This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
Tuesday at the Madrid Open brings a mix of first-round and second-round action on the men's side, as well as Round of 16 matches for the women, who got their tournament started a couple days earlier. This is a clay-court ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 event, so most of the top players from around the world have been and will be in action here. On the men's side, this could be the opportunity that one underdog needs to finally end a lengthy winless drought against his opponent. In the women's draw, one of the game's brightest young stars has found her game recently and should continue to build on some encouraging recent results.
The staggered nature of the men's and women's draws make this an interesting tournament to bet on, as we have already seen most of the women play multiple matches while many of the men are about to step onto the court for the first time in Madrid. Using players' results thus far in this tournament coupled with their recent form coming in and historical results can help pinpoint enticing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bet section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
Djokovic has looked quite beatable so far this year, going 3-2 on clay and needing three sets in each of those wins. Monfils is a nice value as a massive underdog here. The veteran Frenchman is 0-17 in his career against Djokovic, but Djokovic has looked like a shell of himself lately and doesn't have his usual aura of invincibility at the moment. It would be surprising if Monfils doesn't win at least one set here, especially since clay has always been Djokovic's least dominant surface.
Ramos-Vinolas is playing much better clay-court tennis than Cilic this season. Cilic is 1-2 on the surface in 2022, and his lone win came over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose ranking has slipped all the way down to No. 265. Meanwhile, Ramos-Vinolas plays the vast majority of his matches on clay and has gone 13-7 on the surface. The Spaniard's coming off a semifinal run in Estoril, where Cilic crashed out in his first match.
Raducanu has started to regain form after struggling with injuries and confidence earlier in the year. The reigning US Open champion is 4-1 since the start of her previous tournament, with three of the four wins coming in straight sets and the lone loss coming against world No. 1 Iga Swiatek. There's no shame in being a notch below Swiatek on clay, but Raducanu's recent level of play has been good enough to beat almost anyone else. Kalinina's enjoying a strong tournament with straight-sets wins over Sloane Stephens and Garbine Muguruza, but the Ukrainian had lost consecutive clay-court matches coming into Madrid.
Lock It In
Bublik has been open about his disdain for playing on clay. He bizarrely conceded in the third set of his match against Pablo Carreno Busta in Monte Carlo, then got blown out 6-3, 6-1 in Barcelona by Emil Ruusuvuori in his most recent clay-court match. The slow surface neutralizes Bublik's big serve and exposes his sloppy footwork. Meanwhile, Kecmanovic has been one of the steadiest players on tour in 2022, compiling a 22-9 record (10-5 on clay).
Draper plays most of his matches on the Challenger Tour at this stage of his career, and the 20-year-old Brit hasn't looked very comfortable on clay, as he just lost to 229th-ranked Giulio Zeppieri in a clay-court Challenger last week. Rublev just won a clay-court title in Belgrade, beating Djokovic in the final, and the 8th-ranked Russian should have no trouble taking care of his 121st-ranked opponent here.