14/1 Juan Ignacio Londero landed the place money for Andy Schooler in Bastad last week but there was yet another near miss for his tennis betting tips with 50/1 shot Salvatore Caruso getting injured in his semi-final in Umag.

Here are our expert’s latest picks…

Hamburg European Open

Hamburg, Germany (outdoor clay)

I’ve always paid plenty attention to the ‘horses for courses’ element of tennis betting and there’s a classic example worth pointing out this week.

There’s no obvious reason for it but Leonardo Mayer performs in Hamburg. He loves the place.

His only two ATP titles have both come here, while three of his five finals have come at Am Rothenbaum.

He’s earned a 15-3 win-loss record at the venue in five visits and will likely fancy his chances of going deep again.

The 22/1 shot certainly showed some decent form in Umag last week, beating Pablo Andujar and Jiri Vesely before losing to Laslo Djere in a three-set quarter-final.

He’ll have had one eye on this tournament during that run so the weekend off will hardly have been a disaster in terms of preparation.

In what is a pretty strong field – one which includes Dominic Thiem, Alex Zverev and Fabio Fognini from the top 10 – he’s fairly well drawn.

Oppose Fognini

Fognini is a potential second-round foe but the Italian has been awful in these lower-level claycourt events so far this season.

While he’s managed to get himself up for the biggest tournaments – winning his first Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo in April – he’s gone 0-5 at 250 and 500 level. This event slots into the latter bracket.

In addition, Fognini was last seen limping out of Umag last week with ankle problems and speaking of being “in pain”.

Thiem is the man due to reach the final – he’s the top seed and the bookies’ favourite – but the Austrian has a much tougher draw, opening against Pablo Cuevas, then possibly facing home hope Philipp Kohlschreiber, a player who often performs at his best in Germany. Cristian Garin could follow in the last eight before any meeting with Mayer.

Of course, the French Open finalist is more than capable of winning all of those matches but I’m not keen on him at 11/4, particularly given his habit of tailing off in the second half of the season, something which would be no surprise to see again in 2019 following a heavy workload on clay in the spring.

Zverev heads up the opposite half of the draw and, as I’ve been happy to do almost all season, he’s very much worth taking on.

His form has been awful for months now and only a few days ago he spoke openly about his partnership with coach Ivan Lendl, basically saying the eight-time Grand Slam champion was more interested in golf and his dog at the moment.

Delbonis on song

It hardly looks an atmosphere in which success will breed and I’ll oppose him with potential second-round opponent Federico Delbonis.

Another Argentine, Delbonis is in great form having won the Perugia Challenger and reached the semi-finals in Bastad last week. He was also a doubles finalist at that Swedish event.

I’m slightly concerned that he’ll now have a bit too much tennis in his legs but the fact he played both singles and doubles in Bastad suggests he’s keen on the match practice and looking to milk what he can out of his clay form while he can – there are only a few more weeks on the surface this season.

Delbonis, a Davis Cup winner in 2016, looks capable of taking down struggling Zverev if they meet – and that’s a fairly big if as Nicolas Jarry will fancy his chances of defeating the German in round one.

Delbonis has been to the final here before, in 2013 when he famously beat Roger Federer in the last four. He was also a semi-finalist two years ago so will have happy memories in Hamburg.

I’ll have a small play at 25/1 each way.


Leonardo Mayer Each Way –

Federico Delbonis Each Way –

J Safra Sarasin Swiss Open

Gstaad, Switzerland (outdoor clay)

Course form – of sorts – may well be key to finding he winner in Gstaad this week too.

The Swiss Alpine venue has the highest altitude on the ATP Tour these days which means the players will find the ball more difficult to control. It flies through the thinner air here and gives a potential advantage to a big server – notably Feliciano Lopez is a player who has performed well above his claycourt mean in recent years.

Head for heights

He’s not here this year but I’m definitely keen on trying to pick out a proven altitude performer, or two.

Some will doubtless side with Roberto Bautista Agut, the 11/4 favourite who was runner-up here last season and a beaten semi-finalist the year before.

However, that’s a pretty short price for a player who has won just a single claycourt title in his career and that was now five years ago.

I’ll take him on with a player in his quarter, namely Joao Sousa.

The Portuguese, twice a quarter-finalist at this specific venue, has made the final at the other Alpine tournament, Kitzbuhel, while he’s been a semi-finalist at altitude in Sao Paulo and a quarter-finalist at the Masters-level event in Madrid.

Form hasn’t been great this season but it’s definitely improving. Sousa beat Marin Cilic in straight sets at Wimbledon and then saw off Dan Evans to make the last 16.

He’s since backed that up by getting the quarter-finals in Bastad last week.

Sousa has also won his only tour-level meeting on clay with Bautista Agut so I’m prepared to take a chance on him at 14/1.

Take a chance on Lorenzi

Down in the bottom half, it might just be worth taking a stab at Paolo Lorenzi.

The Italian has been poor this season, make no mistake, but if ever a venue could fire him up it is one at altitude.

Lorenzi’s only ATP title came in Kitzbuhel, while two of his three runners-up finishes have also been at altitude (in Sao Paulo and Quito).

Add in the fact that he’s landed in what looks a very soft section of the draw, and I am able to recommend him to small stakes.

He opens against Roberto Carballes Baena, who has been in considerably better form, but he’s spent the past week at sea level in Bastad and may find this a tricky switch, particularly given he’s facing someone who feels at home at this height.

Fellow Italian Stefano Travaglia or a qualifier would follow and if he does make the last eight, I’m not too sure second seed Fernando Verdasco would hold too many fears. He’s hardly Mr Reliable.

It’s a minimum stakes play, but one which might just reap a reward.


Joao Sousa Each Way –

Paolo Lorenzi Each Way –

BB&T Atlanta Open

Atlanta, USA (outdoor hard)

As ever, the countdown to the US Open begins in Atlanta with the DecoTurf II hardcourt surface now under foot.

John Isner has dominated here in the past, winning five of the last six titles and compiling a 23-1 win-loss record in that period. Overall, he’s 31-4 in Atlanta and 25-2 at the current Atlantic Station venue.

I put him up at 3/1 last season and was close to doing so again at 11/4 this time around.

However, on this occasion, that’s a little short for my liking.

Isner spent a long period out earlier this year due to a foot problem and only returned to action at Wimbledon where he lost in round two.

He has managed to put some wins under his belt on the grass of Newport over the past week but all three to date have come in three sets so he’s hardly been massively convincing.

Finally, a tough draw here is enough to put me off – the giant American will meet fellow big server Reilly Opelka or Alexander Bublik (the man he’s due to face in the Newport final at time of writing) in his opener.

Tennys tip

Dan Evans and Tennys Sandgren are both potential quarter-final opponents. Evans beat Isner in Delray Beach this season (their only previous meeting) while the in-form Sandgren pushed his compatriot to a final-set tie-break in their clash in Stockholm at the end of last season.

You won’t be surprised to hear that conditions here help Isner – it plays quicker than average but the ball won’t keep low – but at that price I’m still happy to look elsewhere.

In that top section I’ll do so in the shape of the aforementioned Sandgren.

He’s enjoyed a strong grasscourt season, beating two seeds en route to the last 16 of Wimbledon and last week making the quarter-finals in Newport.

Earlier in the season he was the champion on the hardcourts of Auckland so a return to the surface will be welcomed.

After that, wins dried up but he did have a string of narrow defeats to decent opponents so with confidence renewed there looks every chance so of those close contests will now be won.

He’s proven he’s the sort of player who’s capable of pushing Isner, should they meet, and I’m prepared to give him a go at odds of 28/1.

The bottom half of the draw looks much weaker and, as was the case in Umag last week, I was hopeful of a player coming through qualifying and landing in this section.

My 50/1 pick Salvatore Caruso was rather unlucky in Croatia when he picked up a groin injury in the first set of his semi-final and had to retire.

However, on this occasion the man I had in mind failed to progress through the final qualifying round.

In his absence, I feel the winner of the Denis Kudla v Alex Popyrin could go deep but on this occasion I’m not confident enough in either man to put them on the coupon.


Tennys Sandgren Each Way –

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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