Tennis Betting Advice - January 2020

Australian Open: Day One picks and 50/1 shots…

Sunday 19th January 2020

In your Ones to Watch email today:

  • Play starts Midnight…
  • 50/1 shots…
  • Day One match picks…

Good evening and welcome to day one of our Australian Open coverage.

Play starts at Midnight. You can watch the matches live on the Eurosport channels and Eurosport Player app.

The plan of attack…

We’re approaching the first Grand Slam of the year in exactly the same way that we tackle every tournament: going after appealing outsiders at attractive odds…

With a total of 256 players in the men’s & women’s Singles draws, there are always going to be any number of angles and stories to follow.

We could make various cases for a couple of dozen players in the Australian Open field. But I’ll be focusing on what I deem to be the most promising prices and opportunities.

The last 12 men’s Grand Slams have been won by the big three – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer dominating the game for many years.

The bookies’ Australian Open 2020 prices have Djokovic as the 6/5 (2.20) favourite. Nadal is 5/1 at best. Federer is 10/1. Djokovic & Federer are in both in the bottom half of the draw, so only one of them can reach the final.

We’re going in search of underdogs at much, much bigger prices…

Men’s Outright Winner picks…

Andrey Rublev (66/1)

On Friday we got on 22-year-old Andrey Rublev at 66/1 (and 100/1+ for the US Open – read more here). The Russian has started the year in superb style – winning two out of two tournaments, and eight out of eight matches.

One story goes that Rublev will now face fatigue as he attempts a two-week assault at the Aussie Open. The other story goes that Andrey powers on, and rides that momentum through the Melbourne fortnight.

We saw a similar situation unfold with another quirky and talented Russian last summer…

Daniil Medvedev reached three tournament finals in a row before heading to New York for the US Open. The 23-year-old kept it going on the Grand Slam, best-of-five-sets stage – riding the wave all the way to the final.

The difference in this proposed narrative is the price. Medvedev started last summer at 100/1 for the US Open, but was 14/1 by day one. Today, after winning back-to-back tournaments in the first two weeks of the season, Rublev is 66/1 and 50/1 for the Australian Open. We have price on our side. He’s a player on the up.

Denis Shapovalov (50/1)

In the opposite side of the men’s draw, we’re going to be following another fast-rising young man. Denis Shapovalov is 50/1 and starts his campaign tonight (1st round, Midnight).

As a teenager, the Canadian featured in our pre-season Ones to Watch list for 2018. He was ranked No.51 in the world at that point. Now 20 years of age, Shapovalov is up to a career-best No.13, with his first ATP title under his belt.

That maiden trophy win came on indoor hard courts at Stockholm in October. Shapo’ followed that form on with an impressive streak at the prestigious Paris Masters at the end of the season. He was an 80/1 underdog there – and it took Djokovic to stop him in the final.

A couple of other tournament performances mark out this exciting left-handed shot-maker. At the big Masters 1000 event in Miami last March (outdoor hard courts), Shapovalov charged through to the semi finals – where he was taken down by Federer.

More recently, Denis has shown some inspired form, and also signs of improved match stamina and fitness durability, in busy weeks representing Canada in two international team competitions. First at the Davis Cup in November, then this January at the ATP Cup in Australia – where the youngster pushed Djokovic to a final-set tiebreak, only just edged out 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.

  • Denis has been in the tennis news today, stating that he would refuse to play if he felt that poor air quality (caused by the Australian bushfires) was putting him at risk. I don’t think it’ll come to that. And when he gets on the court, he should be all business

Shapovalov looks on the brink of making a big breakthrough. He has the game, the talent, the right attitude – and the more experienced he becomes, the more he should be able to go deep in the Grand Slam format.

To ‘go deep’ this fortnight, he’ll likely need to beat Federer in the 4th round to reach the quarter finals, then Djokovic in the semis. But that doesn’t put me off. When a player makes the step up – they beat whoever stands in the way. A victory over one or both of those names on this stage would take Shapovalov’s standing in the sport up a good few notches. He knows it. And I reckon he’s up to it.

Compared to last year’s Aussie Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is also in this half of the draw and could face Djokovic in the quarters, the odds for the Canadian make much greater appeal here. Tsitsipas is 16/1 at best and 14/1 in general. Shapovalov is 50/1 & 40/1.

  • With Rublev and Shapovalov in the book, we’ll have a big-price, improving youngster in each side of the men’s draw – 66/1 Rublev in the top half, 50/1 Shapovalov in the bottom

Women’s Outright Winner picks…

Belinda Bencic (33/1+)

In the women’s event, our early pick from last September is Belinda Bencic at 50/1 or 40/1. The 22-year-old currently sits at a career-best No.7 in the world. She goes off this week at 33/1 to win a first Grand Slam title.

Bencic is in the bottom half of the draw. As such, she avoids both World No.1 Ashleigh Barty (8/1) and tournament favourite, Serena Williams (4/1).

Unlike the men’s, where three players have mopped up each of the last 12 Slam trophies, the women’s Majors have seen 10 different winners in that same three-year period. The scene is set for another wide-open women’s event this month…

The top half of the women’s draw gets underway on tonight’s day one schedule. Two players there have featured heavily in Ones to Watch over the past 12 months…

Dayana Yastremska (40/1) is 19 years of age, and after reaching the WTA Adelaide final last week (lost to Barty), is knocking down the door to the Top 20.

The Ukrainian teenager has teamed up with a new coach for this season, Sascha Bajin. He’s the man that was working with Naomi Osaka when she burst through to win the US Open as a 50/1 outsider in 2018.

This time last year, Yastremska reached the 3rd round in Australia, where she was brutally dismissed 6-2, 6-1 by Serena. This year they could be on course for a 4th round meeting. I like Yastremska, a lot. But this Slam could be coming just a little too early for her. She’s dangerous, though.

Sofia Kenin (50/1)

Another dangerous youngster in this section of the draw is Sofia Kenin. Age 21 and No.15 in the rankings, the American is a little further on in her progress than Yastremska.

Both players batter the ball hard, and play to win. Kenin certainly didn’t look intimidated when she beat Serena 2-0 in the French Open 3rd round last year. This time, they could meet in the Aussie Open quarter finals.

As stated in this season’s Ones to Watch in 2020 report, Kenin has already beaten past, recent and current World No.1’s – Serena, Osaka and Barty.

The girl they call Sonya is 50/1. At the last two Grand Slams, I’ve named Kenin as One to Watch, 66/1 at the US Open and 40/1 at Wimbledon. Let’s make sure we’re on her when the big run comes.

  • Like the men’s, those two picks mean we have an underdog on our side in both halves of the women’s draw – 33/1+ Bencic, and 50/1 Kenin

On Monday night the 1st round will continue with the top half of the men’s draw and bottom half of the women’s in action. We may add one or two more Each Way picks from those sections tomorrow, ahead of the opening matches. And of course, we’ll be looking to scoop up any other Outright Winner value and latch onto players hitting form as the tournament progresses.

Day One match picks…

Two men’s 1st round matches standout for Match Winner selections this evening…

Reilly Opelka to beat Fabio Fognini @ Evens

In the 3rd Quarter of the men’s draw – the same section as Shapovalov and Federer – Matteo Berrettini (100/1) and Reilly Opelka (1,000, 500/1) are two big servers that could get into week two, with a good tailwind.

Opelka is on our Ones to Watch in 2020 list, where Berrettini also had an honourable mention.

The Italian is just 1/10 (1.10) to open with a win tonight – World No.8 Berrettini is short odds-on there to beat No.162 Andrew Harris of Australia.

Opelka is a much more appealing price, at Evens (2.00) to beat Fabio Fognini.

The early 2020 form doesn’t help much. Berrettini has only been seen in an exhibition event. Opelka has played just one match, losing in the 1st round at Adelaide, 5-7, 7-6, 7-6. The 6’11” American hit 36 aces in that match and didn’t lose any of his service games – but still lost the match.

But if you serve like that, you’ll win more often than you lose. And coming up tonight against the ever-erratic Fognini, the 22-year-old American has to be the pick as the slight underdog in the betting.

The head-to-head is 1-1. Opelka won their only previous Grand Slam meeting, prevailing 3-1 at the US Open last year. His 32-year-old Italian opponent has started the year in poor form. Fognini has lost three out of four matches so far this month.

Alexander Bublik to beat Jordan Thompson @ 4/5

At 22 year of age and No.55 in the world, Bublik is younger and higher-ranked than his Australian 1st round opponent.

Aged 25, Thompson is looking like ending up in the ‘journeyman’ category. He’ll have home support here but I’m not sure that will be enough.

Bublik has played some of the best and most reliable tennis of his career in the last year, reaching two finals – ATP Newport on grass and ATP Chengdu on hard courts. During that Chengdu run in September, he beat Thompson in straight sets in what was their only meeting to date, 6-4, 7-5.

Ones to Watch:

Outright Winner picks – Each Way

Australian Open – Men’s:

  • Denis Shapovalov is 50/1 with Boylesports, Skybet, BetVictor, 888 Sport, Unibet, 40/1 in general

Australian Open – Women’s:

  • Sofia Kenin is 50/1 with Boylesports, Skybet, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, NetBet, 10Bet, 40/1 in general

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

Match picks

Reilly Opelka v Fabio Fognini:

  • Opelka to beat Fognini is Evens (2.00) with Betway, NetBet, 10Bet, 19/20 (1.95) BetVictor, 10/11 (1.91) Bet365, William Hill, Boylesports

Jordan Thompson v Alexander Bublik:

  • Bublik to beat Thompson is 4/5 (1.80) with Betway, Bet365, William Hill, BetVictor, Boylesports

If you’re new to tennis betting, have a read of my Bookie Rules page here for a few pointers.

Play starts from Midnight.

I’ll be back by 8pm on Monday with your Day Two analysis, picks and advice.

If you have any questions or want to drop me a line during the tournament, I’m on hand via email. You can message me at:

Enjoy the tennis…

Best wishes,

Oliver Upstone

Tom Wilson

Ones to Watch