The ATP Tour looks like it might be setting the stage for a bit of a disappointment, coming out of an amazing time for tennis with the Masters Series. The biggest victim in the short run will be the Countrywide Classic, because it begins on the day before the Olympics in Beijing, China. As players have had to choose between the two events, the Classic will be short of major contenders, the biggest of whom may well be Andy Roddick, who chose not to participate in the Olympics this year; he stands in a lonely crowd among the tennis elite. As the top fish in a small pond, it’s not surprising to find him as the clear favourite; the best rate you’ll find for him to win will be 6/5- but it’s the name recognition that’s earning the odds, and not necessarily his recent performances at Olympics Boxing. After his early second round defeat for Wimbledon this year, he also lost in the third round to Marin Cilic in Toronto. He didn’t participate in the Cinncinati Masters, due to an injury to his back- chronic pain he’d complained of as far back as the claycourt season. Despite this time of year usually seeing Roddick at his best, it’s surprising to say the least to see that his preparations for the US Open- his focus in lieu of the Olympics- aren’t going too well. And it doesn’t seem like he’s lucked out with an easy win for the Classic, either. He’s scheduled to go up against Tommy Haas for the quarter-final, a man who certainly will put up a fight on a hardcourt, and with a lot of tournament experience under his belt. The German player won the Classic in both 2004, and then again in ’06, and seems to be coming back stronger than expected following an injury early this season. In Indianapolis, he made the final eight, and continued on to the two Masters Series. Though he got only three wins during the competitions, one of the victories was against Carlos Moya (who made it to the quarter-finals one week after, in Cincinnati) and though he lost- he do so to Rafael Nadal, and Nikolay Davydenko- two men who are inordinately hard to beat as they rest in the world’s top five. If you’re looking for an alternate bet than Roddick, he’d not make a poor choice, with his rate sitting at 8/1 odds in the top half ATP Countrywide Classic.
The other half is much more open as Fernando Verdasco is the only player who’s there from the world’s Top 20. He’s been collecting victories like they’re nothing over the last few months, but we’re wary as he’s yet to make his place with this kind of surface, and the left-hander’s odds are sitting just at 9/2, not yet a sweet enough deal. Contrarily, Moya is looking attractive, following his earning a place in the quarter-finals in Cincinnati. The only dubious element is the statistical fact that it’s been over a year since Moya was able to follow up any sort of success with a continuance in the next week. When you look at his stats for hardcourt tournaments, it’s been 18 months since he had a winning streak. Taking Moya and Verdasco out of the running, then, we’re left with Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina. He’s recently won back-to-back claycourt titles in Europe. There are some that say that switchin surfaces could catch the young man off guard, but it should be taken into account that many thought his first ATP titles would come to him on a hardtop. Either way, his powerful serve will get him ahead in points Betting Horse Racing, no matter what; it’s a huge advantage. Del Potro is also looking at the fact that he’s got a first round bye, so he’s only got to win 4 matched to get himself another title; giving the skinney competition because of Beijing, it’s closer to likely than impossible. Moya’s a possible quarter-final opponent, but he’s unlikely to have a great tournament, and Verdasco struggles with hardcourts. Both Betdirect and Stan James are offering up 8/1 odds for Del Potro.