Can the legendary Roger Federer improve on his encouraging return to clay? Will World No. 1 Novak Djokovic beat back all challengers to claim his fifth Italian Open title or will World no. 2 and reigning champ Rafael Nadal retain the title he won a year ago?
Over on the women’s side, could the now, parity-laden WTA Tour produce a new winner here will two-time reigning champ Elina Svitolina make it three in a row? Could the legendary Serena Williams, the last woman to win here not named Svitolina, get back to her once dominating form as she prepares to take to the clay at Roland Garros in two weeks?
With the 2019 French Open quickly approaching, both the men’s ATP World Tour and women’s WTA Tour are in Italy for this week’s Internazionali BNL dItalia, better known as the Italian Open. Now, let’s find out who’s in action and which five players on both tours are looking like they could legitimately find their respective ways into the winner’s circle and that you should definitely consider in the tennis odds.
Top Tennis Betting Picks of the Week – May 13th Edition
- Roger Federer
Federer made a successful return to clay by reaching the quarterfinals against Thiem where he had two match points in the second set before failing to finish off his opponent. While Fed has never won this event, he has reached the finals here four times while losing two to Nadal (2006, 2013) and once to Djokovic (2015). he’ll have a decent shot, just because he’s Roger Federer.
- Rafael Nadal
I know Rafael Nadal is a robust 20-5 on the year and that he’s the reigning champ here, not to mention the fact that he’s won this event an unprecedented eight times. However, the 32-year-old superstar is aging faster than a decade-old bottle of wine and he’s failed to win both, Monte Carlo and Madrid. I’m thinking Rafa is going to bow out before reaching the finals after watching him get bounced in the semis in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid in his last three clay court tournaments.
- Stefanos Tsitsipas
The 20-year-old from Greece is 27-10 on the year with two titles. The World No. 7 is also 10-3 on clay this year and he looked absolutely fantastic in the Madrid open this past week, even in falling to Djokovic in the finals. Tsitsipas dispatched Nadal in the semis and beat 2017 Rome champ Alexander Zverev in the quarters. Yeah…I like this young star’s potential and his maturity and I believe he’s got a very realistic chance.
- Dominic Thiem
Thiem has never won this event, but he’s generally regarded as the second-best clay court player in the world. Thiem reached the semifinals in Madrid and beat Federer to do so before falling to Djokovic. He’s schedule to meet Rafa in the quarterfinals if neither falters and I’m expecting him to dispatch the legend if they do meet.
- Novak Djokovic
Djokovic just won the Madrid Open this past weekend by beating up-and-coming star Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4 in the finals. However, pulling off the Madrid-Rome double is quite difficult with Rafael Nadal being the only man to accomplish the feat twice and Djokovic pulling it off once back in 2011when he beat Rafa in back-to-back finals. Still, I think he’s the favorite to win here after watching him in Spain this past week.
- Carla Suarez Navarro
I don’t care that Suarez Navarro is ranked a modest 31st in the world, she’s undeniably one of the best clay court players on the face of the planet. Sure, the diminutive Spaniard is an uninspiring 8-10 on the year with no titles but she did reach the finals here in 2015 and I believe she’s got some excellent upset value, even if those victories don;t quite land her in the finals.
- Elina Svitolina
She’s the two-time defending champion in Rome, but she’s also been bothered by a knee injury this spring. Svitolina is just 13-7 on the year with no titles, but if she finds her form, she’ll be tough to beat even if she didn’t make it out of the first round in her last two events in Miami and Madrid.
- Petra Kvitova
Kvitova has never reached a final in this event, but even at the ripe old age of 29, her clay game still seems to be improving and I believe she’s almost the ‘co-favorite’ to win this year’s Italian Open. Kvitova is 27-7 on the year with two titles and she reached the quarters in Madrid in her last clay event – before losing to the red-hot Bertens.
- Simona Halep
Halep is 23-7 on the year, but she’s yet to win a title. No matter, I believe the aggressive Romanian has a great shot to win this event, seeing as how she’s hungry and has reached the finals in each of the last two years before falling. Currently ranked second in the world, Halep is my No. 2 pick to win this event.
- Kiki Bertens
The 27-year-old late-bloomer is looking and playing better than ever heading into Rome. Bertens is an impressive 24-9 on the year with two titles. More importantly, Bertens beat Petra Kvitova, Sloane Stephens and Simona Hale in her last three matches to claim the biggest win of her suddenly blossoming career. Bertens is the favorite for a reason!