The ATP Tour returns after a week’s break and there are three tournaments to focus on; two indoor hard-court events in Europe at Montpellier, France and Sofia, Bulgaria and the start of the Golden clay swing which starts with a brand new tournament in Cordoba, Argentina. Montpellier is a well-established tournament that has been running a while longer since 2010 (no tournament 2011) and has been dominated by home grown players.
A French player has won six of the last eight titles and they were a losing finalist in six of the last eight finals as well. Sofia is a newish tournament that has been running since 2016 so there is limited historical statistical data to help analyse past winners and Cordoba is a brand new tournament replacing Quito so obviously there is no historical statistical data to help analyse this event. Sofia was initially dominated by the top seeds in 2016 and 2017, but last years renewal bucked the trend and was won by a qualifier Basic, who beat the unseeded Copil to win his first ever main ATP Tour title.
I’ll start with analysing Montpellier and as mentioned above it’s been dominated by French players since its inception back in 2010. Defending champion and the new face of men’s French tennis top seed Pouille, who reached his first Grand Slam final at the Australian Open last month, returns to defend his Montpellier title. The top-seed has won two of the last eight titles (last Gasquet 2016) and the top-seed was a losing finalist once during this period (last Gasquet 2014), which does not bode well for Pouille’s chances this year.
The second seed has won one of the last eight titles (Pouille 2018) and they were never a losing finalist during this period, which does not bode well for Goffin’s chances. A player seeded no higher than five has won the last eight titles (last Pouille 2018) and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist seven times during this period (last Gasquet 2018). An unseeded player has never won the title during this period and they were a losing finalist once (Mathieu 2016).
From a betting perspective defending champion and top seed Pouille (5/1) must be respected again as the defending champion as well as his brilliant start to 2019 and the record of French players at Montpellier. However, statistically the record of the top seed at Montpellier suggests he will struggle to win but he did buck this trend as the second seed last year and because of this he is worth siding with to win back-to-back titles at a generous price.
There are six other French players in the draw including three experienced veterans in the top half of the draw in the shape of fourth seed Simon, sixth seed Chardy and Wild Card Tsonga, which will make Pouille’s chances of defending his title that bit harder, and there are two seeded Frenchman residing in the bottom half of the draw in the shape of seventh seed Herbert and eighth seed Paire.
The only player from this group who qualifies from a historical statistical perspective is fourth seed Simon (12/1), who should be respected as a potential winner given his form in 2018. Finally, from the bottom half of the draw Frenchman and eighth seed Paire (33/1), who does not fit the statistical profile of past seeded winners and finalists, should still be respected as a lively outsider as he’s been in the best form his career over the last twelve months and his aggressive style of play is well suited to quick indoor hard courts.
Moving on to Sofia, Bulgaria and the tournament has attracted a strong field with a good mix of experienced veterans and NextGen stars like fourth seed and 2016 winner Bautista Agut, fifth seed Basilashvili, sixth seed Verdasco, 2018 winner and finalists Basic and Copil, top seed Khachanov, second seed Tsitsipas and third seed Medvedev. From a betting perspective 2016 winner and fourth seed Bautista Agut (6/1) must be respected given his excellent start to the 2019 season and the same applies for second seed Tsitsipas and third seed Medvedev’s (7/1) chances this week, especially as the quicker conditions should suit their aggressive game styles.
Finally, as Cordoba is a brand new tournament with no historical statistical data to help analyse the draw, I’ll bypass it from a betting perspective on this occasion.
Pouille Win (5/1)
Simon Win (12/1)
Paire EW (33/1)
Bautista Agut Win (6/1)
Medvedev Win (7/1)