Italian Open Betting Tips & Predictions
The clay court season hits it final stop for some before the French Open at the end of the month, as the players gather for the Italian Open in Rome. The Italian Open is the final Masters 1000 event played on a clay court each season and it serves as a final warm-up for most players ahead of Roland Garros. This year will be the 75th edition of the tournament, and the players are set to battle it out for a prize fund of just over £4.3 million. German ace Alexander Zverev is the defending champion this week, after the twenty-year-old claimed his first Masters title twelve months ago with a straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic in the final. The inform German will be among the frontrunners once again this week, but will he be able to repeat his exploits from last year and successfully defend his title?
Unsurprisingly, Rafael Nadal is yet again the most successful player at a clay court event, as the Spaniard comes into this year’s tournament as a seven-time champion here, with his most recent success being in 2013. Former world number one, and last year’s runner-up, Novak Djokovic has also been successful here in the past, with the Serbian ace being a four-time champion in Rome. World number three and defending champion Alexander Zverev is the only other former champion in this year’s field and the German youngster will be hoping to successfully defend the first Masters title he won. Will a former champion triumph once again in Rome, or will we see a new name on the trophy in a week’s time?
Last 5 Champions
2017 – Alexander Zverev
2016 – Andy Murray
2015 – Novak Djokovic
2014 – Novak Djokovic
2013 – Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer returned to world number one this week, following Rafael Nadal’s failure to defend his Madrid Masters title, but the Swiss will not be competing this week after opting to skip the clay court season. Canadian Milos Raonic will also be missing this week after picking up another injury that puts his participation at Roland Garros in jeopardy. 2016 champion Andy Murray is still no closer to a return from injury, while the inform Hyeon Chung will also be missing through injury this week. Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut is another to be missing this week, while Nick Kyrgios is still missing from action. There’s a lot to play for in Rome this week, and despite these absentees, we should be in for a very exciting week of tennis.
Notable Absentees (Ranking)
Roger Federer (1)
Roberto Bautista-Agut (13)
Hyeon Chung (20)
Milos Raonic (22)
Nick Kyrgios (25)
Andy Murray (45)
Rafael Nadal lost his number one ranking this past week, but that won’t stop him from coming here as the favourite to win an eighth Italian Open crown. The Spaniard lost his first clay court match in 51 weeks when he was beaten by Dominic Thiem in the Madrid quarter-finals, something that will surely motivate him even more this week. Nadal did, however, break the ATP record for most consecutive sets won on one surface, as he recorded his 50th successive clay court set in his win over Diego Schwartzman. While Nadal has dominated here in the past, the world number two hasn’t won this title since 2013, which is a long time for the ‘King of Clay’. In addition to wanting to win back this title, Nadal will also return to top spot in the rankings should he go on to claim his eighth title this week. While Nadal will once again be the favourite this week, the rest of the field will now feel he’s beatable following his defeat in Madrid, something Nadal will be looking to dismiss this week. Can Nadal claim a first Italian Open title in five years?
Despite a poor start to the clay court season by his standards, Dominic Thiem has underlined why he is the most likely player to beat Nadal on this surface with that straight-sets win over the Spaniard last week. Thiem was terrific in that match, and at the time of writing this, Thiem finds himself in the final in Madrid. The Austrian ace could be coming here this week as the Madrid Masters champion and full of confidence, something that will make him one of the favourites again this week. The twenty-four-year-old reached the semi-finals here twelve months ago, and he’s sure to be confident of improving on that this time around. Thiem has been considered the second best clay court player in the world for about a year now, but he needs to win one of these big titles to back-up that claim. Could the Austrian ace be a two-time Masters champion in a week’s time?
Alexander Zverev is one of the form players in the world right now, something that will leave the defending champion in good stead as he looks to successfully defend this title. Zverev has enjoyed another good week this past week in Madrid, and like Thiem, the German finds himself in the final there. The German ace also won the Munich Open the week before and so he’s full of confidence right now, something that makes him an extremely difficult opponent for anyone. Last year’s title here was Zverev’s big breakthrough moment as he claimed his maiden Masters title, something that acted as a catalyst for the rest of the season for him. Can Zverev become a two-time here in Rome?
Juan Martin del Potro made a disappointing start to his clay court season, as he crashed out early in Madrid. The Indian Wells champion is set to make only his second appearance here in five years, but despite this he should be among the favourites to claim the title this week. Del Potro has made a couple of quarter-final appearances here in the past, but he’ll looking to improve significantly on that this week and head into the French Open on a high. Grigor Dimitrov, meanwhile, has made a solid start to the clay court season, despite his defeat to Milos Raonic in his opening match last week. Dimitrov made the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and the quarter-finals in Barcelona, but he’s not coming to a happy hunting ground for him. The Bulgarian ace has tasted successive first round defeats at this tournament and he’s only ever made it past the second round here once. Will Dimitrov enjoy a good run here this year?
Last year’s runner-up Novak Djokovic will be looking to triumph here once again, as the Serbian ace looks to add to his four previous successes here. It’s been no secret that Djokovic has been well off his best for well over a year now, but in recent weeks he’s been showing some positive signs. The former world number one saw off the inform Kei Nishikori in Madrid, before exiting to Kyle Edmund, but he looks to be taking steps in the positive direction. Djokovic has a terrific record at this event and he’s reached at least the final here in all but two years since 2008, 2010 and 2013, and so that should give him all the confidence he needs to enjoy a good run this week. Can Djokovic finally return to his best form and claim his first title in nearly a year?
Marin Cilic is fit again after a brief injury that forced him to withdraw from last week’s Madrid Open. The Australian Open finalist might not be quite back to 100% fitness and so this week I’d imagine he’s just looking to get some match practice ahead of the French Open. Nonetheless, any tournament Cilic enters he’s capable of winning, and this week’s number four seed will be looking to win this title for the first time. Cilic reached the quarter-finals here twelve months ago, his best result at this event to date, and so he’ll be looking for a similar run this year. Can Cilic shake off any rustiness and reach only a second Masters final?
Kevin Anderson comes to Rome in good form after reaching his first ever Masters semi-final in Madrid. The South African has enjoyed a solid start to the season that has seen him win a title and reach at least the quarter-finals in all of the previous Masters events this season. Anderson will now be looking to reach a first ever Masters final this week, and if he can produce a similar level of tennis to what he did last week he’ll have a great chance of doing just that. Meanwhile, three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka makes his return from injury this week and he’ll be hoping to get right into the grove. Wawrinka hasn’t played since he was forced to retire from a match in February, but on his day he’s still one of the very best in the world. The Swiss ace reached the final here in 2008, before being edged out in three-sets by Novak Djokovic, and so he has the pedigree to enjoy a good run at this event. Can Wawrinka make it a winning return from injury?
Denis Shapovalov might be an outside shout this week, after the Canadian teenager enjoyed a sensational week in Madrid. Shapovalov reached the semi-finals over there and if he can enjoy a good run this week he could also find himself as the Canadian number one in the next few days, something I’m sure he’ll take great confidence from. Shapovalov is now winning matches on clay and if he can keep that up this week he should be in for another great week.
Italian Fabio Fognini will be leading the charge of Italians looking to win on home soil this week. The Italian number one reached the third round last year, but he’s been handed a horror draw this time around. Fognini opens up with a match against Gael Monfils, before a potential second round encounter with Dominic Thiem. Nonetheless, Fognini will be aiming the become the first Italian since Adriano Panatta in 1976 to win this title on home soil. Who will leave Rome as the champion and head into Roland Garros with all the confidence?
Despite losing in the quarter-finals last week, I still can’t go against Rafael Nadal winning yet another clay court title. The Spaniard dominated the whole of the clay court season last year, but he did lose a match during it to Dominic Thiem, at this tournament actually. Nonetheless, he didn’t dwell on that defeat last year and instead he went onto win a tenth French Open and win an incredible fifty consecutive sets of tennis on clay. I feel like the defeat to Thiem will have only motivated Nadal even more and he’ll be desperate to set the record straight, and regain his number one ranking. While Nadal might be beatable, I still see the Spaniard being too strong and I see him claiming an eighth Italian Open title this week.
Alexander Zverev Each Way
I think Alexander Zverev is playing some terrific tennis right now, and he definitely won’t relinquish his title without a fight, and so I see him having another great run this week. The German has been flying as of late and he could be coming into this tournament on a nine-match winning streak. Zverev has also reached at least the semi-finals in his last four tournaments, something which takes some going. Zverev will also be extremely happy with his draw, and after seeing it he will be even more confident of his chances this week. I think Zverev reaches a second consecutive final here and possibly even win a second consecutive title here in Rome.