Our tipster Derek Bilton gives you the outright tennis betting preview for this week’s tournaments in Sydney and Auckland.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the top seed at an ATP 250 event for the first time ever this week as the Next Gen ATP Finals champion rocks up to the Sydney International.
The swashbuckling Greek is going to be some player and will be worth keeping an eye on at the forthcoming Australian Open. The bookies feel it could be between him and defending champion Daniil Medvedev in Sydney and while Medvedev was a big price winner here 12 months ago, I’m not sure I could pull the trigger at current quotes of 6/1. Tsitsipas, for all his talent, also looks a bit short at 9/2 (888 Sport).
The stats suggest punters should, as a general rule, swerve steaming into short price “good things” in any tournament that takes place just a week before a Grand Slam. The main aim and focus for most is to get to the major healthy and match fit, and therefore shocks do tend to happen at these kind of events.
With this in mind there have been some surprise winners in Sydney in recent times with Medvedev, Gilles Muller, Viktor Troicki (twice) and Bernard Tomic all triumphing at a venue now known as the Ken Rosewall Arena.
Over the past few years conditions in Sydney have been a little quicker than most hard court surfaces, so anyone with a destructive serve cannot be completely ruled out.
Once upon a time Lleyton Hewitt made this event his own and thrilled hometown fans as he won titles in four straight tournament appearances in Sydney between 2000 and 2005. Alex De Minaur seems to be cut from the same cloth as Hewitt and might be worth a punt to go one better than he did on debut here last year.
In 2018 the young Aussie streaked to the final before losing a cracker to Medvedev. He’s matured plenty since then and his ranking is up to 31 in the world now. He showed noticeably more variety to his game in the last six months of last season and already has a reputation on the Tour as a scrapper. He ticks plenty of boxes and looks definitely worth a go at 13/2.
Over in Auckland expect similar, quick conditions on a surface that could suit more serve-oriented players. John Isner is the top seed and on his day he remains one of the best servers around. However, he looks a bit short at around the 4/1 mark to win the ASB Classic with the Aussie Open looming.
Not so Denis Shapovalov, who can be backed at a tempting 14/1 with bet365. Two seasons ago he shocked the then-world No 1 Rafael Nadal to reach the semi-finals of the Montreal Masters.
And while he didn’t push on as much as many thought he might in 2018 he’s definitely a player on an upward curve. He’s the youngest player in the world’s top thirty and of his game clicks this week he may take all the beating.
David Ferrer (four-time winner) makes his final appearance in Auckland and is in the same half of the draw as Shapovalov. The Spaniard won’t go down without a fight and clearly enjoys it in New Zealand but on recent form it’s hard to make a case for him and Shapovalov, who has his best years ahead of him, is preferred in that half of the draw as an each-way punt.
Bilko’s Banker: Alex di Minaur to win the Sydney International at 13/2 (bet365)
Best of the Rest: Denis Shapovalov each-way to win the ASB Classic at 14/1 (bet365)
Trio up and running at Roland Garros.
No problems for Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Juan Martin del Potro still far away from his best level.
Angelique Kerber an early loser.
We know Rafael Nadal is favourite, but who else makes it?
Katie Swann has opened up about “overall well-being”.
Will Simona Halep successfully defend her trophy?
Alexander Zverev heads to #RG19 with a bit of confidence.
Benoit Paire secures title No 3.
Chang’s French Open title should inspire Nishikori.