The first round of the Italian Open rolls on Tuesday, with a loaded slate of matches on the red clay in Rome. Fan favorite “Stan The Man” Wawrinka hits the court, along with Coco Gauff and Alex de Minaur. We take a look at options to consider for your fantasy tennis rosters on DraftKings.
Milos Raonic ($10,000)
You may not think of the big-serving Milos Raonic as a great clay courter, and you’d probably be right about that. His opponent Adrian Mannarino ($5,700), shockingly, is far worse. The Frenchman owns just a 74-97 career record on the red clay, and was absolutely dusted by the Canadian in their only meeting on clay at the 2016 French Open. Milos was the hottest player on tour just two short weeks ago, and has been playing well this entire year. Back the ace machine with confidence.
Stan Wawrinka ($9,700)
I’ll be honest. In normal conditions, Stan’s opponent, young Italian hotshot Lorenzo Musetti ($5,800) would scare me. There aren’t any fans in Italy this year, though, so the home crowd isn’t there to lift their countrymen and countrywomen to big upset victories. Next year should be the year Sinner and Musetti ignite the crowds, but for this year, I think we’ll see a bit more chalk prevail. That means I’m backing Wawrinka, who’s been playing clay challengers for fun over the past few weeks in preparation for this shortened clay season. He’ll be looking to make a run in Rome and follow it up with a run in Paris.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina ($9,300)
There’s a lot of talk about Jannik Sinner, Alex de Minaur, Miomir Kecmanovic and many others when it comes to last year’s NextGen class. You rarely hear, though, about ADF, who for my money is severely disrespected. He’s definitely the most entertaining of the group, and has followed up his US Open run by mowing down his opposition on clay. He comes into the first round red hot, losing just three games in disposing of the talented Corentin Moutet in qualifying, and sees blood in the water with his opponent Dusan Lajovic. The Serb has not won since February and is winless in his last three matches since the restart, blowing a lead in Kitzhubel last week in a crushing loss to Yannick Hanfmann.
Also Consider: Pedro Martinez ($9,200)
Value Flex Options
Anett Kontaveit ($8,800)
If you missed Caroline Garcia’s loss to Tereza Martincova on the red clay in Istanbul last week, you’re in luck! It was as ugly as it gets. Garcia struggled mightily to hold and simply beat herself in the match, looking all out of sorts mentally. She stands in Anett Kontaveit’s way of the second round in this important WTA tournament, and I expect her to fall easily to someone of Kontaveit’s stature. There will be an adjustment period for Kontaveit, who is coming from the US Open hardcourts, but it shouldn’t be enough to turn this match. Kontaveit is a skilled clay court player and beat Garcia handily on clay last year in Stuttgart.
Kaja Juvan ($7,900)
Juvan is one of the most exciting young clay-courters you’ve probably never heard of, and Hercog is one of the most talented disappointments you probably have heard of, because of her on-court antics last week in Istanbul. Juvan is a deserved favorite in this match, but I think she should be far more expensive against the volatile Hercog ($7,700). Her consistency should get to Hercog’s head and cause a flurry of errors, and I think you should be able to get a pretty lopsided win for this price.
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