Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, bye, bye, bye
After there has been one more Challenger in Launceston last week, the main tours finally move away from Australia the upcoming week. The WTA will have two tournaments, a Premier event in St. Petersburg and an International in Hua Hin, after last week's Fed Cup excursion.
On the men's side, the Golden Swing continues with its second tournament in Argentina. Furthermore, there will be another 250 in New York City as well as the first ATP 500 event of the year in Rotterdam.
With the clay court specialists moving from Cordoba to Buenos Aires and the New York City Open being dominated by big hitters and Americans, Rotterdam will have the most well-rounded field. Daniil Medvedev is the top seed and the Russian will look to make up for his rather disappointing start to the season in Melbourne. Stefanos Tsitsipas also got knocked out early at the Australian Open and he's the #2 seed here. As the field only contains 32 players, I won't split my preview in quarters but in halves.
Odds of +275 to win the tournament might suggest otherwise, but Medvedev doesn't have the easiest road. The Russian has to face Montpellier runner-up Vasek Pospisil who's playing some brilliant indoor tennis currently. In round two, Filip Krajinovic might be waiting for whom applies the same. His projected quarterfinal opponent will be fellow countryman Andrey Rublev, who started the year with two tournament wins. So the top seed will have to beat three top-tier players just to reach the semifinals. That road is way too tough for me to justify these outright odds.
That being said, he's still too big of a threat to get on any of the players mentioned. Rublev's odds are +800, but with Nikoloz Basilashvili being his first round opponent and Medvedev waiting in a potential quarterfinal, that's not enough for me either. In the second quarter, Gael Monfils and Fabio Fognini are the seeded players. The French is coming off a tournament win at home in Montpellier and has a pretty nice draw, but I'm not sure if I can bet him to go far on back to back weeks.
Fognini took a break last week with his wife Flavia Pennetta and their two children. He's always dangerous, but his indoor stats do not look appealing. His first round opponent Karen Khachanov might be one to watch out for, but bookies still respect him a little too much, so for me, there's not much value in his +1400 number. If anyone intrigues me out of the top half, it would be Daniel Evans. The Brit did not have the best start to 2020 though, so I will look into the second half of the draw.
To keep it short, I don't dare to pick anyone from the fourth quarter. Denis Shapovalov, Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Jan-Lennard Struff, Aljaz Bedene, Benoit Paire, Hubert Hurkacz and Stefanos Tsitsipas could all possibly get out of it. Hurkacz' +10000 odds look a tad high, but he'll be up against a motivated Tsitsipas first, who will try everything to get his season going.
The seeds in the third quarter are David Goffin and Roberto Bautista Agut. Both their roads look feasible, but Goffin has a hard time on indoor hard courts for the past two years or so. His record since Rotterdam 2018 is 7-9, so he doesn't present value for me at +800.
Bautista Agut arguably drew the toughest opponent out of the qualifiers in Marton Fucsovics, but I still think he's on another level. The Spaniard, unlike most of his contrymen, knows exactly what he's doing on fast grass and indoor courts and still improves year after year. Either Adrian Mannarino or Pablo Carreno Busta would be his opponent in round two before the winner of the weak Goffin section awaits in the quarterfinal.
With all value being sucked out of Medvedev's number, one of his compatriots might step into the breach. Anyway, their numbers aren't looking too tempting either. I might regret not getting on Hurkacz, but my outright pick for the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam is Roberto Bautista Agut.