We’re back in Europe on the ATP Tour this week, as some of the biggest names in Men’s tennis battle it out in Stuttgart, Germany. We’ve taken a look at some of the tournament favourites and some value outsiders.
Any clay event without the likes of Rafa
Nadal, Novak Djokovic and David Ferrer is probably going to be a little short
of world class tennis, but for the likes of Gael Monfils, Jurgen Melzer and Mikhail
Youzhny, it’s a chance to show they are ahead of the rest and to add another
coveted title to their belts.
The French 24-year-old is currently ranked
at No.7 in the world and arrives in Stuttgart,
not only as the highest ranked player in the tournament, but also the tennis handicappers
favourite to win the event. Clearly at home on the clay, Monfils reached the
semi-finals of the 2008 French Open and this year defeated clay court
specialist, David Ferrer, at Roland Garros to make it into the quarter finals.
He will be very disappointed to have been knocked out of Wimbledon
in only the third round but should be raring to go in this one. The draw hasn’t
been kind to the Frenchman but if he can get past 2009 finalist, Victor Hanescu
in the opening round he shouldn’t have any real problems until the possibility
of a semi-final clash with Mikhail Youzhny.
After reaching the final of this event in
2010, only to retire through injury, Monfils will be determined to go one
better this year and win what would be just his fourth AP event.
Monfils to win 3/1 (Betfair) – Definitely
good value for a tennis odds favourite but it won’t be around for long.
I’m finding it difficult to choose my favourite tennis betting pick for this event, between Monfils and Melzer. On balance, I feel if
Melzer is fully focussed and playing on the top of his game, he could go a step
further than Monfils, so he’d be my pick to win this title.
A semi-final appearance at Roland Garros
just last year shows that Melzer is perfectly happy on the clay and his victory
from two sets down over Novak Djokovic in the quarters is as impressive as any
other result on his CV. The Austrian 30-year-old could meet home favourite,
Tobias Kamke in the second round and Garcia Lopez a little later on but he’ll
be glad to be on the other side of the draw to Youhzhny and Monfils.
At 4/1, Melzer is my tip to win this event,
but he’ll need to be focussed and motivated throughout.
29-year-old Russian, Mikhail Youzhny, has
more tour titles to his name than any of his main adversaries in Stuttgart and his
consistent play over the last decade means he cannot be overlooked even at the
biggest events. A quarter-finalist in Paris
last year, Youzhny then went on to reach the semi-finals of the US Open.
Currently ranked at No.17 in the world
Youzhny is capable of doing very well. Whilst comfortable on clay, I feel
Melzer, Monfils and possibly even Simon are all capable of beating him on the
surface so whilst I certainly wouldn’t count him out, the Russian is not my tip
for this one.
Mikhail Youzhny to win 6/1 – Betfair
Of The Rest
A couple of names stand out as outsiders
with the betting odds makers who may be capable of winning this one.
Guillermo Garcia Lopez has beaten some big
names in the last 12 months, including Tomas Berdych. He only has two tour
titles to his name but one did come on the clay courts of Austria back in
Florian Mayer could be a real value bet
too. He can be one of the most frustrating players on the tour, moving between
brilliance and ineptness from one shot to the next, but in the last few months
he has started to play with a little more consistency and with home advantage,
the 27-year-old German could well go deep into this event.
Still to win his first singles tour title, Mayer
has played two of the three finals he reached on clay, so it’s probably his