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ATP Tennis Betting: Fritz looks the wrong favourite against Paire in Stuttgart

ATP Tennis Betting: Fritz looks the wrong favourite against Paire in Stuttgart

Day two of the 2018 ATP World Tour grass court season features 16 matches in Rosmalen and Stuttgart and Sean Calvert returns to try and find some value in Tuesday’s play.


The historical stats tell us pretty much what we already know, which is that Stuttgart tends to be the quicker of this week’s two tournaments, with 53% of the German event’s matches in its three years of existence featuring at least one tie break.

Rosmalen’s last five years have seen 44% of its matches feature at least one breaker and the other stat of note in Rosmalen is that 59% of its matches between 2013 and 2017 have finished in fewer than 22.5 total games.

As far as underdogs are concerned, 30% of betting underdogs in Rosmalen have won in the last five years and that figure is 33% in the three years so far of Stuttgart.

Perhaps because of the amount of tie breaks in Stuttgart its trend is towards over games, with 56% of its matches in its three years of existence going longer than 22.5 total games.


The weather is often less than reliable in Rosmalen and on Wednesday it’s set to be pretty windy at around 20kph, cloudy and quite cool, with 18C the expected temperature.

Over in Stuttgart the forecast is predicting a pretty awful day on Wednesday, with rain, showers and thunderstorms expected pretty much all day, so expect some more disruptions there, after play was suspended on Monday.

Milos Raonic vs Mirza Basic

Raonic has struggled badly with injuries over the last couple of seasons and once again he was forced to miss a Grand Slam when a knee injury saw him withdraw from the French Open.

The Canadian hasn’t played for a month and not on grass since the 2017 Wimbledon quarter final, but what interests me the most about Raonic in this sort of tournament is his weak record in his first match of the year on the green stuff.

Not since beating Pablo Andujar in Halle in 2011 has Raonic won his first grass court set of the swing in under 12 games and in most cases he either lost the opening set or the match – or both.

The details of his first sets of the grass swing since 2011 are as follows:

2012: Won 7-5 vs Philipp Petzschner

2013: Lost 6-4 vs Gael Monfils

2014: Lost 6-4 vs Peter Gojowczyk

2015: Lost 7-5 vs James Ward

2016: Lost 7-6 vs Nick Kyrgios

2017: Lost 7-6 vs Thanasi Kokkinakis

So, it’s fair to say that he’s been a slow starter on grass over the years and he looks a poor price based on those results to win the first set this time – even against Mirza Basic, who rarely plays on grass.

Basic does have form from years ago of beating a much higher ranked opponent on grass in Germany and that was in basic’s first ever ATP Tour main draw match when he beat Jerzy Janowicz (then ranked 22) in Halle in 2013.

And the Bosnian has beaten big-serving Marius Copil in three of their four meetings (he’s never faced any of the other big servers on my database), so he’s clearly not something about him when it comes to facing pacy deliveries.

At the start of this season Raonic was dreadful after a long injury layoff of three months and so after another month out and with his poor record starting out his grass campaigns the 2.40 about over 10.5 games and 4.25 about Basic winning set one are options.

Benoit Paire vs Taylor Fritz

I can’t have Fritz as favourite for this 14:00 (approx.) start on Mercedes Court in Stuttgart, as it seems to be purely based on one career series match and the fact that Fritz played on grass in Surbiton last week.

Fritz is 2-7 in his main level career on grass, holding serve 78.8% if the time and breaking 11.9% of the time for a very mediocre total of 90.7 total, so it’s fair to say he hasn’t exactly taken to grass just yet.

The American was beaten in straight sets by Alex De Minaur in Surbiton last week in round two after dropping a set to Lloyd Glasspool in round one, so his grass credentials are up for question at this stage of his career.

Paire rocked up here in Stuttgart 12 months ago having lost in straight sets to Rafa Nadal in his opening match at the French Open after losing to Jordan Thompson in Lyon and made the semi finals.

Paire defeated Janowicz, Gojowczyk and Viktor Troicki, all in straight sets, before losjng a tight one to eventual champ Lucas Pouille, so his Stuttgart record is very good.

Indeed, his grass hold/break stats are reasonable, with 81.2% holds and 20.7% breaks for a 101.9 total, so I’m happy to take a chance on the mercurial Frenchman in these circumstances.

The head-to-head doesn’t mean a great deal, with Paire pretty much jacking it in after four games of their Indian Wells clash in 2017 after an ankle injury, while Indian Wells is pretty much a home event for Fritz.

The other one I thought about in Stuttgart was a tie break or set one overs in the match between Viktor Troicki and Feli Lopez, with Troicki holding serve 89.1% of the time in Stuttgart and Lopez 94.1% of the time.

Troicki, however, has been well below his best for a long time now and only held serve 77.5% of the time in his last 10 main level matches on grass and he also hasn’t played for a month due to a back injury.

Our outright in Stuttgart, Philipp Kohlschreiber, starts his campaign against an opponent who’s caused him plenty of problems in the past in Denis Istomin.

The Uzbek leads the career series 4-2, but the most recent of their matches was in 2014 and Istomin didn’t win a match on the grass swing last year, with his powers seemingly on the wane.

Libema Open
Over in Rosmalen, perhaps the most interesting match there is the first one, when Bernard Tomic takes on Marcos Baghdatis and I am tempted to side with the latter here at a price of 2.50.

Tomic qualified here this week, but he has only one main level win since last year’s grass swing and his grass hold/break stats are a good 6% worse than Baggy’s over each player’s last 10 main level matches on this surface.

Fitness is the worry with Baggy though, as he retired in Paris with a hamstring injury and rarely does he seem to be fit for long these days.

Max Purcell also qualified impressively and he takes on Malek Jaziri, who’s very beatable on grass, but the price on the young Aussie takes that into account and doesn’t seem great value.

I wouldn’t rule out Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on this slowish grass against what could well be a fatigued Jeremy Chardy, who won the Surbiton Challenger title only a couple of days ago.

Logic would dictate that a man coming off a title win on grass should beat one coming from the clay, but since when did Chardy’s career follow any sort of logical progression?

Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tallon Griekspoor are both very inexperienced on grass and neither has won a main level match on the green stuff yet, so 1.13 on Tsitsipas doesn’t seem that appealing.

Best Bets

1 point win Paire to beat Fritz at 1.96
0.5 points win over 10.5 games in set one of Raonic/Basic at 2.40
0.5 points win Basic to win set one at 4.25



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Sean Calvert
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