It has been a few weeks after the Australian Open, and for many sports fans, tennis will be an afterthought as Australia begins to gear up for another winter of AFL, NRL and Super Rugby. However, the ATP and WTA show still moves on, with tournaments happening throughout February all across the world, there is plenty of value to be had.
Novak Djokovic was our champion and, having played two of the most scintillating sets of all time in his semi-final against Federer, was a deserving champion. Being an odds-on favourite in a tournament involving 128 players shows exactly what kind of a talent we are watching, and the current record of 17 Grand Slam titles may not last for long, as Novak has 11 titles and counting. With Federer and Nadal in decline, and the next generation such as Theim, Goffin and Krygios still a few years away from consistent play, Novak could reach #18 within the next three years.
Angelique Kerber was the champion on the women’s side, which would be good news for those who took our advice to avoid betting Serena, if only just. It was quite an exciting final, and hopefully Kerber can be one of a few young talents to provide some more competition outside of the Serena show over the next few years.
For those following Australian talents, it was a tournament of mixed results. Tomic and Kyrgios made runs to the fourth and third rounds respectively that matched their seeding, while Lleyton Hewitt got a send-off deserving of someone who has flown the flag for Australian tennis almost single-handedly since the retirements of Rafter and Phillipoussis. John Millman’s run to the third round was encouraging, though a touch fortunate given the injury retirement of his first round opponent in Schwartzman.
But the true star was Daria Gavrilova. After winning the Hopman Cup earlier in the summer, she continued her form with a run to the fourth round. After taking the first set of her 4th round match 6-0 vs Suarez Navarro, bigger dreams were had, but unfortunately were not to be. Regardless, at 21 she is someone with many years ahead to look forward to.
The feature event this weekend is the ATP500 in Rotterdam, which is down to the semi-final stage. The largest controversy has been the withdrawals of Nick Kyrgios, Richard Gasquet and Roger Federer, which combined with defending champion Stan Wawrinka and runner-up Tomas Berdych electing not to participate, left a tournament somewhat bereft of star power.
The biggest name left is Gael Monfils, and I think he should be able to do enough to take down the title.
His semi-final against Philip Kohlschreiber is almost a final in itself, given that at this point, Kohls is considered more likely to win the title compared to the other semi-finalists in Martin Klizan and Nicholas Mahut, despite having the hardest semi-final draw. Monfils to win the title is $2.75 on CrownBet, and I think that is worth a little punt.
BET: Monfils to win ATP Rotterdam @ $2.75 at CrownBet
The secondary event of the week is in Argentina for the Buenos Aires ATP250, most notable for the fact that this tournament is being played on clay, as opposed to the hard courts seen throughout the Australian summer and in Rotterdam. Over the next few weeks, there are events on both surfaces, so it’s very important to note which matches are on which surfaces. History is littered with players with brilliant records on clay compared to hard (Gustavo Kuerten comes to mind) so this distinction between surfaces is much bigger in certain cases than any other “home field” advantage in sports.
And when it comes to talking about clay, where else to start than with the master himself Rafael Nadal. After a poor showing at the Australian Open, he will be looking to put things right, and where else to do so then on his favourite clay surface. He is the defending champ, and hasn’t dropped a set so far this week, so I expect him to continue his form. He has only played his semi-final opponent Dominic Theim once before, which was a straight sets victory on clay the French Open two years ago, and I expect this to continue.
BET: Rafael Nadal 2-0 vs Dominic Theim @$1.64 at CrownBet
For the futures markets, the likely final will be Ferrer vs Nadal, and again, I like Nadal to be able to hoist the title come Monday morning. He has a 19-2 record against Ferrer on clay (5-4 on hard courts) and should be able to defend his title. Markets are not currently set at the time of writing, with Ferrer currently in his quarter final, but Nadal is currently $1.45 at Sportsbet to win the title which is still great value on the greatest clay courter ever.
Semi-final time here as well, and Kei Nishikori is going to win. It is a very boring and plain report, but sometimes, it is what it is. He is far more accomplished than either Sam Querrey, Berankis or Fritz, and having won this tournament the last three times, he will do it again. However with a price of only $1.27 to win the tournament at CrownBet, I will be looking elsewhere for a bet.
The next big event for free-to-air TV audiences will be the Davis Cup, on the weekend of the 4-6th of March. Australia will be hosting the United States at Kooyong in Victoria. Sportsbet has Australia listed as the third favourite overall currently at $8, which is a little short for my liking. In Davis Cup, teams alternate home matches against each opponent, which means Australia would likely play away in the quarter-finals against Belgium (Australia hosted them in Cairns in 2010) so $8 is way too short for my liking.
If I was going to be making a wager, I would be backing France at $5 at CrownBet. They have a deep talented roster of players, two of the top 10 and five of the top 21, who can play across all surfaces. However, until more information comes out about the availability of the likes of Djokovic for Serbia and Federer/Wawrinka for Switzerland, I would strongly recommend waiting until closer to the date before having a bet on the Davis Cup.
Make sure to read full terms and conditions of any betting promotion before placing any bets.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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