Rio Open Betting Preview: Cilic Returns after Australian Open Final Loss

The Rio Open is the major event on the tennis calendar this week, with the tournament chosen by Marin Cilic to make his return to the court. Cilic has not played since his defeat to Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open and he will kick off the Rio Open as the top seed.

Although the clay court surfaces used at the Jockey Club Brasileiro do not necessarily suit the strengths of Cilic, he will also be among the favourites to claim the Rio Open title. Cilic can expect plenty of competition for the crown, though, with two other members of the world’s top 10 set to travel to Brazil in order to take part in the competition.


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Dominic Thiem and Pablo Carreno Busta are certainly among the contenders for the Rio Open trophy, while the latter’s fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos Vinolas will expect to be in the mix too. Thiem is the defending champion of the Rio Open and Carreno Busta is the man he beat in the final of the tournament a year ago, so they are two names to consider from the betting.

British rising star Kyle Edmund was expected to take part in the Rio Open but has had to pull out through injury, but the likes of Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, the Argentino Diego Schwartzman and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine ensure there is a deep pool of talent on show here. Brazilians Rogerio Dutra Silva, Thiago Monteiro and Thomaz Bellucci have been given the three wild card spots in the draw, so there will be plenty of home interest at the Rio Open as well.

“Playing the Rio Open main draw once again is a dream for me,” said Brazilian number one Monteiro, who reached the quarter-finals last year. “It’s my favorite tournament of the year, in the city where I train, I have my friends and my family around. There are few opportunities like this in the calendar and I hope to make the best of it, perhaps to go even further in the tournament.”

Rio Open Betting Odds

All of our recommended tennis bookmakers have published the odds and now we’ll be comparing the outrights on every player across three international bookmakers and three US-friendly betting sites. As always, our intent is to make it easy for you to make your pick(s) and then see which betting site is paying the most.

ComeOn 888Sport Betsson
Dominic Thiem 9/4 2/1 3/1
Marin Cilic 9/2 5/1 5/1
Gael Monfils 8/1 7/1 9/1
Fabio Fognini 10/1 15/1 9/1
Diego Schwartzman 11/1 10/1 11/1
Pablo Carreno-Busta 12/1 7/1 14/1
Fernando Verdasco 14/1 20/1 14/1
Albert Ramos-Vinolas 16/1 10/1 14/1
Aljaz Bedene 16/1 25/1 17/1
Pablo Cuevas 20/1 15/1 17/1
Federico Delbonis 22/1 50/1 20/1
Guido Pella 25/1 22/1 20/1
Leonardo Mayer 28/1 33/1 25/1
Casper Ruud 30/1 50/1 49/1
Thomaz Bellucci 33/1 33/1 34/1
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 40/1 33/1 34/1
Jiri Vesely 40/1 50/1 34/1
Thiago Monteiro 40/1 50/1 34/1
Nicolas Jarry 40/1 50/1 49/1
Gerald Melzer 50/1 50/1 49/1
Tennys Sandgren 50/1 66/1 64/1
Dusan Lajovic 60/1 50/1 64/1
Nicolas Kicker 66/1 66/1 64/1
Horacio Zeballos 66/1 50/1 79/1
Victor Estrella Burgos 80/1 100/1 99/1
Pablo Andujar 100/1 100/1 99/1
Rogerio Dutra Silva 100/1 66/1 99/1
Andreas Haider-Maurer 150/1 100/1 149/1
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Cilic Targeting No1 Ranking

Although Cilic only has one Grand Slam title to his name – the 2014 US Open – he believes he can become the number one player in the world.

Roger Federer reclaimed the title at the Rotterdam Open this week, usurping his old rival Rafael Nadal in the charts, with Cilic the closest player to the veteran duo. Cilic has a lot of ranking points to make up on Federer and Nadal if he is to have a chance of becoming world number one though, so he will be keen to make the most of the Rio Open.

“My ultimate goal is to reach number one, but I’m not putting myself pressure to achieve it in six months or 12 months,” Cilic said. “My goal for this year is still, as it was before the season started, to finish the year in the top five and to have a Grand Slam victory.”

Cilic’s only 2017 singles title came on the outdoor clay courts of Istanbul but he has only won once before on this surface, all the way back in 2012 at Umag. His pre-tournament odds of 5/1 for the Rio Open title may therefore be just a touch too short for many fans.

Clay Court Specialists in the Spotlight

South American players will be expected to go well at one of their home tournaments, but the Spanish pair of Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos Vinolas are two of the men to beat.

Carreno Busta – offered at a price of 14/1 for the Rio Open – burst into the top 10 in the world rankings with a superb 2017, but he was one of Cilic’s victims at the Australian Open.

The 26-year-old has played a single match since then, losing in his first game at the Ecuador Open to Andrej Martin – a player outside the top 100 – so he looks to be quite rusty. Like Cilic, Carreno Busta did win a clay court event in 2017, collecting the title at Estoril, so he cannot be completely discounted from the running in Rio despite a clear lack of form.

Vinolas – who can be backed at 16/1 in the Rio Open odds – got to the final in Ecuador but suffered a shock defeat at the hands of compatriot Roberto Carballes Baena. The 30-year-old did at least get some matches under his belt, while a pair of victories in Spain’s Davis Cup defeat of Great Britain earlier in the year indicated he is in decent touch.

Pablo Cuevas (20/1) is a name that should be on the shortlist too, as he won the Rio Open in 2016. At the age of 32, the Uruguayan’s best days may be behind him but he can be a fearsome force on clay, with all six of his career titles coming on the brown stuff, four of them in Brazil.

Cuevas – a doubles champion with Carreno Busta at the Rio Open a year ago – is among the seeds for the event and should therefore get to the latter stages of the tournament.

Schwartzman a Player to Watch

Aside from the big names in the Rio Open draw, Diego Schwartzman deserves to be mentioned among the contenders after enjoying a breakthrough year. He is the sixth seed for this event.

Despite his diminutive height – he stands at just 5ft7 – Schwartzman was arguably the ATP tour’s most impressive player in 2017, earning more than $1.5m in prize money. A place in the top 20 of the world rankings is now in his sights and the top 10 may not be beyond him this year either.

Reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open was a promising start to the new year for Schwartzman – he lost to Nadal at that stage – while he is another player to have won on the clay courts of Istanbul earlier in his career.  At around the 11/1 mark, he is a respectable option in the Rio Open odds.

Rio Open Best Bets

Cilic is the most famous name in the frame, but the giant Croat has a mediocre career record on clay and could be rusty after a spell away from the court following the Australian Open final.

He can therefore be considered too skinny at 5/1, but the top-ranked player in the draw, defending champion Dominic Thiem, is a better option and is available at around 3/1.

On an each-way basis, good value looks to be on offer at the price of 20/1 on Pablo Cuevas. The winner of the event in 2016, he has four career titles in Brazil and a fantastic clay-court record. He is among the seeds and will be a very dangerous threat for the bigger names in the draw.

Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Albert Ramos Vinolas will undoubtedly attract a lot of interest but the latter player is a more appealing bet at odds of 16/1 for the Rio Open crown.

Former top-10 star Gael Monfils – a winner in Doha earlier in 2018 – may be worth a small bet at 9/1, but preferred is rising star Schwartzman, who can be backed at around 11/1.

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