The King of Clay was also the king of the hard courts last week. Rafael Nadal rolled into Montreal as the $3 favourite to win the Rogers Cup, and he did just that. For us, well our value picks struggled in what was a week full of upsets.
This week the ATP World Tour heads to Cincinnati, USA, for the Cincinnati Masters (AKA the Western & Southern Open). All the big names are in action for what’s the final event before the fourth and final major of the year, the US Open. Below, we’ve previewed this week’s major tournament and provided our best value bets. Good luck to everyone following our tips this week!
Founded way back in 1899, the Cincinnati Masters is one of ninenelite Masters 1000 tournaments on the ATP World Tour this year. As the name suggests, it’s based in Cincinnati, USA, and is played on outdoor hard courts. The winningest men’s tennis player of all time at this tournament is Roger Federer with seven titles (2005-15). The current men’s champion is Novak Djokovic after he won here in 2018 – his first career title at the event.
There are 56 players in the field at the Cincinnati Open this year, and of those 56, 16 are seeded. The real advantage here is to be a top eight seed however, as they are awarded a bye in Round 1, meaning they get automatic qualification to the second round. Here’s the top eight seeds this week.
(1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
(2) Rafael Nadal (Spain) *Withdrawn*
(3) Roger Federer (Switzerland)
(4) Dominic Thiem (Austria)
(5) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
(6) Kei Nishikori (Japan)
(7) Alexander Zverev (Germany)
(8) Karen Khachanov (Russia)
It’s almost like a mini Grand Slam this week, such is the strength of the field. The only top 10 player not participating is Rafael Nadal who pulled out late to avoid overplaying ahead of the US Open. Simply, Nadal played a ton of tennis in Montreal last week and has chosen to sit this one out.
The favourite to win the title at all major agencies is Novak Djokovic ($2.40). The Joker is the defending champion here and has absolutely dominated the hard courts in the recent seasons on Tour. He hasn’t played any singles matches since he lifted the Wimbledon trophy, so it may take him a while to get into the swing of things... pardon the pun.
In the next line of betting we’ve got Roger Federer ($4). The GOAT also hasn’t played since Wimbledon, so the grass-to-hard court transition may take a little bit of getting used to. He’s a 7x champion here however, so his record speaks for itself.
After Djokovic and Federer, you get out to all double-figure odds, headlined by Dominic Thiem ($13). The Austrian gun has won two Masters 1000s already this year, so he’s certainly got the ability. The only query is his consistency on hard courts, which has been his least successful surface to date.
The only others with sub-$20 quotes are Alexander Zverev and Kei Nishikori – both $15 shots. Zverev is a proven winner at Masters 1000 tournaments but has had a really poor season by his standards, while Nishikori probably doesn’t have good enough form to trouble the big dogs this week.
Even without any matches under his belt since Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic is clearly the man to beat. He’s won the last two hard court Majors (US 2018, AO 2019) and is the defending champion here at the Cincinnati Masters. Djokovic has the wood over Federer, while no Nadal in the field will also help his chances. Anything over $2 seems like a more than fair price to jump on at.
If you’re looking for a bit more value or something else to follow this week, then we like the odds of Taylor Fritz to win his quarter and make it to the semi-finals. Fritz is enjoying a career best year on Tour and has risen up to #25 in the World Rankings as a result – his highest to date. His favourite surface is hard court and he’ll have the home crowd behind him this week (he’s American). 21-year-old Fritz was a Grand Slam winner at the US Open as a junior in 2015 and has won five challenger titles already as a pro. In the weakest of all four quarters this week, we’re keen to see how far he can go.
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