Monday Monte Carlo Odds & Predictions: Fade Wawrinka in Return to ATP (April 10)

Monday Monte Carlo Odds & Predictions: Fade Wawrinka in Return to ATP (April 10) article feature image

John Berry/Getty. Pictured: Stan Wawrinka

The first clay-court Masters 1000 of the season has arrived, with Monte Carlo playing host to one of the most picturesque locations on tour.

Round 1 in Monte Carlo will be played over the course of Monday and Tuesday, with 11 matches set for the former.

Here are the two matches that I believe have value on Monday in Monaco.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Alexander Bublik (-185) vs. Stan Wawrinka (+150)

6:20 a.m. ET

While Wawrinka used to be one of the best players on the planet, the 37-year old is now trying to make one last run on tour. Unfortunately for him, the circumstances surrounding his comeback don't point towards a massive run in Monte Carlo.

The Swiss hasn't played a tour-level match since March of 2021, when he lost to Lloyd Harris in Doha. Wawrinka has dealt with various injuries, but primarily a foot surgery that has cost him a year's worth of tennis.

Wawrinka played his most recent competitive match in a Challenger event against Elias Ymer in Marbella, falling in straight sets.

His opponent, Bublik, isn't the best clay-court player. It's his worst surface in terms of career record and Elo Rating, but he did find some positive results during the European swing last year, winning three matches in Madrid and one in Barcelona.

I'm not too concerned about Bublik, however, as the Kazakh simply has been playing on tour consistently in recent weeks.

Coming off of a year-plus layoff, Wawrinka is an auto-fade at this price. Despite the fact that he's been a historically solid clay player, he looked rusty in his match in Marbella and in his Monte Carlo doubles match yesterday — as you would expect.

Returning will be difficult for Wawrinka, and Bublik is also a player that likes to make his opponents move — particularly in towards the net.

That is something Bublik will emphasize on clay — whether it's against Wawrinka or anyone else — but he should thrive particularly given his opponent is coming off of a lengthy absence due to foot surgery.

Pick: Alexander Bublik -2.5 Games (-120 via Caesars)

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Diego Schwartzman (-180) vs. Karen Khachanov (+154)

6:30 a.m. ET

It's been a rough stretch for both Diego Schwartzman and Karen Khachanov, two players that are inside the top 25 of the ATP rankings.

Each lost their first-round match in Miami while Khachanov was absolutely dominated by Jenson Brooksby the week prior in Indian Wells. Schwartzman reached the second round there.

While Khachanov hasn't played on clay yet this season, Schwartzman has, a key advantage for the Argentine. Schwartzman elected to play the golden swing in South America, participating in clay-court events in Cordoba, Buenos Aires and Rio.

He picked up some quality wins during that stretch, but his play was far from dominant. Schwartzman totaled an 8-3 record across the three weeks, but he only amassed two wins against players that have above 1700 Elo Ratings on clay, losing to Alejandro Tabilo, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud.

Khachanov falls into that category, and he's a very capable clay-court player. The Russian doesn't excel on the surface, per se, but he's 2-2 against Schwartzman overall, winning their most recent match in last summer's Olympics.

Stylistically, Schwartzman may have the edge on the ground, but his 71% service games won percentage on clay last year is a touch better than Schwartzman's this year. Schwartzman has benefited from some weak opponents in establishing his 37% return games won number.

Against Ruud, Tabilo and Alcaraz, Schwartzman only managed an 18% break rate.

This price establishes Khachanov as a winner in 4-of-10 matches when looking at implied probability, but this is much closer to a 50-50 match, if anything.

Considering that it could tilt either way — and with each player coming off of training periods following losses in Miami — it's worth nabbing this number.

Pick: Karen Khachanov +154 via FanDuel

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