Chengdu Open tips and predictions: Is Dan Evans the man in China?
After the razzmatazz of the US Open and the drama of the Davis Cup, there’s a low key feel to the ATP Tour this week two 250-level events in China.
It’s the first time any ATP action has been played in China since 2019. And to paraphrase an old Chinese proverb ‘If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want 100 years of prosperity, don’t routinely back favourites at at ATP 250 event’.
There’s a 500-level Tour event in Beijing next week followed by a the Masters 1000 tournament in Shanghai so it’s entirely logical that the true behemoths of men’s tennis will have eyes on those tournaments and may not be 100% motivated this week.
Alexander Zverev for example is the top seed in Chengdu and to be fair he did OK in New York, reaching the last eight before running into Carlos Alcaraz.
There’s no shame in losing to Alcaraz but Zverev has blown hot and cold all season. Aside from the Tokyo Olympics he’s never really done much over this side of the world and I’d be wanting better than the 15/8 currently on offer before even considering having a punt on the German, whose only tournament win this season came on the red clay in Hamburg.
While the Slams and most of the Masters 1000 events are still dominated by the big fish on the Tour, these lower-level tournaments often offer outstanding value if punters are prepared to do a bit of research.
In the past the ATP Tour's Asian swing has been known to throw up the odd surprise when it comes to tournament winners. The last three winners in Chengdu (pre-Covid Pandemic) for example were Pablo Carreno-Busta, Bernard Tomic and Denis Istomin and I’ll wager that little lot were all were double-figure prices in the outright betting when the respective markets were collated.
One price that does catch the eye is the 8/1 about Dan Evans winning.
Evans was absolutely on fire while on Davis Cup duty for Great Britain last week, and should be full of confidence. He won outdoors on hardcourt in Washington earlier in the summer so the conditions should suit him here, and it doesn’t hurt that he has a bye in the first round.
An aggressive baseliner for a small guy, Evans moves incredible well and has a really good slice backhand. He ticks plenty of boxes and will carry the Bilton cash this week at a tidy 8/1 with Planet Sport Bet.
His performance at Citi Open this year was really good and if his level is even 75% what it was in Washington, he will take some beating.
I can’t really put into words how good he was in the Davis Cup. After playing brilliantly in singles, Evans and Neal Skupski saved four match points before winning a nerve-jangling decider against France to send GB into the last eight. Evans officially has balls the size of space hoppers, so 8/1 looks very tempting.