Last week’s Madrid Open was a very entertaining tournament that would eventually see world number one Novak Djokovic be crowned champion of a Masters 1000 event for a record-tying 33rdtime in his career (tied first all time with Rafael Nadal). Unfortunately for us, he won the final against our value pick in Stefanos Tsitsipas who was paying $29 at the start of the week.
With the Madrid Open now done and dusted we turn our attention to this week’s event, which is another Masters 1000! All the world’s top men’s players will be travelling to Rome, Italy, to play their part in the famous Italian Open. As always, we’ve provided our take on the contenders at this big event and come up with our best bet and value bet to win the title. Good luck to everyone following!
Originally called the Italian International Championships, the Italian Open is an annual tennis tournament held in Rome, Italy. It’s an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event that has been held every year since 1930 (excluding 1939-46) and is played on a clay court surface. The Italian Open has been won a record eight times by Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal (2005-18), including the 2018 edition where he defeated Alexander Zverev in this final (6-1, 1-6, 6-3).
2019 Top 8 Seeds
Being the 56-strong field that it is means that the top eight seeds at this year’s event will get automatic entry into the second round. For reference, the top eight seeds in this year’s tournament are:
(1) Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
(2) Rafael Nadal (Spain)
(3) Roger Federer (Switzerland)
(4) Alexander Zverev (Germany)
(5) Dominic Thiem (Austria)
(6) Kei Nishikori (Japan)
(7) Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)
(8) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)
Almost the exact same field has made the trip from Madrid to Rome to this week, which means the contenders are fairly similar to the ones that fought it out at the business end on the weekend.
Although he has been suffering some uncharacteristic clay court losses this season, Rafael Nadal ($2.50) will again enter as the short-priced favourite. As mentioned above, he’s a record eight-time champion at the Italian Open and will see a fairly soft draw in his half to start the week.
Novak Djokovic ($3.60) proved all the doubters (including us) wrong with his triumph in Madrid and has to be considered as one of the red-hot fancies again this week. He had a fairly easy run to the semi’s in Madrid, but his straight set wins over Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas were very impressive. The only query here will be his ability to back it up after such a quick turnaround.
Being the clay court event that it is, Dominic Thiem ($7) is always one of the main fancies. He had a strong week in Madrid where he made a run to the semi-finals, although he came up against an immovable force in Novak Djokovic who was simply too good. Thiem also made it to the semi-finals at this event back in 2017, in a run that included a straight sets victory over Rafael Nadal.
After the three single-figure quotes you get out to the second tier of fancies in Alexander Zverev ($15), Stefanos Tsitsipas ($17), and Roger Federer ($17). All three had good weeks in Madrid and are capable of backing it up again here at odds.
Both of Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem face potentially trick match-ups first up in Denis Shapovalov and Fernando Verdasco respectively, while Rafael Nadal looks to have been gifted a dream draw for at least his first two matches. Of the three, we can’t go past the Spaniard again this week. Yes, he’s let us down in recent times, but he’s simply too good on clay not to hit his straps in the near future.
In terms of a value play, Alexander Zverev is over the odds at a $15 quote on his best form, as is hometown hero Fabio Fognini who you can get a piece of at a very tasty price ($51).
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