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Thiemo De Bakker Emerging As A Clay Court Specialist

De Bakker is still 20 to 1 to win ATP Barcelona despite already being in the semis.

Thiemo De Bakker is providing the best betting value in Barcelona as the semis approach and he may be the next big thing on clay.  His odds to win in the outright winner’s market in Barcelona are way too long and that shows that he is well below the radar in the world of professional tennis betting at this point.

Ten days ago one of our staff writers tipped De Bakker as being a potential threat to beat Nadal in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters.  De Bakker had come in at +1600 just to win that match although he ended up getting crushed as Nadal wasn’t allowing anyone to have a look at anything in Monaco as he mercilessly assaulted every player.

But De Bakker is just 21 years old and he appears to be an emerging clay court specialist.  That doesn’t mean he will be better than Nadal any time soon but he looks like he may be a worthy challenger if not this year, then next.

De Bakker is only ranked 67th in the world at the moment but that will go up sharply come Monday’s rankings even if he loses in the semis in Barcelona (vs Robin Soderling) and he should be turning heads in tennis betting, if only on clay.

According to the analysis provided of De Bakker from our April 13th article: “In 2009 De Bakker won 4 clay court titles although all of them were on the challenger circuits.  His general pattern on clay last year was success in the outer events or against weaker opponents and then he would lose once he bumped into a strong player on tour.”

De Bakker has broken his “general pattern” of losing to the top players on tour as in the last few days he has earned victories over top players Juan Carlos Ferrero and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Rest assured that the victories are NOT flukes as De Bakker could make the quarterfinals of the French Open THIS YEAR, provided that Nadal or Federer are not in his section of the draw until a quarterfinal match.  Tennis is a sport where 21 year olds are breaking onto the scene all the time and it is important to catch them before others do.

Robin Soderling, the favorite to win ATP Barcelona, will have to give De Bakker his full attention and he, Soderling, could certainly beat De Bakker in their semifinal as Soderling is anything but a slouch on dirt, but the odds force you to take De Bakker.  Keep in mind that Soderling turned pro in 2001 and he only has 5 titles to his credit and only 1 on clay.  Something always seems to go wrong for Soderling this late in the draw and he shouldn’t be bet at +110 to win in Barcelona.  If he does pull this tournament out then at least you didn’t miss much as his odds are hardly anything can set you up for retirement anyways.

Verdasco and Ferrer can’t be written off either but your best play is to sprinkle De Bakker at +2000 (20/1).  His long odds are simply a reflection of the fact that he is below the radar as opposed to being a genuine longshot.

The victories over Ferrero and Tsonga are the alarm bells and these 21 year olds always give warning, although they are not always heeded: De Bakker is good, if only on clay, and besides Barcelona he should be in your back pocket to win his quarter at Roland Garros as he might come in at really long odds for that too (quarter betting for the 2010 French Open is not yet available as the draw is still weeks away from being released).

I think De Bakker is a future top 10 player.

Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

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