2019 Rio Open Betting Preview: Thiem and Fognini Top Intriguing Field

Dominic Thiem is the star name in a decent field for this week’s 2019 Rio Open event in Brazil.

The Austrian is the top seed and a strong favourite to win the title despite facing strong competition in the form of two excellent Italians – Fabio Fognini and Marco Cecchinato – as well as Diego Schwartzman.

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A clay-court tournament since it was launched in 2014, when Rafael Nadal won the inaugural trophy, there was a lot of speculation the Rio Open could move venue for this year’s edition.

The Olympic Tennis Centre, in the city’s Barra Olympic Park, was touted as a replacement. This was where the tennis tournaments of the 2016 Summer Olympics were played, and it was thought the switch could lead to a starrier cast of players being attracted to attend.

But the change in venue did not come to pass so the tournament is being played at Jockey Club Brasileiro once more, which will suit those who thrive on outdoor clay courts.

Players such as Pablo Cuevas could therefore come into the reckoning in the Rio Open odds, but who would offer the most enticing option in the prices for the tournament? Let’s take a look.

2019 Rio Open Odds

ComeOn.com 888sport.com WilliamHill.com
Pablo Cuevas 9/2 2/1 9/2
Federico Delbonis 8/1 4/1 6/1
Juame Munar 31/4 8/1 6/1
Aljaz Bedene 39/4 10/1 7/1
Diego Schwartzman 7/1 8/1 8/1
Joao Sousa 8/1 8/1 8/1
Albert Ramos-Vinolas 11/1 18/1 10/1
Cameron Norrie 13/1 18/1 14/1
Christian Garin 17/1 14/1 14/1
Laslo Djere 16/1 14/1 14/1
Roberto Carballes Baena 14/1 14/1 14/1
Felix Auger-Aliassime 18/1 20/1 20/1
Thiago Monteiro 21/1 25/1 20/1
Taro Daniel 40/1 40/1 33/1
Thiago Wild 100/1 250/1 100/1
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Thiem Too Short to Back

There is no doubting Dominic Thiem is a very good player, sitting eighth in the world in the current rankings and having been as high as four recently.

He is also a former winner of the Rio Open having lifted the trophy a couple of years ago after a straight sets defeat of the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the final.

Thiem has since won a further two outdoor clay court events – in Buenos Aires and in Lyon – with this regarded to be his strongest surface by a considerable distance.

But the problem with the 25-year-old remains consistency at major tournaments. His results over the course of the year to date have not been great at all. His 2019 record ahead of the Rio Open reads three wins and three losses, while he crashed out of the Australian Open in just the second round.

There were signs he was recovering some form in Argentina last week, where he beat Cuevas on his way through to the semi-finals, but there he was beaten in three sets by Schwartzman.

What stands in Thiem’s favour for the Rio Open is his draw does not seem to be particularly daunting. Third seed Cecchinato is scheduled to be his semi-final opponent and it would be a shock if Thiem did not reach at least the last four again. But at 2/1 in a very competitive field it is very difficult to argue that the Austrian player represents decent value in this week’s betting.

Italian Duo Under Consideration

Leaving aside Thiem for the moment, two of the more interesting names from a betting point of view for the Rio Open are the compatriots Fognini and Cecchinato.

Consistency has been a problem for both, with Cecchinato thus far unable to follow up his stunning run at last year’s French Open, while Fognini can be magnificent one week and deeply mediocre the next with no apparent reason for his peaks and troughs.

A couple of early exits in his last two tournaments suggests Fognini is in one of his regular dips right now, but that has pushed his price out to a rather appealing 9/1.

World number 17 Cecchinato – who is a single place below his fellow Italian Fognini in the rankings – won in Buenos Aires last week so his form is certainly more of interest here.

He is offered at a price of 18/1 which would appear to be very generous, although being in the same half of the draw as top seed Thiem can help to explain why his odds are so large.

Cecchinato will open his Rio Open campaign against the talented Aljaz Bedene but should have more than enough to come through that contest assuming his exertions in Argentina over the course of the last week have not been too damaging.

Schwartzman v Cuevas a First-round Clash to Savour

It is rare an event with a profile like the Rio Open has a first-round match that is in must-watch territory, with Schwartzman’s opening match against Cuevas certainly fitting that category.

Clay court specialists, the pair of them will expect to go deep into the tournament if they can get through an extremely tough opening round draw. Schwartzman’s odds for the Rio Open are around the 8/1 mark, while Cuevas is available to back at around 16/1 instead.

Schwartzman was beaten by Cecchinato in the Buenos Aires final last week so he has some decent results under his belt, while the Argentine is also the defending champion at the Rio Open having easily beaten Fernando Verdasco, dropping only five games in last year’s final.

Cuevas, meanwhile, won the event back in 2016 when he came through against Guido Pella. Although he is ranked only 63 in the world, Cuevas was once a top-20 player so he should not be underestimated. He lost to Thiem in the quarter-finals in Buenos Aires, which may give him a slight fitness edge over Schwartzman who will have to recover quickly from his extra matches.

All six of the career titles collected by 33-year-old Cuevas have come on clay and the most recent four of those tournament trophies were claimed in Brazil, so he will feel at home in Brazil.

Rio Open Best Bets

Thiem’s short price will put off many tennis fans and his inconsistency makes it hard to back him at odds as tight as 2/1, with his status as runaway favourite meaning there is lots of value.

Each-way backers could be tempted by either Cuevas or Cecchinato, both of whom certainly have the talent to get through to the final and make their 16/1 price look very juicy indeed.

Schwartzman, though, is a man in form and as long as he can get through that enticing first-round match against Cuevas he has a great chance of going all the way this week.

The fourth seed can be taken at around the 9/1 mark and should give his backers a good run.

Even further down the list, former Rio Open finalist Guido Pella may have landed in the top quarter as Thiem but 33/1 for the Argentina looks to be far too big to ignore entirely too.