All eyes will be on the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell this week, and in particular Rafael Nadal. The legendary Spaniard has nothing left to prove on clay of course but it will be interesting to see how he rebounds after that shocking recent defeat to Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo.
Such has been his dominance on red dirt down the years, any defeat on the surface is headline news. However that 6-4 6-2 defeat in one hour and 36 minutes was one that came right out of the blue. It was probably the upset of the year so far and Nadal didn’t mince his words afterwards.
“It was this kind of day that everything went wrong. I probably played one of the worst matches on clay in 14 years. And today I deserved to lose because I played against a player that was better than me.”
Despite this he is odds on with discover betting sites in the UK and every other bookmaker to win the Trofeo Conde de Godo for a 12th time. Since Carlos Moya won the event in 2003, no fewer than 14 of the last 16 editions of this tournament have been won by Spaniards. There’s no argument against him going off as favourite, but there’s also no mileage in backing him at odds as skinny as 8/13 in places either given he’s not won an ATP title since last August.
As for Fognini, it was refreshing for the sport to see him win in Monte Carlo. For while the Majors are still being dominated by the ‘Big Three’, Fognini became the eighth player to win his first Masters 1000 title since 2017.
However the first thing he said after winning on Sunday was that he needed some time off so he looks one to swerve, even at current odds 33/1.
The last unseeded winner here was Gaston Gaudio in 2002 but if you are looking for a big price outsider then Jaume Munar fits the bill at 125/1.
Munar loves the clay and actually trained for six years in Barcelona as a youngster. At 21 he’s very much a player on the up and up and showcased his quality in Morocco recently when he beat Alexander Zverev in a decent game on clay. He opens up against qualifier Pedro Sousa, a Portuguese player yet to record a win on the ATP Tour this season. He’s in a loaded half of the draw hence his three-figure price but as Fognini showed with his improbable triumph last week anything can happen in tennis.
Top seed at the Hungarian Open is Marin Cilic, but his game really is all over the shop at the minute and it would be a surprise to see him win the title on current form. Indeed the big Croatian has only managed to reach the final of one out of the last 10 tournaments where he went off as top seed.
Second seed Borna Coric looks a much more solid shout at 7/2. He has won two ATP titles and one of those was on clay in Marrakesh in 2017 at this level (ATP 250). He’s enjoyed a solid if unspectacular 2019 to this point but he will look at the draw here and realise there is very little to fear.
Coric is an aggressive counter-puncher whose game looks well suited to clay. With Cilic struggling and a mediocre field elsewhere in Hungary, this looks a tournament there for the taking.
Bilko’s Banker: Borna Coric to win the Hungarian Open at 100/30 (Betfair)
Best of the Rest: Jaume Munar each-way to win the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell at 125/1
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