Van Rijthoven and Berrettini win opening grass events
Congratulations go to Timm Van Rijthoven and Matteo Berrettini for titles in the opening week of grass court events, with Van Rijthoven defeating world number two Daniil Medvedev in Hertogenbosch, and Berrettini ending Andy Murray's super tournament in a three-setter in Stuttgart, Germany. This final marks real progress for Murray as he continues to try and fight his way back up the rankings and stands him in good stead for a potential run to week two at Wimbledon in several weeks time.
The Scotsman is back in action this week at Queens Club, which is a 500 level event and there's a 32-man draw with no byes for seeded players - each player will need to win five matches to lift the trophy.
Quick conditions at Queens Club should suit big-servers
Conditions in London are anticipated to be quick. Aces per game, service points won percentages and service hold percentages are all far in excess of the ATP grass court average figures, so expect serve-dominated matches without many breaks of serve.
Tiebreaks should be plentiful in London (0.28 per set across the last three years) and matches with two big servers could well be value on the over 12.5 games in the first set markets.
With the exception of Murray (winner in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016) who has historically been an extremely accomplished grass courter in any case, winners and runners up at Queens mostly fit into the big-server bracket, so any quest to find outright value should at least focus on which players have above-average service numbers.
Cilic and Berrettini fight to be pre-tournament favourite
These include the likes of Marin Cilic and the Stuttgart winner Berrettini who are towards the top of the outright markets, vying for outright favourite status at around the 6.411/2 mark. Cilic looked like he rolled back the years at the French Open and is a strong grass courter historically - he's in quarter two with the likes of Emil Ruusuvuori and Taylor Fritz the notable threats.
Brooksby in weaker bracket with clay-courters
Quarters three and four in London look wide open, with four or five players justifiably confident of coming through Q3, and while Berrettini will be favourite in Q4, he faces a really tough draw with Dan Evans his opponent in round one, then probably a rematch with Murray in the second round before potentially Denis Shapovalov in the quarter final. If Berrettini is to go back to back with grass court events, he'll need to do it the hard way.
The top quarter looks the weakest with a number of clay-courters in it, including top seed Casper Ruud, which could leave the door open for Jenson Brooksby. The American disappointed last week in slower grass conditions in Hertogenbosch, but reached the final in Newport last season in his first ever grass court tournament, and had excellent serve numbers as well. Based on early general market pricing, we should be able to get around 15.0014/1 on the talented young American.
Kyrgios could threaten top ten names in Halle
Over in Halle, Medvedev will be looking to go one better this week and is top seed in the event. Rival Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime follow the Russian in the outright market - Medvedev is currently trading at around the 3.55 mark on the Exchange.
The intangible in the field is Nick Kyrgios, whose level could literally be anything here. Capable of an extremely high level on grass and reaching the semi-final in Stuttgart last week, Kyrgios could run through the field here but on the flip side, could quite easily lose in round one. He could give a very tough test to second seed Tsitsipas in round two, and that fourth quarter looks difficult for the Greek, with Sebastian Korda also in that bracket.
Other brackets in the Halle draw look pretty competitive - Medvedev should get through Q1 but there's hurdles for the likes of Rublev in Q2 and Auger-Aliassime in Q3, with Hubert Hurkacz among the players capable of making a deep run in the tournament.
All of the action this week is, of course, extremely useful with regards to assessing each player's potential level ahead of Wimbledon, making the week ahead a very useful watching brief and, as mentioned, potential for tiebreak market value as the tournaments progress.