Preview and picks for this week's ATP events in Rio de Janeiro, Marseille, and Delray Beach

Nick Kyrgios chomps on a towel at the 2019 U.S. Open.
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Ricky Dimon

Tennis· 1 year ago

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

February may not be the best tennis month in terms of quality, but the quantity is off the charts. It is another week on the ATP Tour schedule with three tournaments going on simultaneously. In other words: betting opportunities galore! And it’s not like these events are completely devoid of talent even though Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer are still enjoying some post-Australian Open rest. Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tstisipas, Felix Auger-Aliassime, and Nick Kyrgios are among those in action.

Rio de Janeiro

Odds
Dominic Thiem +140
Cristian Garin +900
Pablo Cuevas +1000
Borna Coric +1200
Dusan Lajovic +1600
Albert Ramos-Vinolas +1600

Thiem, who could be the next first-time Grand Slam champion, did all of the South American clay-court swing participants a favor by skipping tournaments in Cordoba and Argentina. The latter development paved the way for a surprising Argentina Open title match between Casper Ruud and Pedro Sousa. Ruud and Sousa could face each other again as early as round two in Rio, where the winner would likely go up against Thiem in the quarterfinals. Guido Pella, Fernando Verdasco, and Pablo Cuevas are possible semifinal foes for the world No. 4.

This is mostly a favorable draw for Thiem, as the bottom half is loaded—with Dusan Lajovic, Cristian Garin, Borna Coric, Juan Ignacio Londero, and former French Open semifinalist Marco Cecchinato. Can anyone beat the Austrian? It’s possible, but certainly not probable.

Picks:
Champion: Dominic Thiem
Runner-up: Cristian Garin

Marseille

Odds
Daniil Medvedev +250
Stefanos Tsitsipas +400
David Goffin +650
Denis Shapovalov +800
Felix Auger-Aliassime +1200
Karen Khachanov +1400

Good news for everyone in Marseille: Gael Monfils is taking a break! Monfils has triumphed in back-to-back weeks at events in Montpellier and Rotterdam but will not be part of the festivities in Marseille. As such, Medvedev and Tsitsipas are the top two seeds and obvious title favorites. Medvedev’s draw is tougher, as the world No. 5 could open against Jannik Sinner before possibly facing Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals and Auger-Aliassime in the semis. David Goffin is another potential semifinal opponent for Medvedev.

That’s not to say the bottom of the bracket is weak. Tsitsipas’ section also includes Hubert Hurkacz and an in-form Vasek Pospisil, while others in the bottom half are Denis Shapovalov, Benoit Paire, Alexander Bublik, Marton Fucsovics, and Marin Cilic.

Picks:
Champion: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Runner-up: Daniil Medvedev

Delray Beach

Odds
Milos Raonic +300
Nick Kyrgios +450
Taylor Fritz +850
Reilly Opelka +1100
Kyle Edmund +1400
Ugo Humbert +1800

Which Nick Kyrgios will show up in Delray Beach? If he treats it as an important warmup event to get his game ready for next week’s title defense in Acapulco, the Aussie is a clear title favorite. If he messes around with good friend Tommy Paul on the other side of the net in round one, he could be out immediately. You just never know with this guy. Kyrgios better be motivated right from the start, because his quarter of the draw is by far the toughest. It is also features Ugo Humbert, Kyle Edmund, Jordan Thompson, Miomir Kecmanovic, and Frances Tiafoe.

The bottom half is far weaker, although No. 2 seed Milos Raonic could have his hands full with New York runner-up Andreas Seppi right off the bat. It would not be a surprise to see the winner of that contest go all the way to the final. But huge server Reilly Opelka could be a roadblock for either Raonic or Seppi in the semis.

Picks:
Champion: Taylor Fritz
Runner-up: Milos Raonic

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