The fifth ATP 500 of the season takes place this week in Barcelona. Find out who are the main contenders for the title, the player to keep an eye on, and the best tennis pick here.
After winning his ninth career title in Monte Carlo, Rafael Nadal aims to extend his winning streak in Barcelona, where he's an eight-time champion. The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title was Nadal's first title in 2016 and the first Masters trophy he won since 2014. No doubts that Nadal enters this ATP Barcelona with sky high confidence and adding to that, the two players on his side of the draw who could create some problems to him are returning from injury – David Ferrer and Fabio Fognini. Having said that, is highly unlikely to see Nadal losing before the final and for that reason, we believe there is value on his tennis odds at 1.80 on bet365.
The defending champion and two-time winner of the Barcelona Open, Kei Nishikori, returns to a very special tournament for him. Nishikori ended the Hard Court season with a great result in Miami, losing only to Novak Djokovic at the Miami Open final. Even though Nishikori's game is more suited to Hard Courts, the Japanese is also a tremendous player on clay. Nishikori is the highest ranked player on bottom half of the draw and he shouldn't experience much problems on the first rounds, where he might face players like Thiemo De Bakker, Jeremy Chardy and Roberto Bautista Agut. At the semifinals is possible that Nishikori faces Richard Gasquet, a player who won all the previous six meetings between them yet, this should be the time for Kei to achieve his first career victory over this opponent. The chances for Kei to reach the final are quite good and his price presents good value at 5.00 on William Hill.
We believe that the two highest seeded players, Nadal and Nishikori, should reach the final and our suggestion to approach this competition is to place a bet on both to win the title. By placing 73.53% of your stake on Nadal and 26.47% on Nishikori you'll collect a win of 32.35% if any of these two wins, but you can always do other kind of combinations.
Player To Keep An Eye On
As we mentioned, is unlikely to see any other player lifting the trophy besides Nadal and Nishikori; however, is still possible to find value for a player to reach the final stages of the competition. After a surprising loss at Monte Carlo against Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet is looking for a better performance in Barcelona. This is Gasquet's fourt career appearance in Barcelona, with his best result achieved in 2011 when he reached the 3rd round.
On his debut, Richard might face Hyeon Chung, a promising young player with a solid baseline game yet, Gasquet's baseline consistency should be too much for Chung to handle. On the following round Gasquet might face another young talented player – Alexander Zverev – and once again, the French should be too good from the baseline for his opponent. At the quarterfinals the possible opponents are Pablo Cuevas, Nicolas Almagro or Benoit Paire, neither of them is an easy opponent but Gasquet has the game to overcome any of them.
Paire did a great performance in Monte Carlo but he's known for his tremendous inconsistency and is very possible to see him losing on the first rounds. With this in mind, we believe Richard might be a good investment until the semifinals, where he should lose to Nishikori. Therefore, we suggest adding Gasquet to your tennis picks on the first rounds.