|Roberto Bautista Agut||+700
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Andrey Rublev made the final here in 2019 and after a strong show at the US Open can go one better at +1100 with bet365.
Cristian Garin has already won two titles on clay this year and looks a good price in an open bottom half of the draw. Back him at +2500 with bet365.
Dominik Koepfer and Yoshihito Nishioka have contrasting form and the German should win their R1 match. Back him on the money line at -161 (bet365).
Andrey Rublev to win +1100
Cristian Garin to win +2500
Dominik Koepfer over Yoshihito Nishioka in the R1 match -161
|What||ATP Hamburg European Open|
|Where||Am Rothenbaum, Hamburg, Germany|
|When||Monday September 21 to Sunday September 27|
|How to Watch||Tennis Channel|
Looking at the top of the market, Andrey Rublev looks tempting priced at +1100.
The market leaders can all be taken on – Daniil Medvedev has never won a claycourt title, Stefanos Tsitsipas was awful in Rome last week and Roberto Bautista Agut is, like Medvedev, playing his first match of the year on this surface. In addition, his only clay tournament win came six years ago.
Rublev does know how to win on the red stuff and last year he made the final here.
The Russian was in fine form at the recent US Open, dismissing Matteo Berrettini before a hard-fought defeat to Medvedev. His serve was in good working order in both of those matches and although that shot is less important on the clay, it’s not as if the rest of his game isn’t working well.
I can forgive an early loss in Rome last week. Another week of practice on this surface should have his clay legs worn in and his price looks to have some value attached.
Qualifiers and Kevin Anderson block his path to the last eight where he is due to meet Bautista Agut but the Spaniard prefers the hardcourts and would be vulnerable in any such meeting.
For a longer shot, Fabio Fognini is worth considering at +5000.
His form isn’t great but he’s got a claycourt pedigree having won eight titles on this surface in his career – more than any other player in this field.
The Italian had ankle surgery during the season’s hiatus but will be gradually getting back into the swing of things and a return to a venue where he’s twice made the final, winning one of those matches, could be the tonic he needs.
However, with Fognini in the same half of the draw as Rublev, I’ll instead choose Cristian Garin as my each-way, long-shot selection.
The Chilean won two titles on this surface in his native South America earlier in the year. The slow conditions found across the Atlantic could be mirrored here come the end of the week with temperatures forecast to plummet in the second half of the week.
Anyone who saw how the cooler, damper conditions affected Rafael Nadal in Rome will know that could be crucial and help those prepared to really grind out the points.
While his draw is by no means easy – Kei Nishikori is an awkward opening opponent but also one who is only just back from a year out through injury – he’s in the same quarter as Nadal’s Roman conqueror Diego Schwartzman, who didn’t sound too keen on playing this week following his shock win.
With the out-of-sorts Tsitsipas the man seeded to make the final, there looks to be an opportunity here and Garin has the clay nous to take advantage.
I’m not someone who puts up -161 bets very often but the situation warrants it here.
Dominik Koepfer is playing in Hamburg under a special exemption which immediately tells you he made the latter stages last week in Rome.
He was still there on Saturday, having beaten Alex de Minaur and Gael Monfils to reach the quarter-finals. Once there, he even took a set off world number one Novak Djokovic.
The German is playing pain-free again after laser therapy on his heel during the lockdown and a player who initially struggled to back up last year’s run to the last 16 of the US Open appears to be back on course.
The late bloomer faces Yoshihito Nishioka in his first-round match and the Japanese has had plenty of problems on clay in the last couple of weeks.
He won just three games in Kitzbuhel against Guido Pella and then in Rome went down 6-0 6-1 to Grigor Dimitrov.
Koepfer has the form to ensure that misery continues and looks worthy of support.
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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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