I originally planned a midweek preview for both the ATP events in St. Petersburg and Sardinia. With some wild theories going on in Sardinia and Fognini having tested positive and sharing the court with Sonego, Vavassori and especially Musetti, I will only concentrate on the biggest tournament of the week in Russia.
One first-round matchup caused me to wait until now writing this St. Petersburg preview: the one between Vasek Pospisil and Andrey Rublev. While I have high hopes for the latter, not only this week, I thought Pospisil was a player you would not want to face first in an indoor tournament. Anyway, Rublev beat the Canadian 6-2 6-4 and confirmed his good form once more. The odds on Rublev to win St. Petersburg were +650 on Sunday and moved to +450 after his win on Tuesday. Although that was a move I could get behind, I still hoped for +550 and bet365 did me the favor and put this number up today.
That might correlate with the solid showing from #2 seed Denis Shapovalov, but Viktor Troicki just isn't the player he once was anymore. Other than Shapovalov though, everyone else more or less struggled yesterday. Rublev's second round opponent Ugo Humbert lost the first set against Pavel Kotov and top seed Daniil Medvedev did the same against Richard Gasquet. Stan Wawrinka also needed three sets to beat Evgeny Donskoy.
Ready to Rumble
In general, I think Medvedev is a bit overpriced in this strong field. He's sitting at +200 or lower and I don't think that can be justified with the form he's in this year. If you still like him to win, you might be better advised to bet him match by match as you should end up with a higher number with his projected path of Opelka, Coric, Khachanov/Raonic and Rublev/Shapovalov.
Milos Raonic is the one I was looking at in the first half, but his draw from here looks brutal. Alexander Bublik can turn up every day and cause problems, especially indoors. Raonic would then probably have to beat Khachanov, Medvedev and Rublev one by one. At +650 or lower, I would wish for an easier path and even then, Raonic's fitness concerned me as he had to take an MTO up 7-6 4-1 in his first round match against Wolf.
You already read between the lines that my outright pick for St. Petersburg is Andrey Rublev. Even though I think Humbert stands a better chance than the odds suggest today, I really like the draw of the #3 seed. His quarterfinal opponent is already determined in Cameron Norrie and Rublev should have way too much power for the Brit in that matchup. Wawrinka or Shapovalov will probably await in the semifinal and while Wawrinka's form doesn't match Rublev's, Shapovalov is still vulnerable defensively when his backhand gets attacked with force. Again, I didn't expect to get that number again, so I'm happy to take the +550 on Rublev as my only outright pick.