This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
Monday brings men's and women's first-round action from the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, as the second ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000 event in as many weeks gets underway. The match of the day pits a WTA legend against one of the game's brightest young stars, while a struggling Grand Slam champion will be looking to avoid another early upset. On the men's side, a talented American will try to upset a seeded player who isn't in peak form, while a former champion here takes on a slumping opponent. All Tennis Odds & Lines are taken from DraftKings Sportsbook, but you can sometimes find more favorable odds on some of these matches by checking other top betting sites such as FanDuel, BetMGM or Caesars.
Both the men's and women's matches at this event will be best of three sets, and the hard courts at Cincinnati usually play as fast or faster than those at any other big hard court tournament. A mix of players' previous hard court results, recent form and stylistic matchups can help pinpoint intriguing betting opportunities, both among favorites likely to cruise to victory and underdogs ready to pull off upsets. The aforementioned underdogs are highlighted in the Upset Alert section, the Lock It In section covers players who can safely be considered overwhelming favorites, while the Value Bet section recommends enticing options in matchups that are considered closer to toss-ups.
Berrettini's first-round loss to Pablo Carreno Busta last week wasn't too bad considering Carreno Busta went on to win the Canadian Open, but it left the big-serving Italian with a pedestrian 3-2 record since returning from COVID-19, which he contracted just as Wimbledon began. Tiafoe's struggling a bit with his confidence after blowing six match points against Nick Kyrgios and a 4-0 third-set lead against Taylor Fritz, but the fact that the 24th-ranked American was in winning positions against those two high-quality opponents shows that Tiafoe has enough game to pull off this upset against an opponent who's still trying to work his way back to top form.
A healthy Osaka would be unlikely to face much of a challenge from Zhang, who is currently ranked 45th at age 33 and has a career-high ranking of 23. However, Osaka just retired due to a back injury while down a set and a break to Kaia Kanepi in the first round of last week's Canadian Open. With just one match win since the end of April, Osaka's hardly brimming with confidence, even if her body holds up.
Lock It In
Norrie's 10-3 in his last three tournaments, with losses to Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Rune could one day make it into the top 10 like those three players, but he's currently ranked 26th, 15 spots behind Norrie. More importantly, the 19-year-old Dane's best results thus far have come on slower clay courts, while Norrie has been better on faster surfaces, and Cincinnati usually boasts some of the fastest hard courts anywhere on the tour.
Kenin fought well to almost come all the way back from a 6-2, 5-1 deficit against Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Canadian Open last week, but she ultimately lost 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5. That defeat marked the eighth consecutive loss for Kenin, and she has won only two sets during this losing streak. While Stephens had been struggling and still found a way to beat Kenin, Rogers is in much better form, as she defeated Bianca Andreescu, Maria Sakkari, Amanda Anisimova and Veronika Kudermetova consecutively to reach the final at the Silicon Valley Classic earlier this month.
Williams will be highly motivated in what could be the second-last tournament of her legendary career if she chooses to retire after the US Open. Raducanu stepped up under pressure to claim the US Open title last year, but the British teenager hasn't looked nearly as sure of herself since, especially in big moments. She's just 11-13 in 2022, and the No. 10 seed will be dealing with significant nerves for this match against a living legend. Meanwhile, Serena's a two-time champion in Cincinnati, and her power game should work seamlessly in the fast conditions.
It's surprising that this match is viewed as essentially a toss-up considering Shapovalov has gone 1-9 in his last 10 matches. Both players are gifted shot makers from the baseline, but Shapovalov's accuracy has deserted him lately, especially in big moments. Dimitrov's ranked three spots ahead of Shapovalov at No. 19 and leads their head-to-head 2-1, including wins in both of their hard court encounters. The Bulgarian's also a former champion here, winning in 2017 for the only Masters 1000 title of Dimitrov's career thus far.