lose in the 1st round both times. Everything will come down to odds and matchup here. If he gets too much respect because of the clay court results, he's a fade. But if the market punishes him for his 0-2 main draw record and he gets somebody that is not a specialist, we could consider backing him in such spot.
Sleepers: Taylor Fritz, Ugo Humbert, Robin Haase.
As I already said, this part is pretty much wide open. Both seeded players are vulnerable, while there is some nice potential among the non-seeds. Score 11-13 is showing that Taylor Fritz is struggling a bit in the first half of the season, but we actually saw him play some decent tennis on clay, which was usually not really his cup of tea. His grass court record is by far the worst, standing at 3-10. But I have to say it's a bit misleading. When we look at the entire body of his work on this surface, among those 10 losses, we'll see some that weren't that bad. For example, playing Roger down the wire in Stuttgart, 5-setter vs Zverev in Wimbledon, 4 vs Wawrinka etc. it shows that he has the ability to perform at the high level when he's on. And considering that he raised the form while playing on clay, I expect him to hit the ground running on grass.
You would struggle to gauge Humbert's ability on grass courts based on his previous results because there is none. But just watching him play on other surfaces, I have no doubts that his game should work in these type of playing conditions. He has a solid serve/return ability and during the rallies he'll keep the ball low over the net and flat. Especially from his backhand side, from which he is always able to turn defense into offense, mostly going short angle cross court.
Robin Haase probably shouldn't be on this list with his 20-30, but he made it's way there mostly by holding a serious edge in experience category over the competition in his part of the draw on this surface. In theory, Garin and Humbert could be dangerous, but we haven't seen them do it on the grass just yet. Haase is a savvy veteran with a trick or two up his sleeve at all times. Incorporating backhand slice and not giving his opponents the same look too often is something he should aim for vs these two young players. Playing on home soil doesn't seem to be too much of a plus for him with 7-11 in Hertogenbosch so far, but with a semifinals run 4 years ago.
Guy's Picks: Pierre Hughes Herbert +4000
Christian Garin +5000
Ugo Humbert +8000
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