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Wednesday, 23 January, 2019

Dangerous Thiem can be king on Barca clay

Nadal looks too short in betting

Dominic Thiem in action in Stuttgart
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The cream tends to rise to the top in the ATP Barcelona and Rafael Nadal - the greatest ever clay performer - is chasing his tenth title on home soil in the last 13 years.

Only three times since landing his first Barcelona showpiece in 2005 has Nadal failed to win his homeland event and he arrives in terrific nick having defeated compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas to lift Sunday's Monte Carlo Masters.

However, Nadal looks too short to continue his clay dominance and with the Spaniard soaking up the majority of the market, there could be plenty of value on the opposite half of the draw.

Andy Murray tops the bill in the top half but the Briton is at his most vulnerable on a clay surface and taking a single figure price about him winning just his fourth career title on the red dirt makes little appeal.

The world number one was a dumped out in the third-round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week by eventual runner-up Ramos-Vinolas and there are a host of names hoping to capitalise on any mistakes Murray may make.

Home hopes Pablo Carreno-Busta and Ramos Vinolas are respected among those intending to topple Murray, but improving Austrian Dominic Thiem saves his best tennis for the clay and rates the Briton's chief danger prior to the final.

Thiem - at just 23 - is one of the most dangerous red dirt performers on the tour and is shaping as one of the likelier candidates to take over Nadal's French Open superiority in the years to come.

The Austrian ace, who has already clinched five clay titles in his six-year career, may need to overcome Carreno-Busta in the last eight but he has won five of their six meetings and should cement that form.

Thiem was beaten in a deciding set by David Goffin in his recent outing at Monte Carlo but he will be sharper for that appearance and he looks a value bet to reign supreme in Barcelona.

D Thiem
1pt each-way 9-1 Betfred

Thiem - at just 23 - is one of the most dangerous red dirt performers on the tour
E.W. Terms
Sky bet