Rafa Nadal second seed continued his excellent record at the Rome 1000 Masters series winning a record ninth title against arch rival top seed and world number one Djokovic who he crushed 6-0 4-6 6-1 in yesterday’s final. To add insult to injury Nadal moved one a head of Djokovic in the race for the most Masters 1000 Series titles 34-33 and most ominous for the rest of the contenders of all is he’s peaking just at the right time to go for a unbelievable record twelfth French Open title which he’s now clear favourite for.
On to this week’s ATP action and there are two ATP 250 clay court tournaments at Geneva and Lyon before the French Open begins a week today. At Lyon defending champion Thiem does not return to defend his title and the tournament hasn’t attracted a strong field with the highest ranked player top seed and world number seventeen Basilashvili the best player in ranking terms and second seed Bautista Agut ranked twenty one in the world the next best in ranking terms. At Geneva fourth seed and defending champion Fucsovics returns to defend his title, top seed Zverev lines up in search of the level of form that took him to number four in the world and second seed and two time Geneva champion (2017 and 2016) Wawrinka received a Wild Card and will attempt to repeat his past success on the red dirt of Geneva.
I’ll analyse the Lyon draw first and the top-seed has won two of the last nine Lyon titles (last Thiem 2018) and they were never a losing finalist during this period, which does not bode well for Basilashvili’s chances his week. The second seed has won two of the last nine titles (last Tsonga 2017) and they were a losing finalist once during this period (last 2010), which does not bode well for Bautista Aguts chances this week.
Seeded players have performed well over the last nine seasons at Lyon and a player seeded no higher than three won six of the last nine titles (last Thiem 2018) and a player seeded no higher than eight was a losing finalist five times during this period (last Berdych 2017). Unseeded players have performed well at Lyon over the last nine seasons winning three of the last nine tittles (last Thiem 2015) and an unseeded player was a losing finalist four times during this period (last Simon 2018).
From a tournament betting perspective past statistics suggest siding with a seeded player from one to three as they’ve won six of the last ten titles and have dominated it the last three years as the first or second seed has won the title. With that in mind ill side with Bautista Agut (5/1) as he’s still the class act in the field, a former top ten player and has already won nine ATP titles during his career. The altitude won’t bother him as he reached the Geneva final around this time this year and went close to reaching the Munich final eventually losing to winner Berrettini. (lost to him in Geneva final) so if he can reproduce that type of form this week, he should make a serious bid for the title.
French players and proven veterans have a good record at Lyon, and I’ll opt for few who are in form. The unseeded Paire (20/1) from the bottom half of the draw can be a frustrating player to follow at times because of his unpredictable performances, however, he’s been in solid form on clay this year already winning the title at Marrakech ,which was his second ATP clay title after winning Bastad in 2015. If he can remain calm and focussed and reproduce best clay form this week, he has a good chance of challenging for the title with not many players in the bottom half of the draw producing the level of clay performance he has this year.
Moving on to Geneva and this will be the fourth renewal of the Geneva tournament and the top seed that’s done quite well during this period winning two of the four titles (last Wawrinka 2017) and they were never a losing finalist during this period. The second seed has a poor record at Geneva having never won the title or reached the final the last four seasons, which does not bode well for Wawrinka’s chances this week. Seeded players have performed quite well over the last four seasons winning two titles (last Wawrinka 2017) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Cilic 2016). Unseeded players have experienced success at Geneva winning two of the last four titles (last Fucsovics) and they were a losing finalist twice during this period (last Gojowczyk)
From a tournament betting perspective, there’s little historical data to help analyse the draw so I’ll use what stats there are and look for form players who are either knocking on the door of reaching their first final and/or winning a title and/or have the experience of reaching a final and/or winning a title already. Third seed Garin (6/1) has burst on to the main ATP Tour clay scene this season winning his first ATP title at Houston, he won a Challenger event earlier in the year and went very close to winning his second ATP title just losing the Munich final on a tie break against Berrettini.
Spanish veteran Ramos-Vinolas (22/1) has been hinting at producing some better form this season and potentially challenging for a title if he can rediscover the form that won him the Bastad title in 2016. He’s won more chances than he’s lost on the surface this year and it’s taken eventual winners and/or a finalist to stop him at big tournaments like Medvedev beat him in three sets at Barcelona and finalist Schwartzman beat him at Rome last week. He won’t meet any player of that calibre until a potential semi-final with top seed top seed Zverev but the way the number one seeds been playing so far this season there’s a likelihood he might not even reach that stage which could hand an advantage to Ramos-Vinolas who will hopefully reproduce his best form this week.
Bautista Agut Win (5/1)
Paire Win (20/1)
Garin Win (5/1)
Ramos-Vinolas Win (22/1)
Jarry Win (22/1)