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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Fresh Federer is unlikely to toil on his tour return

Konta faces some tough match-ups in Nottingham

Roger Federer has been virtually flawless this season
1 of 1

ATP & WTA grass-court season
starts Monday

ATP Mercedes Cup
Roger Federer is odds-on on his ATP Tour return after skipping the clay season but there should be little wrong with the Swiss ace after his planned layoff.

The Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami champion could open against Tommy Haas, but this time Federer has a job to do so there should be little let-up against his German pal.

Mischa Zverev should hold few fears for Federer should they clash in the last eight, while the powers of Tomas Berdych, who the world number five could meet in the semis, may be waning.

Federer's toughest test could come from Lucas Pouille, who is in the other half of the draw, but the French wildcard is no certainty to reach the final.

Maxime Marterer was last night placed second in the alternates' queue for Halle qualifying, while Jerzy Janowicz was sixth in the alternates' queue for Queen’s Club qualifying and seventh in the Halle replacements' list.

R Federer
2pts 5-6 Betfred

ATP Ricoh Open
Marin Cilic, Alexander Zverev, unusually not playing in Germany this week, and Nicolas Mahut look the likeliest winners in Den Bosch this week and preference is for the youngest of the trio.

Zverev, who has a huge future and won the Rome Masters on clay recently, looks the complete player and may have enough to end the hopes of a three-timer in Holland for Mahut.

Cilic is a fine grass-courter and could be a major player this week, but the top seed's proximity in the draw to the resurgent Janko Tipsarevic is not ideal.

Gilles Muller soldiers on well and could be troublesome, but Ivo Karlovic has been quiet of late.

Jordan Thompson, who reached the Surbiton Challenger final yesterday, is due to play in the Halle qualifiers later this week. Stefan Kozlov was last night second in the alternates' queue for Queen's Club qualifying and fourth in the Halle qualifying replacements' list.

A Zverev
1pt 11-4 Betfred, Coral, Hills

WTA Aegon Open
Johanna Konta will have title aspirations in Nottingham this week and it could take a big performance to deny the British top seed.

The world number eight will be looking forward to playing on grass after a quiet campaign on clay, her weakest surface.

But Konta is in the tougher half of the draw and may have to toil to see off potential foes Yanina Wickmayer, Ashleigh Barty or Mona Barthel and Alison Riske or Magdalena Rybarikova.

Heather Watson, Tara Moore, who opens against Konta, and Laura Robson are the other Brits in the main draw this week.

Robson has been doing better in lower grade recently. But while she could cause problems for Julia Boserup in her opener, Donna Vekic could be tougher to shift in a possible round-two meeting.

Vekic's game has been coming together this year and the 2013 Edgbaston finalist could carve a path through the draw this week.

D Vekic
1pt each-way 40-1 Betfred

WTA Ricoh Open
Dominika Cibulkova and Kristina Mladenovic are the top seeds in the women's singles in Den Bosch but while French ace Mladenovic could be a threat in Holland, Cibulkova offers little title value.

Cibulkova, winner of the WTA Tour Finals in October, can be both superb and average depending on tournament conditions and while she is no mug on grass, other players appeal more at the prices.

Ana Konjuh, who won her first main-tour title in Nottingham in 2015, looks capable of denying the top-seeded Slovak should they clash in the last eight.

Konjuh performed okay on clay, but the Croat looks a superior performer on faster courts.

Coco Vandeweghe is aiming for a third title in Den Bosch in four years. The powerful American could prosper again but has a tough opener while Mladenovic could be hard to beat in the semis.

Richel Hogenkamp may have turned a corner in her career and the home player, who posted some cracking results on clay, should now have enough to dismiss Mandy Minella.

A Konjuh
1pt each-way 12-1 bet365
R Hogenkamp to beat M Minella
1pt 8-15 Betfred, Ladbrokes

Federer's toughest test could come from Lucas Pouille but the French wild-card is no certainty to reach the final
E.W. Terms
Sky bet