Tennis Betting Advice - February 2020

Sunday Night Club – indoor prospects at 25/1…

Sunday 9th February 2020

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Indoor events…
  • Ones to Watch this week…
  • 10/1 and 25/1 picks…

It’s Sunday night, and that means it’s time for our first look at the Outright Winner markets for the week’s upcoming tournaments.

Play starts Monday morning…

Ones to Watch this week – at 10/1 and 25/1…

After international Fed Cup ties last week, the women return to tour action for the first time since the Australian Open.

All in all, there are five tournaments on this week’s schedule…

  • ATP Buenos Aires – clay
  • ATP New York – indoor hard
  • ATP Rotterdam – indoor hard
  • WTA Hua Hin – hard
  • WTA St Petersburg – indoor hard

For our initial previews and picks this week, we’re concentrating on two of those indoor events…

Top-half opportunity in Russia…

WTA St Petersburg is a Premier grade tournament, and as such there are a few high-profile and high-ranked names here.

The key point though is that the most in-form and dangerous of those players appear to be residing in the bottom half of the draw.

With short prices as expected for Petra Kvitova (favourite and 2018 winner, around 3/1) and Kiki Bertens (2019 winner, 7/1). Last year’s runner-up Donna Vekic is also in this section (14/1), along with the dangerous indoor-hard-court Russian, Ekaterina Alexandrova (16/1 at best).

If Alexandrova was in the top half of this draw then she’d have made the cut as a One to Watch pick this week. But as it stands, the 25-year-old – a successful 16/1 selection for us at WTA Shenzhen last month – looks to have a tough ride through the St Petersburg draw, even with ‘home’ conditions in her favour.

The top half contains Belinda Bencic at 11/2 (6.50) and Johanna Konta (14/1), who are both to varying degrees out of form – especially Konta.

Zooming in on that side of the draw-sheet, the young & improving player I like at outsider prices is Elena Rybakina at 25/1

The 20-year-old from Kazakhstan has started 2020 in fine form on the hard courts, reaching the final at Shenzhen (at 28/1), then winning WTA Hobart at 10/1.

Rybakina is up to a career-high of No.25 in the world. She looks to have the powerful hard-court game and solid-willed demeanour to go higher in the months and seasons to come.

This time last year, when still a teenager, Rybakina reached four finals on the lower-tier ITF Tour circuit between January and March, winning three – including a title on indoor hard courts in Moscow.

In 2019, Elena went on to win a first full-level WTA Tour title, lifting the trophy in Bucharest (clay) at 25/1. And also finishing runner-up on hard courts at Nanchang (12/1). She reached a semi final indoors at Luxembourg, too.

On indoor hard courts for her career to date, Rybakina has a very good record: played 67, won 49, for an impressive 73% match win rate.

Having hit the ground running this season, this young player catches the eye on hard courts right now – especially with odds of 25/1 and 22/1 available.

Serve it up in New York…

ATP New York is one for the purists.

An ATP 250 grade event – the lowest tier of the main tour.

Played on somewhat strange on the eye black courts.  

And with only two years of history at this Long Island indoor venue, having moved from its long-running Memphis incarnation, due to a lack of sponsorship. This New York event has played to modest crowds in its opening couple of instalments.

The aforementioned black courts have produced many serve-dominated matches at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Even more so than you’d expect from an indoor hard court tournament…

The 2018 title was won by Kevin Anderson at 5/1, beating 6/1 Sam Querrey, 7-6 in the final set.

Last year, Reilly Opelka won his first ATP title, as a 14/1 shot. He beat 200/1 outsider Brayden Schnur in the final.

Anderson, Querrey and Opelka are all massive servers. That’s no coincidence at this venue.

The 2019 semi final score-line tells you pretty much all you need to know here…

The 6’11 Opelka thumped down a staggering 43 aces against fellow American, 6’10” John Isner, who served 38 aces of his own. There were no breaks of serve in the match. Opelka edged it, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6.

This year, those two could meet in the semis again. Isner is top seed, but he’s 34 years old now and hasn’t looked at full fitness for a while. As I said in our pre-season Ones to Watch in 2020 report, Opelka is the natural successor to Isner’s huge-serving American throne.

Isner is 5/1 here. In the opposite side of the draw, yet another ‘serve-bot,’ Milos Raonic heads the betting at just 11/4 (3.75). Five of the 6’5” Canadian’s eight career ATP titles have been won on indoor hard courts.

Anderson is 9/1 at best. As with Isner, the 33-year-old has been battling age and injury recently. The 6’8” South African made a decent enough return to the fray last month, reaching the 2nd round of the Australian Open where he played out two matches that went the full distance to a fifth set.

You could argue that this tournament is a ‘pick any one’ for the big servers. But Opelka at a solid 10/1 is the one for me. Reilly has a 1-0 head-to-head v Anderson, who he could face in the quarter finals. And a 3-1 record against potential semi-finalist, Isner.

Tournament betting is never as simple as backing last year’s winner. It would be pretty easy and dull if it was. But the New York Open 2020 looks a worthwhile opportunity to use this tactic. It’s nothing like the 500/1 pot-shot we took on him at the Aussie Open, but Opelka at 10/1 is my pick to defend his title here.

Ones to Watch:

Outright Winner picks – Each Way

WTA St Petersburg:

  • Elena Rybakina is 25/1 with Bet365, 22/1 Skybet, NetBet, 10Bet

ATP New York:

  • Reilly Opelka is 10/1 with Bet365, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill

Each Way terms: 1/2 odds 1-2 places.

Note: At the time of writing, Boylesports, Paddy Power & Betfair Sportsbook haven’t priced up for all of this week’s tournaments. They’re worth checking out for Outright Winner prices on our players, too. Read more about my recommended tennis bookies here.

Bookies suspend their Outright Winner markets during each day’s matches. Play starts in St Petersburg from 10am Monday (UK time), and 5pm+ in New York.

I’ll be back over the next couple of days, with this week’s other tournaments in Rotterdam, Hua Hin and Buenos Aires also in our consideration.

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch