A rule of thumb in tennis betting: avoid mercurial players. There’s nothing more frustrating than losing money on a player who, for whatever reason, has no desire to play tennis the day you place a bet on them. Some of the most notoriously difficult players to predict include Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire, and Alexander Bublik.

It’s so tempting, though; if you only knew for certain that any of those players were going to put forth maximum effort, they could easily get the job done at often phenomenal underdog prices. Having been burned by Fognini, Paire, and Bublik more times than I care to mention, it’s generally best to bet elsewhere.

That said, there is an exception for every rule. In a high-profile matchup, especially on clay, you can typically count on Fognini to bring his best. And so far in his brief pro career, you can count on Bublik to be a nightmare on the lush, low-bouncing and lightning-fast Newport grass. The top-seeded Kazakh is 6-1 in his career at the Hall of Fame Open, and will take on Kevin Anderson for a spot in his second consecutive final.

The South African survived a tough test from Jack Sock in Thursday’s quarterfinal, ultimately outlasting the American, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 with his disciplined game and far superior fitness.

While much of this outcome will be determined by how well Anderson serves, Bublik’s typically phenomenal shotmaking only seems to improve at the Hall of Fame Open.

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In 2019, Bublik dazzled spectators with the tweener-of-the-tournament. 

But Bublik had more tricks up his sleeve, including this shot-of-the-year candidate in his semifinal win over Marcel Granollers.

This is arguably the single most difficult shot to execute.

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Please keep any bets on the small side, as Bublik is known to throw in a complete dud from time to time. Expect a close match, but Bublik just seems like a happier player in Newport, and should have enough firepower to overcome the 35-year-old.

The Pick: Alexander Bublik