Tennis is back, just not good tennis, for the most part. We are blessed this week with three tournaments: An ATP 250 in Delray Beach, Fla., an ATP 500 in Antalya, Turkey and a WTA 500 in Abu Dhabi. However, most of the fringe Challenger/ATP-level players are in quarantine in Melbourne getting ready for Australian Open qualifying, so the bottom half of the field in these tournaments are especially weak. Instead of qualifying for these tournaments consisting of players ranked 100 to 150, most of the qualifiers are ranked 200 and below. I expect most of the high seeds in these tournaments to cruise through the first few rounds, and oddsmakers have priced them as such. This also means that we’re getting value on a couple outrights that have to face real competition in the first round. Here are the ATP Antalya/Delray & WTA Abu Dhabi outrights and matchups I like for tomorrow’s tennis betting picks.
Tennis Betting Picks: ATP Antalya/Delray & WTA Abu Dhabi
Sam Querrey +2200 — This is a very dicey play, especially considering the last time we saw Querrey he was making an escape out of Russia. Furthermore, he was truly abysmal when the tour restarted last year. But this field is especially bad, and this is a tournament he has won before. Plus, I think there could be a motivational angle — for months he’s had to deal with questions from the media and the ATP about his flight from Russia, and he got fined $20,000 on top of it. Finally, my model likes him to advance through this field. Oddsmakers are giving Querrey about a 5% chance of winning this tournament, but my model has him winning 10% of the time, giving about a 5% edge relative to his outright odds.
Emil Ruusuvuori +2000 — I’m expecting the young Finn to continue to improve this year. Since 2018, at the ATP level he’s posted hold/break numbers above 100%, a very good sign for a 21-year-old. There’s nobody in his quarter that scares me, as David Goffin was terrible after the restart last year and Miomir Kecmanovic is very up-and-down. Alex de Minaur in the quarters is obviously scary, but that is both a very hedgeable match and one that Ruusuvuori can win.
Gianluca Mager (+106) vs. Ryan Harrison — Mager put together a great 2020 for himself, including a sweep of Dominic Thiem in Rio de Janeiro, albeit on clay. His raw hold/break numbers on hard courts aren’t very encouraging, but Harrison hasn’t played anything since the break last year. My model has Mager as a solid -150 favorite.
Xiyu Wang +176 vs. Arantxa Rus — These two played a month ago, and Rus cruised to an easy 6-1, 6-3 win. Rus converted five of eight break chances and Wang only converted one of nine. I’m willing to bet on those numbers evening out a bit and this match being much closer. Let’s also not forget that the 19-year-old Wang looked like a very interesting prospect last year before the break, as she made it to the semifinals of Acapulco and got a win over Petra Martic at Hua Hin. Rus is a tricky player to handicap; she beat Iga Swiatek on clay in Rome last year but choked away a tough match to Serena Williams on hard court before that.
Anastasia Gasanova -107 vs. Mona Barthel — Barthel hasn’t played a match since March of last year, and the young Gasanova has stayed active, including making her way through qualifying at this event.
Su-Wei Hsieh +241 vs. Marketa Vondrousova — I see this as a terrible matchup for Vondrousova, who limped her way to the finish line last year. Before Swiatek, Vondrousova was the teenage clay phenom, making it to the French Open final in 2019. Her 2020 was marred by wildly inconsistent performances, however, and she hasn’t been able to replicate the form during that French Open run. Hsieh’s junk-ball style of play could easily give Vondrousova fits and cause her to error her way out of this tournament.
Jeremy Chardy +111 vs. Radu Albot — Albot picked up a couple of nice wins after the restart last year over Denis Shapovalov and Hubert Hurkacz, yet he still only managed a 90% hold/break. My model has this match as a true pick-’em, so I’ll gladly take the 11 points on the dog.
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