ATP Tennis Betting: Will Rublev prevail in big-hitting battle with Basilashvili in Hamburg?

July 28, 2019

Andrey Rublev made us sweat rather a lot in Hamburg on Saturday, going a set and 4-2 down (almost 5-2 down) before finding his form and taking 11 of the last 13 games to secure the each-way part of our 50-1 outright bet on the Russian.

Now our man is roughly the same price (slightly shorter) on Sunday as he was on Saturday to win his match, thanks to Nikoloz Basilashvili edging past Alexander Zverev in the first semi final.

So, our 50-1 chance is now odds-on at 1.76 to win the title and let’s be honest, absolutely anything could happen in a final between Rublev and Basilashvili.

It’s a first clash on clay between the pair, who have only met once previously, and that was on a hard court right at the start of this season in Doha when Basil won in straight sets.

Notable that day was the style of the match, which on that occasion saw Basil be the one to get the first strike in and with two aggressive players clashing whoever gets on top early in the rally is likely to come out on top – unless they’re missing frequently, which is very possible for either of these two.

Certainly, Basil has been more miss than hit for most of this season, while Rublev has suffered badly with injury in 2019 and it will be a most welcome return to title-winning form for either man here.

Both men will be tired after a tough week and Basil’s match on Saturday, which went all the way to a final set breaker, was over three hours, while Rublev had to battle as well, so there’ll be some fatigue in the legs today.

From Basil’s point of view, he’ll be looking to get more first serves in than he has all week, with only 43% in against Zverev on Saturday and 48% for the tournament and that’s a part of his game that can be either very good or not.

He said earlier this week that he’s been tinkering with his service motion:

“I changed my motion a bit on the serve, so it helped me a lot. I had a lot of pain in my right hand during the season, so right now it's a bit better, so I'm trying to go for first serves a bit more now.”

Rublev will need to serve a bit better than he did the last time that this pair clashed, but on a slow clay court he’ll have more time to try and fend off the all-out attack of the Georgian.

For us, we’ve already collected a fair return on Rublev and surely, surely, we’re due an actual winner in a final after a string of very tough losses in title matches – the most recent one coming only last week with Juan Ignacio Londero.

But with these two contesting a final it’s almost impossible to predict, so I’ll have five points on Basilashvili in case of yet another heartbreaker in a title match.

Over in Atlanta we lost our outright hope there when Alex De Minaur was too solid for Reilly Opelka in three sets and the Aussie now faces Taylor Fritz in Sunday’s final.

And this is a bit of a pick ‘em as well, with De Minaur having won both of their previous matches, but I don’t think they’re too relevant, with one coming on grass last summer and the other in the Milan Next Gen knockabout at the end of last season.

Fritz especially is a different player these days after a fine season so far in 2019, but he was caused a lot of problems by the leftie Cam Norrie in Saturday’s semi final.

He’ll need to be at his best to win this and I’m leaning towards the more complete game of De Minaur here if I were forced to make a pick.

I haven’t seen that much of Gstaad this week, but it’s great to see a player that I picked out as ‘one to watch’ many years ago finally after years of injury issues, Cedrik Marcel Stebe, make a main level final.

What a nightmare time it’s been for the German, who won the old ATP Challenger Tour Finals back in 2011.

“Sometimes I felt like someone has a voodoo doll of myself and was playing around with it and randomly sticking needles into my body parts somewhere,” he said after making the Gstaad final.

“It always felt like I was trying to come back and feeling almost okay, and then something came around again and I had to do surgery again. It just feels like some bigger force doesn’t want me to play tennis anymore. But I kept trying and trying and here I am, finally, and I’m playing some good tennis again.

“To be out for about one and a half years after coming back from injuries that took me out for two and a half years, it wasn’t easy. I knew how to handle it somehow, but mentally, sometimes, I went crazy.”

Tough times indeed and he’s a big underdog against a back-to-form Albert Ramos on Sunday after playing two three-setters on Saturday just to make the final – and three sets prior to that in his second round match.

So, the assumption is that Stebe will be tired and with his history of injuries I can see why he’s a biggish underdog here, but 4.35 still seems a bit generous against the hardly unbeatable Ramos.

His record as a sub-1.30 favourite at main level is 25-1, with the one loss coming in his most recent one against Alexey Vatutin in Marrakech and he’s 29-12 versus lefties on clay at main level (29-9 excluding Nadal).

Chances are Ramos will take this, but I’m not sure I’d back him at 1.22.

Instead I’ll have a cover on Basilashvili and hope my luck in finals turns.


Best Bet


5 points win Basilashvili to beat Rublev at 2.07 (only if backed Rublev each-way outright at 50-1 pre-tournament)