Yesterday Nadal won an unprecedented 10th Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters title, defeating Ramos-Vinolas 6-1 6-3 in the final and ending his superb run at the tournament.
This week the players are in Budapest for a 250 tournament, while there are some house-hold names such as Murray and Nadal competing for a 500 tournament in Barcelona. Nishikori has withdrawn from Barcelona and as a result has handed his second seed position in the draw to 17th seed Benoit Paire. Over in Budapest we have Lucas Pouille as the first seed and the big-serving Ivo Karlovic as the second seed.
The draw isn’t the strongest in Budapest with very few clay court specialists in the mix but this allows us to find some value on the outright market. In the top half of the draw the player who attracts my attention most is Fabio Fognini. He certainly has the talent and experience to win a tournament like this but he’s a very lucrative player at times. Hover the draw looks generous for him and I can see him going deep here. In the bottom half of the draw we have 8th seed Diego Schwartzman whose biggest test in his quarter will either be a heavily fatigued Bedene or an out-of-sorts Karlovic, with a possible semi-final against fourth seed Verdasco. Schwartzman loves playing on clay and he challenged Nadal for most of their encounter in Monte-Carlo and I think he has a great chance in a relatively weak field here.
Yes, you guessed it, Nadal is a clear favourite for Barcelona. How could you argue against his chances after a relatively simple victory in Monte-Carlo? But he offers no value at 1.83. Instead I like the chances of David Goffin. Against Nadal he was highly competitive in the first 5 or 6 games until a profound error by the umpire which resulted in him only winning one more game afterwards. Goffin is in the bottom quarter of the draw and so avoids the second seed due to the withdrawal of Nishikori and will most-likely encounter Nadal again in the semi-final. He will fancy his chances this time and without any officiating errors, he may be capable of defeating a possibly fatigued Nadal by that point.
Fognini to win Budapest @8.5
Schwartzman to win Budapest @ 12.00
Goffin to win Barcelona @ 15.00