ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 19th

The final of the 2019 Italian Open is set and it is exactly what the tennis world wanted to see. In what could be a preview of the Roland Garros final in a few weeks’ time, #1 Novak Djokovic will take on #2 Rafael Nadal in the final Masters 1000 clay event of the 2019 season. Rafa and Djokovic are currently tied for the most Masters 1000 titles ever with 33, so Sunday will be a tiebreaker for the two.

Rafael Nadal punched his ticket to the final after a routine 6-4 6-4 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal was beaten by Tsitsipas in the Madrid semifinal last week, so it was no surprise that the Spaniard was out revenge this week. Rafa faced just two break points all match, both in the same game, and was able to break the Greek two times to get the win.

Novak Djokovic advances to his second consecutive Masters 1000 final after a three set, two and a half hour, win over Diego Schwartzman. Djokovic was cruising in the first set, in which he won 6-3, but the world #1 was broken twice in the second set, which he lost in a tiebreaker, and he was forced to play another tough three setter. Djokovic had a clean third set in which in he lost just six total points on his serve to advance to the final.

Nadal has won the Rome title eight times while Djokovic has won the title here on four separate occasions. The race to Masters title 34 is on. Sunday will be good.

Here is my pick for the final in Rome.

Rafael Nadal (-200) vs Novak Djokovic (+162)

Rafael Nadal finally broke his four match losing streak in semifinals and advanced to the final of the Italian Open with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday. Nadal reached the semifinal stages of Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, but he fell each week. It is odd to be this far into the clay season and Rafa not have a title, let alone a finals appearance, but Rafa still looks good and should be the favorite heading into the French Open.

Novak Djokovic had a rough start to the clay court season, by his standards, when he fell in the quarterfinals of Monte Carlo, but the Serb entered Madrid last week and won the title without dropping a set. This week in Rome has not been as easy, but Djokovic finds himself in consecutive Masters 1000 finals and will look for his third big title of the 2019 season. Djokovic will be right up there with Nadal as betting favorites in the French Open.

Rafael Nadal was my pick prior to the tournament and I am going to stick with that pick Sunday. Rafa gets title #81.

Novak Djokovic leads the overall H2H 28-25, but Rafael Nadal leads on clay 16-7.

YTD Tennis Results: 146-99

ATP Italian Open Results: 6-6

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 18th

Friday at the Italian Open showed us one clear thing and that was that Thursday took everything out of these guys. Many players looked like they had no legs under them and one match was cancelled after Roger Federer withdrew with a right leg injury. With the withdrawal of Federer, Stefanos Tsitsipas advances to his second consecutive semifinal and second consecutive semifinal match against Rafael Nadal. Rafa went down a break early in his quarterfinal match against Fernando Verdasco, but recovered quickly to win 6-4 6-0 and advance to his fifth consecutive semifinal.

The other semifinal will consist of a surprise entrant as Diego Schwartzman knocked out the 6th seed, Kei Nishikori, pretty easily in straight sets. Nishikori had no energy all match and Schwartzman took advantage to get the win. Schwartzman will take on world #1 Novak Djokovic as he looks to win back-to-back Masters 1000 clay events. Djokovic faced Juan Martin Del Potro and it was a battle as the two were on the court for three tough sets, and three tough hours, but in the end it was Djokovic who prevailed in the third set.

We have three of the top four players on tour this season plus Diego Schwartzman who has had plenty of success in his career on the dirt. It will be a good semifinal day in Rome.

Here are my picks for the semifinals in Rome.

Rafael Nadal (-400) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (+300)

Rafael Nadal advances to his fifth consecutive semifinal, fourth on clay, after a convincing 6-4 6-0 win over countryman Fernando Verdasco.  Rafa is having an incredible season, but he has had issues in this stage of the tournament as he has lost his previous four semifinal matches, albeit one was a retirement in Miami. Even without the titles Rafa is still the King of Clay as he sits at 12-3 during this clay court season. Just as amazing is Rafa’s 23-5 record overall this season that includes a run to the final in Australia and his now five semifinal appearances.

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ breakout season was in 2018, but in 2019 the 20-year-old Greek is establishing himself as one of the best in the game. Saturday will be his third straight semifinal appearance and his sixth already this season. Tsitsipas made the semifinals of Australia, won the title in Marseille, lost in the final to Federer at Dubai, won the clay court title in Estoril, lost last week in the final of Madrid and is now in the semifinals of Rome. This kid is the heir apparent to the big 3.

With all of that praise given to Tsitsipas above I have to be picking him, right? Wrong. Rafael Nadal gets the win.

Rafael Nadal leads the H2H 3-1, but the matchup is tied 1-1 on clay.

Novak Djokovic (-1000) vs Diego Schwartzman (+600)

We must be nearing a grand slam because Novak Djokovic has turned up his game and looks ready to win his fourth consecutive grand slam title. Djokovic went on a bit of troubling patch, for him, after the Austrailian Open win, but since hitting clay he has turned his game back up. A slight blip in Monte Carlo, where he fell in the quarters, did not do anything to interrupt his French Open preparation as Djokovic has gone on to win seven consecutive matches including the Madrid Open title last week. The world #1 has won two titles this season and currently stands at 21-4 overall and 8-1 on clay.

Diego Schwartzman was not enjoying a good patch of tennis, before this week in Rome, as the Argentine was not able to win back-to-back main draw matches since mid-February. Schwartzman competed in the South American clay swing where he suffered two early round defeats and made one final. This week has earned Schwartzman his first ever trip to a Masters 1000 event and secured his return to the top 20 in the rankings. The 26-year-old currently sits at 20-12 overall and 14-7 on clay this season.

Djokovic keeps the winning streak alive.

Novak Djokovic leads the overall H2H 2-0 and leads on clay 1-0.

YTD Tennis Results: 143-98

ATP Italian Open Results: 4-6

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 17th

What a wild day it was, on Thursday, at the 2019 Italian Open. Fans were treated to 19 main draw men’s matches that included two matches from each of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Because of the washout on Wednesday there was a chance for chaos and we did see some of that. We saw multiple high seeds go out Thursday as #5 Dominic Thiem, #9 Marin Cilic, #10 Fabio Fognini, #11 Karen Khachanov and #16 Marco Cecchinato all were sent home.

Even with the chaotic Thursday, fans are rewarded with a great quarterfinal draw. The four Friday matches are #1 Novak Djokovic vs # 7 Juan Martin Del Potro, #2 Rafael Nadal vs Fernando Verdasco, #3 Roger Federer vs #8 Stefanos Tsitsipas and #6 Kei Nishikori vs Diego Schwartzman.

Here are my best bets for the quarterfinals in Rome.

Kei Nishikori (-175) vs Diego Schwartzman (+137)

Kei Nishikori barely got through the crazy Thursday in Rome, but it doesn’t matter how it’s done all that matters is that Kei finds himself in the quarters now. Nishikori started the day off with an easy win over Taylor Fritz, but he went down a set against Jan-Lennard Struff in his second match of the day. The big serving German was serving for the match in the second set, but Nishikori broke him, went on to win the set in a tiebreaker and survived in the third set. The Japanese #1 fell in the second round of Madrid, but did make the semifinals in Barcelona, so Nishikori is having an ok clay season. The world #6 is currently 6-3 on clay this season.

Diego Schwartzman was able to easily make his way through two tricky opponents on Thursday to advance to the Italian Open quarterfinals. Schwartzman had a strong start to the clay season, in South America, but since getting to Europe the Argentine has really struggled. Three straight second round exits is not the way Schwartzman wanted to start the Road to Roland Garros, but the run this week will certainly give El Peque some much needed confidence.

I like Kei Nishikori to get the win Friday.

Kei Nishikori leads the H2H 3-0 overall and 2-0 on clay.

Roger Federer (-111) vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (-111)

For the third time this season, fourth time if you count the Hopman Cup, Roger Federer and Stefanos Tsitsipas do battle in a big stakes match. The first match this season was in the Austrailian Open Round of 16 where Tsitsipas knocked out Fed in three sets. Federer got some revenge in the Dubai final when the Swiss was able to defeat Tsitsipas in straight sets for his 100th career title.

Federer is having a typical Federer season as he has played in five tournaments so far, Rome is his sixth, and won two of those and been to the final in another. Fed sits at 4-1 on clay this season after not playing a match on the surface since 2016.

Tsitsipas is continuing his stellar season with two nice wins on Thursday. The Greek made a surprising run to the final of Madrid last week and looks to not be slowing down at all this week in Rome. It is amazing that Tsitsipas can even lift his arms with how much tennis he has played the last few weeks, but the 20-year-old continues to impress.

Roger Federer gets the win Friday.

The H2H is tied 1-1, but this will be the first meeting on clay.

YTD Tennis Results: 141-98

ATP Italian Open Results: 3-6

 

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 16th

Well, Wednesday was wet in Rome and no matches got played. That means there is going to be A LOT of tennis played on Thursday. Most players will be playing two times tomorrow which means there could be some withdrawals and some big time upsets.

Since Wednesday was a wash I am including my two best bets from then plus my two best bets for some of the early Thursday matches.

Here are my best bets for Thursday in Rome.

Marco Cecchinato (-175) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (+125)

In a match that was supposed to get played on Tuesday, Marco Cecchinato takes on Philipp Kohlschreiber in a second round matchup. Cecchinato is currently 9-5 on clay this season and has one title at Buenos Aires. The Italian will look to get improved results in his home country after a disappointing first round loss to Diego Schwartzman last week in Madrid. Cecchinato has made three semifinal appearances so far this season.

Philipp Kohlschreiber, who has finished every season since 2007 ranked 43rd or better, currently sits at #56 after a rough start to 2019. Kohlschreiber has turned it about a bit on the clay courts after getting a few wins, in Madrid and Monte Carlo, and making a quarterfinal appearance in Munich.

I like Marco Cecchinato to get the win.

This will be the first meeting between the two.

Marin Cilic (-189) vs Jan-Lennard Struff (+137)

In a rematch of the second round last week in Madrid, Marin Cilic and Jan-Lennard Struff face off looking for a spot in the Round of 16 in Rome. Marin Cilic was on a four match losing streak before having a well needed run to the quarters in Madrid last week. Cilic had to withdrawal from his quarterfinal match against Novak Djokovic, but regardless it was a much needed week for the Croat. Cilic is 8-6 overall and 4-2 on clay in 2019.

Jan-Lennard Struff advances to the quarterfinals of Barcelona a few weeks back, but has hid his struggles since then. A first round loss in Munich and a second round loss in Madrid has to be disappointing for the big serving German. Struff is currently 14-12 overall and 6-4 this season.

I like Marin Cilic to get the win.

Marin Cilic leads the H2H 2-1 and leads 1-0 on clay after beating Struff last week in Madrid.

Nick Kyrgios (-152) vs Casper Ruud (+110)

Nick Kyrgios showed off his full bag of tricks, in his first round upset over #12 Daniil Medvedev, as he pulled out between the leg shots, underhand serves and, at times, dominant tennis. Kyrgios will always be frustrating as he could be a top five player in the world, but he just does not seem to care. The Aussie won Acapulco a few months back, but followed that up with two first round defeats and a third round exit in Miami. Kyrgios is 10-6 overall and 1-1 on clay in 2019. Kyrgios did not compete here last season.

Casper Ruud took advantage of a relatively comfortable first round opponent, in Dan Evans, and advanced in three sets. Ruud has a disappointing second round defeat in Madrid last week, but did well to qualify for Rome a few days later. Enjoying a breakout season on clay, Ruud has made a final in Houston, a semifinal in Sao Paulo and a quarterfinal in Rio. The Norwegian currently sits at 21-13 overall and 15-6 on clay in 2019.

You never know what you’re going to get, but I like Nick Kyrgios to get the win.

This will be the first meeting between the two.

David Goffin (-175) vs Juan Martin Del Potro (+125)

David Goffin got handed a tough first round opponent, but he was able to come back and knock out Stan Wawrinka in three sets. After dropping the first set Goffin went on to win 12 of the last 144 games including a 6-0 second set. Goffin looked to have gained some form, as he made the semifinal in Estoril two weeks ago, but he fell in the first round last week in Madrid. Goffin is currently 12-12 overall and 4-4 on clay in 2019. Goffin advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual runner up Alex Zverev in 2018.

Juan Martin Del Potro came back from a 2.5 month injury layoff, last week in Madrid, but fell to the in-form Laslo Djere. The Argentine is just 2-1 overall and 0-1 on clay this season. Del Potro fell in the third round here last season as he had to retire against none other than David Goffin.

I like Juan Martin Del Potro to get the win.

David Goffin leads the H2H 3-1 overall and 1-0 on clay.

YTD Tennis Results: 138-94

ATP Italian Open Results: 2-4

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 15th

The 2019 Italian Open had a few surprises on Tuesday as #4 Alex Zverev, #12 Daniil Medvedev, the in-form Guido Pella and Stan Wawrinka all went down. Zverev fell to Matteo Berrettini, in straight sets, and looks like he has no confidence on the court right now. Other winners on the day were Borna Coric, David Goffin, Nikoloz Basilashvili, Joao Sousa and Taylor Fritz.

The big guns come out to play Wednesday as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kei Nishikori, Dominic Thiem and Roger Federer are all in action.

Here are my best bets for Wednesday in Rome.

Nick Kyrgios (-139) vs Casper Ruud (+100)

Nick Kyrgios showed off his full bag of tricks, in his first round upset over #12 Daniil Medvedev, as he pulled out between the leg shots, underhand serves and, at times, dominant tennis. Kyrgios will always be frustrating as he could be a top five player in the world, but he just does not seem to care. The Aussie won Acapulco a few months back, but followed that up with two first round defeats and a third round exit in Miami. Kyrgios is 10-6 overall and 1-1 on clay in 2019. Kyrgios did not compete here last season.

Casper Ruud took advantage of a relatively comfortable first round opponent, in Dan Evans, and advanced in three sets. Ruud has a disappointing second round defeat in Madrid last week, but did well to qualify for Rome a few days later. Enjoying a breakout season on clay, Ruud has made a final in Houston, a semifinal in Sao Paulo and a quarterfinal in Rio. The Norwegian currently sits at 21-13 overall and 15-6 on clay in 2019.

You never know what you’re going to get, but I like Nick Kyrgios to get the win.

This will be the first meeting between the two.

David Goffin (-175) vs Juan Martin Del Potro (+125)

David Goffin got handed a tough first round opponent, but he was able to come back and knock out Stan Wawrinka in three sets. After dropping the first set Goffin went on to win 12 of the last 144 games including a 6-0 second set. Goffin looked to have gained some form, as he made the semifinal in Estoril two weeks ago, but he fell in the first round last week in Madrid. Goffin is currently 12-12 overall and 4-4 on clay in 2019. Goffin advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to eventual runner up Alex Zverev in 2018.

Juan Martin Del Potro came back from a 2.5 month injury layoff, last week in Madrid, but fell to the in-form Laslo Djere. The Argentine is just 2-1 overall and 0-1 on clay this season. Del Potro fell in the third round here last season as he had to retire against none other than David Goffin.

I like Juan Martin Del Potro to get the win.

David Goffin leads the H2H 3-1 overall and 1-0 on clay.

YTD Tennis Results: 138-94

ATP Italian Open Results: 2-4

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 14th

The 2019 Italian Open really got rolling on Monday as 10 main draw matches were played. The only big upset of the day was Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who went off at +240, easily knocking out #15 Gael Monfils. Two other mini upsets were Borna Coric, who went off at +100, and Fernando Verdasco, who went off at +110, knocking out Felix Auger-Aliassime and Kyle Edmund, respectively. Laslo Djere, #11 Karen Khachanov, Cameron Ruud, Denis Shapovalov, #16 Marco Cecchinato, Cam Norrie and #10 Fabio Fognini all advances Monday as well.

Tuesday brings out some of the big guns as #4 Alex Zverev, #9 Marin Cilic and #12 Daniil Medvedev all make their first appearance this week. There are three big time matches as #4 Zverev faces off against Matteo Berrettini, #12 Daniil Medvedev takes on Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin does battle with Stan Wawrinka.

Here are my best bets for Tuesday in Rome.

Laslo Djere (-189) vs Nikoloz Basilashvili (+137)

Laslo Djere kick started his 2019 Italian Open with a straightforward 6-3 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin. Djere looked primed to make the quarterfinals in Madrid, last week, but he squandered a set and a break lead, over Marin Cilic, and eventually fell in three sets. Regardless it has been a breakthrough start to 2019 as Djere won his first ATP title, in Rio, and made semifinal runs in Sao Paulo and Budapest. Djere currently sits at 16-11 overall and 13-5 on clay in 2019. Last year Djere did not compete during this week in the schedule.

Nikoloz Basilashvili finally was able to beat Marton Fucsovics, in the first round Sunday, as he already lost to the Hungarian twice this season. The Georgian had a breakout 2018, but he is finding it difficult to back that up so far in 2019 as he has made just two quarterfinal appearances from his 10 tournaments so far. Basilashvili sits at 11-10 overall and 2-3 on clay this season. He fell in the second round here last season.

I like Nikoloz Basilashvili to get the win on Tuesday.

Laslo Djere leads the H2H 2-0 with both matchups taking place on clay.

Guido Pella (-250) vs Taylor Fritz (+175)

Guido Pella got handed a brutal draw in Madrid last week and did well to win just one match. The Argentine, who is at his career high ranking, upset Daniil Medvedev in the first round before falling to Stan Wawrinka in the second round last week. Pella is having a fantastic clay court season as he lifted the title in Sao Paulo, reached the final in Cordoba, made the semifinal at Buenos Aires and made quarterfinal runs in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Pella is currently 22-11 overall and 20-7 on clay in 2019. Pella did not compete during this week of the schedule last season.

Taylor Fritz is enduring a tough 2019, but successfully qualifying for the past two Masters 1000 tournaments will give the young American some much needed confidence. Last week, in Madrid, Fritz was able to upset Grigor Dimitrov in the first round before falling to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the second round. Fritz has not won back-to-back main draw matches since the Australian Open, in mid-January, and currently sits at 17-11 overall and 8-5 on clay this season. Fritz lost in the first round of the qualifying stages here last season.

I like Guido Pella to get the win.

Guido Pella leads the H2H 1-0, but this will be the first matchup on clay.

YTD Tennis Results: 136-93

ATP Italian Open Results: 1-3

ATP Italian Open Best Bets – May 13th

The 2019 Italian Open got underway Sunday with five men’s main draw matches. Nikoloz Basilashvili, who went off at +150, knocked out Marton Fucsovics for the biggest upset of the day. The other upset on the day was Jannik Skinner, who went off at +110, coming back from a set down, and facing a match point, to beat Steve Johnson. Philipp Kohlschreiber, Matteo Berrettini and Roberto Bautista-Agut all advanced to the second round as well.

There are 11 first round matches on Monday featuring #10 Fabio Fognini, #11 Karen Khachanov, #13 Borna Coric, #15 Gael Monfils and #16 Marco Cecchinato. Denis Shapovalov, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Kyle Edmund will also be in action Monday.

Here are my best bets for Monday in Rome.

Borna Coric (-139) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (+100)

Borna Coric continued his poor 2019 with a first round exit, to Lucas Pouille, in Madrid. Coric now sits at 13-8 overall this season and is 4-3 on clay. The Croat has been hit or miss this season as he has either made the quarterfinals of a tournament or lost in the first two rounds. The only exception to that was the Aussie Open where Coric again fell to Pouille in the Round of 16. Coric has won one career clay court title, 2017 Marrakech, and has produced fine results on dirt the last three years. Coric was forced to retire in the first round here in 2018.

Felix Auger-Aliassime fell in the second round, for the third straight clay tournament, after losing in straight sets to Rafael Nadal in Madrid last week. In the Canadian’s three European clay court tournaments FAA has lost to Alex Zverev, Kei Nishikori and Rafa, so the teenager is having a tough go against the top players. FAA currently sits at 22-12 overall this season and 10-7 on clay. FAA entered a Challenger event in Portugal during this tournament last season.

This is a great first round match and I like Felix Auger-Aliassime to get the win.

Felix Auger-Aliassime leads the H2H 1-0, but this will be the first meeting on clay.

Fernando Verdasco (-120) vs Kyle Edmund (-120)

Fernando Verdasco won back-to-back matches, for the first time since early February, in Madrid last week after knocking off Radu Albot and Karen Khachanov. Verdasco entered Madrid losing four of five matches, so getting some wins under his belt will be good for his confidence heading into Rome. The Spaniard has won four clay titles in his career, none since 2016, has been a steady player on the dirt the last few season. Verdasco currently sits at 11-10 overall and 3-4 on clay in 2019. Verdasco fell in the first round here last season.

Kyle Edmund enters Rome on a four match losing streak and sits at just 1-4 on clay in 2019. Edmund has a breakout 2018, but the Brit has struggled from the start this season and desperately needs to stack some wins this week. Edmund had a nice 2018 on clay, and made the Round of 16 here, but he has not been able to do anything on tour this season. The top ranked Brit currently sits at 10-8 on the season, but just 5-8 on the main tour.

I like Kyle Edmund to get the win.

Fernando Verdasco leads the H2H 1-0, but this will be the first meeting on clay.

YTD Tennis Results: 135-90

ATP Italian Open Results: 1-1

The Madrid Open may still be going on, as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic battle for the title Sunday, but the clay season does not stop and the main draw of the Italian Open gets started on Sunday. Five matches get the tournament underway, but the tournament really gets started on Monday. The big match of the day is Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Marton Fucsovics, for the third time this season, but Matteo Berrettini, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Roberto Bautista-Agut are also in action.

Rafael Nadal won this tournament last season and will be back looking to win his ninth title in Rome. Roger Federer is back for the first time since 2016, where he fell in the third round, and Novak Djokovic will look to improve on his semifinal appearance here last season.

Here are my best bets for the first day of action in Rome.

Matteo Berrettini (-200) vs Lucas Pouille (+150)

Matteo Berrettini returns to action for the first time since losing the Munich final, to Christian Garin, a week ago. The 23-year-old Italian has played a lot of tennis over the last couple months, so he skipped Madrid last week to rest up for his home country tournamnet. Berrettini is in great form at the moment as he is currently 9-2 on clay, won the title in Budapest a few weeks back and made the final of Munich the tournament after that.

Lucas Pouille made a surprise run to the Aussie Open semifinals, but could not win another match all season until a Challenger event in May. Pouille won the Challenger event, on clay, in Boudreaux a few weeks back, but fell in the second round of Madrid to Huey Hurkacz last week. Pouille had his worst season since 2014 last season and is on his way to another bad one in 2019.

Matteo Berrettini cruises to a win.

This will be the first meeting between the two.

Steve Johnson (-175) vs Jannik Sinner (+125)

Steve Johnson’s terrible season continue in Madrid as he fell in the first round to John Millman. Johnson has now lost four matches in a row and sits at 4-9 on the season. Johnson has not finished a year ranked lower that #44 since 2013, but he currently sits at #59 and still has a title to defend at Newport later this season. The American needs to start stacking some wins or he is in real danger of completely plummeting in the rankings.

Jannik Sinner makes his ATP Italian Open debut this week in the midst of a breakthrough 2019 season. Sinner has been dominating in the ITF and Challenger circuit, having won gone 22-3 and winning three total titles. Sinner also made his ATP debut this season and won his first ever main draw, and qualifying match, in Budapest a few weeks back. Sinner sits at 24-5 on all tours this season and is 13-5 on clay, so he has a real chance to beat the out of form American.

I like Steve Johnson to end his losing streak and advance to the second round.

This will be the first meeting between the two.

YTD Tennis Results: 133-89

ATP Italian Open Results:

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