Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greec returns the ball to Frances Tiafoe of the US during the men’s singles match on day one of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday June 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
- After losing in the first round at Wimbledon, world No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas took a wild card into Hamburg
- With only a 28-player draw, even if it’s an ATP 500, the top four seeds have first-round byes
- Tsitsipas’s opener is a tough one; we break down the chances for an upset
The clay-court tournament in Hamburg used to be a “Masters 1000-level” tournament.
But years ago, despite litigation, it was downgraded to a 500 and scheduled right after the grass-court season.
That’s made it difficult to attract the best players. Typically (in a non-Olympic year), they take a holiday after a busy 2 1/2 months in Europe.
So the last-minute addition of French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is a bonus.
Hamburg European Open Round of 16 Odds
|[1/WC] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Dominik Koepfer (GER)||-1100 / +625|
| Pablo Carreño Busta (ESP) vs. [Q] Carlos Taberner (ESP)||-340 / +245|
| Albert Ramos-Viñolas (ESP) vs. Federico Delbonis (ARG)||+145 / -190|
| Dusan Lajovic (SRB) vs. [Q] Alex Molcan (SVK)||+100 / -130|
| Filip Krajinovic (SRB) vs. [WC] Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)||-110 / -110|
| Benoit Paire (FRA) vs. [Q] Juan Pablo Varillas (PER)||+185 / -250|
|Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) vs. Laslo Djere (SRB)||+330 / -450|
Odds as of July 13 at DraftKings
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Dominik Koepfer Prediction
Tsitsipas is a huge favorite in his match against 27-year-old Dominic Koepfer. And it’s a bit of a surprise, because Koepfer has proven a tough out on clay in 2021.
During the spring clay-court season, Koepfer posted some solid wins and also gave some great players fits – notably his defeat to Roger Federer in the third round of the French Open.
It took four sets and three hours, 35 minutes. Koepfer out-aced Federer 11-4 and won one fewer total points (160 to 159).
It was enough that Federer was done in; he withdrew before his next match.
For Tsitsipas, who has an eye on the Olympics on hard courts in just a few weeks, it’s an opportunity to get match play. But it also means playing on three different surfaces in the same month. He did warm up a little by playing doubles in Hamburg with his brother, losing in the first round on Tuesday.
If feels like one that will be closer than those odds would indicate; taking the over 19.5 games prop (+110) is tempting.
And here’s another one: the odds that the score in the first set after the first six games will be 3-3 (+200).
It might take awhile for Tsitsipas to get going on the clay. And Koepfer, who had a 2 1/2-hour grind against countryman Maximilian Marterer Monday, will be motivated to start with a jump.
Pick: Koepfer wins the first set, but Tsitsipas wins the match (+475)
2021 US Open Odds Tracker
Benoit Paire vs Juan Pablo Varillas Prediction
Counting on Frenchman Benoit Paire to win a set – let alone a match – in his current funk has been walking a major tightrope.
But he’s played some on clay – taking part in German Bundesliga team matches last week. And better yet, the man desperately unhappy playing without crowds has people in the stands in Hamburg to listen to his monologues.
The 32-year-old, his ranking down to No. 51, caught a break in his first-round match.
Opponent Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania retired just before the first-set tiebreak, after injuring his ankle a few points before.
Varillas, a 25-year-old Peruvian, sits at a career-high No. 130 based on his clay-court prowess – on the Challenger circuit. He had played just three matches in 2021 at the ATP level coming in – only one other against a player ranked in the top 80.
Pick: Paire will take advantage of the break to make a Hamburg run, as the underdog (+250)
Filip Krajinovic vs Philipp Kohlschreiber Prediction
At 37, most thought Philipp Kohlschreiber was done. But he has come back from injury and shown more than a few flashes of his former top-20 form.
He’s had an extra day of rest, too. Kohlschreiber defeated Jaume Munar in straight sets on Monday, while opponent Filip Krajinovic had a 2 1/2-hour match against German wild card Daniel Altmeier on Tuesday.
The two have never met. But Kohlschreiber has always played well in his homeland. He’s made the semifinals in Hamburg twice in his career.
The Serb also doesn’t have a great record for sticking in tough matches, in tough circumstances – even if he strikes the ball as sweetly as any player.
The odds late Tuesday were dead even for these two.
Pick: Kohlschreiber to win the first set – and the match (+135)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.