Scotland V England Saturday 24th February. 4:45PM. BBC One Scotland v England renew their rivalry…
A full schedule of play today so we will get straight into the predictions from our friends The Tennis Researchers.
16:30 – Benjamin Becker +9.5 games @ 4/5 v Andy Murray – Stan James
Just to start off, most bookmakers have gone with a 7.5 handicap for this one so to get an extra 2 games on our side and still at great value, it simply cannot be ignored.
The +9.5 handicap here is simply too big, at a minimum we only need Becker to win 3 games each set and he is very capable of doing so. He’s a quality grass player in his own right and would have fancied a decent dark horse run if the draw was more kind to him, he already has impressive wins over Rosol, Dolgopolov and Tomic these past few weeks and to add to that he also faced Murray where the score was a respectable 6-4 7-6 to Murray. If he can perform like he did then then the +9.5 should fly in.
16:30 – Leyton Hewitt v Stanislas Wawinka over 40.5 games @ 5/6 – Paddy Power
This matchup can probably be seen as the match of the first round and could have quite easily been a round of 16 matchup had the draw been kinder to both of them. We all know Wawrinka is a quality player, he’s just broke into the top 10 for the first time after playing some great tennis recently and will need a good grass season if he wants to stay there. If this was a hard court match or a clay court match then we’d expect Wawrinka to take it easy however as its on the grass we think Stan could be troubled here against a Leyton Hewitt who’s playing some good tennis recently on his favourite surface.
This has all the makings of being a classic and as long as both players can win a set which you would expect, then the over 40 games should easily come in and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go all 5 sets.
15:05 – James Ward +1.5 sets @ 11/10 v Yen-Hsun Lu – Paddy Power
Just in case there is any doubt this bet requires Ward to win a minimum 2 of the possible 5 sets to be a winner, something we think he’s more than a capable of. James Ward does have talent but as a very inconsistent player finds himself down the rankings. He does normally show his ability in big matches, he’s played some great tennis at Wimbledon before and Davis cup, and with a possible meeting with Andy Murray in the second round motivation is sure to be high for the local player.
He’ll fancy his chances against Lu who comes into the match with no form and a player who’s never really taken to the grass. Lu hasn’t been past the 2nd round in an ATP tournament since March and had to resort to the challenger level to find some wins. If the big match Ward turns up and the Lu who’s found it difficult to win lately turns up then Ward could win this let alone covering our bet.
11:30 – Alejandro Falla @ 13/10 v Stephane Robert – Bet Victor
We’re quite surprised that Falla doesn’t come in to this as the favourite so the 13/10 on offer here jumps out to us. The reason he isn’t favourite is the fact he hasn’t played since the French Open and has no matches on grass this year, however the draw has been kind to him. Robert has never really been a player with ability but certainly at 33 his best days are behind him. Add to this that Robert is a challenger player and never plays main tournaments, then its hard to see why he is favourite.
Falla loves grass, he’ll always be famous for taking the first 2 sets off Federer here before and its hard enough to take 1 set off Federer who’s the greatest grass court player ever let alone 2. The fact it’s a 5 set match will help Falla, he may get off to a slow start but once he gets into it and finds his game he should have way too much for Robert.
17:00 – Yulia Putintseva +4.5 games @ 5/6 v Kirsten Flipkens – Paddy Power
This handicap is simply too big here for a player of Putintseva’s quality. Most experts are saying she’s a future world number 1 but even at her young age now she’s showing she can play some quality tennis. She’s already broke into the top 100 at the age of 18 and has caused some of the big players problems already , most noticeably taking Serena Williams to a tie break and even having set points.
Flipkens is a quality player herself but she has played a lot of tennis lately, she went all the way to the final in Germany just a few days ago and only arrived in London yesterday. Putintseva can win this game let alone cover our handicap.