Tennis Best Bets: Picks and predictions for Thursday, April 18

Zachary Cohen runs through his tennis best bets for the ATP and WTA Tours on Thursday, April 18th.

Mar 21, 2024; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Qinwen Zheng (CHN) hits a forehand against Katerina Siniakova (CZE) (not pictured) on day four of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Tennis Best Bets for Thursday, April 18th

It feels like the tennis season never slows down, but that’s a great thing for bettors. This sport offers all sorts of betting opportunities, which is why I’m going to provide you with tennis best bets as often as possible. And that continues with a run of clay-court tournaments over the next couple of months. This week, the biggest ATP and WTA tournaments are in Barcelona, Bucharest, Munich and Stuttgart. I’ll scan through all of the tournaments to find some winners, so make sure you check out my stuff this week.

I’d also strongly suggest coming back to this story throughout the day. I try to write up as many matches as I can in advance, but it’s hard to do that in an international sport. I also like to throw in some Challenger-level bets. That said, I’ll probably be adding picks to the bottom of the story. I’ll also throw them on the Pro Picks page. So, keep reading for my tennis picks and predictions for Thursday, April 18th.


MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts are betting!

2024 Record: 217-235 (+16.90 units)

Thiago Seyboth Wild vs. Mariano Navone – Bucharest

Seyboth Wild beat Navone when the two met in Buenos Aires last year, but the Argentinean had won the two previous meetings between them — at the same tournament. Both of these players are at their best on clay, so this should be a fun match to watch. But it’s hard to ignore that Navone hasn’t played a match off the dirt since the Australian Open. Navone has been training on clay and playing nothing but clay-court tournaments, and he has now played 22 clay-court matches in 2024. Meanwhile, Seyboth Wild just returned to the dirt after having played the Sunshine Double on hard courts. And he looked a little sluggish in a three-set win over Luca Nardi in his first match here.

Navone’s edge in clay-court reps could make all the difference in the world here. Seyboth Wild has more weapons than his opponent, but he will have a small margin for error against Navone here. Navone is a good defensive player and knows how to construct points, so he can extract a lot of mistakes out of Seyboth Wild’s racquet. That’s ultimately why I give a small edge to Navone. I trust him to make more balls and dial up the aggression when the moment is right. Navone is also a better returner than Seyboth Wild, so he should have more opportunities to break.

Bet: Navone ML (-111)

Alejandro Moro Canas vs. Taylor Fritz – Munich
Alex Michelsen vs. Cristian Garin – Munich

Moro Canas was able to earn a win over Dominic Thiem last match, but Fritz will be a whole different beast. Sure, the American didn’t look great in a loss to Lorenzo Musetti in Monte Carlo. But the Italian played a tremendous match there. And Fritz should be able to turn things around rather quickly. The American is actually coming off a good clay-court season in 2023, and he has drastically improved on the surface over the years. And overall, Fritz should have too much firepower for Moro Canas. Fritz has the power to hit through the slow conditions, and his serve is just a lot better than his opponent’s. That should allow him to win rather comfortably here, which is why I’m throwing him into a two-leg moneyline parlay.

For the second leg, I’m taking Garin to handle his business against Michelsen. That has been an up-and-down year for Garin, but he comes into this match after having won six of his last eight matches on clay. And he’s a clay-court specialist, so it’s nice to see him regaining his confidence. Garin is a ridiculous 85-55 in clay matches at the ATP level, so it’s very difficult to beat him when he’s in form on the dirt. That makes it hard not to like him to beat Michelsen, who has played three matches on clay over the last two weeks. And those are the only three ATP-level matches he has played on the dirt in his career. Michelsen will have a pretty serious edge in power here. But that’s about it. And Garin will know how to redirect that pace to sculpt the points the way he wants.

PARLAY: Fritz ML/Garin ML (-132 – 1.5 units)

Botic Van De Zandschulp vs. Jan-Lennard Struff – Munich

Van De Zandschulp is coming off a good win over Ivan Gakhov, but that was an absolute battle. And I’m expecting nothing less when he takes on Struff. Before running into Jannik Sinner in Monte Carlo, Struff earned wins over Sebastian Baez and Borna Coric. Those are two very good baseline players, which shows that Struff is doing more than just serving. He might have a booming first serve, but his baseline game is holding up nicely. That will make him a lot more competitive than he usually is on clay. Meanwhile, Van De Zandschulp is a solid clay-court player, as he is now 19-16 on the dirt at the ATP level. So, I don’t see him going down without a fight, if he goes down at all.

Overall, this should be a match in which both players hold with relative ease. So, the games in this match should start to add up pretty fast. That’s why I’m playing the Over on the game total and not worrying about who ends up winning. Not only should there be two lengthy sets to open this match, but there’s a good shot we get three sets.

Bet: Over 21.5 Games (-156 – 1.5 units)

Marta Kostyuk vs. Qinwen Zheng – Stuttgart

Zheng’s 11-4 record on clay over the last 52 weeks gives her the sixth-highest clay-court winning percentage on tour in that span. However, Zheng has been up and down since making the Australian Open final in January. And while she did look good in a 6-2, 6-3 win over Sorana Cirstea in her first match here, Kostyuk will be a difficult opponent for her. Kostyuk didn’t play for over a month after losing to Iga Swiatek in Indian Wells, but she picked up right where she left off. Kostyuk earned a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 win over Laura Siegemund in her first match here. That was a good win for Kostyuk, as Siegemund beat Beatriz Haddad Maia on clay last week. The Ukrainian is now an impressive 16-6 since the start of the 2024 season. She’s playing the best tennis of her career and is capable of beating pretty much anyone when she’s on her game.

One thing thing Zheng is used to having over opponents is a significant edge in power. But Kostyuk is fully capable of going blow for blow with her from the baseline. Both of these players hit extremely hard, and they both go for winners regularly. So, this is a match in which we’ll see a ton of haymakers, and I tend to believe that Kostyuk will have a real shot at winning. After all, Kostyuk’s break percentage is up at 42.9% this year. And returning is even easier on clay. So, if Zheng isn’t making a lot of first serves, she’ll be in real trouble here. Kostyuk is also a bit more creative from the baseline, and she’s also a better defender than Zheng.

These two also played a three-set match in Montreal last year, with Zheng earning a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Kostyuk. That result would have been good for a cover on 4.5 games for Kostyuk, and that match was played way before the Ukrainian found this impressive 2024 level. That said, I like Kostyuk to keep things close here. And I’m sprinkling the moneyline, as I have been more impressed with Kostyuk than Zheng recently.

Bet: Kostyuk +4.5 Games (-138 – 1.5 units) & Kostyuk ML (+210 – 0.5 units)

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