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2020 ATP Rome Masters: Round of 16 Picks

September 17, 2020


Right off of the heels of the US Open, the best tennis players in the world are in Rome for its annual Masters 1000 event. With the field being whittled down to 16 players, the condensed schedule has led to plenty of upsets and some opportunities to find value with tennis betting picks from Italy. Here are a couple of ATP Rome betting picks that are worth taking a look at heading into the eight round of 16 matches.

Grigor Dimitrov vs. Jannik Sinner

A quarter of the remaining competitors in Rome hail from Italy. Perhaps the most exciting of those players is the young Jannik Sinner. The 19 year old Italian made his first real breakthrough at the tour level here in Rome when he beat American Steve Johnson. This year, he’s claimed an even more impressive victory, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the round of 32. And Sinner might not be done yet, given his skill on clay.

One year ago, Sinner lost in this same tournament to Tsitsipas in straight sets. This year, he knocked the Greek star off, building on a US Open where Sinner dropped a first round match to Karen Khachanov after winning the first two sets. Since then, Sinner has won three of four matches on clay. In Rome, the Italian has shown great composure both in his three-set win over Tsitsipas and in his win over an irate Benoit Paire in the previous round.

During this tournament, Sinner has broken his two opponents a combined 11 times in five combined sets. That average of over two breaks per set is impressive, as Sinner has only been broken twice so far in this tournament. If he can continue to protect his serve on the clay, it is entirely possible that Sinner can move into the quarterfinal round and possibly beyond.

Grigor Dimitrov has won both matches he’s played in this tournament. Having not played a competitive match on clay since last year’s French Open, Dimitrov has won all four sets he has played in Rome in 2020. Dimitrov has defeated Gianluca Mager and Yoshihito Nishioka in his first two matches in this tournament, and the Belarusian has done a great job of minimizing his time on the court so far.

Dimitrov has been broken just one time in his two matches in Rome thus far. In his four sets, Dimitrov has lost just seven service games in total. Three of his sets have ended with his opponent winning one game or less, which speaks to the level at which Dimitrov has been playing.

With both players performing well so far in this tournament, Sinner’s ability to break serve is a weapon that could set him apart from Dimitrov. In his home country, expect the young Italian to score another signature victory, as a win in Rome would mean much more to Sinner than it would to Dimitrov, whose focus is likely on Roland Garros.

Pick: Jannik Sinner (-124) over Grigor Dimitrov

Marin Cilic vs. Casper Ruud

Marin Cilic has the name recognition in his matchup with Casper Ruud in the Rome round of 16. But a closer look at the data from each of these two players makes this match a closer one than some would think. With Cilic ranked lower than Ruud at this point in time, the Norwegian will look to avoid being upset by the Croatian star.

Casper Ruud has picked up two solid wins in Rome in his first two matches in the tournament. The first of those wins came against Karen Khachanov, who was a tough out in the US Open before being eliminated quickly in Rome. Ruud followed that win with a victory over Lorenzo Sonego, an Italian who is at his best while on clay courts.

Ruud has picked up eight breaks in two matches in Rome, compared to four times being broken in this tournament. He has won more than half of his opponents’ second serve points in this tournament, with each of his opponents failing to win 50% of their points with their second serves. While he will face a bigger server in Cilic in the round of 16, Ruud has proven to be a thorn in the side of opposing servers in Rome.

Marin Cilic has yet to be broken so far in Rome, winning four of the five sets that he has played in this tournament so far. His one dropped set came via tiebreak, as he failed to get a break in one set against Alexander Bublik. While things have looked promising for Cilic, there is still some concern to be had about his lack of competitive matches on clay so far this year.

Cilic has played just two competitive matches on clay since the 2019 French Open, with both of those matches coming this week in Rome. Ruud, meanwhile, has played 12 competitive matches on clay over that same time period. Ruud has traveled to South America to play on clay, as that appears to be his preferred surface while Cilic excels on grass and hard courts thanks to his massive serve.

While Cilic’s serve is still a huge weapon for Ruud to worry about, this match is going to come down to which player can grind out points when their serve doesn’t earn them free points. Ruud’s clay court acumen should get him through to the quarterfinal round, as Cilic will bow out here after a positive run before the French Open.

Pick: Casper Ruud (-167) over Marin Cilic

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.