ATP Cincinnati Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Friday 19th August By @DavAulak

Milos Raonic v Dominic Thiem

The courts in Cincinnati should be very productive for the Milos Raonic serve and heavy forehands, but I do sometimes wonder if the faster courts suit these big hitters with limited returning ability. As well as Raonic has played in the last couple of months, that return is going to be an issue when it comes to actually trying to put a Grand Slam title in the trophy cabinet.

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So far it has not been a big issue this week, but I expect Raonic to face his toughest test of the week when he meets Dominic Thiem in the Quarter Final. Thiem has only needed to win one match to get to this stage thanks to Gael Monfils’ withdrawal before their Third Round match.

However, the Austrian is coming off a retirement in Toronto and he has not played a lot of tennis since reaching the Semi Final in Halle back in June. That might mean Thiem is a little undercooked when it comes to facing Raonic on a very quick Cincinnati hard court and I expect the Canadian to have the edge when it comes to scoreboard pressure being exerted.

I am a big fan of Thiem and I would back him to win a Grand Slam title before Raonic, but at this moment I am not sure he will have enough to keep the Canadian off, especially in the current conditions. A first set tie-breaker is likely to be the key to the whole match and I think Raonic might see a few more returns fly through the court from his racquet to earn a 7-6, 6-4 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Milos Raonic -2.5 Games @ 1.80 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Milos Raonic 2

Milos Raonic

Marin Cilic v Borna Coric

It has to be one of the most surprisingly one-sided results I have seen for some time when reading Borna Coric had crushed Rafael Nadal for the loss of just four games. Yes the Spaniard had to get some physical treatment from the trainer on his foot and biceps, but Coric was very impressive although backing up that special win is going to be a real test of his character.

Coric simply hasn’t thrived in the underdog role in 2016 and he has regularly found opponents to have a little more experience and perhaps a little more firepower than he can deal with at this moment in his career. I have very little doubt Coric is going to be a mainstay of the top 10 once he breaks through that barrier, but he is still learning his game and getting the most out of his body at this moment.

The serve was working well on Thursday, but it will be tested much more vigorously by Marin Cilic who had to beat Tomas Berdych in three sets on Thursday. This is a real chance for Marin Cilic to try and break back into the top 10 of the World Rankings in the coming weeks and his form has looked strong this week.

These two players will know one another from Davis Cup action together representing Croatia, but that friendship and respect will have to be put aside. As well as Coric has played this week, I still can’t ignore the poor record as the underdog in 2016 and I am looking for his compatriot to be too strong on the day and win this one 7-5, 6-4.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Marin Cilic – 3.5 Games @ 2.04 with Unibet

 

Andy Murray v Bernard Tomic

I was very interested to see how Andy Murray would respond to winning the Gold Medal on Sunday and being back in action on the Tour on Wednesday in extremely different court conditions. At the moment, you would have to say that Murray is playing like the best player in the world and he has proven that so far with one sided wins over Juan Monaco and Kevin Anderson.

You can’t help but be impressed that Murray has dropped just ten games in two matches so far this week after coming over from Rio, while he is firm favourite to win the tournament now that Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal are out of the draw. Murray did have a couple of tight wins in Rio last week, but that doesn’t disguise the fact that he would have covered this number in two set matches in six of his last seven wins over the last two weeks.

Murray has a 4-0 head-to-head record over Bernard Tomic going into this one and that isn’t a surprise when you think the Australian has a similar style of play, but Murray does everything a little better. Like Murray, Tomic likes to employ a lot of variation on the court to bamboozle his opponents, but Murray is well accustomed to playing that game and has the far superior movement and physical endurance to count upon.

They did play a tight match at the Australian Open in January, but the other three wins have been routine for Murray. I think he is serving better now than he was when they met at the first Grand Slam of the season and playing as aggressive as he has at any time in his career. I have to respect the two big wins Tomic has had this week over David Goffin and Kei Nishikori, but Murray poses a significant increase in quality and he does match up well with a player who has lost to Ivo Karlovic and Kevin Anderson on the hard courts over the past six weeks.

I think Murray might have another edge in having played the night session matches already this week and I am looking for him to come through with a 6-4, 6-3 win in this one.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Andy Murray – 4.5 Games @ 2.00 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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ATP Cincinnati Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Wednesday 17th August By @DavAulak

Gael Monfils v Marcos Baghdatis

The last month has been so positive for Gael Monfils, and he is expected to move through to the Third Round when he faces Marcos Baghdatis on Wednesday. Both players have been on the Tour a long time, but it is strange to think this is only their third ever match against one another and the first since the Australian Open in 2007 when Monfils upset Baghdatis in four sets as the underdog.

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Things have changed in the last nine years though as Baghdatis has slipped down the rankings, although Monfils has struggled to fulfil the potential we all thought he had.

The last month has been more positive for Monfils who has balanced his solid defensive skills with plenty of aggressive tennis, and that has led to a lot of wins on the Tour. Confidence is high and it does feel that at 29-years-old Monfils has finally understood what it takes to win matches consistently at the highest level.

You don’t want to underestimate Marcos Baghdatis who has plenty of talent coming from his racquet, but I think he doesn’t get enough first serves in play for a match like this one. If he is allowing Monfils to get into rallies, Baghdatis might be forced to play closer and closer to the lines to penetrate the defences the Frenchman has, even on the faster courts in Cincinnati, and that might lead to mistakes.

A good serving day from Monfils, like he had on Tuesday, should help him wear down Baghdatis in a 7-5, 6-4 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Gael Monfils -3.5 Games @ 1.66 with Bet365

 

Fernando-Verdasco 3

Fernando Verdasco

Fernando Verdasco v Marin Cilic

This is one of the better looking Second Round matches as both Fernando Verdasco and Marin Cilic had impressive wins in the First Round in straight sets. If they can bring those levels into this match, this could be the best match of the day.

There is little doubt that Fernando Verdasco is not the same player he was a few years ago and the consistency is not quite at the level he would like. However, Verdasco served really well on Tuesday and backing that up will give him every chance of keeping this match competitive against Marin Cilic.

Cilic has had some mixed results since losing to Roger Federer at Wimbledon from two sets up, but there is a lot to like about the former US Open Champion’s game. He has the big serve and heavy groundstrokes that should make him a threat on the faster hard courts, while Cilic is very aggressive on the return of serve and that is going to put some pressure on Verdasco in this one.

However, I don’t think Cilic has been as consistent as he would have liked and Verdasco has the opportunity to steal a set which could make covering this number of games a big challenge. I am a little wary that Verdasco does seem to throw in a lot of sets these days when he takes the double break which might mean needing to win this match to cover, but I think he has a chance to do that outright and I will take the games in this one.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Fernando Verdasco +3.5 Games @ 1.85 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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ATP Cincinnati Tennis Handicap Betting Preview – Tuesday 16th August By @DavAulak

Gael Monfils v Pablo Carreno Busta

There aren’t too many players in better form than Gael Monfils who has come back from an injury with a new found aggression on the court. He has looked much more proactive in his matches and that has seen Monfils win the title in Washington, and follow that up with a run to the Semi Final in Toronto and Quarter Final in Rio at the Olympic Games.

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He will have to get over some disappointment of not being able to convert his match points in the loss to Kei Nishikori last week, but Monfils has to believe he is rounding into the kind of form that could make him a threat at the US Open. The Frenchman has been serving well and we all know he will make plenty of returns with his athleticism also making Monfils one of the better defenders on the Tour.

The defensive skills might not be as useful in the conditions in Cincinnati as they are for much of the rest of the season, but Monfils’ aggression will be rewarded here. Monfils will have to be careful when facing Pablo Carreno Busta who reached the Semi Final in Los Cabos last week and can be tough to beat, on occasion, on the hard courts even if this is not his favoured surface.

The Spaniard’s inconsistencies have shown in the results with some battling displays and competitive defeats mixed in with relatively one-sided ones over the last couple of years on this surface. However, Carreno Busta has never played at Cincinnati before and I think it might take some time getting to grips with the speed of the court and by that time Monfils might be in complete control as I expect him to move through 6-3, 6-4.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Gael Monfils – 4.5 Games @ 2.06 with Eastbridge Sports Betting Brokerage

 

Gael monfils

Gael Monfils

Ivo Karlovic v Juan Monaco 

After some really big struggles early in 2016, I did think Ivo Karlovic might be on the decline in his career as he is 37-years-old after all. However, the last two months have seen a considerable turnaround in the form although matching last season’s 38 Tour wins might still be beyond him.

Karlovic has 22 wins so far in 2016 on the main Tour, but 14 of those wins have come after Wimbledon as he has picked up titles in Newport and Los Cabos while also reaching the Final in Washington. The serve is still a big weapon for Karlovic, but I have been impressed with the way he has managed to get into opponent’s service games over the last two months and that was highlighted again on Sunday when breaking Feliciano Lopez’ serve twice.

He will be putting the pressure on Juan Monaco who has not played a lot of tennis in recent weeks. The courts in Cincinnati should make the Karlovic serve even more dangerous than usual, while I can see a situation where he gets into a few of the Monaco service games that don’t provide as many cheap points as the big man gets from his.

You would expect Monaco to be better from the back of the court, but Karlovic will look to get to the net as much as possible and force his opponent to make a number of passes through the match. It has been a couple of years since Monaco has played in Cincinnati, but he doesn’t have a lot of success on these courts to fall back upon and I expect Karlovic to come through with a 7-6, 6-4 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Ivo Karlovic – 2.5 Games @ 1.74 with Unibet

 

Fernando Verdasco v Albert Ramos-Vinolas

When these players met in the Bastad Final last month Fernando Verdasco went in as favourite, but it was Albert Ramos-Vinolas who dominated proceedings. The latter was a deserved winner, but the faster courts in Cincinnati might give Verdasco more of an edge and I am looking for the veteran Spaniard to come through in this battle between compatriots.

The inconsistencies in the Verdasco game are more prominent these days and his defeat to Marcel Granollers last week in Los Cabos was a big disappointment. However, Verdasco has shown some decent form this summer and might have had more time to get used to the conditions here in Cincinnati than Albert Ramos-Vinolas has had.

But Ramos-Vinolas should be preparing to deal with the faster courts compared with what he would have seen at the Olympic Games last week. It has clearly been a factor that has seen Ramos-Vinolas play here just two times in the past and he has been beaten in both previous times he has made it to Cincinnati.

If Ramos-Vinolas is returning as well as he was in Bastad he will give Verdasco problems, but I think the latter will get a little more pop out of the serve on these courts. That should help him find a way to get the better of his compatriot this time around and I think Verdasco can come through with a 6-3, 7-6 win.

HANDICAP BETTING PICK: Fernando Verdasco – 2.5 Games @ 1.93 with Pinnacle

Prices correct at time of writing.

By @DavAulak.

 

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