ATP Rome Odds & Predictions: How to Bet Zverev-Tsitsipas & Djokovic-Ruud (May 14)
DeFodi Images/Getty. Pictured: Alexander Zverev
The semifinals of the Italian Open have arrived, and it’ll be Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas facing off in a third straight Masters 1000 semifinal, while Novak Djokovic will battle Casper Ruud.
With the French Open just a week away, these will be important tune-up matches for each player to test their level ahead of the clay season’s premier event.
Read on for my thoughts on the betting value in each match.
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Stefanos Tsitsipas (-166) vs. Alexander Zverev (+136)
8:30 a.m. ET
The Greek took out Zverev in the semifinals at the Monte Carlo Masters. The German beat Tsitsipas in Madrid.
So, where does the value lie in the trilogy? I believe the edge should be given to Zverev.
If we know anything about this head-to-head, it’s that there are fine margins that separate the duo. While Tsitsipas dominated the proceedings in the early stages of the rivalry, it’s been fairly even since. They’ve split their last six matchups evenly, with all the battles coming on a diverse set of surfaces.
Though one’s inclination may be to think that these conditions suit Tsitsipas more than his counterpart, Zverev has enjoyed far more success in Rome throughout his career. He’s won a title in the Italian capital and reached a final in 2018, while Tsitsipas’ best results are this year’s semifinal.
The slow court conditions don’t aid Zverev’s efforts behind his massive first serve, but they’re ideal for his rally style, allowing him to sit deep behind the court and counter-punch at an elite level.
In Monte Carlo, where conditions are somewhat similar, he struggled against Tsitsipas, but he was also dealing with a bit of an injury and fatigue.
Zverev has been excellent in pressure situations this week, getting past Sebastian Baez and Alex de Minaur in tiebreakers and failing to drop a single set. On return, he’s generated 21 break points in the three matches, despite playing just six sets.
Tactically, this is an interesting battle as both players are allowed to do what they prefer. Tsitsipas will frequently take the initiative in rallies while Zverev will sit back and be patient.
At this price, however, Tsitsipas’ efforts on clay are being given a bit too much credit.
He’s generated an equal number or less break points than his opponents in each match thus far, suffering drops in level throughout. While he has largely been efficient behind his serve, Zverev will be the best returner he’s faced on the week.
With a +136 price tag, I’m happy to back the former champion.
Pick: Alexander Zverev ML (+136 via FanDuel)
Novak Djokovic (-600) vs. Casper Ruud (+410)
1:30 p.m. ET
The world No. 1 put forth one of his best performances of the season on Friday, beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in a second-set tiebreaker to advance through to the semifinals.
Djokovic defended well and was clicking on his forehand wing. When that’s happening, it’s nearly impossible to break Djokovic down over a consistent period of time. The young Canadian battled well, but ultimately, he was overwhelmed by Djokovic’s consistency.
Ruud has sustained his quality a lot better this week than he had in weeks prior. The Norwegian had lost three of his prior four matches heading into Rome, but Ruud has recovered in the conditions that suit him best.
It wasn’t an easy path to the semifinals, however, as Ruud was down a set in his tournament opener against Botic van de Zandschulp. He competed well and ultimately came through before beating Jenson Brooksby and Denis Shapovalov.
The past matches have been a positive step for Ruud, but he’s actually underperformed against his statistics. Ruud has dominated behind his first serve, winning at least 78% of those points in each match with a minimum 67% first-serve rate.
Overall, he’s amassed 34 break points while conceding just 10 on the week, but a 21% conversion rate has limited his ability to pull away in matches. Ruud is breaking at a 38% rate on a down season for him on clay, so he’s likely to regress to the mean in a positive way.
He’s shown in prior matchups with Djokovic that he’s capable of breaking the Serb — notching nine break points in four sets of play — so I’m confident he can compete and push him.
Pick: Casper Ruud +4.5 (+104 via FanDuel)