This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The Italian Open continues Thursday from the clay courts of Rome with Round of 16 action on both the men's and women's sides. There are a few upset opportunities on the men's side, ranging from a far-fetched option in a Grand Slam final rematch to an unseeded player on a hot streak who's looking to notch another signature win. On the women's side, a rematch from last week could well end up in a similar result, while a clash between two top-11 opponents could be the match of the day. All match odds are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook.
We're getting into the later stages of this Masters 1000, as well as the later stages of the clay-court swing, so there have been plenty of chances to assess various players' form on the slow stuff in 2022. Coupled with their historical results, this information can help pinpoint intriguing 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.
Krajinovic is in top form this week, having already notched straight-sets victories over Frances Tiafoe and Andrey Rublev. If the veteran Serb can maintain his level from the 6-2, 6-4 win over the 7th-ranked Rublev, Krajinovic could enjoy similar success against the 13th-ranked Sinner, who had a hard time against Fabio Fognini in his last match. Despite making just 46 percent of his first serves and hitting nine double faults, Fognini pushed Sinner to 6-3 in the third, as Sinner's first serve percentage was under 50 as well.
Cilic is coming off a nice win over Cameron Norrie, but the veteran Croat is still just 4-3 on clay this year. Garin's having a down year, but he does his best work on this surface, having captured five outdoor clay-court titles at the ATP Tour level between 2019 and 2021. Cilic has 20 career titles, including the 2014 US Open, but only two of those tournament wins came on clay.
Lock It In
Jabeur's brimming with confidence at the moment, as she's riding an eight-match winning streak that includes the title in Madrid last week. She also reached the final in Charleston earlier in the clay-court swing, as Jabeur's looking as good as anyone on the surface at the moment. Putintseva's just another obstacle on Jabeur's way to another deep run, and the world No. 40 from Kazakhstan hasn't managed to win a set in two previous meetings with Jabeur.
This is a familiar and comfortable matchup for Zverev, who is 5-1 against de Minaur, with the lone loss coming in de Minaur's home country of Australia at the 2020 ATP Cup. Zverev also plays his best tennis at Masters 1000 tournaments, and de Minaur's lack of weapons should allow the third-ranked German to get into a rhythm and dictate play.
There's a good argument to be made that Pegula's the better clay-court player and should be favored in this one. These two have split two previous clay-court encounters, with Sabalenka winning on the slightly faster clay courts of Madrid in 2021 after Pegula prevailed at the 2020 French Open. More recently, Pegula just made the final of Madrid last week at another WTA 1000 event, while Sabalenka lost her first match there, marking the third time in her last five events prior to the Italian Open that the world No. 8 crashed out in her first action of a tournament.
These two met in Madrid last week, and Teichmann walked away with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 victory in the Round of 16 on her way to the semis. Nine days later, Teichmann should be able to replicate that result in this Round of 16 rematch. The 24-year-old Teichmann is establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with on clay, backing up the deep run in Madrid with a second-round upset over sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova.