It wasn’t to be for Andy Murray on Sunday after a tough four-set defeat to the now seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. Despite being up a set and a break of serve, Murray wasn’t able to complete an historic victory over the Swiss maestro and probably wasn’t helped by the inclement weather. Federer appeared to thrive under the roof on Centre Court and played like a different man once the conditions were in his favour. Errors were kept to a minimum by Federer and Murray had very few opportunities to make in-roads on his opponent’s serve. Once all was said and done, the way in which Murray addressed the SW19 crowd post-match was rather difficult to watch. Holding back the tears, Murray suggested he’s getting closer to securing that first Grand Slam title and in my opinion can more than hold his head high after surpassing all realistic expectations. It is only right that the last word should be given to Federer who has equalled Pete Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles and in doing so, will also break Sampras’ record of weeks at the top of the men’s game. Clearly, Federer is the greatest player of all time.

Moving onto this coming week on the ATP tour and for the only time in the calendar, there are FOUR ‘250’ tournaments for us to get our teeth into which naturally presents ample betting opportunities for punters. For those players that can’t get enough of the green stuff, Newport in Rhode Island over in the US offers eighteen of the thirty two players one final opportunity to work on their game before competitors and fans alike descend on the grounds of Wimbledon for the Olympics. Elsewhere, players that can’t stand the sight of the grass can get reacquainted with the red clay that is prevalent on tour between the months of February and July.

ATP Newport

Defending champion and top seeded American John Isner will fancy his chances this week of a fourth career title on a surface that suits his big-serving game well. Despite winning here twelve months ago, it is fair to say that Isner hasn’t really made the sort of progress on grass that he perhaps should have. Isner has never progressed past the 2nd round at either Queen’s or Wimbledon and on both occasions that he reached this stage, he was eliminated by a player he is likely to meet in round two here this week. Everybody remembers the longest ever tennis match at Wimbledon in 2010 between Isner and Nicholas Mahut and the pair are scheduled to meet in the last sixteen here, should they both win their opening games. Should Isner progress past Mahut, he is likely to face two of Milos Raonic, David Goffin, and Ryan Harrison, all of which are matches that may be decided by final set tie breaks. I’d therefore be inclined to look within the bottom half of the draw for a likely finalist that may meet one of the aforementioned players.

Sam Querrey is a player that is certainly at home on a grass court. Winning the title at Queen’s in 2010 shows that he has all the credentials possible and despite being off the court for a large part of 2011 due to an elbow injury, Querrey is slowly climbing back up the rankings and encouragingly has shown some improved form over the last four weeks or so, reaching the last four at Queen’s before losing a very tight match at Wimbledon, both times to Marin Cilic. Querrey may be unseeded but this is solely down to his drop down the rankings and shouldn’t be underestimated because of this. His section of the draw looks to be weaker than the top half and I’d be hopeful that he could go deep this week and advance to the latter stages of the event where he could become a realistic contender for the title

Selection: Sam Querrey

ATP Stuttgart

As with David Ferrer, I’ll also be siding with a player that I have successfully tipped in this column and that man is Juan Monaco. The second seeded Argentine won the event in Houston earlier this year and is particularly comfortable on a clay court. He has tournament form having reached the last four here in 2006 and has a favourable looking draw. Monaco himself along with Janko Tipsarevic are the only two players from the world’s top 20 participating this week and I think this gulf in class may tell come next Sunday. I wouldn’t bet against a final in which both Monaco and Tipsarevic take part and should the two face off, Monaco has a 2-1 winning record against the Serbian. Both players had a solid if unspectacular grass court season but one has to feel that if they enjoyed the surface that much, they would have headed over to the US for the event in Newport. As it is, both players have stated their intentions by flying from Britain to Germany and I can see it proving a worthwhile trip for the pair of them.

Selection: Juan Monaco

ATP Bastad

This could be my shortest preview of the four tournament this week. Any clay court event that David Ferrer participates in he deserves every respect and even more so when the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are not present. I know this from experience because I’ve put Ferrer up successfully as a tip in this very column three times previously and I just hope that I’m not going to the well once too often by putting the Spaniard up once again. I’m of the belief that Ferrer is the third best player on the red stuff (behind Nadal and Djokovic) and should be too strong for the level of opposition he’s likely to face. Nicholas Almagro looks to be the only legitimate rival on this surface and with Ferrer leading their head-to-head record by an overwhelming margin of 10-0, I’d anticipate Ferrer confirming his dominance on the clay and securing his fifth tour title of 2012.

Selection: David Ferrer

ATP Umag

The final event on tour this week looks to be the most open of the quartet, especially when you look at the seeded players. Three previous winners in Fernando Verdasco, Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Juan Carlos Ferrero are attempting to win the title for a second time, not to mention Marin Cilic who was a beaten finalist in 2011. Looking back at the previous winners of the event, not since 2003 has a player successfully defended their title and I’d be inclined to think Verdasco won’t be bucking that trend. It goes without saying that Verdasco is more secure on the red clay than he is on the grass but I wasn’t overly impressed by his play or attitude in his defeat to Jarkko Nieminen at Wimbledon. Upon further investigation, Verdasco lost in early-June on clay to the world number 641 Marek Semjan so it is fair to say that he can’t be backed with any degree of confidence.

Looking elsewhere, Marcel Granollers may be the solution to this Croatian conundrum. Granollers considers clay his favourite surface and two of his three tour titles have indeed come on this surface. He beat top seed Fernando Verdasco in their only previous meeting back in 2011 so should Verdasco show a little form, I’d think that bodes well for a likely encounter in the last four, should Granollers progress that far. Prior to this potential clash, Granollers would probably need to overcome Italian Potito Starace in round two before a quarter final match against seventh seeded Slovakian Martin Klizan.

I’d say Granollers is probably my least fancied selection this week but if things fall correctly for the Spaniard this week, he’d have as good a chance as any to reach the final. I know I’d rather be taking a double figure price about Granollers than a single figure price about Verdasco.

Selection: Marcel Granollers

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