May 31, 2022; Paris, France; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) returns a shot during his match against Alexander Zverev (GER) on day 10 of the French Open at Stade Roland-Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
- No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz is the strong favorite to win the Hamburg ATP 500
- Alcaraz is one of two top-10, and four top-20 players in the draw
- Read on for the Hamburg European Open first-round odds, matchups, and predictions
These few weeks between Wimbledon and the North American hardcourt season feature a return to clay.
With nearly all the participants in Hamburg of European (or South American) descent, they are opportunities for good clay-court players to earn points.
Hamburg European Open First-Round Odds
| Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. [WC] Nicola Kuhn (GER)||-3335 / +1100|
|Sebastian Baez (ARG) vs. Filip Krajinovic (SRB)||-230 / +175|
|[PR] Aljaz Bedene (SLO) vs. Fabio Fognini (ITA)||+190 / -250|
|[WC] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) vs.  Karen Khachanov (RUS)||+110 / -140|
|Laslo Djere (SRB) vs. [PR] Borna Coric (CRO)||-170 / +130|
|Lorenzo Musetti (ITA) vs. Dusan Lajovic (SRB)||-175 / +135|
|Tallon Griekspoor (NED) vs.  Holger Rune (DEN)||+130 / -170|
| Botic Van de Zandschulp (NED) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP)||+100 / -130|
|Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) vs.  Diego Schwartzman (ARG)||+175 / -230|
| Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) vs. Aslan Karatsev (RUS)||+115 / -145|
|Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) vs. Daniel Altmaier (GER)||-190 / +150|
|Alexander Bublik (KAZ) vs.  Andrey Rublev (RUS)||+310 / -450|
Odds as of July 17 at Caesars Sportsbook.
It’s understandable to see Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in these draws; they were banned from Wimbledon and need some match time.
But it’s somewhat surprising to see Carlos Alcaraz, who would be expected to go deep in the upcoming Masters 1000s and the US Open.
— Carlos Alcaraz (@carlosalcaraz) July 17, 2022
Alcaraz is the No. 1 seed, and the odds-on favorite (-143) with Rublev a distant second at +700.
Notably, the Spaniard (at least in practice) isn’t wearing the sleeve he wore at Wimbledon to protect his elbow.
Best Bet: Alcaraz to win tournament (-143)
Best Longshot: Pablo Carreño Busta (+1400)
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs Aslan Karatsev Pick
Basilashvili is the seeded player, but Karatsev is the favorite in this matchup. The timing is nothing but ironic given investigative reporting in German media last week about both being connected to an alleged Belarussian match-fixer.
Both have denied any connection.
The irony of having Karatsev vs. Basilashvili 🤭 as a 1st round match in GERMANY. https://t.co/Ghsk1C25SE
— Alex | Tennis 🎾 (@Alex_Boroch) July 16, 2022
It has been nearly eight years since the two met – and they have never met at the ATP Tour main-draw level. It’s the first time they’ve played outside Russia or Kazakhstan.
Notably, Basilashvili has won five of those six previous matchups; Karatsev’s one win came in the qualifying of the Moscow ATP tournament in 2014.
Neither is having a good season; Karatsev is 12-16; Basilashvili is 12-21 and retired during his first-round match in Bastad Sweden last week.
Prediction: Over 22 Games (+100)
Tallon Griekspoor vs Holger Rune pick
As much hype as the Dane, Rune, has gotten at age 19 and at a career high ranking of No. 28, it hasn’t been going well since his quarter-final effort at the French Open.
Rune, a grass neophyte, lost his opening match in all three of his events on that surface; he won just one set in all.
Not a surprise. But back on his favored clay last week, and near home in Sweden, the No. 7 seed lost in straight sets to qualifier Marc-Andrea Huesler in the first round.
Rune will be putting plenty of pressure on himself to pick up some points in Hamburg, as it’ll be more challenging once he gets to North America.
His change in circumstances from the young underdog to a top-30 player has been showing.
It’s the first meeting for these two; Tallon Griekspoor also is at a career-ranking, at No. 47. The Dutchman had a solid grass-court season; his clay results are marginally better overall during his ATP career.
Prediction: Griekspoor to Win Outright (+130)
Botic Van de Zandschulp vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina pick
Beyond the challenges the chair umpire will have calling this match, the seeded Van de Zandschulp is the slight underdog in this one.
Both have their best winning percentages on clay; Davidovich Fokina has had a lot more experience playing on it. But Van de Zandschulp has been more successful on it over the last 12 months.
The two played on grass just before Wimbledon, and in the second round of the 2021 French Open on clay.
And after winning the first two sets, Davidovich Fokina needed the full five sets to put the Dutchman away.
This tiebreaker in Hamburg sets up as a long one.
Prediction: Davidovich Fokina in Three Sets (+330)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.