We had a nice little 9/1 touch in last week’s tennis betting preview as Cristian Garin won Rio and there’s another busy week of ATP Tour action coming up, with all eyes on Dubai and a certain world No 1.
Novak Djokovic arrives in the UAE for the first time since 2016 as he looks to lock up a fifth title in the desert and continue his imperious (and so far unbeaten) start to 2020.
Last season Djokovic didn’t compete at all in the month of February but a couple of wonky results at Indian Wells and Miami has convinced him to tweak his schedule this season and so here he is once again at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Currently 13-0 after winning the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, Djokovic is a piping hot odds on favourite here but there’s no mileage in getting stuck in at 4/6.
Flamboyant Frenchman Gael Monfils is on a winning streak (9) of his own and it will be interesting to see if he can translate that recent fabulous indoor form of Montpellier and Rotterdam to the outdoor heat of Dubai.
It’s not beyond the realms of fantasy that ’La Monf’ has another big week. Monfils has made the quarters and semi-finals on his last two visits to Dubai. He’s in the same half of the draw as Djokovic and therefore could do with the Serb somehow falling early, but any double figure quotes about the Frenchman winning here could be worth taking as he’s in the form of his life.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is second favourite and the Greek star finally found a bit of form in Marseille, retaining the title he won last year in the south of France during an impressive run last week.
However he’s been handed a tough draw here and his quarter is stacked with danger. It’s Pablo Carreño Busta first up and if he gets past the wily Spaniard a clash with rising talent Alexander Bublik looks on the cards again (they met in the semis in Marseille).
Bublik seems a bit of maverick, claiming to French newspaper L’Equipe last week that “I hate tennis with all my heart” and that he’s only playing for the money. Whether he hates the game or not, it’s clear that he can play a bit and with Andrey Rublev also in that bottom half Tsitsipas looks one to swerve.
In summary this look like Novak’s tournament to lose but the value lies in Monfils at 14/1. The 33-year-old Frenchman wasted a chance to compete in the ATP Finals in London last November but he looks a like he could qualify this season after such a blistering start to the year, and an ATP 500 win in Dubai would do his prospects no harm whatsoever.
Over in Acapulco Rafael Nadal has decided to again play the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, and like Djokovic in Dubai, the King of Clay dominates the outright betting. The Spanish ace owns a 15-2 record in Acapulco, reaching the final or lifting the trophy in three of his four appearances in Mexico.
One year ago though Rafa lost an epic second-round battle against Nick Kyrgios in a frantic final-set tie-break. Nadal wasn’t overly complimentary of the Aussie afterwards after his opponent went through his full repertoire of tricks (including serving under arm), but credit where it’s due, Kyrgios was sensational on that day.
Indeed Kyrgios puts together the best week of his career here last season, beating Andreas Seppi, Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and then Sascha Zverev to win the ATP 500 title. He played free, fun, and focused tennis and when he’s in that kind of mood he’s a match for anyone.
However he’s skipped recent tournaments in Delray Beach and New York citing injury, so who knows what type in shape he is in to defend his title. Zverev has all the talent in the world but needs to kick on this year and he could be worth a go here at around the 7/1 mark, having made the final last year and winning the doubles event.
Finally Cristian Garin, a hero for this column last week in Rio, looks the man to beat at the inaugural Chile Dove Men + Care Open in Santiago. His main opposition looks like coming in the shape of Marco Cecchinato, Juan Ignacio Londero and recent Argentina Open winner Casper Ruud, but Garin has been on fire during the ATP Tour’s ‘Golden Swing’ and he can finish with a flourish on home soil.
Bilko’s Banker: Gael Monfils to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at 14/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest #1: Alexander Zverev to win the Abierto Mexicano Telcel at 7/1 (888 Sport)
Best of the Rest #2: Cristian Garin to win the Chile Dove Men + Care Open at 7/2 (Paddy Power)
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