While tennis fans across the United Kingdom continue to bask in Andy Murray’s momentous Wimbledon victory, marking the end of a 77-year long drought without a British champion since Fred Perry, the rest of the tennis world turns its attention to several ATP 250 events cropping up this week, including the Skistar Swedish Open that boasts a deep field with Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Tommy Robredo and Fernando Verdasco, to name a few competing.
Back to red clay before the US Open series kicks off
Tomas Berdych leads the charge in Bastad as the top seed and tennis odds favourite at +120 to win outright, but the Czech starlet will face stiff competition for the title. Clay-court gurus abound in every section of the draw, namely Nicolas Almagro, the second favourite for the title at +300, veteran Tommy Robredo (at +650 to win outright at Bet365) and Fernando Verdasco and Juan Monaco (+700), to name a few.
The Czech is bidding to win his first ATP title of the season in Bastad, Sweden. Last year’s champion David Ferrer is giving this event a miss this week so the title is certainly up for grabs. Can he break into the champions circle or will somebody else beat him to it?
Breaking down the quarters
Tomas Berdych is a -500 favourite to win his quarter at Bet365 and by all accounts he should do so when the highest seeded threat in his corner is sixth seed and World No. 52 Viktor Troicki who is enjoying a so-so season. Berdych begins his campaign against Martin Alund who is after a three-set marathon over Swedish wildcard Markus Eriksson in the first round. If all goes to plan and seeding, Berdych would come up against Troicki in the quarterfinals, a player he owns 4-1 head-to-head. However other potential matchups could be Thiemo de Bakker (+2500 to win the quarter) or Joao Souza (+2000 to win the quarter) but, on paper, Berdych has the edge in all these scenarios and as such would appear to be the best options for your tennis picks.
Verdict: Tomas Berdych to win quarter at -500 at Bet365
Fourth seed Tommy Robredo, whose career is enjoying a brilliant resurgence, is listed as the hot -138 favourite to win the second quarter. His section though isn’t without dangerous floaters. Players such as Carlos Berlocq (+225) or even compatriot Albert Ramos, listed at +350 to win the quarter at Bet365, could present sticky obstacles down the road. Nonetheless, Robredo’s form of late and impressive run at the French Open lends well towards another similar solid deposit at the Skistar Swedish Open.
Verdict: Robredo to win quarter at -138 at Bet365
Third seed Juan Monaco and fifth seed Grigor Dimitrov have fallen into the third quarter together, making their section one of the tougher sections of the draw. It looks as if most sportsbooks are rather tightfisted here, listing Monaco as the -110 favourite and Dimitrov as the +110 second favourite to win the quarter. By all accounts, the winner of this quarter is going to be either one. The remaining players still alive in the draw aren’t given much of a punters chance – Filippo Volandri is listed at +800 while Paolo Lorenzi and Jurgen Zopp are tipped at +2000 and +5000, respectively. Because of the surface, Monaco has the slight edge over Dimitrov so we are plumping down on his respectable odds to win this quarter.
Verdict: Monaco to win the third quarter at -110
Second seed Nicolas Almagro (-188 to win the fourth quarter) won this event in 2010 and was last year’s runner-up but this year he’s drawn the short straw surely; falling into the same section as recently rejuvenated Fernando Verdasco (+200), who is after an impressive Wimbledon run into the quarterfinals where he took two sets off Andy Murray before succumbing in five is a bit unfortunate for Almagro. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Verdasco can build on that run on grass when he sets foot on the red stuff – he’s notoriously inconsistent from tournament to tournament. But if there is a player that could seriously challenge Almagro, it’s an on-form Verdasco for sure. Long-shot sports picks to win this section include giant-slayer Sergiy Stakhovsky at +1600 and Guillermo Garcia Lopez at +1400 with Bet365.Verdict: Verdasco to win quarter at +200