15-21 July Tournament Previews

We continue the clay court season with 3 more tournaments, with the women's ones again being of a poor calibre.  Weak fields means players with a small sample size in the WTA so we need to be careful with some players this week.  

In the ATP, we have a new tournament, a 250 event in Bogota - it was last on the calendar in 2001 and despite some media outlets stating it will be played on clay, it's actually on hard court.  We also have a slightly higher quality 500 event in Hamburg with Roger Federer entering as the top seed.

Due to the fact that Bogota is a new tournament on the calendar I have no stats for the surface.  I have no alternative but to treat the surface as 'average' to begin with and then assess the hold/break stats as the week continues.

Last years stats in Hamburg last year highly favoured the receiver.  Only 69.3% of service games were held, compared to the ATP clay mean of 75.6%.  It also was the case in 2011 with 73.2% of service games being held.  Therefore we should see more breaks than average on clay this week and we can adjust our strategies accordingly.

Juan Monaco is defending champion, after defeating Tommy Haas in the final.  Haas is the second seed here this year and will need to get past Monaco again to get to the final, with both players in the bottom half of the draw.  The tournament has run for 4 years and each year has featured a different winner and runner-up.  Federer doesn't impress me on clay these days and would appear short at the 2.64 currently available for low stakes on Betfair.  Having got to the final in Stuttgart, I will be looking to oppose Fabio Fognini and the same goes for Bastad finalist, Fernando Verdasco this week.

Favourite success in Hamburg is fairly low at 66%.  This is below the 72% average for clay 500 tournaments, below the 70% average for 500 tournaments across all surfaces and level with the 66% average for clay tournaments overall.  On that basis we can give a slightly bigger edge to underdogs than an average tournament.  

In the women's this week, as I mentioned the field quality is low in our two tournaments.  However Serena Williams is surprisingly playing in Bastad and is the top seed.  She's unsurprisingly favourite at about 1.5 to win, with Simona Halep (who has played a LOT of tennis lately) as second favourite.  

Polona Hercog came back from a 0-6 deficit in the first set to beat Mathilde Johansson in last year's final, and also won here in 2011, but doesn't feature at all this week.  With her ranking just inside the top 100, at 95, Johansson will need to make sure she defends most of those points at least or she will plummet down the rankings.  

Last year the stats also did not favour servers, with only 58.5% of service games being held.  That's 3.1% below the WTA average.  

In Bad Gastein, the tournament has been moved from June last year.  Alize Cornet won there last year but due to the scheduling change doesn't defend any ranking points from that win.  She doesn't participate this week, and neither is the runner-up, Yanina Wickmayer.

World Ranked 33 Mona Barthel is the top seed which reflects the poor quality field.  I don't rate the German at all on clay and I'd be pretty surprised if her overall result reflected her seeding.  She's available at 4.5 and I feel that's short.  Annika Beck has shown good form on clay this season and could get her first WTA title at a price of 11.00.

The 2012 tournament there also featured a low percentage for service games held, a touch lower than Bastad at 58.1%.  

We can definitely look to oppose the server in the right spots this week.  That approach should definitely yield dividends.  
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