The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters enters the R16 on Thursday and serves up lots of plum tennis picks for your consideration, namely, eight-time champion, Rafael Nadal, as he takes on Philipp Kohlshreiber for a spot in the quarterfinals and the chance to continue in his quest for a ninth-straight Monty title.
Tonsga 2/9 vs. Melzer Analysis 3/1: Tsonga enters the R16 clash against Melzer as the solid 2/9 betting odds favorite at William Hill on the strength of a 2-0 H2H edge over the Austrian and his lofty Top Ten ranking. The last time this pair collided at an event however was in 2008. A lot has changed with both players since, making this H2H a bit of a moot point, really.
Tsonga’s value is in the wave of good form he’s riding on into Monty: he is 16/5 on the season with a title under his belt. He deposited positive accounts in the two previous Masters events (reached the quarters in Indy and the R16 in Miami) and helped France to victory in Davis Cup action over Argentina by winning both rubbers. Confidence is high in his camp.
Although Melzer is just a modest 11/11 on the season, he’s flush off a quarterfinal appearance in Miami after winning a Challenger event. He’s known as a wily competitor, a tough lefty that isn’t immune to pulling off the occasional upset (beating Djokovic at the French Open a few years ago, clawing back from two sets down to win, springs to mind). In fact, he’s already carved out an upset in Monty – defeating tenth seed Nicolas Almagro, a pretty sentient dirtballer in straight sets no less.
Should Tsonga be concerned? Definitely. Granted, Tsonga does appear to be the smart bet, but savvy tennis bettors know tennis is never straightforward. And when backing Melzer for yet another upset in Monty holds such delicious appeal and is based on sound reasoning too, then why not?
Tennis Free Picks: Melzer to win in three sets at 3/1 at William Hill.
Berdych 2/9 vs. Fognini Analysis 3/1: This matchup poses an interesting tennis betting option for fans because Fognini holds a competitive 1-1 H2H with world No.6 Berdych. Granted, his win over Berdych came in 2009, but it did come on clay and at this very event in the R64 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Moreover, Fognini beat compatriot Andreas Seppi (seeded 15th) in the first round. One upset down, another to go? It’s a tempting thought encouraged by tempting 3/1 betting odds at William Hill for the outright win. Here’s another thought: he’s not priced out of the match as one would assume he would be given the ranking and form disparity between him and Berdych. Telling, is it?
Amongst the many dirtballers that annually flock to this event, Fabio Fognini is, arguably, the most entertaining to watch for both his temperamental on-court antics and occasional sublime tennis. He can do your head in some times and impress you other times. But being a hothead has a downside: unreliable and inconsistent play. This makes backing him for the upset a risky bet.
But it is possible.
Granted, Berdych is playing well this season (he’s a solid 21/6 on the season, which includes reaching no less than the quarters of all events entered). However, it’s worth noting three things that could be a factor. First, Berdych can be ambivalent in his tactics from time to time. Though less frequently these days, it still does rear up. Secondly, Fognini has seen more clay-court action already, which gives him a slight advantage on the surface. And, finally, Berdych can struggle against shorter players (like Fognini) because his ball lands square into their strike zone and that allows them to then tee-off for winners at whim. All things being considered, this match should be a close call and it could go either way.
Tennis Free Picks: Fognini in three sets at 3/1 at William Hill.
Kohlschreiber 12/1 vs. Nadal Analysis 1/50: If the tennis odds are any indication, then this matchup is going to be a whitewash affair. Odds makers don’t brandish staggering 1/50 price tags if it’s not an almost certainty they won’t pay the price of overconfidence. And they don’t dismiss the value of opposition lightly either. Which begs the question: what is there to discuss here? Not much.
Without waxing lyrical about Nadal, suffice it to point out some pertinent facts: Nadal is known as the King of Clay (you may have heard?); he has won eight straight Monty titles; he leads Kohlschrieber 8-1 H2H, which includes a 4-0 mark on clay without dropping a set (and no more than six games at one time); and, he currently has a 17/1 mark on the season with three titles. Nuff said.
Tennis Free Picks: Nadal in straight sets at 1/50 at William Hill