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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Mischa Zverev could keep tabs on returning Federer

World number two could be rusty after three-month break

Mischa Zverev in action during his straight-sets win over Mikhail Youzhny
1 of 1

WTA Den Bosch
BT Sport 1, 10am Wednesday

Roger Federer returns from a break of three months with a Mercedes Cup second-round clash against Mischa Zverev and while the older of the German brothers has not been at his best in 2018, the world number two's rustiness could help to produce a close tussle.

Siding with Zverev with a start of 4.5 games is an option, but slight preference is for the best-of-three-sets clash to feature at least one tiebreak.

With the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, one of Federer's favourite tournaments, starting on Monday it's just possible that the Swiss legend, who has not played a competitive match since losing to Thanasi Kokki­nakis in Miami, may be going through the motions in Stuttgart.

Zverev, who opened at the Weissenhof Club with a 7-6 6-3 victory over qualifier Mikhail Youzhny, is competent enough on grass to hold his own on the fast terrain and Federer may not wish to embarrass an opponent he gets on well with anyway.

In the women's Libema Open in Den Bosch, Dutch wildcard Bibiane Schoofs could be worth an interest to keep it close in her clash with Aleksandra Krunic.

Schoofs, who upset the useful Carina Witthoeft 6-4 7-5 in her opener, is no world-beater but she's keen to make the most of her opportunities and a start of 4.5 games could prove to be on the generous side.

Krunic started by dropping just one game in her clash with Valentini Grammatikopolou in round one, but the Serb's next task could be tougher.

R Federer v M Zverev tiebreak in match
1pt 11-10 Coral
B Schoofs + 4.5 games
1pt 4-6 Betfair, Paddy Power

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Zverev is competent enough on grass to hold his own on the fast terrain
E.W. Terms
Sky bet