Nicolas Mahut v Lukas Lacko
The beginning of the grass court season can be tough for some players to make the adjustment coming off the clay, but that has never been an issue for Nicolas Mahut. One of the few remaining serve-volley players, Mahut has loved playing on the grass and has a very good record at this tournament having won the title here in 2013 and last season.
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The defending Champion will be expecting to get off to a good start against the Qualifier Lukas Lacko although I have to credit the latter for winning two matches here already this week. Lacko’s career has not taken the trajectory I would have expected as injury and a loss of form has seen him come off the main Tour and focus on Challenger events.
There is talent in the Lacko racquet that can pose problems for players when he is in top form, but the confidence is perhaps not in the very best place. His second serve will likely be attacked by Mahut who will try and force Lacko to make the passes to win the points and that can be difficult under the type of pressure the Frenchman will put him.
Mahut has won the two previous matches between these players, but those came a long time ago and are less relevant now. However I do think Mahut is the superior player on grass who clearly enjoys playing at this tournament and I fancy he will get his grass court season off to a good start with a 64, 64 win.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Nicolas Mahut -3.5 Games at 1.74 with Unibet
Sam Querrey v Benjamin Becker
The clay courts are never going to see the best of Sam Querrey and I think the second half of the season might be more to his liking. The American is not always the most reliable player to back, but his serve and forehand combination has worked well on the grass courts in the past and Querrey is a dangerous player on this surface.
More so than Benjamin Becker who was beaten early in a Challenger event on grass last week and who is looking more and more like a player at the back end of his career. Becker has reached the Final at this event just a couple of years ago so can’t be dismissed easily, especially if the first serve is firing against an opponent whose return is limited to say the least.
However I think there are too many occasions when Becker throws away his serve with a poor game and that can be critical against someone like Querrey on this kind of surface. Querrey can be guilty of quitting on his own serve at times, especially if someone can force him into five shots or more to try and win a point and not allow the American to dictate behind a big serve and then big forehand combination.
The head to head is leaning towards Querrey which will give him a mental edge too and having won the last three matches between these players, I am looking for Querrey to have enough to record a 76, 64 win in this one.
Tennis Handicap Betting Pick: Sam Querrey -2.5 Games at 1.88 with Eastbridge
Prices correct at time of writing.