Jack Draper can go well at a price
Jack Draper can go well at a price

Tennis betting tips: ATP Tour previews and best bets

In the week before Wimbledon, the in-form Andy Schooler is wary of backing short prices and is instead siding with three long shots at this week’s ATP event in Eastbourne.

Tennis betting tips: Rothesay International & Mallorca Championship

0.5pt e.w. Alexander Bublik in the Rothesay International at 25/1 (BetVictor, 1/2, 1-2)

0.5pt e.w. Jack Draper in the Rothesay International at 25/1 (General 1/2, 1-2)

0.5pt e.w. Adrian Mannarino in the Rothesay International at 35/1 (BetVictor, 1/2, 1-2)

1pt e.w. Jordan Thompson in the Mallorca Championships at 20/1 (William Hill, BoyleSports 1/2, 1-2)

0.5pt e.w. Ilya Ivashka in the Mallorca Championships at 20/1 (General 1/2, 1-2)

0.5pt e.w. Tallon Griekspoor in the Mallorca Championships at 22/1 (BoyleSports 1/2, 1-2)

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Rothesay International

  • Eastbourne, England, UK (outdoor grass)

It’s a wide-open draw for the final Wimbledon warm-up event of 2022 which, as it has been since 2017, is held at Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park.

One bookie is going 13/2 the field which says much about trying to find a winner.

But try we must and it’s worth mentioning the special factors that are in play this week – the one before a Grand Slam.

First of all, you have to question the motivation levels of those player expected to go well at Wimbledon in the next fortnight.

A deep run here has the potential to undermine their chances in SW19 and they may play accordingly.

It’s not unfair to suggest some may want only a couple of matches in Eastbourne before heading up to London.

With this in mind, it’s often worth looking for players who have previously performed well in the week ahead of a Major – for example, Alex Di Minaur is the defending champion here.

Next up is the injury issue.

Even a small niggle in a week such as this can lead to a withdrawal given what lies ahead. Time and again we’ve seen a high number of pull-outs in the days leading up to a Slam and I doubt it will be any different this week.

This always make me slightly wary of backing short prices in these weeks, although as already mentioned, there aren’t really any of those around in this tournament.

Top seed Cam Norrie is at the top of most markets and one suspects he’ll be looking for a good week having played just one grasscourt match so far this season, losing his opener to Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s last week.

He did make the final of Queen’s last year so he can play on grass but I don’t think this is his best surface and he’s also in a tricky quarter of the draw.

He may well face a bedded-in qualifier first up, while a tough quarter-final looks guaranteed with one of Dan Evans, ADRIAN MANNARINO, Maxime Cressy and Reilly Opelka lying in wait at that stage.

Mannarino fits the bill as one of those players with form for good runs in this week – the Frenchman has twice made the final in Antalya in the week before Wimbledon.

He made the semis in Den Bosch a couple of weeks ago, beating De Mianur before running into top seed Daniil Medvedev. He then rested up last week so should be raring to go again.

Mannarino is certainly someone who likes the green stuff under his feet – his only ATP title came in Den Bosch in 2019 – and 35/1 about his chances does look a tad large despite his tough draw.

Moving down the draw, the second quarter looks one full of opportunity.

Its leading seed, Diego Schwartzman, is something of a grass-phobe and is easily overlooked, while the other seed, Holger Rune, remains very inexperienced on this surface.

Some will turn to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina following his decent week at Queen’s where he made the quarter-finals but I’m prepared to take a stab with JACK DRAPER.

The Briton is a player going places, as he proved again last week at Queen’s when he dismissed fourth seed Taylor Fritz with ease.

Already a multiple Challenger title winner this season, the left-hander has a big serve which can cause damage on this surface, plus a mighty forehand, and landing in this section provides him with a good chance to go deep at this level for the first time.

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A first-round match with Jenson Brooksby could undoubtedly be tricky – the American made the final on grass in Newport last season.

However, Brooksby’s game is about counter-punching and sticking in rallies, something he may struggle to do if Draper’s first-strike game is firing.

I don’t see too much to fear for the home wild card here and a small play at 25s looks worthwhile.

In quarter three, I’ll play ALEXANDER BUBLIK at the same price.

There’s plenty to like about the Kazakh.

First up he made the quarter-finals here last year. He also beat Grigor Dimitrov en route to the last 32 of Wimbledon and then reached the semis in Newport.

He had gone one better at the latter event in the previous grasscourt campaign (2019), finishing runner-up.

So far this year on the surface he’s already played in Stuttgart and at Queen’s.

In Germany he beat the in-form Denis Kudla before losing to eventual finalist Andy Murray, while in London he saw off Lorenzo Musetti before losing a tight battle with Marin Cilic.

That’s all encouraging stuff for a player with a huge serve – aces are almost certainly guaranteed on these slick courts.

Double-faults can be a problem – you have to accept that with Bublik – but I do feel he has a decent chance here given the draw.

Admittedly he’s got a seed first up in Frances Tiafoe, while Seb Korda, Ugo Humbert and Taylor Fritz are also in the quarter.

However, none has great recent form and with the surface suiting Bublik’s game, I think he’s worthy of support at 25s.

Finally to the bottom quarter which contains several of those from the top of the market – the reason I’m happy to leave it alone.

Jannik Sinner celebrates beating Alexander Zverev
Jannik Sinner

The second seed is Jannik Sinner, while reigning champ De Minaur is also here, as is the man he beat in last year’s final, Lorenzo Sonego.

I wrote about Sonego in last week’s profitable preview and he’s certainly worth another mention on this occasion as he’s another of those players with proven form in this week of the season.

As well as his final run 12 months ago, the Italian also made the final in Antalya the week before Wimbledon in 2019.

With no 2020 grasscourt season due to the pandemic, he’s therefore looking to reach a final the week before Wimbledon for the third time in a row.

He’s not without a chance but odds of 12/1 fail to appeal given his draw – he could have to go through a qualifier, De Minaur and then Sinner just to reach the semi-finals.

Not that I really expect Sinner to challenge this week.

He’s played just seven grasscourt matches in his professional career, winning only two. None of the wins has been a tour level.

He looks too short, especially with Tommy Paul, who played well at Queen’s, a likely opening opponent.

After just one win in three grasscourt matches this season, perhaps De Minaur will be fully motivated to repeat last season’s success but again it’s hard to get too enthusiastic about odds of 8/1.

I’ll stick with my long shots in the other sections of the draw.

Published at 1530 BST on 19/06/22

Mallorca Championships

  • Santa Ponsa, Mallorca, Spain (outdoor grass)

Daniil Medvedev won the inaugural Mallorca Championships and, 12 months on, he’s back to defend his title.

He’s also the favourite at 14/5 but that’s not piquing the interest.

At least Medvedev doesn’t have the problem of needing to save himself for Wimbledon – as a Russian he’s among those banned from this year’s tournament.

However, the problem is he isn’t entirely at home on this surface and in the last two weeks he’s been found out in finals in both Stuttgart and Halle, losing both when a firm favourite.

The latter of those brought this column a tasty profit with a 10/1 winner in the shape of Hubert Hurkacz.

Reaching three finals in a row is always a tough task on the ATP Tour, even if Medvedev does get a first-round bye here in Mallorca.

While he’s won here before, the conditions here will be noticeably different to those in Germany. The ball tends to have a higher bounce in the higher heat – it’s expected to hit 36C on Tuesday – while the court surface already didn’t look the best during Sunday’s three main-draw matches.

That’s exactly the sort of thing that could get under Medvedev’s skin.

He’s also been handed a hard draw with Nick Kyrgios in his quarter.

The Australian has shown some decent form on the grass in recent weeks, making back-to-back semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle, losing only to Andy Murray and Hurkacz.

His serve is a massive weapon on this surface and it’s not hard to see him taking out Medvedev if they meet in the last eight.

Kyrgios will likely enjoy his trip to Mallorca – this venue is just round the corner from Magaluf and he’s someone who’s admitted to enjoying the party towns on tour, Acapulco being one of his favourite events.

Still, I’m very much on record saying Kyrgios doesn’t interest me at a short price and he’s no bigger than 5/1 this week.

He’s simply not reliable enough and while he’s looked in the mood of late, will he be giving his all with Wimbledon so close?

As an alternative in the top half, I’m instead going to turn to TALLON GRIEKSPOOR in what looks a weak second quarter.

I remember opposing the Dutchman towards the start of this grasscourt campaign due to his lack of experience on the surface.

But I’ve long felt he’s got the game to succeed on a faster court and he’s managed to notch up a few wins over the past couple of weeks, while his losses have been close ones – in two tie-breaks to Felix Auger-Aliassime and in three sets to Roberto Bautista Agut.

One of the seeds in this section, Miomir Kecmanovic, lost on Sunday, while the other is Pablo Carreno Busta, hardly someone to be feared on grass.

Griekspoor opens against Feliciano Lopez, a player who looks well past his sell-by date, and Alex Molcan could follow.

That looks a great opportunity for the world number 61 to play himself into the tournament and I’m prepared to take a punt on him at 22/1.

Tsitsipas no fan of the grass

However, it is arguably the opposite half which provides the better opportunity.

For the third week running I’ll tell you that Stefanos Tsitsipas has never won three matches in a row on grass.

He’s clearly not happy with his form having asked for a wild card this week but I have major doubts about him making a title charge here.

ILYA IVASHKA looks a potential fly in the Tsitsipas ointment this week.

He’s a possible first opponent for the Greek and someone I’m interested in at 20/1.

First up, he’s another who won’t have to hold anything back – Belarusians are also banned from Wimbledon so winning here is very much top of his priority list.

Ivashka also has form for winning in the week before a Grand Slam – he’s sole ATP title came just prior to last year’s US Open (when this column backed him at 35/1 in Winston-Salem).

I’m also fairly happy with his form.

He’s beaten Mackenzie McDonald, Emil Ruusuvuori and Jan-Lennard Struff in the past fortnight, losing only to Medvedev, whom he ran into in the quarter-finals of Stuttgart and the last 16 in Halle.

At least the latter loss on Thursday means he’s had time to settle into the new conditions and I reckon he’s worth taking a chance on.

Aussie to rule?

My final pick is qualifier JORDAN THOMPSON.

The Australian loves the grass and this looks a real opportunity for him given some solid grasscourt form, albeit at Challenger level.

He’s already played on this surface for three weeks, winning the Surbiton Trophy and finishing runner-up at the Rothesay Open in Nottingham.

Last week he was beaten in the first round in Ilkley but that was hardly the greatest surprise given his efforts of the previous fortnight and it may prove to be a blessing in disguise as it gave him the chance to enter qualifying for this event.

He grasped that chance with both hands, losing only four games across his two qualifying matches.

Clearly he’s now got to deliver at a higher level but he’s managed to so in the past, at least to some extent.

His one ATP final came on the grass of Den Bosch in 2019, the same year he was also a semi-finalist in Antalya – in this very week on the calendar.

Last season he beat Casper Ruud and Kei Nishikori at Wimbledon – after reaching the last eight here – and then went on to make the semis in Newport.

With the clay-loving Sebastian Baez up first and either Daniel Altmaier or Dusan Lajovic to follow, there’s value in his odds of 20/1.

Denis Shapovalov is the main threat in this quarter but he’s also struggled of late, losing his opening match in both Stuttgart and at Queen’s.

This really does look a good chance for Thompson and he’s certainly worth backing at the price.

Published at 2235 BST on 19/06/22

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