- The ATP Rio Open takes place from February 18-24 in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.
- Can Diego Schwartzman defend his 2018 Rio Open title?
- Or will 2017 tournament-winner Dominic Thiem live up to his favorite status?
With three former winners in the field, 2017 champion Dominic Thiem enters the ATP Rio Open as the tournament favorite. Can Thiem become the first two-time winner?
Odds to Win 2019 ATP Rio Open
|Roberto Carballes Baena||+3300|
*Not all options listed. Odds taken 2/17
World no. 8 and the tournament’s top seed, Dominic Thiem enters the Rio Open as the betting favorite.
His 2019 has begun with mixed results and started with an early Round of 32 exit at the Qatar Open. In Australia. he was upset by Wild Card Alexei Popyrin in the Round of 64 before reaching the semi-finals of the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
Dominic Thiem happy to be back on clay. [getty] pic.twitter.com/UDt4UaKpfC
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 16, 2019
Playing in the first quarter of the tournament, Thiem’s main competition to reach the finals looks to be the tournament’s no. 5 seed, Joao Sousa.
However, Sousa could fall victim to an early upset himself, as he will first face Guido Pella, who was just eliminated in the semi-finals of Buenos Aires. Pella reached the final of the Cordoba Open earlier this month as well.
"He had no right to win that point!"@guido_pella turns defence to attack in a flash ?
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) February 16, 2019
After Sousa (41st) and Pella (50th), no other player in the first quarter ranks higher than 73rd overall.
Don’t be surprised by a quarter-finals matchup between Thiem and Pella; they have split their four career matches, but Thiem has won the last two.
Cecchinato Should Coast To Semis
As you look through the second quarter of the tournament draw, it’s hard to see a scenario where Italian Marco Cecchinato doesn’t advance into the semis of the top half of the bracket. He ranks 18th in the world and is the tournament’s no. 3 seed.
Cecchinato advanced to the finals in Buenos Aires on Sunday where he defeated hometown favorite Diego Schwartzman, 6-1, 6-2.
Marco Cecchinato defeats home favorite Diego Schwartzman to take the @ArgentinaOpen ? without dropping a set.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 17, 2019
There really is limited competition ahead of Cecchinato in this quarter. No. 8 seed Nicolas Jarry ranks just 47th overall and he’s been in dreadful form so far this year.
In addition to Schwartzman, he also recently defeated fellow second-quarter player Roberto Carballés Baena as well as Pella in straight sets in Buenos Aires.
Can Schwartzman Regroup After Argentina?
After finally reaching a final in his native Argentina, Schwartzman couldn’t complete the dream finish and win on home soil. With his past two matches coming against Thiem and the finals letdown versus Cecchinato, the question will be how much does the defending champ have left in the tank?
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 16, 2019
Schwartzman has seen his season get off to a strong start by reaching the semis (Sydney), Round of 32 (Aussie Open) and quarters (Cordoba) prior to Buenos Aires.
He has drawn a tricky first round match in the third quarter against 2016 champion Pablo Cuevas. Cuevas recently reached the semis of Cordoba and quarters in Argentina. He’s also defeated Schwartzman in two of their five matches including the most recent in 2017.
Fognini Favored To Come Out of Fourth Quarter
With the third-shortest odds to win the tournament, Fabio Fognini is expected to advance from this quarter.
He has defeated players like Jaume Munar and Leonardo Mayer already this year in Australia. Both of whom could be potential quarter-finals opponents. Though Munar bested him in three sets more recently in the Round of 16 in Argentina.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) February 14, 2019
With odds of +2000 Munar may offer the best value to emerge through the bottom half of the bracket. Not only did he recently defeat Fognini, but he also beat Buenos Aires winner Cecchinato earlier this month at the Cordoba Open.
Rio Open Best Bets
There’s no reason not to think Thiem can’t live up to his favorite status and run deep into this tournament. He’s found much success on clay in his career. Of his 11 career ATP titles, eight have come outdoors on the clay surface, including two last year.
ATP Rio Open History
|2018||Diego Schwartzman (ARG)||Fernando Verdasco (SPN)|
|2017||Dominic Thiem (AUS)||Pablo Carreno Busta (SPN)|
|2016||Pablo Cuevas (URU)||Guido Pella (ARG)|
|2015||David Ferrer (SPN)||Fabio Fognini (ITL)|
|2014||Rafael Nadal (SPN)||Alexandr Dolgopov (UKA)|
With a short five-year existence, it is interesting to note that of the ten champions or runners-up, seven have come from Latin America or Spain.
Of the ten champions or runners-up at the Rio Open, seven have come from Latin America or Spain.
It’s hard to maintain the same level of consistency from tournament to tournament with such a short turnaround. Thiem may have the advantage of making an earlier exit in Argentina and be fresher in Rio than say someone like Cecchinato or Schwartzman.
From a futures standpoint one option would be to ride with Thiem at +175. Or, sprinkle a little bit of action across players like Pella (+2500) in the top half as well as Cuevas (+1600) and Munar (+2000) in the bottom half. Those latter three would also all follow the trend of a South American or Spaniard winning the title.