After a good opening to the grass court season at Queen's Club last week, Sean Calvert is back to analyse the draw at the Aegon International in Eastbourne for the best value bets...
"..Lopez has a path to the semi finals where Raonic may await and he's worth chancing at a decent price.."
The grass court swing makes the move from London to Eastbourne and s'Hertogenbosch this week for two more ATP 250 events on the green stuff.
Last week's strategy of backing Xavier Malisse at Queen's Club at a whopping [500.0] was really unlucky, as the X-Man came within a whisker of defeating Juan Martin Del Potro and would have had a clear run to the semi finals had the Belgian not choked in the final set against Delpo.
This week we have the bizarrely named Topshelf Open in s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands and the Aegon International on the coast in Eastbourne.
The latter event is one of the windiest venues anywhere on the tour and it can get ridiculous there at times, so it's something to bear in mind when thinking about wagers there this week.
Top seed is Milos Raonic, but for me he's a favourite I would be taking on in running a book on this tournament if it wasn't for the fact that he's been given a pretty handy draw.
People still seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that Milos can play well on grass because of his big serve and he probably will win a few matches, but he's never been past the last eight of any grass event lifetime and he doesn't return, move or volley well enough for me on the green stuff.
Last week's awful effort in Halle in taking a thrashing from Gael Monfils was a case in point, but the top half of the draw where Raonic has been placed is full of clay courters.
The likes of Juan Monaco, Albert Ramos, Fabio Fognini, Alex Dolgopolov and Martin Klizan can all be ruled out for having poor records on grass, but if he's back to fitness Feliciano Lopez has the credentials to emerge from the top half at a tempting [17.0].
Lopez had been struggling with an elbow problem, but coming through five matches last week at Queen's where he should have made the last eight as a qualifier but choked against eventual finalist Marin Cilic, suggests that he could be a force in a weak half.
Feli being Feli he could just as easily be beaten by Jarkko Nieminen in round one, but if he wins that he has a path to the semi finals where Raonic may await, but Lopez defeated the Canadian on quick clay at altitude in Madrid in their only career meeting and he's worth chancing at a decent price.
The bottom half looks like a good draw for Philipp Kohlschreiber and Kevin Anderson, but there are injury concerns about Anderson after he withdrew from Queen's last week and Kohlschreiber retired here last year in between the semi finals in Halle and the last eight at Wimbledon and may not last the distance.
Andreas Seppi won this in 2011 and made the final here last year after a nice draw and that retirement from Kohlschreiber, which helped too, but the Italian is in no sort of form at the moment and he'll do well to defend those ranking points from last year.
Bernard Tomic has had an awful season on and off the court and no doubt his wayward father John will be in the stands to distract his son further, but surely Bernie will start winning again soon and he has a really nice draw here this week. He has had injury issues though lately and withdrew from the doubles at Queen's last week with a hamstring problem.
Gilles Simon is the high seed in that section, but he's no grass court exponent and has never been past the quarter finals of any grass event, so there may be an opportunity for a qualifier to make strides in this section.
Marinko Matosevic reached the last eight here as a qualifier 12 months ago beating Richard Gasquet and James Ward and at around [81.0] he has back-to-lay chances too.
Ryan Harrison was a semi finalist last year, but he has had to qualify this time, such has been his drop in the rankings, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him figure again at a tasty price with points to defend also.