ATP’s -Hertogenbosch & Eastbourne – Monday 18th June until Saturday 23rd June 2012

Like many spectators, I’m still in a state of shock from what I witnessed on the courts of Halle and London on Sunday. Firstly in Germany, Roger Federer lost a competitive final on a grass court which in itself was hard to fathom. Take nothing away from home favourite Tommy Haas however. His sumptuous one-handed backhand was as spectacular as ever and he defeated Federer in two relatively straightforward sets. If this was to surprise many, they hadn’t seen anything yet…

Not many people would have called Marin Cilic and David Nalbandian as the likely two left standing come Sunday. It was very much a case of the top seeded players tumbling out early as they struggled to make the transition from the red clay to the green grass. Nevertheless, Cilic and Nalbandian had every right to take their respective places in the final and served up some entertaining stuff for the first ninety minutes or so. Then, out of nowhere, the match was brought to an abrupt end. Nalbandian was leading 7-6 3-4 when he kicked an advertising board into a line judge’s shin, causing him to bleed heavily. This left the chair umpire no choice but to disqualify Nalbandian, a decision the ATP tournament supervisor ratified, much to the crowd’s dismay. Rules are rules unfortunately and you cannot behave like that on a tennis court.

What this all meant for the BETDAQ column was a second double-figure priced winner in Cilic (following Federer’s success in Madrid five weeks ago) and increased the already healthy-looking profit/loss figures further still.

With seven short days to come and go before Wimbledon commences, the ATP tour throws up two final preparation tournaments for the players to get their teeth into before the year’s third Grand Slam gets underway. First up is the UNICEF Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch which unsurprisingly is found in the Netherlands, some 80km south of Amsterdam. Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer isn’t the most likely of candidates when putting forward a contender for a title on grass but being in the kind of form he’s in at the moment, coupled with the fact he’s won here before, I think he could take all the beating this week. Ferrer is the only player representing the world’s top 30 players in the event, with the second highest ranked player in the draw being Serbian Viktor Troicki who sits at number 33. In all honesty, it is clear to see that many of the top players have elected to sit this week out and get their games in shape for Wimbledon. Ferrer should therefore see this as an opportunity to win a second title at the event and I’ll take him to lift the trophy next weekend.

The second event of the week comes straight from the south coast of England where Eastbourne hosts its annual showpiece. Definitely the stronger of the week’s two events, all five top seeds find themselves inside the world’s top 30 (a statistic the event in Holland cannot boast) and looks to be a wide open affair. Top-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet certainly has a game that suits the grass and if putting his best foot forward, should make his presence felt this week. I like the look of German Philipp Kohlschreiber however and he’ll be my pick for the tournament. Similar to Gasquet, Kohlschreiber’s is able to execute his game well on the grass and this was probably illustrated best last week when making the last four in Halle, losing to eventual champion Tommy Haas. Perhaps the most impressive result for the world number 29 was the defeat of Rafael Nadal in the last eight and but for a couple of points here and there, could have taken his place in the final against Federer. I saw enough to think Kohlschreiber is playing some decent stuff and if he’s able to demonstrate a similar level of form this week, he should be able to capitalise on what looks to be a favourable looking draw.

UNICEF Open – Hertogenbosch Selection – David Ferrer
AEGON International Selection – Philipp Kohlschreiber

Follow Chris on Twitter @cdquinn86

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