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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Kyrgios ready to turn heads down at Delray Beach

Buzarnescu may take some stopping in Budapest

Nick Kyrgios during the Fed Cup tie between Australia and Ukraine
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Starts Monday

ATP Rio Open
Marin Cilic has travelled to Brazil to contest the 500 Series Rio Open but with nobody really starring on clay on the Golden Swing this year, it could pay to keep faith with Dominic Thiem.

The second seed was a hot favourite to win the Buenos Aires title last night and plenty of red-court aces in the past have doubled up in South America.

Guido Pella is not without a chance of stepping up this week, but with bookmakers at odds over Thiem's supremacy on the slow courts it could be that those who are shorter about the Austrian are nearer the mark.

D Thiem
1pt 7-2 bet365

ATP Open 13 Provence
There's another homeland title lying in wait for Lucas Pouille if he is fully committed but while the Mont­pellier champion of eight days ago should take the beating, things don't always work out the way they ought to.

Pouille's chief rival is second seed Stan Wawrinka, but the Swiss is still fighting his way back after his 2017 injury layoff.

The withdrawal of David Goffin, who hurt his eye in his Rotterdam semi-final on Satur­day, means French veteran Julien Benneteau now has a better chance of finally claiming a first main-tour title.

Benneteau's record means his backers are likely to be left with egg on their faces should he go close, but he's certainly capable of scything through a field such as this if in a positive mood.

There are fewer home players than would normally be the case in Marseille this week, and experienced Frenchman Gilles Simon, winner in India in the first week of the season, could not be ruled out in a weak-looking field.

J Benneteau
0.5pt each-way 50-1 Betfred

ATP Delray Beach Open
Juan Martin del Potro returns to one of his favourite tournaments, but the Argentinian market leader has become such a disappointment that there is little point in chancing him at short odds.

Instead, there could be much better value in Nick Kyrgios if the Australian is in the mood to pick up another title.

Kyrgios, Brisbane champion early last month, is approach­ing the sport in a more mature manner this season and he's capable of ruling the tennis world if he gets his head right.

Taylor Fritz ended a lengthy barren spell with a Challenger Tour title in Newport Beach last month and even though Kyrgios is the title fancy, the American could be worth a modest each-way interest at big odds.

N Kyrgios
2pts 5-1 Betfred
T Fritz
0.5pt each-way 50-1 Betfred

WTA Dubai Championship
With Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova having fought out the Qatar Open final, it may be asking a lot of that pair to go deep in the Dubai Duty Free Championship this week.

Bookmakers make Angelique Kerber the Dubai favourite and the German could definitely make her presence felt.

But the sixth seed has an extra match to play than the top four seeds and a tough opener against Barbora Strycova and likely quarter-final clash against Karolina Pliskova means she will probably have to be at her peak to oblige.

Briton Jo Konta may not be at her best, so it may be worth chancing defending champion Elina Svitolina to keep hold of the trophy. The Ukrainian top seed is playing well and could continue to improve.

E Svitolina
1pt 9-1 bet365

WTA Hungarian Open
A stronger field in Hungary this year may see homeland heroine Timea Babos struggle to retain her crown.

Babos finds herself in the tougher top half of the draw alongside top-ranked Dominika Cibulkova, Aleksandra Krunic and Donna Vekic, seeds who all have claims of going all the way.

Punters, therefore, may be better off betting in the bottom half and with Aliaksandra Sasnovich having gone off the boil a little in recent weeks, that could afford a great chance for talented Mihaela Buzarnescu, currently something of an 'it girl' in tennis, lifting her first title.

Shuai Zhang, seeded second in Budapest, doesn't always shine in smaller tournaments but Buzarnescu's fellow Romanian Sorana Cirstea could be a danger if producing her best.

M Buzarnescu
1pt 14-1 Coral, Ladbrokes

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Kyrgios is capable of ruling the tennis world if he gets his head right
E.W. Terms
Sky bet