Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz makes a forehand return to Sweden’s Mikael Ymer during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021.(AP Photo/Hamish Blair)
- Newly-minted world #2 Daniil Medvedev is the top seed at the ATP Miami Open
- Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz Garfia will also be in action
- See the first-round odds, analysis and best bets below
The Russians are invading South Beach this week. However, it’s a young Spaniard that the world’s best men’s tennis players believe everyone should be keeping an eye on at this week’s ATP Miami Open.
All four Russian players ranked among the world’s top 50 will be competing. That’s including Daniil Medvedev, now rated #2 in the world. It’s the first time since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 that someone outside of the big four of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, or Andy Murray has held #2 in the ATP rankings.
As exciting a development as that might be, it’s 17-year-old Spanish sensation Carlos Alcaraz Garfia that everyone is talking about. Some of the top players in the ATP are touting Alcaraz to become a world top-10 player before long.
Best of all, you can get a nice price on the teen sensation. Alcaraz is a +125 underdog in his first-round match against Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori.
The Miami Open is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the season. Let’s take a look at all the first-round matchups and pick out some best bets.
ATP Miami Open First Round Odds
|Sebastien Korda vs Radu Albot||-235/+185|
|Emil Ruusuvuori vs Carlos Alcaraz Garfia||-157/+125|
|Frances Tiafoe vs Stefano Travaglia||-278/+215|
|Mikhail Kukushkin vs Jack Draper||-225/+175|
|Christoper O’Connell vs Joao Sousa||-265/+205|
|Soonwoo Kown vs Ilya Ivashka||-230/+180|
|Lorenzo Musetti vs Michael Mmoh||-215/+170|
|Kevin Anderson vs Thiago Monteiro||-215/+170|
|Salvatore Caruso vs Yasutaka Uchiyama||-275/+215|
|Marin Cilic vs Federico Coria||-530/+390|
|Dominik Koepfer vs Hugo Gaston||-265/+205|
|Jordan Thompson vs Federico Delbonis||-157/+125|
|Cameron Norrie vs Yoshihito Nishioka||-200/+160|
|Lloyd Harris vs Andy Murray||-200/+160|
|Jeremy Chardy vs Denis Kudla||-265/+205|
|Yannick Hanfmann vs Steve Johnson||-105/-120|
|Tennys Sandgren vs Pedro Martinez Portero||-141/+114|
|Sam Querrey vs Yen-Hsun Lu||-1115/+700|
|Jiri Vesley vs Laslo Djere||-162/+130|
|Tommy Paul vs Marcos Giron||-175/+138|
|Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs Pdero Sousa||-670/+475|
Odds from DraftKings as of Mar. 23
Emil Ruusuvuori vs Carlos Alcaraz Garfia Prediction
A product of #NextGenATP, which features the world’s top 21-and-under singles players in action against each other, Alcaraz may end up being the best of the bunch from this crop. Current world #7 Alexander Zverev is already suggesting that the young Spanish talent will have ascended to the world’s top 10 by 2024. Zverev beat Alcaraz 6-3, 6-1 in the round of 32 in Acapulco.
Coached by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz won his first ATP Tour appearance in February, defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-6(2) at the Rio Open in a match that lasted three hours and thirty-seven minutes.
Too tough for the kid 💪
2019 Acapulco runner-up @AlexZverev pulls away from 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz to win 6-3, 6-1. #AMT2021 pic.twitter.com/Qldy4Ql7T1
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 16, 2021
He’s already the youngest player to win ATP Challenger Tour events in successive weeks and the second-youngest to claim three career Challenger titles.
Against world #83 Ruusuvuori, Alcaraz is certainly worth the investment at +125. Alcaraz winning the match 2-1 is an even better play at +420.
Pick: Carlos Alcaraz Garfia 2-1 (+420)
2021 French Open Odds Tracker
Jordan Thompson vs Federico Delbonis
On paper, there’s not much to choose from between Jordan Thompson and Federico Delbonis. The Australian Thompson is #60 in the world. Argentine Delbonis is #80. Thompson is 3-3 this season, while Delbonis is 5-4.
Head-to-head, though, Thompson has taken each of their previous meetings. They both were in ATP Masters 1000 events. He won in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 last year in Paris.
That pre-#MiamiOpen energy though! 🎥: @IMGTennis pic.twitter.com/WmRYl868GT
— Miami Open (@MiamiOpen) March 22, 2021
Thompson also claimed a hard-fought 6-4 6-7(6) 7-6(5) verdict at Indian Wells in 2019.
The latter match was played outdoors, as is this event. But in nine matches this year, Delbonis has gone three sets once.
Pick: Jordan Thompson 2-0 (+160)
Frances Tiafoe vs Stefano Travaglia Prediction
Frances Tiafoe and Stefano Travaglia clashed for the first time earlier this year in the round of 128 at the Australian Open. Tiafoe emerged victorious 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-2. Neither has had an overly impressive 2021 thus far with Tiafoe posting a 6-6 record and Travaglia 7-5.
American Tiafoe has gone three sets in three of his last four matches. While the Italian Travaglia has also worked three sets in five of his 12 matches during the 2021 season. Based on their past history, go with a three-set match, giving an edge to Tiafoe outlasting Travaglia.
Pick: Frances Tiafoe 2-1 (+290)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.