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Marin Cilic
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Tennis Best Bets for May 11

by Kenny Ducey
Updated On: May 11, 2022, 11:55 am ET

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After a great week on the dirt in Madrid, we turn our attention to Rome where the pros of the ATP and WTA tours take center stage for yet another big clay-court tournament in the lead-up to Roland Garros. I've got two plays for Wednesday afternoon, and I'll share them now.

Marin Cilic (+130) vs. Cameron Norrie (-159)

Cilic and Norrie met last year in Estoril in what was an incredibly close encounter. Cilic was up an early break in the first before handing it back and losing in a tiebreak. The second set saw numerous break points, and while Norrie was able to save all three, Cilic would only save four of five and falter in the last game of the match.

While Norrie has gone on to win more matches on the clay since that meeting, his 2022 clay court campaign has been a slight disappointment. Though the three matches he lost on the dirt came against quality opponents in three-set encounters, he's hardly dominated. Even against World No. 201 here in the first round, he skated by 6-4, 6-4.

Cilic is a quality opponent on clay courts and needs to be taken more seriously here. He nearly knocked off Alex Zverev and Sebastian Baez in recent weeks and did earn a big win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Madrid. I think he will take a set here and send this to three.

Edge: Over 22.5

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Fabio Fognini (+240) vs. Jannik Sinner (-323)

This will be a match for pride between Fognini and Sinner, two Italians playing in Rome. Fognini is 14 years the senior of Sinner, who has risen to the top 15 in recent years with some stellar play.

While it should be said that Sinner is the better player and a lethal opponent on clay, this match should be a very close one. Fognini has really looked focused this season, making a great run in Rio which included a win over Pablo Carreno Busta and a run to the semifinals in Belgrade. He opened his Rome campaign with an impressive win over former top-fiver Dominic Thiem and should remain engaged here in a huge match.

Sinner, meanwhile, struggled to hold on to the lead against Pedro Martinez and continues to disappoint when it comes to dominating on serve. I think this match will feature a lot of breaks and with that I can't recommend taking Sinner.

Edge: Fognini +4.5

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Kenny Ducey

Kenny Ducey is a former member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, writing and editing for Sports Illustrated and Baseball Prospectus. His work also appears at DraftKings and The Action Network. Follow him on Twitter @KennyDucey.