After a 6.05/1 outright winner last week, Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts on the upcoming tournaments...
"It’s fairly tough to make a case to oppose this trio, although I will point out that Raonic hasn’t won a title since January 2016 in Brisbane. He has a history of pulling out of tournaments towards the latter stages and while he has decent numbers, it’s so difficult to have faith in the Canadian in a decent field this week even with what looks like a pretty kind draw in quarter three."
Garin a winner in home country
Our outright preview last week picked up a winner at ATP Santiago with Christian Garin going through the field at around 6.05/1 to lift the trophy in his home country. As it transpired, Garin didn't start much bigger in any of his four matches than around 1.501/2, and dropped just one set - a tiebreak in the final - en route to the title.
Clay courters have a break from action after that tournament with only a Challenger event in Santiago on the calendar for those with a preference to that surface, with hard court events in Dubai and Acapulco the main focus on the ATP Tour this week. Both tournaments are 500 level, so decent fields are in place, and with the time zone differences between the two events, there's virtually 24/7 action again on the tennis circuit in the coming week.
Rublev and Thiem lead outright market in Dubai
Action got underway with a few round one matches in Dubai yesterday with Acapulco kicking off later tonight. In Dubai, there's a 48-man draw with the 16 seeds getting first-round byes. Dominic Thiem is the top seed, although on the Exchange, Andrey Rublev is the tournament favourite at around the 3.505/2 mark - a little shorter than general market pricing. Thiem is available at 4.507/2, with every other player at least at double-digit prices.
Rublev had a strange week in Doha last week with both Richard Gasquet and Marton Fucsovics giving him walkovers before he lost 6-3 6-3 to Roberto Bautista-Agut in his first match (which was the semi-final). Last week I mentioned that it was going to be a tough ask for him to back up his Rotterdam title the week before (five matches that week plus travel from Rotterdam to Doha) and so it proved, but he could be a little fresher in the coming week.
Rublev looks the best player in the field numbers-wise, and only really has Pablo Carreno-Busta, Emil Ruusuvuori and Taylor Fritz as notable threats in the bottom quarter of the draw. I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't get through that bracket.
Thiem has to contend with the likes of Borna Coric and David Goffin in his top quarter and bracket two looks more stacked with Denis Shapovalov, Alex De Minaur, Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz all looking like having potential to get to the latter stages, and De Minaur looks like having the best data on hard courts across the last 12-18 months. The Australian had a week off last week after a surprise loss to Kei Nishikori in Rotterdam but at around 17.016/1, has as good a chance as any of the next-tier players here.
Tsitsipas and Zverev lead market in Acapulco
Over in Acapulco, there's a similar dynamic in the outright markets with three players in single-digit pricing and then the rest of the field bigger, with many players notably so. On the Exchange, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are vying for favourite status, at around 4.03/1, with the German, Zverev, having a slight advantage which broadly agrees with my numbers. Milos Raonic is slightly further back, at around 6.05/1 to 7.06/1 in general market pricing.
It's fairly tough to make a case to oppose this trio, although I will point out that Raonic hasn't won a title since January 2016 in Brisbane. He has a history of pulling out of tournaments towards the latter stages and while he has decent numbers, it's so difficult to have faith in the Canadian in a decent field this week even with what looks like a pretty kind draw in quarter three.
Conditions unlikely to favour particular player types
Conditions in Mexico look fairly medium-paced based on historical data and there's little to suggest that any particular type of player will thrive in the tournament. There has been a mixture of big-servers (Kygrios, Del Potro, Querrey) on the winners roster in recent years, as well as return-orientated players (multiple titles for both Nadal and Ferrer).
The Diego Schwartzman-led second quarter could have the scope for a bigger priced quarter-winner, with Miomir Kecmanovic, Adrian Mannarino and Grigor Dimitrov capable of challenging the Argentine. Mannarino versus Dimitrov in round one looks to be one of the best clashes in round one, and while Dimitrov is favourite, Mannarino shouldn't be discounted for their meeting.
At 500 level, I'd be surprised if there were any major shocks in the coming week in either tournament. There's decent ranking points at stake with strong fields and a number of top-ten players taking to the courts. Not only this, but players will be keen for some decent time on court in advance of the Miami Masters which starts next week. The outright markets look pretty accurate and it's difficult to dispute the players at the forefront of the market.
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