Roger Federer

Getty Image

Roger Federer to play veteran Tommy Haas at Stuttgart Open

Leave a comment

STUTTGART, Germany — Tommy Haas lined up a second-round meeting with Roger Federer, while seeded players Gilles Simon and Viktor Troicki both made an early exit from the Stuttgart Open on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Haas, playing for the last time at the grass-court tournament, defeated Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in their first-round match. The victory set up another clash with the Swiss great, who has already won 15 titles on grass and is playing again after a 10-week break.

“I’m really looking forward to playing the next game against one of my closest friends,” Haas said. “We had many great battles in the past. He is the best player on grass in history. I’ll definitely need to play better to have a chance. But you never know what can happen.”

Feliciano Lopez of Spain upset the seventh-seeded Simon 6-3, 6-3, while Benoit Paire of France beat the eighth-seeded Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-4.

German qualifiers Peter Gojowczyk and Yannick Hanfmann both advanced, as did fellow countryman Philipp Kohlschreiber, who was leading 6-1 when Marcos Baghdatis retired.

Another German, Florian Mayer, later lost 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (1) to Jeremy Chardy of France, who next plays Lopez.

Jerzy Janowicz of Poland defeated Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and Bernard Tomic prevailed over Stephane Robert of France, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

The top four seeded players – Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Tomas Berdych and Lucas Pouille – received byes to the second round.

This is the third year the event is being played on grass.

Nadal leads Djokovic, Murray, Thiem on French Open odds

Leave a comment

The overarching presence of Rafael Nadal, who has won a record nine times at Roland Garros, has inflated prices on the other top men at the French Open.

Nadal is listed as a better than even money -125 favorite on the French Open men’s champion board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Spaniard has won 17 of 18 matches on clay this year and will not have to worry about longtime nemesis Roger Federer, who’s saving himself for the grass and hard courts. The event begins in Paris on Sunday.

While Nadal is undoubtedly the most consistent clay-court player in the world, many threats loom. Novak Djokovic (+300) might be ready to come out of his lull now that he has swapped out his support staff, bringing on Andre Agassi as a personal coach. Nadal and Djokovic are on the same side of the draw, so either would benefit if the other falls prey to an upset.

Dominic Thiem (+900) could also be undervalued, given that he defeated Nadal in the Italian Open, one of the tune-ups for the French.

Top seed Andy Murray (+900) has not won an event on clay this season and his place on the tennis betting lines might reflect the notion that some bettors will always go for a big name with a track record of winning Grand Slams. In terms of someone who is coming into the tournament playing well, Stan Wawrinka (+1000) has had an impressive run at the Geneva Open after having so-so output for most of the clay-court season. Wawrinka is also a recent champion, having won in 2015.

It seems like it is just a matter of when 20-year-old Alexander Zverev (+1400) will win his first Grand Slam singles title. Zverev turned heads when he extended Nadal to five sets in a third-round defeat at the Australian Open in January, and he defeated Djokovic in the Italian Open final to become the youngest player in 10 years to win an ATP Masters event.

As far as the women’s champion board goes, Simona Halep (+450) has top odds but is battling an ankle injury. World No. 1 Angelique Kerber (+1600) has also been inconsistent throughout the season. Young Ukrainian Elina Svitolina (+700) is an intriguing possibility by virtue of her results (four singles titles already in 2017) and her strong return game, since the soft clay at Roland Garros dictates having longer rallies.

Garbine Muguruza (+900) is the defending champion, but it’s a little glaring that she has not reached a Grand Slam semifinal in three tries since that 2016 breakthrough.

Roger Federer will skip 2017 French Open

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Roger Federer says he won’t play in the French Open and instead will prepare to play on grass and hard courts later this season “in the best interest of [his] tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season.”

Federer posted a message entitled ‘Roger to skip Roland Garros’ on his website on Monday:

“Regrettably, I’ve decided not to participate in the French Open. I’ve been working really hard, both on and off the court, during the last month but in order to try and play on the ATP World Tour for many years to come, I feel it’s best to skip the clay court season this year and prepare for the grass and hard court seasons. The start to the year has been magical for me but I need to recognize that scheduling will be the key to my longevity moving forward. Thus, my team and I concluded today that playing just one event on clay was not in the best interest of my tennis and physical preparation for the remainder of the season. I will miss the French fans, who have always been so supportive and I look forward to seeing them at Roland Garros next year.”

Federer’s agent, Tony Godsick, confirmed that the 18-time Grand Slam champion will not compete at the year’s second major tournament, which starts in Paris on May 28.