WTA & ATP Weekly Tennis Betting Preview and Predictions – 19th February, 2018

Thiem and Kerber picks of the week

Tennis Betting

ATP Rio Open

After an astonishing week in which Roger Federer became the old man to ever hold down the number one spot in the world in the Open Era after taking a title win at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, things are dialled back a little bit this week. He takes a backseat this week with a well-earned rest after breaking more records in what has been simply an astonishing comeback from the legend. There are three ATP World Tour titles up for grabs this week and the highest ranking of them is in Brazil at the Rio Open.

There is a strong bit of favouritism to look at as well in this one, which is part of the ‘Golden Swing” of South America and the field is headed up by Marin Cilic. This is the first time that the Croatian has played in the tournament and despite a potential early clash against Frenchman Gael Monfils in the quarter finals, Cilic looks fairly unopposed in the top half of the draw.

Cilic is just one of two players taking part in the tournament who are currently sitting inside the top ten in the world rankings at the moment. The other is Dominic Thiem, who as second seed goes in the opposite half of the draw. He actually has a slightly better track record in 2018 than Cilic does, as the Austrian has gone W12 L1 heading into the season, collecting a title already.

Cilic is going into Rio on the back of a W8 L2 record for the season without a title, but he is currently ranked third in the world, the highest that he has ever been. Cilic was the one who fell to Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open while Theim couldn’t make it past the round of sixteen. Thiem’s title for the season came on the weekend as he cruised to the Argentina Open win, taking down former British player Aljaz Bedene in the final.

There is a decent chance that Cilic and Thiem will be meeting up in the final and that would be just the second game between them. Thiem won the previous meeting which was in the Brisbane quarter finals a couple of years ago. It is always a risk trying to get behind players to win back to back titles, but Thiem has a good shot here. His title in Argentina last week was on clay, just as Rio is and Cilic hasn’t been out on the surface this term. Back the young Austrian.

ATP Rio Open Winner Odds*

Dominic Thiem 5/2, Marin Cilic 5/1, Gael Monfils 9/1, Diego Schwartzman 12/1, Pablo Busta 12/1, Fabio Fognini 12/1, Fernando Verdasco, bar 16/1* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018).

WTA Dubai Duty Free

Some of the game’s heavy hitter on the women’s side are out for the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week, which is a Premier event. This should be a good one as well and it is Elina Svitolina who is heading back there as the reigning champion and 6/1 joint-favourite at Betfred* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018), and she will be pretty pleased with the section she has been drawn in to. She should run unopposed to the semi finals you would think, especially with eighth seed Kristina Mladenovic losing her opener and that was Svitolina’s toughest opponent she could have potentially faced in the draw.

At the semi final stage though in the top half of the draw is where things are really going to be lighting up. In the second quarter, there could be a huge tussle between Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals to then go on and meet up with reigning champion Svitolina. Of the two of them, you would probably have to swing with Germany’s Kerber who has been going so well in 2018 and the same can’t be said of Pliskova, who is just struggling to bring her consistent a-game.

Jo Konta is out in action for Britain but she looks as if she really needs more tournaments under her belt on her journey back from injury. She could meet up with Jelena Ostapenko in the quarter finals which would be an interesting clash between the seventh and fourth seeds respectively. Like Konta, Ostapenko has had her injury issues and is working her way back to the top of her game. Then in the final quarter goes Garbine Muguruza who blasted her way to the final of the Qatar Total Open on the weekend, only to lose there against Petra Kvitova who has been carrying some form this term.

So it is a really stacked draw and we are going to roll with the grit and quality of Angelique Kerber to come through the field. Last season at this event she lost out to Svitolina in the semi final stage and there could be a big rematch at the same stage this time around. Kerber just the looks the stronger of the two at the moment. Muguruza will have been pleased with her work in Qatar last week, but it was a long week and we are going to roll with Konta to string something together here from the bottom half. Konta has won the one previous match that she has had against Ostapenko and so could pull through that potential quarter final match here and that should steel her for a good run to the final as an each way option at Betfred.

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship Winner Odds*

Angelique Kerber 6/1, Elina Svitolina 6/1, Garbine Muguruza 6/1, Karolina Pliskova 7/1, Caroline Garcia 14/1, Jelena Ostapenko 18/1, Elise Mertens 22/1, bar 28/1* (betting odds taken at 6:50 p.m. on February 19th, 2018).

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