There will be no sweep of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments this year. Of course, Roger Federer won the Australian Open back in January but didn’t compete in the just concluded French Open so he could better prepare for Wimbledon. Clay is easily Federer’s worst surface. The best clay-court player ever is Rafael Nadal, and he won the French for the 11th time, tying a record for most wins at one major with Margaret Court. On the women’s side, Caroline Wozniacki won the Aussie Open but it was world No. 1 Simona Halep taking the French for her first major championship. Now, players will start to prepare for Wimbledon, which begins July 2. Here’s a look at this week’s tournaments on the ATP and WTA Tours. Check back for the latest tennis betting odds at our online sportsbook.
Top Tennis Betting Picks of the Week – June 11th Edition
Marco #Cecchinato has risen a whopping 45 spots in the latest ATP rankings to hit a career-high mark of No. 27 – and likely an upcoming Wimbledon seeding!
— Live Tennis (@livetennis) June 11, 2018
Mercedes Cup/Stuttgart Open
This ATP event is from Stuttgart, Germany. Roger Federer returns to action and is the favorite to win the tournament. Held since 1916, the Stuttgart Open was played on clay up to and including 2014. Starting in 2015, the tournament is played on grass. Along with the move to grass courts, the tournament is now staged in the week after the French Open finishes. The defending champion is France’s Lucas Pouille, who beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the final. Pouille is back to defend.
Federer hasn’t played since a stunning loss to Thanasi Kokkinakis at the Miami Open nearly four months ago. The Swiss legend is a massive favorite because the tournament doesn’t really have too many big names. For example, Hyeon Chung, David Ferrer and Marco Cecchinato all pulled out of the tournament, replaced by Maximilian Marterer, Mirza Basic and Denis Istomin. Ferrer, the 2006 winner in Stuttgart when the event was on clay courts, has opted to skip the tournament after crashing out in Roland Garros to No. 155 Jaume Munar in the first round. Cecchinato upset Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semifinals but lost to Dominic Thiem. Cecchinato simply opted to rest this week.
Federer has played in Stuttgart twice previously. In 2016, Federer had two match points but was beaten by Thiem in the semifinals. And in 2017, the 20-time Grand Slam champion crashed out in the round of 16 to Tommy Haas. This year, Federer has a bye in the first round and will face either Mischa Zverev or a qualifier in the second round. Federer could face Denis Shapovalov in the quarterfinals before facing Nick Kyrgios. If the final goes chalk, it would be Federer vs. Milos Raonic.
Can Federer Become Number 1 in the Rankings?
Federer can pass Nadal for the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings by reaching his first Stuttgart final. Federer is 164-24 lifetime on grass in tour-level matches with the surface’s best win percentage in the Open Era (.872). After losing to Haas in Stuttgart last year, Federer swept 30 sets en route to his ninth Halle title and eighth Wimbledon trophy. He already holds the Open Era-record of 36 consecutive sets won on grass from 2003-04, which he could surpass in the Stuttgart final.
Pouille has saved match point en route to three of his five ATP career titles, including last year against Jan-Lennard Struff. Pouille was the only player to win tour-level titles on grass, clay and hard courts in 2017.
The Libema Open in the Netherlands is one of seven events played on grass, and hosts both the men’s and women’s tours in the opening week of the grass-court swing. A pair of Dutchmen have won the tournament, with Richard Krajicek triumphing in 1994 and ’97 and Sjeng Schalken clinching back-to-back wins in 2002-03.
Frenchman Adrian Mannarino is the top seed at the Libema Open. Defending champion Gilles Muller and 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic return to the tournament one year after playing in the oldest ATP World Tour final since Hong Kong in 1977 (Ken Rosewall vs Tom Gorman).
Mannarino will be the top seed at an ATP World Tour event for the first time this week. The left-hander is seeking his maiden tour-level title after reaching two finals in 2015 and two more in 2017.
Muller began his 11-2 grass-court campaign a year ago by beating Karlovic 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in ’s-Hertogenbosch for his second ATP World Tour title. He went on to defeat Rafael Nadal 15-13 in the fifth set to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. Muller has enjoyed plenty of success at this event, advancing to the quarter-finals in 2012, semi-finals in 2015 and final in 2016.
Where is Andy Murray?
Former world No. 1 Andy Murray has pulled out of this tournament, where he had been hoping to make his long-awaited return to competition following hip surgery. After having hip surgery in January Murray said that he did not want a repeat of his experiences at last year’s US Open and this year’s Brisbane International. He pulled out of both events before playing a match but after the draw had been made.
The defending champion on the women’s side is Anett Kontaveit, who beat Natalia Vikhlyantseva 6-2, 6-3 last year. That was the first WTA title for Kontaveit, who was unseeded in 2017. Kontaveit had played three three-setters en route to the final, including a first round victory over No.8 seed Kristyna Pliskova from a set down, and a two-hour semifinal against No.7 seed Lesia Tsurenko. The women’s tournament is part of the WTA International Tournaments series. It’s not a very strong field.
Expert Tennis Betting Predictions
Go Federer in Germany. Take Frenchman Richard Gasquet in the men’s draw of the Libema Open and Belgium’s Elise Mertens for the women.