Alexander Zverev will bid to win the BMW Open for the third time in his career when the German returns to his homeland this week.
Zverev has been the champion of the Munich-based event in each of the last three years and he is a strong favourite with the bookmakers to come out on top again.
Best Betting Sites for the 2019 BMW Open
However, Zverev has been far from impressive so far in 2019 and he may therefore be vulnerable as the top seed, especially as there is a deep well of talented players present.
Karen Khachanov is the second seed while Argentine duo Diego Schwartzman and Guido Pella are among those who will also be hoping to have a successful week.
The 2019 BMW Open, also known as the Bavarian International Tennis Championships, often seems to favour German players, though. As well as Zverev, Philipp Kohlschreiber has also won the tournament twice and he was the beaten finalist here a year ago.
Others who have a strong history on clay must also be of interest, such as last year’s surprise French Open semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato, with the fourth seed at the BMW Open Roberto Bautista Agut always a threat on this surface as well.
It all builds to what should be a fine week of action in Munich, with matches set to be played at MTTC Iphitos. But where is the best value to be found in the betting odds? Let’s take a look!
Zverev Admits He Is Struggling
Losing form can happen to any player – just witness the shock losses suffered by Rafael Nadal on clay in the last couple of weeks, but 2019 was supposed to be Zverev’s year.
Instead, the world’s number three has been hardly able to win a match, admitting after his defeat to lucky loser Nicolas Jarry at the Barcelona Open that he was “in a hole” and had no answers.
Zverev, who is far too short as the 11/4 favourite for the BMW Open title, gave a full and frank assessment of his problems in a post-match interview. “I just played bad, it’s not a secret,” he said. “I’m missing backhands all over the places, which is my best shot.”
The German got through to the final in Acapulco back in March but has been poor since. A bye in Munich means Zverev is at least guaranteed to get through to the second round of a tournament he will be glad to be at again due to his successful history here.
But Zverev could face a tough quarter-final clash against Schwartzman, a match he would be far from guaranteed to win given the way he has been playing in the last few weeks.
Clay-court Specialists Pack the Field
With the French Open now just around the corner, players are tweaking their games ahead of travelling to Roland Garros for the second major tournament of the year.
Among the clay-court specialists expected to go well at the BMW Open are the Spaniard, Bautista Agut, who is the second favourite in the betting odds at a price of 5/1.
Bautista Agut looks to have a clear path to the quarter-finals of the tournament, where he could meet either Pella or Zverev’s older brother Mischa, who are set to meet in the first round. Incidentally, the 12/1 available on Pella, who got the final here two years ago but found Zverev to be a class above, is certainly worth considering at small stakes on an each way basis only.
At the age of 31, Bautista Agut has been around the block a few times but the world number 21 is nimble enough to keep most players on their toes. Bautista Agut’s form is hard to judge as he was unfortunate enough to come up against Nadal in just his second match in Monte-Carlo.
Cecchinato is a couple of places higher than Bautista Agut in the world rankings but the Italian can be backed at 12/1 to win the BMW Open title this week.
It has been a patchy year for him, victory in Argentina back in February followed by some poor results, but beating Stan Wawrinka at the Monte-Carlo Masters showed he could be a threat.
Cash in on Khachanov?
Priced at 6/1, second seed Karen Khachanov could be an appealing selection for many this week. The 22-year-old is closing in on breaking through to the world’s top 10 for the first time.
Khachanov, though, is another name in the frame for the Munich crown who has not really found his rhythm this season. Since reaching the final at Indian Wells, where he was beaten by Nadal, he has not been able to win a single match.
Last week’s early exit at the hands of Pella in Barcelona is particularly concerning given the Russian would have been expected to come through that match reasonably easily.
Khachanov also has little pedigree of note on clay. Each of the four singles titles he has won in his career so far have come on hard courts and he does not seem comfortable on the red dirt.
Kyle Edmund, the fifth seed who can be backed at 12/1 for the BMW Open title, is another who has struggled for consistency in the last few weeks. The British number one has only taken one singles title on the ATP tour so far and, like Khachanov, that success came on a hard court.
BMW Open Best Bets
Zverev’s record at the BMW Open demands respect but, as such a short-priced favourite to win the tournament for the third year in a row, it is hard to back him considering his poor form. Even the best bookmakers are too short to back this selection with confidence.
Discounting Zverev from the reckoning opens up the draw somewhat, although other seeds such as Edmund and Khachanov are also difficult to support given a lack of clay-court success.
Instead, Bautista Agut stands out as an obvious contender and the Spaniard’s price of 5/1 is decent, especially as there seem to be few barriers in his way that will stop him from getting through to at least the semi-finals.
But history suggests the often ignored Philipp Kohlschreiber could come under the radar at a very generous 20/1. He beat Dominic Thiem in the final back in 2016 to collect his second Munich title and has also been through to the final of the event on three other occasions.
A record of four appearances in the BMW Open final in the last six years indicates home hope Kohlschreiber could be great value on an each way basis, with Pella an alternative at 12/1.