After a narrow miss last week when his 100/1 tip lost in the semi-finals, Andy Schooler returns with ATP tennis betting tips for Basel and Vienna, which include another three-figure outsider.

Swiss Indoors

Basel, Switzerland (indoor hard)

Sent off an eye-opening 11/4 at this event last season, Roger Federer made it nine titles in his native city with relative ease.

He’s now won 20 matches in a row in Basel, claimed the title on his last four appearances and made the final in his last 12. His last pre-final loss at the event was in 2003.

It’s therefore not hard to make a case for the 38-year-old, although he’s down to 6/4 this year and therein lies the issue.

At 11/4, he was clear value last year. Twelve months on and almost half the price, the waters are muddied.

Six other members of the top 20 are in town so this, in theory, will be no cakewalk. Federer is seeded to meet Stan Wawrinka, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alex Zverev.

It is not that aspect that bothers me though. Wawrinka has a ropey 11-13 record in what is also a home event for him and Tsitsipas has been below his best for some time.

 

Federer form a worry

Instead I’d be more concerned by Federer’s form.

Yes, he’s playing in conditions he clearly loves – the Greenset courts play faster than average – but that was also the case in Cincinnati where he lost to Andrey Rublev and, most recently, Shanghai where Zverev toppled him in three sets.

I’ve backed Federer many times here in the past but this year there are enough doubts for me to swerve him at 6/4.

That said, I’m not hugely enthusiastic about taking him on in the top half.

Wawrinka is in good form after reaching the final in Antwerp last week but his record in Basel is a big concern, while Tsitsipas doesn’t look one to back right now. The other seed in the half is the mercurial Fabio Fognini, who arrives fresh off a 6-1 6-1 defeat to world number 251 Janko Tipsarevic.

 

Sweet on Serb

I’ll therefore try a small play on Filip Krajinovic.

The Serb made the final in Stockholm over the past week, a venue which also plays pretty fast. That was his third ATP final with one of the others coming in slick indoor conditions at the 2017 Paris Masters.

He starts against compatriot Laslo Djere with Fognini to follow, well possibly. Tsitsipas is the other seed in his quarter, and that makes it look pretty winnable.

Krajinovic, a 28/1 shot, did take a set off Federer here last year so wouldn’t completely be without hope should he meet the favourite in the last four.

A minimum-stakes bet on the Serb looks the way to go.

 

Cop a 100/1 shot

Down in the bottom half I’m going to take a punt on Marius Copil at 100/1.

Last year’s runner-up looks underrated at that price.

He’s had a pretty miserable season but is definitely on the up having returned to the indoor conditions he thrives in.

The Romanian beat both Mischa Zverev and Paolo Lorenzi at a French Challenger before last week qualifying in Antwerp. In the main draw he toppled third seed Diego Schwartzman before losing 6-4 in the deciding set to eventual champion Andy Murray.

His big first serve is a weapon indoors and conditions will aid it here, just as they did last season when Copil beat Marin Cilic and Alex Zverev en route to the final – the second of his career, both of which have come on indoor hardcourts.

He’ll need to cause another early upset this time around as he’ll meet fourth seed Roberto Bautista Agut in round one but the Spaniard has lost five of his last eight matches and should be vulnerable in these conditions.

David Goffin is the other seed in this quarter, which looks a pretty decent one for Copil to be drawn into.

Zverev will be the man to beat in this section as long as he continues his form from the Asian swing, although after his disappointing season that’s far from guaranteed.

Again, it’s just a small play but Copil at 100s tempts me in.

Tips:

Filip Krajinovic each way –

Marius Copil each way –

 

Erste Bank Open

Vienna, Austria (indoor hard)

With the favourite, Dominic Thiem, at 6/1, it’s fair to say this tournament has an open feel to it.

There’s plenty of quality on show – as in Basel, seven of the world’s top 20 will be in attendance – but it’s far from certain one of those will emerge as champion.

 

Take on top two

Take the top two in the betting. The leading takeout from the draw was that Thiem, who has yet to go beyond the quarter-finals in eight appearances at his home tournament, and Karen Khachanov both have very tricky first-round matches to deal with.

Thiem faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a player with a strong record in Vienna and one he is 2-0 down to on the head-to-head.

Thiem: Has a poor record in Vienna

Tsonga won here in 2011, although conditions have slowed considerably since then. A Rebound Ace surface was installed in 2015 but Tsonga has twice made the final on it in the years that have followed.

The Frenchman is a tempting proposition at 16/1 although he let this column down in Antwerp last week when he was beaten by Gilles Simon.

Khachanov, whose form has been rather disappointing of late, face Hubert Hurkacz first up and that’s another very awkward one.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the top two seeds gone before the second round begins which immediately turns the attention to other candidates.

Gael Monfils is the joint third favourite at 10/1 but should also be taken on given his recent run which has seen him win two of five since the US Open.

At the same price, Matteo Berrettini holds greater claims. He’s enjoyed a fine season but his indoor record is a concern – he’s yet to reach a final inside. Some will feel he’s good value at double-figure quotes but I’m not among them.

 

Lot to like about Lopez

Of course, it’s all well and good suggesting who not to back, but who does get the vote?

First up I’ll turn to the bottom half, specifically the third quarter which looks the weakest section of the draw.

Monfils is the man seeded to make the semis but I doubt that will happen and neither do I believe Guido Pella will be the man to reach the last four.

Last week’s 100/1 near miss Jannik Sinner will have another chance but given he’s now 33/1 in a much stronger field he’s not for me.

Instead it’s Feliciano Lopez at 50/1 who gets the nod after he caught the eye in Antwerp last week.

In Belgium, Lopez held serve throughout his win over Cameron Norrie and lost it only once in his final-set tie-break defeat to eventual runner-up Wawrinka.

We saw earlier this season on the grass of Queen’s how Lopez’s lefty serve can be a major weapon and while conditions won’t be so favourable here, the Spaniard’s 130mph deliveries will still offer a threat.

Kevin Anderson showed when winning the title here 12 months ago that a big serve can really cut through the court and as I’ve already pointed out, Tsonga has done similar things on the Rebound Ace surface in the past.

Lopez, a champion in Vienna way back in 2004, opens against Gilles Simon, who he has beaten in their last four meetings (although admittedly never on indoor hard). Win that and it could be two more unseeded foes before the semis given the doubts I have about Pella and Monfils.

50/1 looks good.

 

PCB offers value in tough section

The top half looks trickier to call. Thiem and Berrettini sit in this part of the draw and they are joined by two of last week’s champions in Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov.

However, it’s another form player, Pablo Carreno Busta, who is a more tempting proposition at 25/1.

The Spaniard produced another worthy effort last week in Stockholm where he made the semi-finals.

Conditions are pretty lively there and those who read last week’s column will know that was a concern.

In the end I was right not to back him but only just and I feel Carreno Busta’s game will be more suited to the slower conditions which he’ll find in Vienna.

He opens against Shapovalov, who arrives fresh from his maiden ATP title at that Stockholm tournament.

However, the young Canadian now faces a completely new challenge – trying to back up such an effort. With no first-round byes, he’ll get just two days to bed in to the different courts before opening his campaign on Wednesday against a player who has won 24 of his last 33 matches.

PCB is buzzing right now and could well be the man who forces his way through a tough half of the draw.

Tips:

Feliciano Lopez each way –

Pablo Carreno Busta each way –

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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