Tennis betting preview: 9/1 clay-specialist Cristian Garin looks worth a go in Rio

Cristian Garin celebrations

Another busy week of ATP Tour action with events in Rio, Marseille and Delray Beach and we’ve got 9/1, 14/1 and 25/1 tennis betting tips to get excited about.

Now if you are the type of gambler who likes a thick bet on a pre-tournament favourite then Rio is probably an event to swerve. Rafael Nadal won the inaugural tournament here in 2014 but he remains the only top seed ever to have even made the final.

Hungarian Laslo Dere was a shock winner last season and he was a 66/1 shot before the action began in Brazil. It’s the only ATP 500 event on the South American Golden Swing but Nadal in 2014 aside, the Jockey Club Brasileiro has struggled to attract the true superstars of the ATP Tour in recent years.

Dominic Thiem is here again this year and he’s a red hot 11/10 favourite. There are arguments for an against rowing in at said odds. In 2017 he didn’t lose a set as he cruised to victory in Rio in what proved his only ATP tournament victory that year.

Dominic Thiem at Australian Open

This season he was sensational in the latter stages of the Australian Open, showing glimpses of his very best form and offering real hope he can be the one to stop the stranglehold of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Nadal.

He dominated from the back of the court for long spells in that Melbourne final against Djokovic before the Serb somehow rallied to reel him in. If he shows even 70% of that form this week it is likely to be good enough to win Rio again.

However, in his last two visits here he’s lost early, to Dere last year and to Fernando Verdasco in 2018. He’s in a pretty tough top half of the draw too, a half that also contains Guido Pella, Casper Ruud and Verdasco.

A better bet in the opposite half could be Cristian Garin at 9/1. The youngster from Chile has already won Cordoba this season and having not travelled to contest the Argentina Open has clearly targeted this event. He recently achieved his highest ATP singles ranking of 25 earlier this month and look a dirt-ball specialist who is going places.

Garin has a fine record on clay in South America (won 36 of his last 50 matches) and looks to have a pretty tame draw until at least the quarter-final stages. With this in mind 9/1 looks big, especially if someone can stun Thiem in that top half at any point before the final.

Cristian Garin in action

In Marseille Daniil Medvedev is top seed and favourite to land the Open 13 title and the world No 5 could do with a good week after a pretty ordinary start to 2020. He’s just 7-3 so far this season and was last seen losing his first match in Rotterdam last week to Vasek Pospisil. Medvedev is a rare gem but he’s yet to really get going at all this season and odds of less than 3/1 look pretty skinny.

In the bottom half Stefanos Tsitsipas also looks one to swerve. He’s the defending champion in Marseille and won last year without dropping a set. However, he is just 3-4 this season and was clearly struggling with a shoulder problem last week.

At 14/1 Russian Karen Khachanov looks interesting. He’s endured a tough year or so on the Tour but loves it indoors and took down Marseille in 2018 (one of three indoor titles that year including Moscow and Paris). When Khachanov won in Marseille in 2018 he was a 66/1 shout and if he can get past R1 opponent Aljaz Bedene don’t bet against him going on a winning run this week.

Karen Khachanov celebrating

Finally to the US and Delray Beach, where one year ago Radu Albot became the first Moldovan to win an ATP Tour title, saving three championship points against Daniel Evans.

Milos Raonic heads the betting and has a 5-1 lifetime record here. However he’s also not won an ATP Tour title since 2016 when he won in Brisbane. Nick Kyrgios is the top seed and this will be his first public outing since losing that titanic three-hour, 38-minute thriller against Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Kyrgios is a 4/1 chance this week and if he is dialled in could go all the way. It’s a big ‘if’ though and it’s hard to make a case for one of the world’s most erratic (if gifted) sportsmen at single figure prices.

Nick Kyrgios pointing the finger

Last season in Zhuhai we tipped Adrian Mannarino up at 50/1 on these pages and here almost got home, losing in the final. The French leftie could be worth an each-way punt again this week in what looks a pretty wide open field.

Mannarino has won seven of his last 11 matches at Delray Beach and is the type of crafty shot-maker who could give the big-servers in the field fits. He opens up against Soonwoo Kwon and should be too seasoned for the young South Korean. The Frenchman has bags of experience and the cojones to give punters another decent ride at 25/1.

Bilko’s Banker: Cristian Garin to win the Rio Open at 9/1 (888 Sport/Paddy Power)
Best of the Rest #1: Karen Khachanov to win the Open 13 Provence at 14/1 (bet365)
Best of the Rest #2: Adrian Mannarino each-way to win the Delray Beach Open at 25/1 (888 Sport)

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Derek Bilton

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