The tour moves on to Hamburg, Atlanta and Gstaad this week and history tells us that the tournament to perhaps focus on in terms of frequency of underdog winners is in Germany.
The Hamburg European Open (formerly the German Tennis Championships) has seen 40% of its betting underdogs win in the last six years, making it the equal sixth best tournament of the season in that regard.
The Swiss Open in Gstaad isn’t bad either in that sense, with 36% underdog winners (almost 50% last season), while Atlanta is usually a bit more predictable, with 31% of underdogs winning.
As for tie breaks, Hamburg rarely features many, with just 29% of its matches featuring at least one in the last six years, while the altitude in Gstaad (over 1,000m) means that it’s second only to the now defunct Quito in terms of clay court event tie break matches at 43%.
Indeed, Gstaad sees more breakers than Atlanta and that event regularly has the likes of Isner, Kyrgios et al firing down the aces on a quickish hard court in very hot conditions (only 38% of the matches have featured a breaker in the last six years in Atlanta).
Cases could be made for most of the underdogs in Hamburg on Monday, with home favourite Philipp Kohlschreiber suffering one of his crises of confidence just at the moment and a shaky favourite on current form against Marton Fucsovics.
Kohli has failed to win any of his last four matches and won just one of his last 11 sets on tour, but he has won 10% more of his second serve points on clay at main level over the past year than Fucsovics.
The veteran German usually goes well in his home country, but Hamburg has rarely been his best home event, with a 15-14 win/loss mark and no finals in those 14 years of trying.
Fucsovics was unlucky the last time (only time) he clashed with Kohli, which was when he fell over on grass in Halle after leading the match in the early stages.
The Hungarian is rarely at his best on clay, but he has the power to hit through the slow conditions here and played well in similar conditions in Munich earlier this year when he should have made the semi finals.
Fucsovics did withdraw from Umag last week and he hasn’t played on clay since Wimbledon (unlike Kohli, who’s played Bundesliga), so I’m not sure I can risk Fucsovics at these odds today (he was a 2.36 chance last time).
But another clash that the home crowd will surely enjoy takes place later on in the day at (not before) 17:30 UK time and it’s a repeat of a match in Hamburg that neither Leonardo Mayer or Rudolf Molleker are likely to forget.
For Mayer it was a loss in qualies to Molleker here in 2017 that was the start of his lucky loser run to the title, while for Molleker it was a big win at home as a 9.51 underdog.
And it’s those performances at home that interest me as far as Molleker is concerned, with the young German having beaten a string of good players in his home nation.
David Ferrer, Mayer, Casper Ruud, Jan-Lennard Struff and Marius Copil have all lost to Molleker in Germany and he’s 4-4 win/loss on clay in Germany in main level tournaments.
He was just 16 when he beat Mayer and Ruud here and while I’m on Mayer outright this week, due to his amazing record in Hamburg, I can’t see this being an easy starter and over 22.5 games looks the call here at evens.
Our other Hamburg outright, Andrey Rublev, looks to be working his way back to form and he might well be finding Cristian Garin at the right time again after beating Garin at Wimbledon.
Garin has struggled since winning Munich and was poor again last week against Jeremy Chardy, so for me Garin at odds-on doesn’t look the best of value.
Speaking of Chardy, the all-French affair between he and Benoit Paire will be a first career meeting, but Paire talked of having a rest after Wimbledon when he was citing an abdominal tear as a major reason why he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut there.
He said he would “stop for a bit” after Wimbledon, but he was back playing Bundesliga on Sunday (July 21) and lost in two sets to Tallon Griekspoor, so given that he’s lost four of his last five matches in Munich and may not be fit he looks a shaky one at 1.79 against Chardy.
It’s a match-up of two players with opposite strong points off the ground, with Paire’s best suit being the backhand and his forehand can be a liability at times, while Chardy is the other way around.
No doubt it’ll be one of those matches that the French players like to describe as “complicated’ but Chardy is tempting and he tends to play much better in the early rounds of tournaments, as he showed again in Bastad last week.
Martin Klizan is in poor form at the moment and perhaps isn’t fit, as he’s looked off colour for a while, so I wouldn’t be putting too much on him as a 1.54 shot against another highly motivated German youngster in Daniel Altmaier.
I’ll wait and see what matches are on the card for Atlanta in the morning, but for now I’ll just have a small interest in Mayer and Molleker going long.
0.5 points win over 22.5 games in Mayer/Molleker at 2.0