The Madrid open is well underway in the Spanish capital and it hasn’t taken long for the first big shock of the event to take place as Grigor Dimitrov ousted world No.1, Novak Djokovic in the Serb’s opening match.
This event was one of the most controversial on the 2012 calendar with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic complaining about the blue clay before both bowing out with a whimper long before the final. It’s been back to the red stuff in Madrid for 2013, but it proved little help to Novak Djokovic who will already be turning his attentions to next week’s Rome Masters and ultimately the French Open at the end of the month.
But here in Madrid, there’ll be three names in particular who’ll be delighted to see the early exit of the Serb.
Also take a look at Nila Amerova's Madrid Open Picks & Betting Preview.
Andy Murray looks like he could potentially be the man to benefit most from Novak’s early exit. The Scot has been drawn in the same half as Djokovic which means a route to the final has now opened up for him. Murray made little secret of the fact that he is aiming for the world no.1 spot in 2013, but he hasn’t managed to make any significant in-roads on Djokovic’s big points lead yet. Success here in Madrid could just be the start of the swing he is after.
Andy is being offered at the hugely tempting tennis odds 10/1 to win this event but should something out of the ordinary happen with Rafa, Murray would likely become the favourite.
In fairness to Rafa Nadal, having only come back from a long injury lay-off at the end of February, nobody was really expecting anything too much from the Spaniard until around this time of year. Of course, Nadal surprised us all when he romped to a hard court Masters success in Indian Wells and whilst he will be a little concerned by the straight sets defeat to Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final, I suspect Rafa will have quickly put that down to a lack of fitness and will feel he’s right on course for Paris in a couple of weeks’ time.
It looks like Rafa will need to come past Federer in the semi-finals and Murray in the final if he’s to win this event, but on this surface, you’d expect it should be something he can manage without too much fuss.
Rafa is the 8/15 favourite now that Djokovic has gone. It’s tough to see past him, but I can’t really be parting with my money at those odds.
Roger Federer won this event in 2012 as he embarked on a run which would eventually see him crowned Wimbledon Champion and return to the top of the world rankings. At 8/1, I’m not all that keen on the Swiss’ chances of regaining the title here in Madrid. Roger is all about the Grand Slams this year and Wimbledon is probably his biggest priority over the next couple of months. A semi-final with Rafa could be an entertaining prospect, but Nishikori could potentially prove a tricky opponent before we even reach that stage.
Elsewhere, it’s tough to see any of the chasing pack coming through to win here. Fernando Verdasco famously defeated Nadal here last year and might be able to put a little run together again. At 100/1 to win the event, there could be a little bit of each-way tennis betting value in the veteran Spaniard. Don’t back him to repeat last year’s feat and beat Rafa again though!
It’ll probably be Rafa, but I can’t take the 8/15 odds. Take a punt on Andy Murray to succeed here at 10/1 and back it up with an each-way gamble on 100/1 shot, Fernando Verdasco.