Bonnet de douche! Our 11/2 tip landed last week as Frenchman Adrian Mannarino romped to victory at the Infosys Hall of Fame Open in Newport. The 35-year-old was consistency personified all week and defeated teenager Alex Michelsen 6-2 6-4 to win Sunday’s final.
Michelsen was looking to become the youngest American to win a title since Yank Hall-of-Famer Andy Roddick won Houston in 2001. His day will come, and the 18-year-old could be one to follow in the next 12-15 months, as he looks very handy indeed.
The busy tennis schedule continues and the biggest event this week is back in Europe where the Hamburg European Open is currently taking place. Once upon a time, Hamburg used to be a Masters 1000 event – one of the main clay tournaments on the tennis calendar. In the Open era legends such as Guillermo Vilas, Ivan Lendl, Gustavo Kuerten, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have all won here.
Federer actually holds the record for most tournament wins (4) and I will personally never forget getting a smile out of him after shouting “Oyyyy Oyyyy Saveloy” when he hit a backhand winner against Juan Monaco under a closed canvas roof of the centre court on a rainy day at the Am Rothenbaum in 2007.
Am still not sure what the direct Swiss translation is for ‘Oyyyy Oyyyy Saveloy’, but the great man seemed to understand.
Organisers were dealt a body blow in 2009 – which must have felt like a Slazenger tennis ball to the tallywhacker – when the tournament was downgraded to an ATP Tour 500 event.
Before the downgrade, Hamburg was a key prep event for the French Open, but has since moved to a July date and now takes place after both Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The new date means most of the absolute tennis elite have now long since shaken the clay from their boots and have shifted focus towards preparing for the North American summer hard court swing.
Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti is the defending champion here, and he is an 11/2 shot with Planet Sport Bet to retain his title. Musetti beat new Wimbledon kingpin Carlos Alcaraz in the championship match last year, but his recent form has been nothing much to write home about.
Bookies’ favourite Andrey Rublev – fresh (or maybe not so fresh) from winning the Nordea Open on Sunday – came back from the brink on Wednesday when he saved three match points to edge past Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles 5-7 6-1 7-6(7).
It wasn’t vintage Rublev, but the fact he dug in to save three match points shows that he is not in Germany for a holiday and he looks a tempting proposition at 11/5. The second seed made a sluggish start (and conditions under the roof at Hamburg are fairly unique to be fair) in his first match here, before finding his best level deep in the third set to get the job done. At his best Rublev is a capricious offensive baseliner with a huge forehand.
The Russian has won 13 ATP Tour singles titles – including a Masters 1000 title at this year’s Monte-Carlo Masters as a 66/1 shot – and is my fancy this week to make it back-to-back winning weeks for the column.
Tip: Musetti to win the Hamburg European Open at 11/2 (Planet Sport Bet)