ATP Internazionali BNL d'Italia Betting: Tough to oppose rested Djokovic in Rome

Sean expects to see another Djokovic celebration on Sunday
Sean expects to see another Djokovic celebration on Sunday

Novak Djokovic is back for this week's Rome Masters and Sean Calvert is struggling to find reasons to oppose the Serb in his quest for a fourth Rome title...

"It's hard to see anyone stopping Djokovic from landing yet another Masters 1000 title and the 2.111/10 on the Serb is the best bet for those who don't mind a short price."

Back Djokovic at 2.111/10

The Masters 1000 clay court tennis moves almost seamlessly from Madrid to Rome, as the Internazionali BNL d'Italia begins at the historic Foro Italico this weekend.

Last week's wager at the Mutua Madrid Open was a semi final loser when Kei Nishikori produced a poor display to be beaten in two sets by Andy Murray.

Here in Rome Novak Djokovic is the clear favourite once again after returning from a short break and the draw has paired the Serb with Murray, Nishikori and David Ferrer.

It's not the easiest of routes to the final for the world number one, but it is a tournament he loves and one that either he or Rafa Nadal have dominated for the last decade.

The last non-Djokovic/Nadal winner at the Foro Italico was Carlos Moya in 2004 and the only player to make a final in Rome that wasn't once ranked in the top-five in the world since 1998 was?

Felix Mantilla the 2003 champion.

So, this is not a tournament likely to produce a shock winner or even surprise finalist if history is any guide.

Djokovic, who has won it three times will probably have to go through Nishikori in the last eight and most likely Murray or Ferrer in the semis before thinking about a fourth title here.

The Serb's early matches look pretty comfortable though and by the time he has to face anyone likely to test him he'll most likely be back in the groove.

Murray or Ferrer look possible options for back-to-lay punters, but if Djokovic doesn't get beaten there's little real value in it and one of them would then have to beat the Serb, which doesn't look that likely.

I've been trying to come up with some viable long shots, but Nick Kyrgios and Ernests Gulbis are both drawn in the Djokovic/Nishikori section and Gulbis still isn't anywhere near the player he was a year ago.

One who could make some strides in the top half if he's fit, which is questionable, is Richard Gasquet, who certainly might beat Ferrer and Murray on clay after playing well and landing the title in Estoril.

The Gasman has a good record in Rome of 13-7 and I wouldn't be stunned to see him make the semis in a good week, but it's fanciful to think he'll beat Djokovic.

The bottom half looks more open, with Roger Federer and Nadal both beatable on the clay this spring and Stan Wawrinka out of form at the moment.

Tomas Berdych has another good draw and will like his chances after being paired with Federer and Grigor Dimitrov, both of whom the Czech can get the better of if on-form.

But, as I said last week he's very hard to win with and almost always finds one or two too good and on that basis he's not great value for me again this week at around 25.024/1.

A better bet if you can get the 41.040/1 that's been knocking about is to take a big chance on Wawrinka to come good at a tournament where he is a former finalist.

The Swiss has been dogged by off-court issues lately and he's not been helped by whoever is advising him on his choice of shorts at the moment, but he showed a few flickers of life in Madrid and will be fresher than most.

It's a long shot based on the form we've seen from the Swiss since he made the semis in Melbourne and won Rotterdam, but he will spring back to life at some point and he looks the best of the rest.

But it's hard to see anyone stopping Djokovic from landing yet another Masters 1000 title and the 2.111/10 on the Serb is the best bet for those who don't mind a short price.

Murray will surely be too tired this week after big efforts in Munich and Madrid, while Nadal hasn't really shown enough yet to make me think he's back to the level where he can beat Djokovic.

Recommended Bets
Back Djokovic at 2.111/10
Back to lay Wawrinka at 41.040/1

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