The rain has continued to be a problem all over Europe as the first week of grass season continues.
Luckily, tournaments in the Netherlands and Germany have finally caught up and the quarterfinals are set from ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Stuttgart!
Let’s dive into a pair of matches that have a position worth taking.
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Stefanos Tsitsipas (-250) vs. Andy Murray (+190)
8 a.m. ET, Stuttgart
The third quarterfinal of the day in Stuttgart features a pair of the sport’s biggest names with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andy Murray squaring off with a place in the semis on the line.
As expected, the books and market have set Tsitsipas as a sizable favorite, thanks in large part to his deep runs at big events and position in the rankings.
Grass, however, is a different beast – one the Greek has had a tough time taming in his career.
His style of play just isn’t all that compatible with the quicker, slicker surface. Tstisipas’ serve certainly enjoys the boost the green stuff provides, but his return game on the surface and his one-handed backhand are massive liabilities.
To date in his career, Tsitsipas’ break percentage still lags below the 15% mark. As long as opponents can rely on finding cheap points by targeting his backhand, it’s not likely that will change much.
On the other side of the net is Murray. Sir Andy may not be the player he once was, but he has been incredible in his career on grass. Gold medalist. Wimbledon champ. You name it.
His elite return skills allow him to find ways to apply pressure on his opponents’ serve, despite the quicker nature of the surface, while his serve and forehand combo become much better weapons.
Consider that Murray has already played six times this season on the surface and beaten some solid grass brokers – even if at a Challenger event – and this price looks even better.
Then take into account that he’s only been broken six times in 13 sets, and that matchup against Tsitsipas looks even more promising.
Pick: Murray ML (+190 via BetMGM)
Hugo Gaston (-135) vs. Tim van Rijthoven (+110)
5 am ET, ‘s-Hertogenbosch
Over to the Netherlands where the match that leads things off for the quarterfinal round features Hugo Gaston and Dutchman Tim van Rijthoven.
Despite playing his first pro season on the grass, van Rijthoven looks right at home. It makes sense, as well, considering the bazooka of a serve and forehand combination he possesses.
Those two weapons alone have allowed him to keep all five sets close so far as an underdog in his opening two matches of the week.
It should also allow him to keep points short against a return-oriented player in Gaston, who has a clear advantage over the big Dutchman when rallies get extended.
Gaston is also relatively inexperienced on the lawn, but he came through by frustrating Jenson Brooksby. In that match, he was able to match Brooksby’s craftiness and outlast him in rallies, with the American seldom able to hit through him.
That won’t be the case against the powerful van Rijthoven, but there is a pair of factors that should help Gaston hold his serve consistently in this one.
First, van Rijthoven doesn’t move or return as well as Brooksby. Service games won’t be extended this time around.
Second, the lefty Gaston can serve and control rallies towards the weaker one-handed backhand of van Rijthoven and find cheap points that way.
I prefer the first set over here, as Gaston could very well pick up on patterns from van Rijthoven and find more success on return in the second set onwards.
Take these two to play a long first set while both are fresh.
Pick: 1st set over 10.5 (+175 via DraftKings)
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