ATP Rome Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bet For Kecmanovic vs Fognini & More

ATP Rome Odds, Picks, Predictions: Best Bet For Kecmanovic vs Fognini & More article feature image

Alex Pantling/Getty. Pictured: Fabio Fognini.

From one clay-court Masters event to another! After a fortnight spent in Madrid, the ATP Tour shifts from the Spanish capital to the Italian capital in Rome.

The second round of ATP Rome gets going on Friday, as the top guns in the main draw who had a bye join the fray. Let's look at a pair of matchups featuring Miomir Kecmanovic squaring off with Fabio Fogini and Ben Shelton taking on Alexander Bublik.

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ATP Rome Picks & Predictions

Miomir Kecmanovic (-245) vs Fabio Fognini (+190) 

9 a.m. ET

After his night session win in front of a raucous crowd on Center Court in his opening-round tilt, Fognini is off to the third show court for some afternoon action with Kecmanovic.

He did well to come through that first match, but there are several reasons to be concerned heading into this one.

For starters, his level did dip in his first match back after being forced off the court and into a walking boot after his match in Estoril, Portugal. He also called out the doctor after having issues with his movement and took pills down 2-5 in the second set.

Then, there's the fact that his opponent was really poor on the day. I'm not sure if it was fatigue after his lengthy week in France at a Challenger Tour event, or just an off day, but Andy Murray was pretty poor on Wednesday. The Brit struggled mightily to consistently find depth on his groundstrokes and when he attempted to play more attacking tennis, he was quite erratic.

Add in the fact that it took a double fault from the Italian on his seventh break point of the match to finally win a game on Fognini's serve. He had some chances, but couldn't convert. By the time the deciding set rolled around, he didn't have much left in the tank either.

Kecmanovic isn't a world beater, but he's on his preferred surface and in much better physical condition than Fognini's previous opponent.

He can dictate on his forehand wing and plays a pretty consistent game.

Considering this spread is below four games in pretty slow conditions and Fognini admitted in his post match interview last round that he was far from his best physically, I'm happy to take Kecmanovic to be two breaks better than the Italian on Friday.

Pick: Kecmanovic -3.5 (-115 via DraftKings)

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Ben Shelton (-115) vs Alexander Bublik (-110)

10:30 a.m E.T.

The second match is one between a pair of big-serving, animated hard courters playing on the slow clay of Rome.

Shelton has taken the tennis world by storm since bursting onto the scene in 2022 at the Challenger Tour level and then making a deep run in Melbourne at the Australian Open.

Armed with a big lefty serve and a booming forehand, he was always going to ascend into the top-50 of the rankings at some point. The fact it happened this quickly is a testament to how well he does other things as well.

He's a strong mover and isn't afraid to mix in drop shots or come to net.

As for Bublik, the Kazakh is not very fond of clay courts (just ask him), preferring shorter points and surfaces that reward his big serve more.

The best way to describe his temperament on court would be to point to the fact that he broken a racquet in his first-round win over Pedro Martinez, despite winning the match in straight sets in the end.

That brings me to my next point. The aforementioned win came against an out-of-form Martinez who – outside of his qualifying draw wins – has really been struggling for results in 2023.

Outside of that, and one close win at altitude in Madrid, Bublik hasn't done much on the dirt in the last couple of years. Now he plays another big server that should be tough to break, and already appears to have surpassed him on clay, despite having very little experience on the surface.

Shelton has impressed on clay in 2023 relative to expectations. He's pushed Grigor Dimitrov to three sets, a strong clay courter in Laslo Djere to a decider, had Madrid finalist Jan Lennard Struff on the ropes in Madrid and picked up wins over a pair of strong Challenger Tour guys last week in Cagliari including Fabian Marozsan.

With his rapid development on the dirt, the ability to hit with Bublik and the fact that he hates the surface less and moves more efficiently on the red clay, I'm happy to take the young gun.

Pick: Shelton ML (-115 via PointsBet)

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