This article is part of our Tennis Picks series.
The Round of 16 from the fast-paced hard courts of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati will be played Thursday. Every player in both the men's and women's draws has won at least one main draw match to get to this point. A young American man will look to keep his breakout run on the pro tour going, while a more established WTA player of the same age is rediscovering her game following a lull. Speaking of lulls, one of the top women's seeds has been in one lately, and her opponent's poised to capitalize on that Thursday. 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 mobile sportsbooks 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 in Cincinnati are usually among the fastest found at big hard court tournaments. 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.
Shelton has become an overnight celebrity in Cincinnati, as the Florida Gators college tennis star has made the most of his wild card here. After beating Lorenzo Sonego 7-5 in the third in the opening round, Shelton overpowered 5th-ranked Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3 on Wednesday. The 19-year-old American will look to take out another big name here in fellow lefty Norrie, who was pushed to 6-4 in the third set by each of his first two opponents and hasn't been able to find his top form in this tournament.
The 44th-ranked Zhang won't lack belief against the No. 2 seed after backing up her first-round win over Naomi Osaka with another straight-sets result in the second round over Ekaterina Alexandrova. Meanwhile, Kontaveit hasn't been playing up to her lofty ranking recently, as she barely escaped 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 against 71st-ranked Tereza Martincova in the opening round and has lost her last five matches against top-60 competition, dating back to Stuttgart in April.
Lock It In
Tsitsipas has suffered some disappointing defeats lately, but those have mostly come in the form of statement wins for surging opponents such as Nick Kyrgios and Jack Draper. Schwartzman's more of a known commodity, and he doesn't have nearly the serving prowess of the last two players to beat Tsitsipas, so this should be a more comfortable matchup for the world No. 7, though it's encouraging for Schwartzman that they've split four previous meetings.
Swiatek looked vulnerable in Toronto last week and lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia, but the world No. 1 has rediscovered her game here in Cincinnati, as she passed the eye test with flying colors in a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sloane Stephens, who brought her A-game and still couldn't take a set Wednesday. Keys hasn't won a set in two previous matchups with Swiatek, and the American took just a single game when these two met on the hard courts of Indian Wells earlier this year.
The best form of Raducanu's young career came at last year's US Open en route to the title, and she's peaking again on the North American hard courts with the year's final Grand Slam around the corner. Beating Serena Williams 6-4, 6-0 in the first round – even given the lackluster state of Serena's game – presented a much-needed confidence boost for Raducanu, who played her best match of the year in Wednesday's 6-0, 6-2 demolition of multi-time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka. Pegula's rock-solid game makes her a tough out, but Raducanu has a much higher ceiling offensively, and she's been playing up to it thus far in Cincinnati.