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Cam Norrie can triumph again in Rio and Andrey Rublev has the edge in Qatar

It's 10 years since the inaugural Rio Open and a decent field has assembled for the 2024 edition.

All eyes as ever will be on Carlos Alcaraz, the 20-year-old who enjoyed a sensational seasn last year but who has yet to hit the same electrifying heights this season.

Quite unbelievably, there are some in the media doubting whether the Spaniard is the real deal and who have been critical of his showings in recent months.

It was the American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein who once said, “I've been all over the world and I've never seen a statue of a critic.” Touché, Leonard.

Alcaraz is not 21 until May 5 yet has won 12 ATP Tour-level singles titles, including two majors (2022 US Open and 2023 Wimbledon Championships) as well as four Masters 1000 titles.

However, his last title was that seminal victory over Novak Djokovic at SW19. Clutch mode was briefly activated at the Argentina Open last week, but he eventually came unstuck in the semis when losing to Nicolas Jarry. 

He is 4/6 with Planet Sport Bet to win in Rio, and while he is the most likely champion in Brazil that price looks short enough.

Briton Cam Norrie is the defending champion, and the British number one may have a point to prove this week after dropped out of the world's top 20 when the rankings dropped on Monday.

Norrie stunned Alcaraz in a high-quality final in 2023, a result that just looks better and better given what the Spanish ace went on to accomplish in the six months after their clash.

The No. 2 seed squares off against veteran Bolivian Hugo Dellien first up. Dellien has only won three ATP matches over the last year and Norrie should have far too many weapons in that particular clash.

Nicolas Jarry, Sebastian Baez and Francisco Cerundolo are also in the draw and are all useful on clay, but Norrie should be motivated here.

He has ranking points to defend and will not want to make his long trip to South America a wasted one after losing early last week in Argentina. At 9/1, the Brit looks worth a punt.

 

 

 

Nadal announced his withdrawal from the Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Wednesday, and Daniil Medvedev has also since dropped out due to a foot injury, so the biggest names left in the draw are Andrey Rublev and Andy Murray, who will be hoping to put on a show for the fans.

It will be a big ask for Murray, who has lost all four of his matches in 2024, including a first round exit at last month's Australian Open.

Indeed the British legend has not won a match on the ATP Tour since October 2023 when he beat Yannick Hanfmann in Basel.

He is 25/1 to roll back the years this week, but in all honesty, I could not back him with stolen money at that price.

Not so Rublev at 5/2. The Russian’s game looks in great order, despite a tough defeat to Alex de Minaur in the Rotterdam Open quarter-finals.

That loss, while tough to take, at least means he will have an extra few days prep time in Doha and he looks the most likely winner in a field that also includes Karen Khachanov and Ugo Humbert.

 

 

 

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Suggested bets:  

Norrie to win the Rio Open

Rublev to win the Qatar Open

 

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