As we step into August, the ATP World Tour splits in three directions — Washington, Cabo San Lucas, and Kitzbühel. Each tournament started on July 29th and runs through to August 6th, and with the big-four (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic) either injured or resting, there are a lot more viable options than usual for tennis bettors.
For now, let’s turn our attention to the hard courts of D.C, where the Citi Open is currently taking place. The top seeds received a bye into the second round, so now is when the tournament really begins. Who’s in the field, and who’s the best value?
Raonic’s 2017 season has been, in a word, meh: not the best, not the worst. Just meh. Reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon is nothing to scoff at, and he came up just short at Delray Beach and Istanbul, but the lanky Canadian is still seeking his first win of the year.
The 2014 champ has a great shot at claiming another Washington Open, but he’ll have to contend with three other previous winners — Juan Martin del Potro (2008, ’09, ’13), Kei Nishikori (2015), and Gael Monfils (2016). Unlike the other favorites, Raonic has a relatively easy run to the quarterfinals. The only real threat he faces before the semifinal is the 19th-ranked Jack Sock.
The 20-year-old Alexander Zverev had a breakout moment at the Italian Open this year, defeating Raonic and John Isner to reach the final where he defeated Djokovic in straight sets.
Having just broken into the top ten in the world rankings, Zverev has established himself as a serious contender for the Citi Open. It’ll take some work to overcome Grigor Dimitrov and Nick Kyrgios in the early rounds, but the young German is in incredible form right now.
The top-seeded Dominic Thiem is among the favorites to win in Washington, and he’s had a great season so far. With wins at the Rio Open and impressive showings at Barcelona and Madrid, the young Austrian could finish the year as the third-ranked player in the world.
Of his eight ATP World Tour wins, six have been on clay, so the Citi Open isn’t his preferred domain. But given his form at the moment and the relatively depleted field, he’s certainly a rightful inhabitant near the top of the odds.
The 22-year-old Nick Kyrgios has an amazing amount of potential and the only person standing in his way is himself. The hot-headed Australian has been accused of unsportsmanlike behavior and throwing matches when the going gets tough.
When focused, he’s a threat to any player. But whether Kyrgios brings his A-game to Washington remains to be seen. Wagering on him is akin to playing roulette.
The defending champ ended 2016 as the #6 player in the world but has since slipped down to 16th. Though he came close at the Eastbourne International, the Frenchman is yet to pick up a win this season. His potential-to-volatility ratio makes him Kyrgios-lite.
Clay may be his forte, but Thiem has been the most consistent player — on any surface — out of the Citi Open contenders. He has his eyes set on a top-three ranking, and a win in D.C would tighten his grip on the spot. There’s no reason the top seed should have longer odds than Raonic and Zverev. While they both have big serves that are well-suited to hardcourts, Thiem has stronger groundstrokes that will translate to the fast surface.
Photo credit: Christopher Johnson (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].
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