The second round of the Italian Open begins rolls on Thursday, and while we don’t have Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in action, we get to see the return of Gael Monfils ($9,500), arguably the hottest player on tour before the shutdown. He will hit the red clay in Rome along with countryman Ugo Humbert ($8,300), the powerful Milos Raonic ($9,100) and the resilient Andrey Rublev ($10,600). We take a look at options to consider for your fantasy tennis rosters on DraftKings.
Andrey Rublev ($10,600)
Yeah, this is a slightly strange slate; Rublev is the highest-priced option at $10,600 and then we drop right to $9,500 with Gael Monfils. Still, I think there is plenty of reason to believe in the Russian here. He seemed to handle the jet lag coming from the States in stride, and now that he is finally settled (we’d hope!) in Italy, his game will shine against Hubert Hurkacz. Rublev’s punishing groundstrokes make him a formidable opponent on the clay, holding a 16-6 record over the past two years, including some exhibition matches this year. In one of those — Thiem’s Seven — he beat the organizer of the tournament, Dominic Thiem, in a tiebreak to win the event. He can go up against anybody on clay, and Hurkacz ($5,100), who struggled mightily to get past a struggling Dan Evans, should not stand much of a chance here.
Casper Ruud ($9,200)
Again, for this slate, this is highly-priced. Ruud has proven to be one of the world’s best players on clay, dominating most of this year’s golden swing with a win in Buenos Aires in February and a trip to the Santiago Final two weeks later during his run. Along the way, he took out some solid clay-court grinders, and should have no issue with Lorenzo Sonego ($6,200), who boasts a big serve and loves to play on clay but is wildly inconsistent. Ruud has proven over the past year that he can handle big serves and play well in return games, so he should be able to neutralize Sonego’s power. I think he rolls in straights.
Value Flex Options
Ugo Humbert ($8,300)
Humbert, who is all about his serve and forehand, is one of my favorite options on this slate. I would already love this matchup for him against Fabio Fognini ($7,300), and now after seeing Fabio try to play in last week’s ATP 250 in Kitzhubel, I love it even more. Fognini is just months removed from double-ankle surgery and was unable to move much against a qualifier ranked outside of the top 200 in the world, mustering just three games. He wouldn’t run, and hesitated to slide on the clay. Fognini is a treat to watch and I hope he recovers soon, but going off what we saw just a week ago, he shouldn’t be able to handle the pace coming his way from Humbert.
Kei Nishikori ($7,600)
I can’t decide if Nishikori will be highly-owned due to his name, or if people will flock to his opponent Lorenzo Musetti ($8,200) because of his price and the performance he put on against Stan Wawrinka on Monday. I do know one thing: Nishikori looked incredibly rusty against Miomir Kecmanovic, but he looked in form against Albert Ramos-Vinolas last round. The Spaniard is one of the more skilled clay court players out there, and Nishikori dug deep to win a grind-fest in two sets. I think that should prepare him for Musetti, who is a bit more inconsistent than Ramos-Vinolas, although he hits many more winners. I think this should be a very fun match, but if you are looking for a win down in this price range, you’re not going to do much better.
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