ATP tennis betting preview: Italian stallions to make hay on the clay
In his latest tennis betting preview, Derek Bilton backs the Italians to do well at the Estoril Open and Munich Open.
Despite back-to-back semi-final defeats on clay Rafael Nadal has only been eased marginally in the French Open betting. The Pearl of Manacor was odds on with most firms to win again at Roland Garros before the European clay swing started, but shock defeats in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona have seen him eased to an industry top price 11/8 for a major he has dominated for over a decade.
This week there is clay action in Estoril and Munich, where once again Alexander Zverev looks a very fragile favourite.
Zverev is top seed at the BMW Munich Open, an event has won twice before. However this year has been stinker so far for the German. He has suffered early exits at Indian Wells, Miami, Marrakech, Monte Carlo and Barcelona in recent weeks and has been brutally honest in assessing his recent shortcomings.
The 22-year-old said after defeat to lucky loser Nicolas Jarry in Barcelona, “I’m in a hole and I don’t know how to get out of it.”
Longer term he’s too good a player not to turn things around, but he is missing first serves and backhands all over the place just now and a crisis of confidence means he’s definitely one to swerve again this week.
There are five players in the Munich draw that have already won titles on clay in 2019. Of these last year’s surprise French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato makes plenty of appeal at 12s.
Cecchinato has enjoyed a decent year, winning the Argentina Open in February without dropping a set and outlasting Stan Wawrinka recently in Monte-Carlo. At 26 he’s at the very peak of his powers and has skyrocketed up the ranking in the past 18 months.
The Sicilian remains the highest-ranked player ever to be suspended for match-fixing, but those dark days of a few years ago are very much behind him now and he’s a real handful on his beloved red dirt.
Last year he became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi since Corrado Barazzuti way back in 1978, and ‘Ceck’ has the tools to go deep this week. He is a solid server and has a lovely disguised drop shot. With doubts surrounding the form of Zverev and second seed Karen Khachanov, the Italian looks to have a real shout this week at a big price.
Elsewhere a decent field will assemble at the Clube de Ténis do Estoril, where Stefanos Tsitsipas is the favourite to land the Millennium Estoril Open. The young Greek has established himself within the world’s top 10 this season, but his results on clay have not been great.
Indeed he’s won precisely one match on the dirt so far, and was last seen losing to Daniil Medvedev in Monte-Carlo. On paper Tsitsipas has a game well suited to the clay. He’s fast, tenacious and gets a lot of balls back. However it’s clear his best results have come on faster surfaces and he looks a bit short here at around the 4/1 mark.
Indeed it could pay to roll the dice on another Italian. Fabio Fognini recorded the biggest win of his career in Monte-Carlo, taking down his first ever Masters 1000 event and vanquishing Nadal en route. He can be forgiven for his swift exit in Barcelona last week after such a big effort in Monaco, but he should be fresh here and if he’s motivated he will take all the beating.
It’s always a gamble going with Fognini. Beside the word ‘erratic’ in the Oxford English Dictionary there should be a picture of his smouldering face.
But after beating the King of Clay in the Principality he won’t fear a soul this week and if he wants it this is a tournament he can definitely win. A solid outsider as an alternative would be Pablo Carreno Busta at 25/1.
The Spaniard has accepted a wildcard this year and loves it here. He was a champion in 2017 and has a very tidy 13-3 lifetime record at the event.
Bilko’s Banker: Fabio Fognini to win the Millennium Estoril Open at 4/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest #1: Marco Cecchinato to win the BMW Munich Open at 12/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest #2: Pablo Carreno Busta to win the Millennium Estoril Open at 25/1 (Betfair)
More from Tennis365:
Britain’s Heather Watson beaten in Abu Dhabi as the world No.1 also crashes out
Heather Watson bowed out of the Abu Dhabi Open in a gruelling second-round defeat by 17th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Quarantine plan revealed for the game’s top players ahead of Australian Open
The world’s leading players will quarantine in Adelaide rather than Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.
Rising star provisionally suspended from all tennis activity following a positive doping test
Ukrainian rising star Dayana Yastremska has been…
Is this the real reason why Roger Federer is skipping next month’s Australian Open?
Roger Federer suggested he pulled out of the Australian Open for fitness reasons, yet other reasons were in play.
Sofia Kenin wins as the tennis season gets underway despite doubts over what happens next
No.1 seed Sofia Kenin of the United…
Exclusive – F1 champ Jenson Button on his love of tennis and the Federer vs Nadal debate
Formula 1 ace Jenson Button has admitted he is ‘in awe’ of the tennis giants of the modern era.
Exclusive – British Davis Cup captain makes a prediction for Dan Evans in 2021
British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith believes Dan Evans could be a player to watch in 2021.
Tennis star Camila Giorgi draws mixed response after posting sexy lingerie images on social media
Tennis star Camila Giorgi has been targeted by online trolls after sharing a series of racy lingerie snaps on her social media channels.
Legendary coach of Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic loses his fight with cancer
Bob Brett, one of tennis’ most respected coaches and a former director of player development has died of cancer.
Australian Open organisers scrambling to finalise preparations for players
The hard work appeared to have been done when Tennis Australia announced last month that the tournament would start on February 8.