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  • Chris Sobey


After what looked like a promising start to the season when I tipped Wawrinka and Dimitrov for the Australian Open, my outright tournament selections form this season has been very disappointing compared to previous seasons. However, things picked up last week with two winners. NextGen star Alexander Zverev (6/1) won the title at Munich beating Pella in Sunday’s final and Carreno-Busta (7/1) won the title at Estoril beating Muller in yesterday’s final.

The fourth ATP Masters 1000 Series of the season, and second on clay, got underway yesterday in Madrid at the futuristic Caja Magica and the tournament is renowned for its quick conditions due to the altitude. The tournament has been dominated by the Big Four Djokovic (2), Murray (2), Federer (2) and Nadal (4) over the last decade and the only player outside this group to lift the trophy was Nalbandian way back in 2007. Federer does not line up this year preferring to keep himself fresh for the French Open and Wimbledon after a blistering start to the year. However, the last four winners of the tournament defending champion Djokovic, world number one Murray and Monte Carlo and Barcelona winner and world number five Nadal do line up and of the three Nadal looks to have the best chance of adding to his four Madrid titles based on his recent clay form.

The top-two seeds have performed fairly well at Madrid over the last decade and they have both featured in four of the last ten finals. The top-seed has won one of the last ten titles (last 2016) and they were a losing finalist four times in this period (last 2011). The second seed has won four of the last ten titles and they were never a losing finalist in this period. Seeded players in general have dominated the majority of Madrid finals over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than nine won the last nine titles and a player seeded no higher than 15 was a losing finalist in nine of the last ten finals.

From a betting perspective Nadal would be my idea of the winner this week based on the above statistics and current form, but his price is too restrictive for me to get involved. Top-seed Andy Murray (6/1) has improved with each tournament since returning from injury and as a two time winner he looks overpriced to win from the top-half of the draw. Jack Sock (100/1) seeded 14 could go well this week as he’s improving every year on tour, his game suits the fast conditions and he looks well overpriced for the tournament and to win the Second Quarter this week (price tbc).

From the bottom half of the draw 16th seed Nick Kyrgios (40/1) looks like the only player capable of beating Nadal and Djokovic and is worth siding with at big odds this week. From a match betting perspective there’s a first round match treble I like involving Verdasco to beat Alexander Zverev, Almagro to beat Robredo and Paire to beat Carreno-Busta which pays over 10/1 and should go close to returning a profit.

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