ATP Queen's Tips: In-form Peniston can make life tough for Ruud on grass

The grass court action continues at the Cinch Championships and the Terra Wortmann Open on Tuesday and Sean Calvert has more value plays on day two...

It was a decent start to the week at Queen's Club and Halle on Monday, with Grigor Dimitrov beating Cam Norrie as underdog (he actually drifted right out to about 2.30 before the start) and Nikoloz Basilashvili easily covering the set handicap against Andrey Rublev.

The weather is set fair for both venues on Tuesday, so no need for the roof in Halle and it'll continue to play on the quicker side you'd have thought.

Hubert Hurkacz Wimbledon 2021.jpg

Starting in Halle and Hubert Hurkacz has struggled on the slicker, lower bouncing grass surfaces on the tour so far in his career, with a 2-5 win/loss record away from Wimbledon, where it's slower and (in the second week at least) higher bouncing.

He was beaten by Marton Fucsovics in Stuttgart last week and now he faces another difficult opening match of a tournament in Germany - against Maxime Cressy.

Hurkacz is yet to win a match in Halle and while he's performing fine on first serve (88% holds on grass so far in his main level career), he's only breaking serve 13% of the time and against someone like Cressy, that indicates either tie breaks or a lengthy match.

The bet I like here is to take the odds-against 2.20 about the opening set going to a tie break.

Medvedev could be tested by Goffin

Daniil Medvedev was far from convincing in Rosmalen last week, struggling past Gilles Simon, Ilya Ivashka, and Adrian Mannarino - all of whom came close to winning a set - and then getting beaten in straight sets in the final by Tim Van Rijthoven.

If I was sure that David Goffin was fit - and I'm not - I'd be tempted to take the Belgian to win a set here, but Goffin was injured (again) during the clay swing and withdrew from Rosmalen last week, saying: "I suffered a left leg injury during the last match [at the French Open] and have been unable to properly prepare for my first scheduled week on grass. Despite looking forward to playing in Hertogenbosch, I have had to withdraw from the tournament."

Karatsev value in all-Russian clash

Aslan Karatsev Queens 2021.jpg

Aslan Karatsev is an interesting one against fellow Russian, Karen Khachanov, with Karatsev rated a 4.7 chance to beat the man he's playing doubles with this week.

That's far too big for me and the price is based on current form, which for Karatsev has been poor, but he's a proven performer in fast conditions and he might get a bit of a boost from a new voice in his corner.

Karatsev has reportedly linked up with legendary Russian coach Boris Sobkin, who was with Mikhail Youzhny for many years, and that might be a good move for Karatsev.

Karatsev a proven performer in fast conditions and he might get a bit of a boost from a new voice in his corner

As far as this match is concerned, Karatsev will come into it with no fear of his compatriot, having beaten Khachanov twice in their last four meetings, and this is by far the biggest price that Karatsev has been against Khachanov in their career series.

Since Karatsev came to prominence at the Australian Open in 2021 this pair have met twice, with one win each and I'm not sure there's anything to fear for Karatsev in this match-up.

Karen Khachanov Wimbledon 2021.jpg

The head-to-head stats of their last three matches show that the pair have held serve the same amount of times (76% each) and it's Karatsev that's created more break point chances (0.65 per game compared to 0.49 per game for Khachanov).

Khachanov has played the big points better, converting on 50% of his break chances and saving 63% of the break opportunities against him, while Karatsev has taken only 37% of his break chances and saved only 50% against.

I wasn't impressed with Khachanov in Rosmalen last week when Kamil Majchrzak should have beaten him, having led 4-0 and 5-2 in the final set, but failed to see it out from long odds-on, and then Khachanov was taken down by Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Karatsev hasn't played too much on grass, but conditions should be nice and quick in Halle and he can take a set here at 2.1.

Ruud vulnerable on grass against Peniston

Moving on to Queen's Club now and I wonder what Ryan Peniston can do against Casper Ruud?

There are several question marks over Ruud's prospects in London this week: experience on and suitability to the surface, physical and emotional fatigue after the French, and the switching of surfaces from clay to grass.

So far, Ruud is 2-4 win/loss on grass, so there are obvious question marks over whether this predominantly clay courter can adapt to a different style of play and the sheer speed that the ball is coming at him.

His big efforts in the last weeks of the clay season, combined with the adrenaline high of making a maiden major final and in it facing the King of Clay on Chatrier are likely to have taken their toll and I wonder how much grass practice he's done?

And Peniston has been playing on grass - and playing well - the last few weeks, beating the likes of Jack Draper, Jiri Vesely and Adrian Mannarino, so he's in great touch on the surface and will be determined to make the use of the wild card he's been given this week.

This is potentially a winnable match for Pensiton in the circumstances, but nerves may play a part, and the 1.8 about him winning a set looks the bet there.

I also wouldn't be surprised if fellow Brit, Paul Jubb, was able to do something against Botic Van De Zandschulp, with the latter having struggled so far on grass in the few matches he's played on it (3-5 win/loss).

The price is a bit short on Jubb though for me and maybe Denis Kudla can upset Lorenzo Sonego?

We know how well Kudla can play on grass if he's in the mood and he's shown that again already this grass swing by beating Andy Murray in Surbiton.

Kudla beat Sonego in Miami earlier this season and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he did it again, but the main level grass data does favour Sonego and the prices aren't wildly out of line here.

So, for today, one point on Peniston +1.5, half a point on Karatsev +1.5, and half a point on the Hurkacz overs.

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