Rafael Nadal starts his preparations for the US Open by headlining this week’s Rogers Cup, where the Spaniard is a four-time winner.
Nadal is both the top seed and a strong favourite for the tournament, which both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have opted to skip, while Andy Murray has again chosen to play doubles rather than making his long-awaited comeback to the singles draw.
Bet on the 2019 Rogers Cup at:
While Nadal is certainly the main draw for the 2019 Rogers Cup, a strong field has been assembled behind him and it is by no means certain he justifies his price of just 2/1 to be the winner.
The number two seed is Dominic Thiem while young guns Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also aiming to make a splash. Zverev won this tournament two years ago, beating Federer in the final to announce himself as a player to watch.
Daniil Medvedev got to the final of the Citi Open last week, so he is another name in the frame, while the player he lost to, Nick Kyrgios, is looking to secure back-to-back titles.
With just a few weeks to go before Flushing Meadows, players are tuning up their game on the hard courts of north America. But where is the best value to be found in the betting? Let’s see what the best bookmakers say about pricing and narrow down the field from there.
Early Tests for Top Seed Rafael Nadal
There is no doubt Rafael Nadal is the man to beat at the Rogers Cup, but he has been handed a tricky draw with Alex de Minaur likely to be awaiting in the second round.
The talented young Australian lost heavily to Nadal in Melbourne at the start of the year but has shown good form in recent weeks. A potential third-round opponent for Nadal is David Goffin, who is always a strong competitor, while this section of the draw also features Guido Pella.
Should Nadal get through to the quarter-finals, which is a minimum expectation for the Spanish great, he could well face Fabio Fognini, the Monte-Carlo Masters champion who accounted for Nadal at the US Open a few years ago. Fognini has not been playing brilliantly in the last few weeks, though, so there is a chance a surprise name comes through to face Nadal in the last eight of the tournament.
Among those hoping to secure a strong run at the Rogers Cup are Peter Gojowczyk – who has a good chance of beating the out of sorts 11th seed Borna Coric in round one – and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who can be backed at as big as 200/1.
But whatever happens in the bottom section of this quarter, Nadal will surely win it and go on to face bigger challenges in the last couple of rounds.
Tough Time for Dominic Thiem
At the opposite end of the draw for the 2019 Rogers Cup, second seed Dominic Thiem faces a likely clash with home hope Denis Shapovalov in his first match. Shapovalov is a former semi-finalist at one of the few Canadian events on the ATP tour, but the rising star has struggled for consistency over the course of the year. Despite indifferent form in the build-up to the US Open, Shapovalov certainly has the game to beat Thiem.
Should the Austrian get through that match, Marin Cilic or Matteo Berrettini will probably be awaiting in the third round, so it is clear Thiem will have to perform at a high level from the start. Available to back at 10/1 – he is among a cluster of players behind Nadal in the betting – Thiem’s difficult draw is enough to put people off from backing him to win this year’s Rogers Cup.
But the bottom quarter could provide a finalist as the in-form Russian Medvedev is also lurking here, odds of 12/1 indicating the bookmakers feel he has a good chance of going a long way. However, the quirks of the Montreal draw will likely pit him up against Kyrgios (16/1) early on in what would be a repeat of the Washington final, in which the Australian came out on top.
Form Still a Problem for Alexander Zverev
When the German beat Federer in the Rogers Cup final a couple of years ago, it seemed certain that Alexander Zverev was going to go on and become one of the world’s top players for a long, long time. But 2019 has been tricky for him and he has slipped down to number seven in the world rankings after a string of underwhelming performances over the course of the year to date.
A return to the scene of perhaps the biggest win of his career to date might just rejuvenate him, though, with Zverev – this week’s third seed – opening up against Martin Fucsovics or Cameron Norrie after receiving a bye through the first round.
Also in Zverev’s section is Nikoloz Basilashvili, as well as Jan-Lennard Struff or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 2014 Rogers Cup champion who has been given a wildcard this year. Karen Khachanov is in the third quarter too, but the Paris Masters winner could come unstuck against either Stan Wawrinka or Grigor Dimitrov, with Milos Raonic awaiting in the third round.
Former Finalists on Collision Course
According to the seedings, the second quarter should be dominated by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kei Nishikori, two players who have gotten through to the final of this tournament before.
But at 12/1 and 16/1 respectively in the betting, the bookmakers clearly expect Nadal to come through a semi-final against either of those two men. Another name of interest in this section is the in-form Taylor Fritz, who can be backed at a very appealing 50/1, worth considering on each-way terms.
Rogers Cup Best Bets
Having won this tournament four times in the past, Nadal looks an obvious favourite but after a few weeks off he will perhaps be more vulnerable than usual to an early exit.
A price of 2/1 therefore looks a touch too short to back, especially considering how strong the rest of the contenders for this year’s Rogers Cup are behind Nadal in the betting.
Nick Kyrgios showed at the Citi Open that when he is fully focused, he is one of the best players in the world. It is asking a lot for the Australian to go back-to-back but at 16/1 he is very enticing.
Nadal’s expected dominance means the bottom half of the draw should offer some good value on an each way basis, with John Isner among the players who could profit. The big American is usually strong in the build-up to the US Open and he looks far too big at a massive 40/1.
At 12/1, Daniil Medvedev is another in-form player who will fancy his chances of going deep into the tournament, although he is scheduled to meet Kyrgios early on. The winner of that match could well go on to reach the final from the bottom half, with Nadal expected to be lying in wait.