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  • Chris Sobey

Tennis Preview


Before I provide my preview and analysis of next week’s ATP Tour tennis tournaments, I’ll provide a quick rundown of last week’s action. I came within touching distance of tipping two finalists and potential tournament winners with Querrey (14/1) at New York and Thiem (2/1) at Buenos Aires but unfortunately both players lost their respective semi-finals. Querrey had numerous first set points against little known Canadian qualifier Schnur who is ranked 156 in the world but the experienced American veteran blew his chances and eventually lost in three sets.

Thiem blew an even bigger chance to reach back-to-back Buenos Aires finals against homeboy Schwartzman, but he failed to serve out the match in the second set, was a break up in the third and then had match points in the tie break but disappointingly failed to take these chances and the manner of this defeat could further compound his shaky self-belief at the elite level. The Buenos Aires final was contested by fourth seed Schwartzman and third seed Italian Cecchinato and the Italian won a one sided final 6-1 6-2.

The New York final featured two first time ATP Tour finalists and potential NextGen stars in Schnur and American Opelka, who knocked out compatriot Isner in a record breaking semi-final which featured the most ever aces served in a men’s singles ATP Tour match. This was the first ever meeting between the two and at the time of writing the final had not started so I’ll have to miss out the result on this occasion.

At the ATP 500 Rotterdam tournament it was an all veteran affair as former world number one and multiple Slam winner Wawrinka rolled back the years to reach his first final since the French Open back in 2017, knocking out top seed and tournament favourite Nishikori in three sets, and he faced Monfils in Sunday’s final. Wawrinka was aiming to win a second Rotterdam title after lifting the trophy back in 2015 and Monfils was contesting his second Rotterdam final since losing to Klizan back in 2016. Monfils emerged victorious on Sunday beating Wawrinka in three sets and this was his eighth career title and second ATP 500 one.

On to this week ATP action and it’s another busy one with three events including another European indoor event at Marseille, France, the first outdoor North American hard-court event of the season at Delray Beach and the only ATP 500 clay court event in the sunny realms of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We will start in Europe at Marseille and French players have performed well winning five of the last ten titles, Tsonga won in 2009 and 2017, Simon won back in 2105 and they both line up for a shot at this year’s title as does defending champion Khachanov.

The top two seeds at Marseille surprisingly have a poor record over the last decade and the top seed has won the title only once during this period (Soderling 2011) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Berdych 2013), which does not bode well for top-seed Tsitsipas’s chances this week. The second seed has won one of the last ten titles (Tsonga 2017) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Tsonga 2014), which does not bode well for Coric’s chances this week.

Seeded players in general have performed well at Marseille over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than nine has won nine of the last ten titles (last Khachanov 2018) and a seeded player seeded no higher than eight has been a losing finalist seven times over the last decade (last Pouille 2018). Unseeded players don’t have a great record at Marseille over the last decade winning two titles (last Kyrgios 2016) and they were a losing finalist three times during this period (last Llodra 2012).

From a betting perspective I can’t advise the top two seeds based on their poor records over the last decade. Statistics over the last decade suggest a player seeded from three to nine has a strong chance of winning this year’s title and with French players performing well at Marseille over the last decade I’ll side with Montpellier winner Wild Card Tsonga (6/1) and eighth seed Chardy (35/1).

Over in North America at Delray Beach we have the first outdoor hard-court tournament of the season. American players have a good record winning the last three titles and four in total over the last decade. This year’s tournament has attracted a strong field with the likes of 2011 winner and top-seed Del Potro, who’s playing his first tournament of the year, second seed and New York semi-finalist Isner, defending champion and third seed Tiafoe, 2015 winner Karlovic and New York finalists Opelka and Schnur to name a few.

The top two seeds have a poor record at Delray Beach and the top seed has won one of the last ten titles (Fish 2009) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (last Raonic 2017)), which does not bode well for Del Potro’s chances this week. The second seed has never won the title over the last decade and they were a losing finalist once during this period (Karlovic 2010), which does not bode well for Isner’s chances this week.

Seeded players in general have performed reasonably well at Delray Beach over the last decade and a player seeded no higher than seven has won five of the last ten titles (last Sock 2017) and a seeded player no higher than six was a losing finalist four times during this period (last Raonic 2017). There has also been a handful of surprise winners and finalists over the last decade and an unseeded player has won five titles over the last decade (last Tiafoe 2018) and there were six unseeded losing finalists during this period (last Gojowczyk 2018).

From a betting perspective I’ll include some seeded and unseeded players. Seventh seed Fritz (18/1) has made a consistent start to the year and has the game to challenge for the title having already reached an ATP final on home soil. Aussie’s fifth seed Millman (22/1) and the unseeded Tomic (25/1) both have some decent form on hard courts bounced back to form last season and he won his first ATP Tour title in three years at Chengdu. A repeat of that level of form should see him go close to reaching Sunday’s final and landing his fifth ATP Tour title.

Rio is the only clay ATP 500 event of the season and it’s a newish tournament that has been running for five seasons now. The top two seeds don’t have a great record at Rio and the top-seed has won one of the last five titles (last Nadal 2014) and they were never a losing finalist during this period, which does not bode well for Theim’s chances this week. The second seed has won two of the last five titles (last Thiem 2017) and they were never a losing finalist during this period, which does not bode well for Fognin’s chances this week.

Seeded players in general have a strong record at Rio and a player seeded no higher than six has won four of the last five titles (last Schwartzman 2018) and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist three times during this period (last Verdasco 2018). An unseeded player has won one of the last four titles (Cuevas 2016) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Pella 2016). From a betting perspective there’s no seeded players that attract my interest so I’ll opt for a couple of potentially over priced unseeded players instead. Veteran Cuevas (20/1) from Uruguay is a proven performer at this level on clay and has hinted at a return to the winners, enclosure in recent weeks so is worth taking a risk on this week. The same applies to Pella (30/1) from Argentina.

Selections

Tournament

Marseille

Tsonga Win @ 6/1

Chardy Win @ 35/1

Delray Beach

Fritz Win @ 20/1

Millman Win @ 22/1

Tomic Win @ 25/1

Rio de Janeiro

Cuevas Win @ 20/1

Pella Win @ 30/1

Match Betting

Vesely Win vs. Monfils @ 5/1

Double @ 2.8

Sandgren Win vs Opelka

Kukushkin Win vs. Kudla


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