Betting preview: Rafael Nadal nailed on to win Abierto Mexicano Telcel

Rafael Nadal in action

If you read last week’s betting preview and took the tip, then you will also be richer this morning after 12/1 Diego Schwartzman won the Rio Open.

But here you go with this week’s preview.

Rafael Nadal targets a third title in Acapulco this week, and some invaluable ranking points as he plots a path back to the world No 1 spot currently occupied by his relentless rival Roger Federer.

The Mallorcan has not played since being forced to retire from his Australian Open quarter-final with a hip injury. For this reason he is not a massively prohibitive price this week but instead a very puntable 5/2 chance for glory at a venue where he’s had some decent success down the years.

Rafa has been training on the Mexican island of Cozumel, and he should be match fit by the time he goes off against compatriot Feliciano Lopez in the opening round.

Nadal is 14-1 in Acapulco, winning the title here twice. Firstly, when it was held on clay in 2005 and then again in 2013. Last year, the Spanish superstar didn’t drop a set en route to the final, but he was then edged out by an inspired Sam Querrey.

The 500-level tournament is played on outdoor hard courts these days and for this reason the bookies fancy young German prodigy Alexander Zverev to have a big week. Zverev has been practicing with Nadal over the past few days and has a power game well suited to this sort of terrain. Without question he will have his backers at 8/1.

So too Juan Martin Del Potro, who is a 13/2 second favourite with the odds compilers. Del Potro is a ferocious competitor, but has won only five of 14 career meetings against Nadal and lost a high quality encounter in four sets at the US Open last time out.

Dominic Thiem looks interesting at 14/1 and is in the opposite half of the draw to Rafa. He won here in 2016 and has enjoyed a tidy start to 2018 as well. Thiem could be worth thinking about in terms of an each-way nibble but Nadal looks the pick here to mark his return to competitive action with yet another ATP Tour title.

There’s another ATP 500 event this week in the shape of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an event won by Andy Murray last year. Murray and 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka don’t feature, while seven-time winner Roger Federer skips this event as he looks to defend huge points at forthcoming tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.

Grigor Dimitrov is the favourite in Dubai, and while he’s got into a nice habit of reaching the business end of tournaments so far this year, he’s yet to win one. At 100/30 he looks plenty short and one to swerve. Lucas Poullie has been excellent so far this season but he’s also played a lot of tennis and might not be one hundred per cent physically after a tough week in Marseille (where he lost a gruelling final to Karen Khachanov).

One player who will go fresh is Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman is 10-4 for the season so far and made a final in Montpellier a few weeks ago. The slow hard courts of Dubai will be favourable to Gasquet, who made a semi-final on debut here in 2011.

Gasquet starts his campaign against Borna Coric, a man he handled fairly easily during a routine Davis Cup win in 2016. The fifth seed is in the same half of the draw to Dimitrov, but if the Bulgarian runs into difficulty early on Gasquet has the class to capitalise and looks worth a few quid at 10/1.

Elsewhere Gael Monfils is the 9/2 betting jolly to land the Brasil Open, but the maverick Frenchman is notorious for blowing hot and cold so cannot be trusted to carry our cash this week.

Bilko’s Banker: Rafael Nadal to win Abierto Mexicano Telcel at 5/2 (Bet Victor)
Best of the Rest: Richard Gasquet to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at 10/1 (Paddy Power)

Deggsy Bilton