is was the big name at the 2018 Sofia Open as he sought to defend the title he won on home soil a year ago. Dimitrov had been tipped for a run deep into the Australian Open but suffered a surprise exit at the hands of British number two Kyle Edmund. We were also anticipating Dimitrov to do well here, but a shoulder injury has sidelined him and leaves us considering other options.
A return to his home country would have been just what Dimitrov needed to boost morale after such a disappointment at the Australian Open, with his lack of impact on Grand Slam tournaments having continued. This is a tough break just when Dimitrov needed to get back in there the most, and we will be watching him closely to see how he looks when he returns to action.
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A mental blockage appears to be preventing Dimitrov from taking that next step at the big tournaments and this is what the 26-year-old will need to work on throughout 2018. His latest injury is a huge setback, and this year will test his mettle.
Defending the Sofia Open title he won last year would have been a good way to bounce back from his loss at the Australian Open, but that is now a moot point with Dimitrov ruled out. Let’s take a look at the other runners and riders and try to pick out some value selections.
2018 Sofia Open Odds
Our top-rated tennis bookmakers are now taking bets on the Sofia Open. In addition to individual match bets, you may also bet on the outright winner. Today, we will compare the odds on every player across three international betting sites. All you need to do is make your pick and then use the following tables to see where to get the best odds.
Odds at International Betting Sites
Dimitrov Leads the Field
Update: Dimitrov has withdrawn from the Sofia open due to shoulder injury.
The fact that Dimitrov is playing in his home tournament may have been enough to make him the favourite regardless of the fact he won the Sofia Open a year ago.
Taking both facts (that he’s playing on home territory and is the defending champion) into consideration, it is easy to see why bookmakers chose Dimitrov to open at short odds to win the Sofia Open outright.
There is a strong field assembled behind Dimitrov and he is also undoubtedly the man to beat at this competition. This puts a target on his back and a lot of players will be hoping to take his scalp over the course of the event.
Dimitrov needs to show mental strength and bravery to come through and justify his status as the pre-tournament favourite, but there are just too many questions about him to recommend a bet if he is priced as short as anticipated.
The world number three will be particularly vulnerable to an early exit and it might even be worth betting against him in the first couple of rounds in the Sofia Open, depending on his opponents.
Chung to Follow Australia Open Success?
Update: Hyeon Chung has also withdrawn from the Sofia Open.
While Dimitrov went out at the quarter-final stage at yet another major, there was no doubt about the surprise package of this year’s Australian Open.
Chung Hyeon came out of nowhere to get through to the semi-finals, although he had to retire in the second set against Roger Federer as he was struggling to cope with blisters.
The 21-year-old had been a revelation at the event and Sofia Open organisers will be hoping he recovers in time to take his place in the draw.
Having a South Korean player at the top of the sport would be a huge boost for the world of tennis, bringing in a new Asian audience.
All eyes will therefore be on Chung – who beat the former world number one Novak Djokovic in brilliant fashion at Melbourne Park – in the coming days to see if he can shake off his foot troubles to play in Bulgaria.
And if he does make it to the Sofia Open, there will be a lot of interest among punters, especially as he will be determined to capitalise on the heaps of ranking points he collected in Australia earlier in the month.
Troicki’s Record Makes Him One to Watch
Viktor Troicki certainly knows what it takes to succeed at the Sofia Open, having won the doubles title at the event last year, while he reached the singles final in 2015 as well.
The Serbian was solidly beaten by Nick Kyrgios at the Australian Open and his form over the course of the year is certainly nothing to write home about.
Troicki lost in the first round of both the Sydney International and the Qatar Open, but a return to Bulgaria could be just what he needs to get his game back on track.
The Sofia Open is a relatively new event, so there are not a lot of players who have strong experience of what it takes to succeed here.
But Troicki, having reached two finals at the Sofia Open in the last two years, certainly does and he may therefore provide some value at a price of 14/1 (at Betsson). This is especially the case now that we know Dimitrov and Chung have withdrawn from the tournament.
With the 31-year-old not in the best form it would be wise to stick to small stakes only, however, while an each-way bet might be the best option for those wanting to back the world number 65. Keep an eye on the draw to see what kind of path to the latter stages Troicki is handed.
Muller’s Experience Puts Him in the Hunt
Gilles Muller has long been considered a bit of a journeyman, but he came close to breaking into the world’s top 20 last year and he could be a threat at the Sofia Open.
The Luxembourg veteran came through a couple of rounds at Melbourne Park before finding Pablo Carreno Busta too strong, which is understandable given the Spaniard’s skills.
But at odds of 6/1 (at Betsson), Muller is certainly a name worthy of consideration.
The 34-year-old won two singles titles last year and the Sofia Open is exactly the sort of tournament he will be targeting as a chance to add to that silverware.
Sofia Open Best Bets
This early in the tennis season it is still difficult to spot players who are in the best form. We’ve had to completely reconsider everything now that Dimitrov and Chung have announced they will be skipping the 2018 Sofia Open. That changes everything from a betting strategy point of view.
Stan Wawrinka and Gilles Muller are now shaping up to be the Sofia Open favourites, and will be the ones we’re looking for this week. Wawrinka’s odds are a little short for our tastes, but you can get him at 4/1 at 888Sport. Muller may end up providing the best value at odds of 6/1 if you back him at Betsson.
Another decent long shot could be Robin Haase. The Dutchman got to the semi-finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland and the quarter-finals in Pune, although he suffered a shock first-round defeat in Melbourne. Long odds will make him worth a very close look. You can get Robin Haase for as high as 20/1 at 888Sport.