Tuesday ATP Barcelona and Belgrade Odds & Picks: Fade Dominic Thiem & Lloyd Harris in Opening Matches (April 19)
Martin Bureau/Getty. Pictured: Dominic Thiem gestures in frustration at the 2021 French Open.
- ATP action continues in Barcelona and Belgrade on Tuesday morning.
- Avery Zimmerman sees value on two matches, including Dominic Thiem vs. John Millman and Roberto Carballes Baena vs. Lloyd Harris.
- Check out both of Zimmerman's top tennis bets for Tuesday below.
The ATP Tour’s European clay-court swing rolls on with tournaments in Barcelona and Belgrade after a thrilling Monte Carlo Masters opened up the clay season.
Barcelona’s 500-level event was won by Rafa Nadal in a final over Stefanos Tsitsipas last year while Matteo Berrettini took the Belgrade title over Aslan Karatsev in 2021.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will return to Serbia this year after a disappointing loss in Monaco, though Nadal is out of Barcelona due to injury.
Tuesday’s slate across both events features 20 matches, so there are plenty of options to choose from.
Let’s dive right into it.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Roberto Carballes Baena (-150) vs. Lloyd Harris (+120)
5 a.m. ET, Barcelona Open
Lloyd Harris will be getting his clay season underway with this first-round match against Roberto Carballes Baena, but the Spaniard has already played three clay-court events on the season, and for good reason.
Carballes Baena is most comfortable on the dirt by a considerable margin, and this is the most important period of the season for him. In 2021, this period was the most productive of his campaign, and he’ll be looking to repeat that this year.
Thus far, he’s totaled seven wins in 10 matches, though two of the three events he’s played have come at the Challenger level.
Harris has amassed a 2-5 record on clay over the past two years, and while he isn’t completely uncomfortable on the surface, his biggest weapon is his serve, which is greatly limited on the slow courts.
In 2021, Harris won 86% of his service games on hard courts, amassing a 78% first serve won rate. On clay, those numbers dropped to 71% and 66%, respectively. While that isn’t atypical for the surface transition, he won return games at a higher rate on hard courts than on clay. With just that stat alone, it’s easy to see why he struggles on dirt.
Carballes Baena’s Elo rating overall is over 100 points short of the South African’s, but on clay, the balance shifts the other direction with Carballes Baena holding the 100-point edge.
This isn’t an awful matchup for Harris, but he’s going to need to play at a very consistent level to get by Carballes Baena, and that can’t be expected in his second clay-court singles match of the season.
Pick: Carballes Baena ML (-150 via Caesars)
Dominic Thiem (-210) vs. John Millman (+160)
6:20 a.m. ET, Serbia Open
Dominic Thiem comes into this match having played just one professional match since July 2021. The 2020 US Open champion has been recovering from injury since then, and he’s had bouts with COVID-19 along the way.
That one match came three weeks ago in the Marbella Challenger, and it was a fine match for a player who hadn’t played in a year, especially considering he faced an in-form opponent in Pedro Cachin. However, since then, he tested positive for COVID-19 again and has practiced for only 10 days ahead of this event.
He’ll be matched up against someone who doesn’t love the clay, but John Millman is not the type of player you want to be dealing with when you’re recovering from injury and looking to return to the tour.
The Australian is one of the most consistent players in the sport, and while that consistency doesn’t mean he’s frequently going to raise his level to crazy heights, it does mean he’s going to force opponents to be solid from the baseline, something that will be difficult for a rusty Thiem.
Against Cachin, Thiem produced no aces, four double faults and a sub-one winner-to-error rate.
This is simply one of the worst matchups that could’ve been drawn for Thiem. Though that may not be the worst thing in the world for his efforts to be ready for bigger tournaments, it isn’t particularly conducive to success in this match.
Pick: John Millman +3.5 games (-115 via DraftKings)