No Andy Murray or Rafa Nadal in Dubai this week, but Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are joined by a wealth of big names, battling it out to become king of the Dubai courts. What are the odds makers offering us, and where are we looking to place our tennis picks?
This is the Serb’s first big event since winning the Australian Open for a fourth time at the end of January. The last time Djokovic won here in Dubai was 2011 and the current World No.1 was just embarking on an unbeaten run which would see him all the way through to the French Open semis several months later.
It was Andy Murray who defeated Djokovic at the semi-final stage here last year and with the Scot preferring to concentrate on his preparations for Indian Wells and Miami, it’s clear to see why Djokovic is the 8/11 favourite with the tennis odds makers.
Like Andy Murray, Djokovic will certainly be looking towards Indian Wells as his biggest upcoming priority, but that’s no reason why the Serb shouldn’t be able to back up his Melbourne success with another title here.
8/11 may not be the type of value that’s going to bring in the big bucks but I am struggling to pick out any one name who I genuinely feel could defeat the Serb.
Let's look at some of the other options we have for our tennis betting picks this weekend.
Following his return to the top of the men’s rankings last year, Roger Federer has struggled in the last six months to pick up any of the big titles. This time last year, The Swiss had picked up titles in Paris and London and was about to collect the first Masters event of the season in Indian Wells.
Roger did perform well in Melbourne and was maybe a little unlucky to drop out to Murray in the semis, however I don’t feel that the Swiss is going to be quite as motivated for some of the lesser tournaments this year and I’d expect to see him prioritising the Slams and one or two of the bigger Masters events.
Federer can certainly do well here this week and he’s potentially capable of winning it. There are more than a couple of men who I think could beat him here this week though, and for that reason, I’m not especially drawn in by the 11/4 on offer with the tennis bookmakers.
Thomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are the two men in the bottom half of the draw who seem to have the best chance of sneaking past Federer and into the final. These men are both due to meet in the semi-finals and although both are capable of big inconsistency, they are capable of defeating the top names on their day and I’d be tempted to back one of them for a run to the final.
When it comes to finding value for our sports picks, Berdych would be my slight favourite from the two at 8/1, whilst Tsonga can be backed at 12/1.
In the top half of the draw, Juan Martin Del Potro looks like the only man who is really going to have any chance of ousting Djokovic but at 10/1, I’d be far more tempted to take my chances with Berdych or Tsonga, than the in and out Argentine.
As ever, it’s highly unlikely that anybody outside of those names I’ve already mentioned would show the form and consistency to come through and win this event, but for those of you who love an outsider, Bernard Tomic has the raw potential at 50/1 and maybe Nikolay Davydenko could show there’s life in the old Russian yet – he’s available at 80/1.
If Novak Djokovic really wants this crown, there shouldn’t be anybody here who’ll be able to stop him.
So for me, it’s Djokovic at 8/11, with Bernard Tomic a possible each-way punt.