Tennis betting preview: 22/1 Marco Cecchinato looks big to win again in Umag

Marco Cecchinato Umag title PA

Wondering how can you go about investing your tennis betting winnings (or recouping your losses!) from Wimbledon this week? Our man Derek Bilton is here for you.

After one of the most astonishing men’s Wimbledon singles finals in living memory, it’s back to the grind on at ATP this week with events in Newport, Umag and Bastad. But first a word about Wimbledon after Novak Djokovic claimed a sensational fifth SW19 crown.

With each passing major it seems the tennis cognoscenti try to make a legitimate case against Djokovic, Roger Federer and/or Rafael Nadal winning said Grand Slam. The ‘Big Three’ though, despite their advancing years, just seems miles ahead of the rest.

These stats were correct ahead of Friday’s semi-finals:

1. Novak Djokovic’s record in 2019: 33-6 (85%)
2. Rafael Nadal’s record in 2019: 37-5 (88%)
3. Roger Federer’s record in 2019: 37-4 (90%)

This compares to ‘next generation’ stars

4. Dominic Thiem’s record in 2019: 23-10 (70%)
5. Alexander Zverev’s record in 2019: 25-14 (64%)

Honestly? The rest are so far behind the ‘Big Three’ right now it’s like they are playing different sports.

Novak Djokovic pumped up

The fabled trio have a combined age of 102 (Federer 37, Nadal 33, Djokovic 32) and while this underlines just how good these men are, it also shows just how far behind the next generation of ATP stars are lagging.

To business then.


It’s the home to the only professional tournament played on grass in North America – and it has attracted an OK field this year.

Big John Isner – who has won three times here – goes off as a 100/30 favourite but has enjoyed a strange season to this point. He played brilliantly at the Miami Masters when making the final but has played just one event since then and looked a littler rusty at Wimbledon where he fell in round two.

A better bet could be rising Australian star Jordan Thompson. The Aussie has a 6-3 record on grass this season having made the final at S-Hertogenbosch and a semi in Antalya. He lost a five set rollercoaster to Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon but has tons of bottle and is a very smart player. At 8/1 with bet365 he could give us a real run for our money this week.


Fabio Fognini is a solid favourite in Croatia. Fognini put in a couple of thrilling shifts at Wimbledon recently but blotted his copybook horrendously and was forced to apologise after being heard to say: “I wish a bomb would explode on this club” during his defeat to Tennys Sandgren.

The clay plays pretty slow in Umag and Fognini won here in 2016. On paper he’s clearly the best player in the draw but history has shown for all his skill and swagger he’s just not a player to be lumping on when chalked up as a short price favourite.

Fabio Fognini at Wimbledon

Dusan Lajovic and Borna Coric are among the other favourites but Coric has carried the Tennis365 cash a couple of times on grass over the last few weeks and given us nothing but heartache.

Instead we like the look of defending champion Marco Cecchinato, who is a meaty 22/1 this year to defend his title. The Italian arrives in poor form having lost four matches in a row on the main Tour but loves the clay and made a final in Buenos Aires back in February. ‘Ceck’ has ranking points to defend and showed in his remarkable victory over Stan Wawrinka (when he pulled it out of the fire despite losing the first eight games of the match) that he is tough to beat on clay and he should relish the slow conditions in Croatia.


This is another clay event but conditions are a little quicker and fans will get the chance to see gnarled veterans Fernando Verdasco (who has a good record here) and Richard Gasquet in action again. Anyone who has watched Gasquet this season will concur that he’s not moving as well as he once did and he looks short enough at 10/1.

A big price winner here would not be a total surprise but Christian Garin at 7/1 ticks plenty of boxes.

This has been a real breakthrough year for Garin on the dirt and it’s quite possible he will crack the world top 20 soon. At 23, he’s approaching his prime and the Chilean has won events in Munich and Houston already in 2019, as well as making another final on clay in São Paulo. He likes to really bludgeon the ball and hits with great power on both his forehand and backhand side.

Garin has a very solid serve, moves well and is something of a scrapper. In terms of his draw a potential second round clash against Jeremy Chardy could prove problematic (he has a poor head-to-head record against the Frenchman) but if he can come through that things really open up at 7/1 looks perfectly fair this week in the tennis betting world.

Bilko’s Banker: Jordan Thompson to win the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship at 8/1
Best of the Rest #1: Marco Cecchinato to win the Plava Laguna Croatia Open at 22/1
Best of the Rest #2: Christian Garin to win the Swedish Open at 7/1

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