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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis


The eagerly anticipated 2019 ATP season commences in the early hours of tomorrow morning in Brisbane, Australia and it’s followed later in the morning by the tournaments in Doha, UAE and Pune, India. Brisbane has attracted a strong field with the likes of top seed and tournament favourite Nadal, second seed Nishikori, third seed Edmunds, fourth seed Medvedev, fifth seed Raonic, sixth seed Dimitrov, seventh seed De Minaur and eighth seed Kyrgios, who is also the defending champion but may struggle to repeat last season’s heroics as he was bitten by a poisonous spider on Christmas Eve and has not been able to train or practice since. Two veteran’s Murray and Tsonga also both line up, both players are playing under a Protected Ranking due to lengthy injury lay off’s and will be pushing hard to compete and challenge for the title, but at this early stage of their recoveries it’s unlikely either player will be winning the title this week.

Doha has also attracted a competitive field with world number one, two time Doha winner and top seed Djokovic, world number eight and second seed Thiem, third seed Khachanov, sixth seed Goffin and seventh seed Bautista Agut are all lining up for a shot at winning the title this week. The Pune line up is not as strong as Brisbane or Doha but its still a competitive field with the likes of top seed and 2018 losing finalist Anderson, second seed and NextGen star Chung, third seed and defending champion Simon and fifth seed Paire, will all be lining up for a shot at winning the title on Sunday.

I will focus on analysing the Brisbane draw first as it gets underway before Doha and Chennai. The top seed has won five of the last ten renewals (last Federer 2015) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Federer 2016), which bodes well for top seed Rafa’s chances this week. The second seed has a poor record at Brisbane winning none of the last ten titles and they’ve only been a losing finalist twice during this period, which does not bode well for Nishikori’s chances this week. Seeded players, in general, have a strong record at Brisbane over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than eight won nine of the last ten titles (last Kyrgios 2018) and a player seeded no higher than three was a losing finalist eight times during this period (last Nishikori 2017). Unseeded players don’t have a good record at Brisbane over the last decade winning only one title during this period and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Harrison 2018).

Moving on to Doha and the top-seed does not have the strongest record over the last decade winning the title twice (last Djokovic 2016) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Murray 2017), which does not bode well statistically for top-seed Djokovic’s chances this week but he is one of only a handful of active players who is good enough to buck a trend like this. The second seed has performed marginally better over the last decade winning three of the last ten titles (last Djokovic 2017) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Nadal 2016), which suggests second-seed Thiem could do well this week if he can produce close to his best tennis for four matches back-to-back. Seeded players in general have a strong record and a player seeded no higher than four won nine of the last ten titles (last Djokovic 2017) and a player seeded no higher than six was a losing finalist seven times during this period (last Murray 2017). Unseeded players don’t have a strong record at Doha over the last decade winning just one of the last ten titles (last Monfils 2018) and an unseeded player was a losing finalist twice during this period (last Monfils 2014).

At Pune the top-seed has a good record over the last decade winning three titles (last Wawrinka 2016) and they were a losing finalist once during this period, which could mean 2018 finalist and top seed Anderson could go one better this year and win his first title at this tournament. The second seed has the same record as the top seed at Pune winning three of the last ten titles (last Bautista Agut 2017) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Anderson 2018). Seeded players in general have a great record at Pune and a player seeded no higher than four won nine of the last ten titles (last Bautista Agut 2017) and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist six times during this period (last Anderson 2018). Unseeded players don’t have a great record at Pune over the last decade winning the title just once during this period (Simon 2018) and they were a losing finalist four times during this period (last Medvedev 2017).

From an outright tournament betting perspective top seed Nadal (11/4) is worth siding with as it’s been reported that he’s close to full fitness again and he’s been training well in the off season, which make him a serious contender this week and it would be great preparation for the Australian Open, which gets underway in Melbourne later this month. Djokovic should face little serious opposition at Doha and if he players anywhere near his best this week he should be challenging for a third title win come the weekend. Finally, at Pune top seed Anderson should go one better than last season and win the title but defending champion Simon is in his half of the draw and the veteran Frenchman beat Anderson in last years final, which is good enough reason not to advise him as a main bet this week. From the bottom half of the draw veteran and fourth seed Jaziri has been playing some of the best tennis of his career over the last few seasons as his seeding this week proves, and if he can repeat his best 2018 hard court form this week, there’s every chance he could spring a surprise and win a long overdue first ATP title this week.

Tournament Selections:

Brisbane

Nadal Win (11/4)

Pune

Jaziri EW (Price TBC)


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