This is a stunning week in Men’s tennis. We have two fascinating events going on in Acapulco and Dubai.
In this piece, we are taking a look at both events, including a few tips on the action. Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov will take some stopping in the respective competitions...
The ATP World Tour heads to the glamorous Dubai for a 32-player tournament beginning on February 26th. We are used to seeing the world’s biggest names at this event, and this year is no different.
The last nine competitions have been split between Novak Djokovic (4), Roger Federer (3), Andy Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka. Murray was the number one seed and victor in 2017, despite a star-studded field.
The draw is led by Gregor Dimitrov on this occasion, who is number one seed and leads the outright betting at 5/2. His run towards the final in this weakened field is favourable to say the least, with third seed Roberto Bautista Agut the biggest threat in his half of the draw.
Dimitrov heads to UAE after falling at the final in Rotterdam last week to Federer. That saw the Swiss icon become world number one again, while the Bulgarian remains fourth. A gutting defeat to Kyle Edmund in the Australian Open was a setback for Dimitrov, but his position as favourite in Dubai is well-deserved, with a 10-3 record in 2018.
World number 35 Philipp Kohlschreiber is one to consider at 20/1. The German has had a terrible start to the year – winning just one of his five matches – but has eight career titles to his name. He is on for a quarter-final matchup with Dimitrov, which does threaten his chances. The veteran has already lost to two players outside the top 100 this year, too.
Second seed Lucas Pouille is worth a mention at 11/2. The Frenchman is set to face a qualifier in the opening round and has a supposedly comfortable run to the last eight.
Away from the seeds, 21-year-old Croatian hotshot Borna Coric is worth a watch. He joins Kohlschreiber at 20/1, though he does not carry the same dire 2018 against his name. A win over Pablo Carreno Busto is the highlight to date, and – should Coric replicate that shock against Richard Gasquet in the first round – he could be a real dark horse in Dubai.
Rafael Nadal is the overwhelming favourite to win in Acapulco. A first round matchup with 36-year-old Feliciano Lopez should be a comfortable, straight sets win for the 2017 French Open winner. Lopez has only won four matches all year, and has only notched three wins against top 10 players across 2016 and 2017.
Nadal is in at 7/4 to win the tournament in Mexico. The market behind him is pretty competitive, however, with Alexander Zverev at 15/4. Zverev is currently world number five, but has struggled early this year, including a last 16 exit in Rotterdam last week to Andreas Seppi, who is ranked 81st. I’m not massively keen on Zverev as second favourite for the tournament, even out at 15/4.
The pair following Zverev at 5/1 of Dominic Thiem and Juan Martin del Potro are of more interest. Thiem has lost just once in 2018, and won his last tournament in Buenos Aries earlier this month.
Now up at fifth in the world, the Austrian’s price is only undermined by a tough draw. Kei Nishikori will likely await him in the last 16, then a must-watch meeting with del Potro is probable.
The Argentine has not played since his straight sets defeat to Tomas Berdych at the Australian Open. While can compete with anyone when at the top of his game, it’s always tricky to tell what level he will be competing at. I think his price is a little on the short side, but still worth considering given his unquestionable talent.
Last season’s winner, Sam Querrey, sits at 16/1. The 30-year-old to American is currently 12th in the world rankings. His 2018 has hardly gone to plan, however, which was highlighted by his second round exit in Melbourne to world number 80, Marton Fuscovics. Querrey could be a decent longshot bet ahead of this tournament. He is in Nadal’s half of the draw, and could have a very comfortable run to the semi-finals if the Spaniard slips up.
Another longer odds option is Nishikori at 14/1. The Japanese star will almost certainly have to get past Thiem if he is to go all the way, but he certainly has the talent do just that.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*