The ATP Tour relentlessly moves on from the Australian Open this week, with one rising star in particular catching the eye of our tennis betting expert Derek Bilton.
The dust can now settle on what was a memorable, fascinating Australian Open. In the end there were no shocks in the men’s event as Novak Djokovic won a 17th Grand Slam – despite being pushed to the limit by Dominic Thiem in a lung-busting final.
However even Nostradamus himself would have been hard pushed to predict a Sofia Kenin v Garbine Muguruza final in the women’s event.
Back to the grind of the ATP Tour this week then with three 250 events for punters to get stuck into. In Montpellier Gael Monfils is the favourite to land the Open Sud de France. ‘La Monf’ has won here twice (2010, 2014) and there have actually only been two non-French winners in Montpellier in the last decade.
Monfils is the leading French hope this time around and did OK at the recent Australian Open (losing to eventual finalist Thiem). However the maverick performer is wildly inconsistent and you’d be well behind down the years backing him with hard cash in tournaments he’s gone off as favourite.
One price that jumps off the page in France though is the 33/1 available on Jannik Sinner. The Italian is currently the youngest player in the top 100 at the age of just 18.
The San Candido native started 2019 at number 553 in the world, yet after a very solid season and that surprising victory in the Next-Gen ATP finals, Sinner suddenly found himself up to 79th position in the world rankings. He has since recorded his first Grand Slam main draw victory in Melbourne recently and looks to have a huge future in the sport.
No lesser authority than John McEnroe is a fan, commenting recently “Jannik is one of the most talented players I have seen in the past ten years. He is very talented physically and a rare talent.” From what I’ve seen so far I’d go along with Johnny Mac and if he can get past fourth seed Grigor Dimitrov (whose in his quarter) punters could get a real run for their money at 33s.
Over in India Benoit Paire is favourite to land the Tata Open Maharashtra. However he’s another Gallic talent who can be filed in the ‘Erratic’ drawer and a watching brief is advised at a tournament that Stan Wawrinka has dominated over the past decade.
Finally the Cordoba Open is the first clay event of 2020 and the opening leg of the four-week ‘Golden Swing’ as the Tour moves through Latin America.
Diego Schwartzman is the top seed, betting jolly and he had a decent Australian Open, reaching the last 16 before being outclassed by Djokovic. He won in Rio De Janeiro in 2018 and again on clay last year in Los Cabos. However there are several proper, gnarled clay specialists who’ve arrived in Cordoba this week so Diego won’t have things all his own way.
Guido Pella, the second seed, certainly looks worthy of consideration for example. While as fit as the next pro, Pella is big on the psychological side of the game too and regularly telephones his psychologist when he is away during tournaments.
It’s a move that has paid off too as in March 2019 he finally broke his duck in ATP finals (he had lost four on the spin) when he beat Christian Garin to land the Brasil Open. He reached a career high 20 in the world late last summer and the leftie has rock solid credentials on clay. Garin is in the same (bottom) half of the draw to him this week but after his run to the final here last season Pella looks a player worth siding with at 6/1.
Bilko’s Banker: Guido Pella to win the Cordoba Open at 6/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest: Jannik Sinner to win the Open Sud de France at 33/1 (Paddy Power)
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