Mercedes Cup Preview (Top Half) ATP Point Spread Picks - 6/10/2019
Mercedes Cup top half draw breakdown
from 10th to 16th June 2019
Seeds: #1 Alexander Zverev, #7 Felix Auger-Aliassime
As a top seed, Zverev will definitely be considered as one of the favorites for the title. But I believe it is wise to avoid backing him at short prices. He is not playing his best tennis at the moment and took a last minute wildcard to this tournament where he never had much success. It is true that he participated in 14' and 15' editions, when he was still a teenager, but losing to Rosol and Troicki are still a bad look. His playing style is not suited for the fast, low bouncing grass courts. He is a tall guy that doesn't feel comfortable getting down and picking up those low shots. Also, he plays from way back and uses a lot of topspin, which doesn't really have a proper effect on this surface. His serve will be difficult to endanger, but he could still struggle vs some grass court specialists. It is a small, 28 player draw, so he doesn't have to do much work to get into quarters with a first-round bye. But he will be greatly tested at later stages of this tournament.
Auger Alliasime could be another seed from that part of the draw who is in danger of being overvalued. He will get big credit from betting markets for his good results this season. But the grass court tennis is something completely different, comparing to other surfaces, so its left to be seen if he can transition successfully to the new playing environment. Especially when taking into consideration that he has zero experience on this surface as a pro. He did play at Wimbledon as a junior, but that was about it. Thread carefully, when backing Felix early in the tournament.
Sleepers: Gilles Simon, John Millman
I guess other two guys (plus qualifier) can't be overlooked either. Gulbis has no patience to play on slower courts anymore. But he won't have that same problem here, as he can shorten the points with his big game and if he gets hot everybody should watch out. Peter Goyowczyk is another potentially dangerous candidate because of his playing style. All of his shots are very flat and direct, with very little net clearance on them. Therefore they are very difficult to deal with for whoever is standing on the other side of the net.
But, I like another two guys better as a sleepers here. Millman ran Zverev to the limit last week at Roland Garros. They played 5 sets in conditions that favored Sascha by quite a bit. The quality gap should be narrowed down by the faster conditions and knowing that he can match Zverev pretty much toe to toe, I expect Millman beaming with confidence coming into this one.
As written above, I view this part as pretty much wide open. An old coyote like Gilles Simon could very easily turn this into his favor. He is a very tricky matchup for anybody. Guys that are not 100% comfortable on grass will have issues dealing with his movement, ability to defend at a high level and flat shots that are barely getting off the ground. His serve is the weakest part of his game, but the grass helps him out a bit with that one. Contact with surface doesn't slow the ball as much, while slice serve can be effectively put into the mix. The market is going to overlook him, but I believe you should not.
Seeds: #4 Nikoloz Basilashvili, #6 Milos Raonic
Potentially a pretty stacked quarter. I am saying potentially because there is a lot of boom or bust material here starting with both seeds. Milos Raonic was forced to skip entire clay court season, because of his right knee injury. It is his first tournament since returning, so his knee is going to be tested for the first time in competition and he might have to shake off some rust as well. Draw gifted him a qualifier to warm up in the first round and get himself going for defence of the last year's final appearance when he lost to Roger.
Basilashvili is a player that is familiar with only one speed... Pedal to the metal. It seems that backfired at him on grass so far, because he has the lowest win rate on this surface out of them all (40%) and is yet to win a match in Stuttgart. He lost to Gojowczyk in first round of 2017 edition, after getting eliminated in first stage of qualifications in '15 and '16. Getting a first-round bye will come in handy, considering his 0-3 record in this event.
Sleepers: Marton Fucsovics, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Tsonga is well past his prime. To add to that, his career is lately being obstructed with a medical condition, which prevents him to travel often so he has to spread out his schedule wider than before. He still has some juice left in his tank, as we could see at RG where he beat Gojowczy and played Nishikori well, even though clay is not really his cup of tea. Grass courts are an entirely different story. He always enjoyed playing on the green surface and was pretty good doing so (70% win rate). This will be his debut in Stuttgart, but I definitely wouldn't count him out of contention for a deep run.
Fucsovics has a slow 2019, after a career season last year. Change of scenery might help him get over this mini-crisis that he got himself into (4 losses in a row). His grass court record will oppose that theory (1-6), but he won challenger title on grass and has a playing style that should work on this surface. Solid serve, aggressive backhand slice, moving well around the court and great hands when hitting the ball on the rise.
Other players in this section are Munar, Mischa Zverev and qualifier. Jaume is a very talented player but doesn't have much to offer in these playing conditions. While Mischa once presented a serious threat on this surface with his serve&volley style. Good old times. Lately, his results are suggesting that it's time for retirement or joining the ATP Champions tour.
Guy's Pick: Gilles Simon +2500
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