- Rafael Nadal has barely broken a sweat, but he might have to work harder against Schwartzman
- Simona Halep hasn’t been quite as convincing, but she hasn’t played much tennis in recent weeks
- We look at some interesting propositions beyond the moneyline that might be worth a flyer on Saturday at the Italian Open
Rafael Nadal (-5000) is a far greater favorite against Diego Schwartzman (+1800) in the Italian Open quarterfinals Saturday than No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic (-2500) is against German qualifier Dominik Koepfer (+1200).
Should he be? We look at some of the best prop bets to make in this match and others during the Italian Open quarterfinals on Saturday here.
Italian Open Quarterfinal Odds
| Rafael Nadal (ESP)||-7.5 (+120)||-5000||U 17.5 (-157)|
| Diego Schwartzman (ARG)||+7.5 (-152)||+1800||O 17.5 (+123)|
| Simona Halep (ROU)||-5.5 (-117)||-560||O 19.5 (-105)|
|Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)||+5.5 (-109)||+400||U 19.5 (-122)|
| Denis Shapovalov (CAN)||-1.5 (+115)||-112||O 22.5 (-125)|
| Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)||+1.5 (-143)||-112||U 22.5 (-103)|
| Matteo Berrettini (ITA)||-2.5 (-103)||-175||O 22.5 (-127)|
|Casper Ruud (NOR)||+2.5 (-124)||+138||U 22.5 (+100)|
| Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP)||+1.5 (-113)||+110||U 21.5 (-115)|
|[SE] Victoria Azarenka (BLR)||-1.5 (-113)||-137||O 21.5 (-109)|
Odds taken Sept. 18 at DraftKings
 Rafael Nadal vs  Diego Schwartzman
The King of Clay’s head-to-head record against his friend Schwartzman is perfect at 9-0.
But on clay, the 5-foot-7 (maybe on skates) Argentine has generally been more competitive.
In fact, two years ago at the French Open in the quarterfinals, Schwartzman took the first set from Nadal before losing in four.
It was the only set Nadal lost on the way to the title.
So the props for the first set to extend to nine or 10 games are certainly worth a look. Over 8.5 games is offered at +106 odds and over 9.5 is +285.
So are those that have the total games over 17.5 (+123) or 18.5 (+170). Schwartzman is no pushover even if the eventual outcome probably isn’t in doubt.
 Simona Halep vs Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)
The No. 1 seed has played just one tournament since the shutdown – and she won it. But that was more than a month ago. She has looked good, but hardly invincible, so far.
Putintseva is one of the scrappiest, combative players out there. She’s already pulled off two upsets over top-10 seeds in Rome and is coming off a quarterfinal at the US Open.
She definitely shouldn’t be as big an underdog as she is.
Bet365 has Halep at +333 to win in three sets and for the match itself to go three sets at +250, both of which are tempting.
A tight first set to Halep (+1000 for 7-5 and +1200 for a tiebreak on Bet365) aren’t completely out of the realm.
Nor is the possibility that Putintseva could win the first set (+280 on DraftKings).
 Denis Shapovalov vs  Grigor Dimitrov
This one can’t get any closer to call.
US Open quarterfinalist Shapovalov is the in-form player. But Dimitrov has beaten him in straight sets both times they have met.
Both, though, were on hard courts – statistically the best surface for both. And Shapovalov is playing a lot better now than he was in February in Rotterdam when Dimitrov beat him.
 Matteo Berrettini vs Casper Ruud
The top Italian isn’t much of a favorite against the 21-year-old from Norway, even though he gave him just eight games in the third round of the US Open just two weeks ago.
That’s because when the two met for the first time, last year in the second round of the French Open, Ruud won in straight sets.
Before Paris, Ruud had just qualified and reached the third round in Rome
Berrettini is better on clay than hard. But Ruud is … exponentially better. He’s worth a pick on an upset (a three-set win, at +400, on Bet365).
And the empty stands in Rome mean Berrettini won’t have a big Italian home crowd hollering for him.
 Garbiñe Muguruza vs [SE] Victoria Azarenka
Despite all the tennis she played in the US Open bubble, the flight to Europe, and the jet lag, Azarenka hasn’t missed a beat.
It’s going to kick at some point, though. Even though she caught a break in her third-round match when opponent Daria Kasatkina had to retire with an ankle sprain.
Touching moment between two great competitors ?#IBI20 pic.twitter.com/bXorvyUKrx
— wta (@WTA) September 18, 2020
Their head-to-head is injury-strewn.
But Muguruza is the 2016 French Open champ (and 2018 semifinalist). Azarenka doesn’t have that kind of clay resumé – especially not lately.
Picking Muguruza to win from behind (Bet365, +800) isn’t out of the realm, as Azarenka’s tennis workload may well catch up to her.