Cam Norrie lost in straight sets
Cameron Norrie

Tennis betting tips: Preview and best bets for ATP Tour

After four semi-final losers in the past two weeks, Andy Schooler is aiming to get one over the line in Washington and Los Cabos this week.

Tennis betting tips: ATP Tour

2pts e.w. Cameron Norrie in the Abierto de Tenis Mifel at 11/2 (General)

0.5pt e.w. Brandon Nakashima in the Abierto de Tenis Mifel at 18/1 (Coral, Ladbrokes)

0.5pt e.w. Maxime Cressy in the Citi Open at 50/1 (Betfred)

0.5pt e.w. Frances Tiafoe in the Citi Open at 35/1 (BetVictor)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

Citi Open

  • Washington, DC, USA (outdoor hard)

It will be hot and humid in the US capital this week, not dissimilar to the conditions found in Atlanta over the past seven days.

Still, these aren’t slow conditions and, as in Atlanta, it’s notable that big servers tend to go well here.

Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Roddick both won here three times, Alex Zverev has triumphed twice and Nick Kyrgios – a member of this year’s field – claimed the title in 2019.

Kyrgios is among the favourites to win this season too but he withdrew from singles in Atlanta last week citing a knee problem, although it didn’t stop him from playing doubles.

That, however, may prove to be an issue in itself – Kyrgios and partner Thanasi Kokkinakis will be in action on Sunday in Atlanta after their semi-final was delayed by rain. They’ll still be there on Sunday night if they make the final.

With a 48-player field in Washington, the unseeded Kyrgios will be in action on Tuesday meaning that not only will he have had little time to get used to the (albeit fairly similar) conditions but he’ll also be facing the prospect of having to win six matches in as many days if he’s to win the title.

For a player who said he wasn’t ready for singles less than a week ago, that’s rather off-putting.

Nick Kyrgios is into the Wimbledon quarter-finals
Nick Kyrgios

Top seed Andrey Rublev is the only player shorter than Kyrgios in the betting but he’s been well short of his best on the European clay in recent weeks and now he faces his first hardcourt match since Miami in March.

The Russian could be vulnerable early on and one man who could cause him trouble in round three (Rublev’s second match) is MAXIME CRESSY.

He very much fits the big-server template and the American will be full of confidence having won his first ATP title last time out in Newport.

That came on the grass, as did a final appearance in Eastbourne, but Cressy’s other final this season came on the Melbourne hardcourts at the start of the year where he first showed what his attacking brand of tennis is capable of.

He loves coming forward towards the net with his crisp volleys a throwback to days of old.

It’s a game style which is certainly proving problematic for many opponents and Rublev could be the next big name to fall to it.

After winning in Newport, Cressy said: “It's incredibly special to see the success coming and that the hard work is paying off. It's the most fulfilling feeling and I'm really looking forward to more.”

He certainly sounds hungry.

Rublev would be the biggest hurdle to overcome in this quarter with Denis Shapovalov the other big seed in it. However, the Canadian has now lost seven of his last eight matches.

The second quarter looks tough.

Taylor Fritz has big potential to go well. This is his first tournament since his run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals where he had Rafael Nadal on the ropes.

Still, he’s just 1-2 in Washington and perhaps there will be a hangover regarding that missed opportunity in SW19.

Alex de Minaur and Jenson Brooksby will also fancy their chances in this section.

De Minaur finished runner-up here four years ago, while Brooksby was a semi-finalist 12 months back.

At time of writing, the pair are due to contest the final in Atlanta, while the draw here means they will meet again if Brooksby beats Yoshihito Nishioka in round one.

That makes backing either at this stage difficult. For the record, both are chalked up at 14/1.

I’m therefore happy to take a chance on Cressy in the top half with Betfred’s 50/1 particularly appealing. 33s elsewhere also looks acceptable.

All 16 seeds in this event come from the world’s top 40 but it’s easier to pick holes in many of those names in the bottom half.

I’ve already shown why I’m not keen on Kyrgios this week – and I didn’t even have to mention his notorious mental game – while Reilly Opelka is another who withdrew in Atlanta last week. That was down to a hip injury.

Grigor Dimitrov celebrates his shock win over Roger Federer
Grigor Dimitrov

Fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov also had recent injury problems, quitting his second-round match at Wimbledon. He’s presumably OK again now, although that, coupled with a pretty disappointing 6-6 record at this event, means he’s easily swerved too.

Of the big guns, Hubert Hurkacz is probably most likely to prevail.

The Pole is returning to action for the first time since a opening-round Wimbledon defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

That came when he was well fancied after winning the Halle title so again you wonder if that will have any lasting effects in terms of mentality.

There’s also a tricky early draw to negotiate. First up will be last year’s runner-up Mackenzie McDonald or Emil Ruusuvuori, while Aslan Karatsev or Andy Murray would likely follow.

Throw in a 2-2 Washington win-loss record and 8/1 about the second seed doesn’t make the most appeal.

Perhaps Ilya Ivashka, one of two each-way picks for this column last week who lost semi-finals having gone heavily odds-on in running, could launch another challenge. It would sum up recent luck to see him make the final a week late.

However, slight preference is for FRANCES TIAFOE.

The 10th seed made the semi-finals in Atlanta last week before having a bit of a shocker on serve against Jenson Brooksby – he landed just 45% of his first serves in play which proved a massive handicap. His average across the last year is 60%.

I can forgive him that – Tiafoe had served well in his two previous matches – and he can be expected to be giving his all this week given the Maryland native is playing at what is his home event.

He looks in a decent section of the draw with Botic van de Zandschulp and Opelka the higher-ranked seeds in the quarter. Tiafoe is yet to face the Dutchman and leads Opelka 1-0 on the head-to-head. He’s also 0-0 v Kyrgios.

OK, Big Foe can be rather hit or miss but he’s capable of putting good runs together, as shown earlier this season when he made the final in Estoril, while his Wimbledon effort was a good one, losing only 7-5 in the fifth to David Goffin at the last-16 stage.

His one ATP title to date came on the North American hardcourts, in Delray Beach.

Look, I’m far from convinced he’s going to make the final this week but at 35/1 I feel he’s worth a punt to small stakes in what looks a very open section of the draw.

Abierto de Tenis Mifel

  • Los Cabos, Mexico (outdoor hard)

While field depth is strong in Washington, the same cannot be said of this 250-level event.

The presence of world number one Daniil Medvedev will attract attention but the fact is just four of the world’s top 50 are in attendance, with the world number 72 managing to be seeded.

From a betting perspective, it looks fairly easy to whittle down the genuine title contenders and frankly I’d be surprised if the winner didn’t come from the top six seeds – and probably the top three.

It certainly looks a good chance for Medvedev to return to winning ways, although he’s only 4/7 to do so and that’s a price I have no interest in whatsoever.

Yes, the Russian has little to beat and the draw has also been kind, his two biggest rivals being placed in the opposite half of the draw.

Daniil Medvedev in action in Paris
Daniil Medvedev

Yet it should be remembered that Medvedev hasn’t won a title of any sort since last year’s US Open – remarkable for an incumbent number one – while this tournament also marks his return after a break of more than six weeks, his most recent appearance coming in Mallorca where he was crushed by Roberto Bautista Agut.

He’ll be happy to be back on his favoured hardcourts, although it’s slower than ideal for Medvedev in Los Cabos.

Also, his three events on the North American hardcourts earlier in the year brought disappointment – semi-finals in Acapulco (lost to Nadal), last 32 in Indian Wells (lost to Monfils) and quarter-finals in Miami (lost to Hurkacz).

Medvedev should be able to play himself into the tournament but there is one man I feel could trouble him before the final and that’s BRANDON NAKASHIMA.

The American finished runner-up here in 2021 and I’ve written in recent weeks about his ability to stick with the big servers, something that was on display during his tight Wimbledon loss to Nick Kyrgios.

He won’t create a huge number of break points, yet he’s good at holding onto his own serve and has done so 85% of the time over the past 12 months. Medvedev’s equivalent figure is 87%.

The pair are yet to meet but could do so in the last four this week. In the best-of-three format against a player unlikely to have been properly tested in the previous seven weeks, I’d give Nakashima a chance and for that reason I’ll back him to minimum stakes at 18/1.

However, my best bet for this tournament is CAMERON NORRIE.

He’s got a great track record for playing in Mexico and has long made this event and the one in Acapulco a stop on his calendar.

Both events are played on Solflex courts which look ideal for Norrie’s game. He’s not rushed by them and has the chance to line up his groundstrokes which can cause plenty of damage.

He’s the defending champion, who also made the semis in 2018, while he was also runner-up to Nadal in Acapulco earlier this season.

This marks his return to action for the first time since his run to the Wimbledon semis – a new career-high in terms of the Grand Slams, so confidence will be flowing.

This week he spoke bullishly about his ambition to become world number one and while that may prove difficult to achieve, his strive for better is worth paying attention to.

Notably, he said: “(I’m heading onto) my favourite surface, the US hardcourts and the US summer - it's my best chance. I'm going to have to keep improving and keep playing at this level to have a chance.

"There's no reason why I can't be up there with those top boys.”

Cameron Norrie is safely into the second round
Cameron Norrie

With that world no 72, Tomas Etcheverry, the other seed in his quarter, I’d be very surprised if Norrie lost before the semis where second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime could lie in wait.

That’s the concern for Norrie here.

FAA holds a 4-0 record over the Briton so I’m well aware how I could be setting myself up for yet another semi-final loser.

That said, the three matches they’ve played in the last year have all been close, each featuring a tie-break.

I think conditions here suit Norrie better and it’s certainly worth noting that Auger-Aliassime is just 3-2 in Acapulco, while this will be his debut appearance in Los Cabos.

Having lost in his opening matches in both Indian Wells and Miami, FAA hasn’t won a hardcourt match since the Australian Open in January, while his most recent action saw him beaten in round one in Newport by the unheralded Jason Kubler.

I’ve long liked backing Norrie in Mexico and am prepared to put aside that concern about a possible semi-final meeting with Auger-Aliassime.

He’s 11/2 and with some firms still happy to offer half the odds for a place in the final, I’ve come up with a staking plan which will guarantee a profit for the week (regardless of results elsewhere) if Norrie makes the final.

Preview posted at 1550 BST on 31/07/22

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