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Queen’s Day 2: Tournament royalty Cilic can progress in style

| 10.06.2014

Just as the clay is still being picked from their shoes the men’s tour moves swiftly onto the grass and that means Queen’s. Wimbledon’s little cousin boasts the usual mix of top players, journeymen and hopeless Brits and below we have devised a treble for the second day of action with a £10 stake returning a handsome £93.30.

Marin Cilic to beat Marinko Matosevic 2-0 @ 4/7

The champion of two years ago, Marin Cilic is a cut above his first round opponent Marinko Matosevic and that has shown in their three previous meetings.

The Croatian has won all three of their encounters and although two of them have required a deciding set that is unlikely to be necessary in their first on grass.

Cilic has made West Kensington his home in recent years, backing up his 2012 victory with a run to the final last year where only eventual Wimbledon champion Andy Murray proved too strong.

His fiery opponent did reach the round-of-16 on his last visit, however, he actually only won one match after Michael Llodra retired and that was against someone now ranked 720 in the game.

The Australian made it to the final of last week’s Nottingham challenger but faced only limited opponents and with Cilic looking in good touch in Paris – he won two matches and was the first to take a set from Novak Djokovic – it would be a surprise if this lasted longer than it needed to.

Matthew Ebden to beat Lukas Lacko @ 11/8

It’s always with trepidation that one tips up a player who has managed to lose their last six games, however, there is reason to believe Matthew Ebden’s fortunes are about to turn.

The Australian had a disastrous clay-court campaign with no wins from five events but little should be read into this as the world number 86 has made little effort to make an impact on the surface since he turned professional 11 years ago.

Regardless of whether that decision makes sense it certainly makes none to judge him on those performances although the layers may be guilty of doing just that having priced up Ebden as the clear outsider against an equally out-of-form Lukas Lacko.

All of Ebden’s good work comes on the faster surfaces and the six victories recorded from nine matches on the grass last year makes attractive reading.

Lacko, ranked three places lower, felt it necessary to drop to the challenger tour towards the end of March and although this is usually a decision that pays dividends for those players just between the two levels, the unpredictable Slovakian failed to impress.

Lacko would have expected to pick up at least one title in his four attempts in the lower tiers but the best he could manage was a final run in Shenzhen which wouldn’t be so disappointing was it not for the opposition which he should have been able to easily navigate.

Failing to gain the confidence he specifically relegated himself to gain has shown already this month with a defeat to world number 318 Jason Jung and although he wasn’t expected to beat Roger Federer at the French Open the straight sets defeat hardly inspired confidence for the future.

In fairness, Lacko is better suited to quicker playing fields like Ebden but the promise of improvement is far less secure and to tip the balance our selection won their only previous meeting (on grass) in straight sets.

Vasek Pospisil v Paolo Lorenziexactly 3 sets in match @ 6/4

As mentioned above there is always a certain amount of danger in relying on players who are coming off the back of a long losing run but few players will have greeted the change of seasons more than Vasek Pospisil.

Canada’s Davis Cup hero of last year has gone off the boil since seemingly making a breakthrough in the second half of last season where he reached two semi-finals and a final in three weeks at the beginning of the hardcourt swing.

However, a large factor in that drop in form has been a recurring back injury that kept him out of action for much of the season and although there is little evidence that the 23-year-old is back to his best – Pospisil has lost his last eight – he should definitely be able to win a set now back on a surface that fits his big-serving game like a glove.

However, because of his form it is difficult to see Pospisil not losing a set either, hence the selection that the game goes the distance.

Paolo Lorenzi, in contrast will be sad to see the clay season gone but has won plenty of matches in the swing and will arrive with enough confidence to be competitive.

The temptation is simply to punt for a Pospisil victory and it will be galling if the favourite wins in straight sets but with everything considered this appears the best option as recent form and surface preference check and balance each other well.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster