Tennis: Federer looms once again in Noventi Open

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

June 19th, 2019

The grass season is in full swing in the lead-up to Wimbledon come mid-June, and for the Noventi Open at Halle, that usually means Roger Federer. The Swiss ace has been nearly as dominant at the German grass tournament as Rafael Nadal has been at the French Open. He has won the event nine times, and in three of those—the most recent being 2017—he didn't drop a set in the tournament. He's also been the beaten finalist three times, including last year.

Not surprisingly, he's a big favorite for this year's tournament tournament. Following his first-round victory over Australia's John Millman, he's at -120 to win the event. Whether it's good value is questionable, but it's not the strongest field, and he's definitely the most likely to win. His second-round opponent is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France.

The tournament's second seed is Germany's Alexander Zverev. The world's No. 5-ranked player has a 3-3 record against Federer, and they have played each other twice at Halle, with Zverev winning in three sets in 2016 before losing in straight sets the following year. He made it to the quarterfinals at the French Open, so his form is good, and he's worth a look at +550 to win the tournament.

Federer fell in the final last year to Croatia's Borna Coric, the No. 4 seed this year. If they meet again in Halle, it will be in the semifinals, and after two victories Coric is one win away from making the last four. Coric is at +950, but after two losses to Federer this year, it may be a tougher task than 2018.

The player to watch outside the seeds is clearly the 22-year-old Italian Matteo Berrettini. He has won two ATP tournaments and one Challenger tournament this year, and reached his career-best ranking of 22 when he won the Mercedes Cup on grass at Stuttgart last week without dropping his serve all tournament. He faces Andreas Seppi of Italy in the second round at Halle, for which he is a +1200 chance.

Plays: If you don't fancy the -120 about Federer, try Alexander Zverev (+550) or Matteo Berrettini (+1200).