2019 Italian Open - Nadal to continue domination in Rome

Betting market favours Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Tennis

2019 Italian Open Men’s Singles Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips


As we approach the pinnacle of the clay court season which culminates at the French Open in Roland Garros at the end of May, the players are in the final stages of fine tuning their game to give themselves the best possible chance at the second Grand Slam of the year.

The Italian Open is the third and final ATP 1000 event to be played on clay and Rome will see most of the top men’s players this week. That includes the ATP 1000 Italian Open 2018 champion and the ‘king of clay’, Rafael Nadal.

With prize money of €5,207,405 the Italian Open remains a prestigious event on the tennis calendar – this will be the 76th edition of the tournament.

The Italian Open has good points on offer for those trying to climb up the rankings. The winner puts 1000 points on the board while the finalist will receive 600, the four semi finalists 360 and the quarter finalists 180 points.

A strong field is entering Rome for the Italian Open with the 16 seeded players all within the top 20 in the ATP World Rankings. The top 20 ranked players that have withdrawn due to injury are John Isner, Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic.

2019 Italian Open Men’s Singles Top Contenders


Novak Djokovic once again leads the betting markets for the ATP 1000 Italian Open. The two top seeds have dominated this ATP 1000 Masters event since 2005 with Andy Murray (2016) and Alexander Zverev (2017) the only other winners since then. Dominic Thiem is third favourite followed some way back by Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Roger Federer.

Rafael Nadal (2.10)


Tennis
Rafael Nadal returns to Rome as the defending champion (Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has claimed the ATP 1000 Italian Open on eight occasions, his first being in 2005. He is also the defending champion after defeating Alexander Zverev in the 2018 Italian Open final 6-1, 1-6, 6-3. He has also been a losing finalist at the Italian Open on two occasions – in 2011 and 2014.

On clay Nadal has no equal. His form has not been fantastic this season, but he has improved with each tournament on clay.

Recently, in the ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open, Nadal seemed to be getting back to his best on the red dirt. He was imperious in his quarter final against Stan Wawrinka but then came up short in the semi final against Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.

Nadal is the heavy favourite to claim his ninth ATP 1000 Italian Open and is backed at 2.10.

Novak Djokovic (4.00)


Djokovic
Novak Djokovic has won the ATP 1000 Italian Open on four occasions (Getty Images)

The world No.1 Serb went into the ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open in poor form. In January Novak Djokovic started the year off by winning his seventh Australian Open Grand Slam title, defeating Rafael Nadal in the final 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Since then, Djokovic has not managed to reach his normal levels. That was until the Madrid Open where he is due to play in the final against Stefanos Tsitsipas today.

The 15-time Grand Slam champion has started finding form in Madrid. Taylor Fritz was his first victim at the Caja Magica before he saw off Jeremy Chardy. Marin Cilic withdrew from his quarter final clash with Djokovic due to illness. In the semi final, Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem in a tightly contested match, 7-6, 7-6 to book his place in the final (to be played later today).

Djokovic is a four time champion at the ATP 1000 Italian Open and can be backed at 4.00 to make it a five times this year. His last victory in Rome came against Roger Federer in 2015 where he beat the Swiss 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

Dominic Thiem (6.50)


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Dominic Thiem has been in great form on clay in 2019 (Getty Images)

The men’s player of the year on clay must be the Austrian, Dominic Thiem. He has already claimed the ATP 500 Barcelona Open title, beating Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4 in the semi finals and Daniil Medvedev in the final 6-4, 6-0. It was Thiem’s third ATP 500 title.

He followed it up with a good run in the ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open. On his way to the semi final in Madrid, Thiem defeated Rielly Opelka, Fabio Fognini and Roger Federer before coming unstuck in the semi final against world No.1, Novak Djokovic 7-6, 7-6.

Clay is the 25-year-old Austrian’s favoured court and is considered one of the finest clay court players of his generation. Thiem is the only player to defeat Rafael Nadal twice on clay in the last two seasons.

After his performances in Barcelona and Madrid, Thiem is backed as third favourite at 6.50 to claim his first Italian Open.

Alexander Zverev (15.00)


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Alexander Zverev won the ATP Italian Open in 2017 (Getty Images)

This time last year Alexander Zverev was in the form of his life. He won the 2018 ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open when he beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Zverev arrived at the 2018 ATP 1000 Italian as the defending champion having beaten Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the 2017 final. That, along with his Madrid Open title hanging proudly from his racket, he went all the way to the final before losing 6-1, 1-6, 6-3 to Rafael Nadal.

In 2019 Zverev has failed to hit those heights but there were signs of him returning to his best at the Mutua Madrid Open. He was beaten by world No.8, Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 in the quarter final, but for large parts of the match Zverev was in command. 

Zverev will want to go one step further this year claim his maiden ATP 1000 Italian Open. In order to do so, he will likely to face Novak Djokovic who is on the same side of the draw. The young German star is backed at 15.00 to claim the title for the second time.

Roger Federer (17.00)


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Roger Federer was the runner-up in the ATP Italian Open in 2015 (Getty Images)

Roger Federer made his first appearance on a clay court in two years at the ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open earlier this week. The 37-year-old Swiss had initially only added the Madrid Open to participate in prior to the French Open but in what was a last minute call, he has decided to play in Rome, too.

The ATP 1000 Italian Open is one of the very few tournaments the 20-time Grand Slam champion has not won. He has ended as runner-up on four occasions in 2003, 2006, 2013 and 2015.

Clay has never been the world No.3’s favoured surface and going into the Madrid Open, not much was expected from him.

In Madrid, Federer beat Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils before losing to the in-form Dominic Thiem 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 at the quarter final stage. 

Federer is backed at 19.00 to go on and claim his first ever ATP 1000 Italian Open. He has a tough field to get through as he finds himself on the same side of the draw as Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (15.00)


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Stefanos Tsitsipas will want to carry good form into Rome (Getty Images)

Stefanos Tsitsipas’ clay court form had been poor in 2019 despite winning the ATP 250 Millennium Estoril Open at the beginning of May. He won the final 6-3, 7-6 against Uruguayan, Pablo Cuevas.

At the ATP 1000 Monte-Carlo Masters, Tsitsipas lost to Daniil Medvedev 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 in the round of 16. Things got no better at the ATP 500 Barcelona Open when he fell at the round of 16 stage again, this time to Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.

Going into the ATP 1000 Mutua Madrid Open very few gave the young Greek sensation a chance, but like many other top seeded players, Madrid is where he found form.

Tsitsipas has reached the final of the Madrid Open (playing today) where he will face off against Novak Djokovic with a chance to claim his first career ATP 1000 Masters title.

Along the way to the final he defeated Adrian Mannarino, Fernando Verdasco and Alexander Zverev. In the semi final of the Madrid Open, Tsitsipas claimed the big scalp of Rafael Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. He is backed at 15.00 to lift the trophy in Rome.

Regardless of what happens in the Madrid Open final, Tsitsipas will go into the ATP 1000 Italian Open full of confidence.

2019 Italian Open Men’s Singles Betting Tips


Rafael Nadal has improved in each clay court tournament thus far and his history in Rome deserves to be backed at 2.10 for an outright win. Novak Djokovic has got the good side of the draw so I'm tipping him to reach the final at 2.50.

To Reach the Final: Novak Djokovic @ 2.50 at bet365 - 2 Units
Outright Winner: Rafael Nadal @ 2.10 at bet365 - 4 Units
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Ralph Staniforth 12 May 2019

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