Derek Bilton is here with your latest tennis betting preview and he has some hot tips for events in Hamburg, Gstaad and Atlanta.
It’s been a lean time for the column in recent weeks and those who rowed in and backed Roger Federer to win Wimbledon will still be hurting after the great man blew match points in that epic final with Novak Djokovic.
However, as Martin Luther King Jr once said “Only in the darkness can you see the stars” and there’s plenty for punters to get stuck into this week with events in Hamburg, Gstaad and Atlanta.
The biggest tournament this week is on the clay in Hamburg where Dominic Thiem is a piping hot 12/5 favourite to win the Hamburg European Open. The 500 event – previously known as the German Tennis Championship – has attracted a decent field and Thiem is clearly the man to beat. The Austrian is 17-6 on red dirt this season and is probably the best player on the surface these days not called Rafael Nadal – so it may well be worth doing a quick click here for a guide to tennis betting sites offering generous odds on him.
He was bombed out of Wimbledon in round one when losing to Sam Querrey so will have had plenty of time to practice on clay and the slow courts of the Am Rothenbaum should be very much to his liking. At his best he would run away with this and he looks a solid betting proposition this week when you consider his main rival in the eyes of the odds compilers is Alexander Zverev.
Zverev has endured a torrid season and has flopped every year in Hamburg since making the last four as a raw 17-year-old back in 2014. Let’s have it right here – the big German’s game is in crisis.
A first round loser at Wimbledon, he has also questioned the commitment of his coach Ivan Lendl when publicly declaring in a recent Hamburg press conference “Sometimes we go to the tennis court, the training is two hours long, and for half-an-hour he stands with his back to me talking about the way he played golf the morning before.”
Such comments won’t please the notoriously volatile Lendl and it will be interesting to see the body language between the pair this week.
The only worry regarding Thiem’s price is the fact that only one top seed has won here in the last 10 years, so a bigger priced alternative to Zverev in the bottom half could be Juan Ignacio Londero.
Londero hails from Córdoba, the same city that spawned the outrageously gifted David Nalbandian, and he’s been very consistent on the red stuff in 2019. In February he won his first Tour level match in his home tournament before winning the inaugural title there. He also made the round of 16 at Roland Garros before running into a peak Nadal.
Indeed the Argentine has won seven of his last nine main draw matches on a clay court surface and looks a big runner here at 33/1.
There’s also action on clay in Gstaad but it looks a pretty weak renewal. The very fact that Fernando Verdasco is a 5/1 second favourite in Switzerland tells you everything you need to know so a watching brief is advised for punters.
Finally to America, and specifically Atlanta, an event that has been dominated by US big servers in recent years. John Isner has won five editions while Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick also have their name on the honours board for an event that’s been a staple of the ATP Tour since 2010.
To win here you need a booming serve and Isner, a gnarled veteran of the Tour, still has one of the biggest.
He has won a record 31 matches at the BB&T Atlanta Open and will be oozing confidence after winning in Newport over the weekend. History suggests making the transition from grass to hard court won’t trouble him and he’s a worthy favourite.
However his draw could have been much easier. Newport finalist Alexander Bublik is a potential first opponent for big John while rising Aussie star Alex Di Minaur is also lurking in his half.
Instead we are going to go with Taylor Fritz, a 21-year-old who has really kicked on this season. Since Roddick announced his retirement American tennis has been looking for a new male star and Fritz ticks multiple boxes.
Admittedly his 3-3 record in Atlanta would hardly scare the skin off a bowl of cold porridge but he’s a player on the up and really should relish the quick conditions here.
Fritz won a first ATP Tour level title at Eastbourne earlier this summer and is climbing up the rankings (now 32 in the world) with a bit of a swagger. Back in January Fritz took down Gael Monfils at the Australian Open before been dismantled by Federer.
He has a dominant serve that can reached 149 MPH when he’s in the mood and the Californian should get plenty of love from the Atlanta fans this week. Having beat Isner in Auckland earlier this year he won’t fear his compatriot and he looks worth nibbling at 7/1.
Bilko’s Banker: Dominic Thiem to win the Hamburg European Open at 12/5 (Paddy Power)
Best of the Rest #1: Juan Ignacio Londero each-way to win the Hamburg European Open at 33/1 (888 Sport/Paddy Power)
Best of the Rest #2: Taylor Fritz to win the BB&T Atlanta Open at 7/1 (bet365/Paddy Power)
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