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James Duckworth to beat Jan-Lennard Struff at -110 (Caesars Sportsbook)
Ricardas Berankis to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime at +240 (PointsBet)
Grigor Dimitrov to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas at +195 (PointsBet)
Jannik Sinner to win ATP Vienna at +600 at BetMGM
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I can’t be having this as a 50-50 match.
Duckworth is in the form of his life and has been winning plenty of matches of late on the indoor hardcourts.
He reached his first ATP Tour final in Nur-Sultan last month, beating top-50 players Filip Krajinovic and John Millman, as well as the in-form Ilya Ivashka.
I’m expecting the Rebound Ace courts in St Petersburg to play similarly sluggish to those in Kazakhstan.
The Aussie backed up that final appearance with a run to the last eight in Sofia before he bowed out to eventual champ Jannik Sinner – no disgrace in that.
Even last week he proved his mettle in defeat to Karen Khachanov, taking a set off the seeded Russian in his own backyard of Moscow.
Struff, on the other hand, has lost 11 of his last 14 matches and looks devoid of confidence.
He may be ranked 50, two places higher than Duckworth, but the key numbers here point towards a Duckworth win which looks like a great bet at the -110 price.
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Berankis made the most of his lucky-loser spot in Moscow last week, going on to reach the semi-finals, showing the sort of form which could trouble his seeded foe in Vienna this week.
Slow indoor hardcourts are pretty much ideal conditions for the Lithuanian, who has made the final in Moscow in the past and appeared in two quarter-finals in St Petersburg.
Auger-Aliassime did make the US Open semis not so long ago but he may find his weapons blunted by the Rebound Ace surface and I can’t see him relishing the trip to Austria.
This will be only his third indoor hard court match of the year. He lost at the Laver Cup and in Rotterdam in March so is now on a run of six straight losses on indoor hard having endured a tough spell this time last year.
In Vienna, he’s 0-2 and so odds of +240 about the underdog here make plenty of appeals.
Dimitrov beat Tsitsipas in Vienna 12 months ago and looks a big price to repeat the trick.
The Bulgarian found some form on his recent trip to the United States, reaching quarter-finals in both San Diego and Indian Wells.
At the latter Masters 1000 event, he beat three top-20 stars, including US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.
We know he can play indoors – who can forget his superb triumph at the ATP Finals in 2017? – and I simply don’t think he should be +195 to win this contest.
Tsitsipas is, of course, a very good player but he struggled in Indian Wells, losing sets to Alex de Minaur and Fabio Fognini, a pair who have struggled for wins in recent months, and then exited at the hands of Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Dimitrov’s backhand will cause Tsitsipas problems, especially if he can draw him into backhand-to-backhand exchanges – that shot is the Greek’s biggest weakness – and I don’t think the top seed could have had a much tougher first-round draw.
Tsitsipas was disappointed indoors at the start of the season when he appeared in Rotterdam and Marseille and I’m more than happy to oppose him here.
My regular hunt for potential second-round upsets takes me to St Petersburg where the top four seeds all get byes and it’s not hard to make a case against all of them.
Aslan Karatsev won in Moscow last week but doesn’t get long to rest and recover – John Millman looks capable of giving him a test first up.
Denis Shapovalov is just 4-7 since Wimbledon but I’m not sure Federico Delbonis or Pablo Andujar will have the tools for the job.
Instead, preference would be to take on Andrey Rublev and/or Roberto Bautista Agut.
Top seed Rublev lost his opener in Moscow last week and a meeting with the in-form Ilya Ivashka would be a potential banana skin.
Ivashka won his first ATP title in Winston-Salem in August and is at home indoors – he made the semi-finals in Nur-Sultan last month before a slight injury halted his progress.
As for Bautista Agut, he’s another who is in a bit of a funk, losing seven of 12 matches since Wimbledon.
Mackenzie McDonald is a potential opponent for his opening match. The American has shown some good form of late and could be worth backing if they meet.
Having won indoor titles in Sofia and Antwerp in the last few weeks, Jannik Sinner is on a roll.
The Italian faces a quick turnaround after his success in Belgium on Sunday but he’s playing very well and has the motivation to maintain his momentum at this week’s Erste Bank Open in Vienna – he’s chasing a place at the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin and another triumph would go a long way to booking his spot.
He didn’t burn too much energy in Antwerp, winning his four matches in straight sets – just as he did in Sofia.
In what is a strong field, Sinner has the form to deliver a +600 winner.
|ATP Vienna & St Petersburg Information
|ATP Erste Bank Open and ATP St Petersburg Open
|Vienna, Austria; St Petersburg, Russia
|Monday, October 25 to Sunday, October 31
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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