ATP Tennis 2019 February 26

A winning day. Damn Delbonis too, it could have been perfect. It sure wasn’t sweat free though, as Gojo dropped the first set and had to break serve at the end to get the cover. 
If anything was a takeaway from day one of the new week it was the assumption that Sao Paulo may play fast. Guys like Sonego (7 in 11 service games vs career 58 in 147 service games), Pedro Sousa (11/10 vs 21/132), Trungelliti (8/15 vs 48/243) and Marterer (11/12 vs 106/323) all hammered waaaay more aces on Monday they were averaging for their careers. Like, way more.

The outright articles and the podcast are up as of Monday night. Give one a read, give one a listen. I think they provide insight (obviously) even if you disagree with the end predictions. Hopefully, they are helpful no matter which way you choose to use them.

Dubai

Ten matches in Dubai on Tuesday. Lots of big numbers and I don’t generally cap anything over -500/+300 so this may seem brief. If there were two big dogs to look at in that collection of matches it would be Benoit Paire and Ricardis Berankis. I’m not saying either will win but they may be options on the game spread. Both have routinely taken sets off their Tuesday opponents.

Hurkacz is a guy who I like to bet on. He has a big serve and an improving return game (although early showings in 2019 may not have displayed that he did have to play four sets against Karlovic). He’s won a Challenger event already in 2019 (the gruelling 6-round Canberra Challenger) and his losses have not been terrible — a loss to Ivashka in Pune was revenged in Canberra, he lost in four tiebreaks to Karlovic, he lost to Gulbis in Montpellier and Tsitsipas in Marseilles. Those are all top 100 guys who are tour regulars. His opponent is Corentin Moutet. Moutet is 5'9. Hurkacz is going to have a distinct height advantage, which may help in powering the ball through this court in the hotter day conditions (they are slated to play right in the height of the afternoon). Moutet, while he has also won a Challenger event in 2019, hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 150 yet this year. He won the Chennai Challenger in India where the highest ranked player he faced was #237 Nicola Kuhn. So, Hurkacz should be a step up in competition. Moutet is also, therefore, travelling from the Far East. He actually last played in Thailand before going through qualies here, so I wonder how fatigued he will be. He did have a ten-day break but that is still not easy. Lastly, Moutet is a lefty but, Hurkacz showed the ability to deal with lefties, as he is 5–6 lifetime at the Challenge level. I’ll take Hurkacz on the handicap here.

I don’t generally bet Robin Haase matches. He is too unpredictable. But if you want to take Haase here is the plus — Gerasimov is that classic “AAAA player”, to steal a baseball term I love. He does very well at the Challenger level but can’t break through at the ATP level. His last ATP level main draw wins came in Moscow at the event in October. However, that was an indoor venue, where Gerasimov’s game is best suited (he is 9–6 lifetime indoor hards on the ATP level and wins 63% of the time indoors on the Challenger). His last OUTdoor hard court wins came in July of last year against the slumping duo of Sam Querrey and Bernie Tomic. That was it for 2018. Now, Gerasimov does have better hold/break numbers than Haase on hard courts but, that dichotomy between indoor and outdoor in his results should be noted. 
Haase’s only two tour wins in 2019 have come against #336 Dimitar Kuzmanov and #100 GGL. So, don’t be surprised if Gerasimov pulls the mild upset.

Can you believe Cilic/Monfils is lined almost at a pick’em? When is the last time Monfils was lined this favorably against a top ten talent? I can’t think of one. Now, this is certainly due to two things. One, Monfils owns a ridiculous 3–0 head-to-head record against Cilic. One was on clay, one was at the Rio Olympics on slower hards, and one was in 2009 when Cilic was 20 years old. I can discount all of those and I did when making Cilic my outright pick for the week. I'm also counting on Monfils maybe taking his foot off the gas a little given he is coming off the biggest title of his carer. I won’t have a bet here as I’m already invested in Cilic but I find this line a little short. Cilic hasn’t played since the Aussie and Monfils rampaged through Rotterdam. I think, looking at their recent careers, Cilic should be a prohibitive favorite and I’ll just cheer him on here.

Berrettini and Kudla played three times last year and the sets were 5–3 Kudla. They have similar ranks, very similar 2018 hard court results, similar hold/break numbers across the past two years and both are travelling from Marseilles. I don’t see an edge here — if anything maybe an over, given the 22.5 is lined at +100 and two of their three matches went over the posted total.

Coric is somehow 0–3 against Kukushkin. Head-to-head isn’t everything and sometimes it doens’t translate across surfaces; all three of Kukushkin’s wins were on clay. But, it is concerning. Kukushkin is decently hot, coming off a finals appearance in Marseille. So, do you favor form over fatigue? My guess is Coric can run down the balls some of Kukushkin’s Marseilles opponents couldn’t. Coric has distinct hold/break advantages here and a much better record on hard courts. The reason I am staying away is Coric’s abysmal performance in Marseille against Ugo Humbert. Pass.

Acapulco

Can you imagine? Or could you have imagined a year ago that Nick Kyrgios would be a dog to Andeas Seppi? On a hard court? I mean, wow. When they last played at the 2017 Aussie Open Nick Kyrgios was a -1200 favorite…. 
Don’t walk. Run from this match.

Isner just keeps beating Mannarino. It’ll probably be close, there’ll probably be a tiebreak and maybe two, Isner might even lose one of those coinflips, but he is not losing this match. I would imagine it is lined at only -300 just because Isner isn’t blowing anyone away this year. Isner does own Mannarino though and this is a good chance for Isner to get his first ever win in Acapulco (he is surprisingly 0–4 here). This is a solid parlay option if you are looking for one. I’ll stay away just because of the tournament history.

Can Sam Querrey re-capture the magic? Querrey won this tournament in 2017 and followed it up by winning the other Mexican tournament on tour, in Los Cabos, a few months later. He has yet to replicate that form on tour. And actually, it’s not even close. After Los Cabos in 2017 Querrey was ranked in the top 20… today he is #57. You’d like to think that his form is improving considering he won three matches in New York two weeks ago but his three wins were against the 79th, 98th and 143rd ranked players on tour. Fritz was upset in the first round of Delray Beach and he hasn’t been passed the quarter-final stage at any ATP event since Chengdu in September. Querrey holds small advantages in hard court hold/break numbers across each of the last three years and I suspect he wins but I don’t see value in -163 and the spread doesn’t work if these two start splitting sets. Pass.

Norrie and Nishioka played twice last year and Nishioka smacked Norrie both times. In the last meeting, last fall in Shenzhen, Norrie was favored. Nishioka was able to generate a whopping 8 break points in the hardcourt match and an even greater 16 break point opportunites in the clay meeting. Norrie has the better hard court numbers last year and so far this year but, he is travelling from Rio and as I outlined in the tournament preview, that doesn’t bode well for most players. This just seems like a bad match-up for Norrie and I am tempted by Nishioka. The price seems a little steep at -175 and I’ll pass on a -2.5 spread.

Schwartzman is making the journey from Rio and I’ll play wait and see with him before I get involved. Other than beating Stan in Sofia, Copil hasn’t accomplished anything in 2019. This is a great live bet opportunity. If DSS starts slowly due to travel/acclimatizing and gets broken first or maybe the first set gets to 5–5, I may look to bet DSS live at a near-even money price.

I have an outright on DeMinaur and while I don’t generally like to double dip this seems like a good spot. Jarry is travelling from Rio, he had an abysmal Golden Swing, going 0–3 and prior to that he travelled from Austria to South America. This is Jarry’s fifth straight week with tennis AND travel. I expect a rested ADM to bury him today. ADM far outstrips the Chilean in hardcourt hold/break stats and the slower paced court should help DeMianur blunt Jarry’s power and get to almost every ball. I’ll take ADM on the handicap.

Lopez is on a retirement tour as he gets ready to run the Madrid Open this spring. Lajovic hasn’t won a match since the first week of the season in Pune. Please avoid.

Sandgren/Ferrer — please rewind one paragraph… replace names as necessary.

Sao Paolo

Ruud owns Monteiro, having beaten him both times they have met, both on clay, including once in South America. Ruud is playing some of the best tennis on this Golden Swing, coming into this match with near-elite level hold/break stats. His stats are also on a straight upward swing each year and Monteiro has shown a difficulty playing in his home tournament. I’ll take Ruud here on the handicap.

Money has come in hard on Dellien. Since I created that spreadsheet last night Dellien has fallen to -125 and then bounced back to -138. I’m not sure where that love is coming from. Dellien has had some decent results this month and Pedro Martinez is hardly a tour regular. It’s confusing enough for me that I’ll stay away from a match with two guys with not a ton of data history.

I’m already invested in Londero from an outright perspective, so I’ll be avoiding this match. A small bet on Londero on the handicap wouldn’t be the worst idea though. Lorenzi is coming off the following travel routine — Melbourne, Newport Beach, Cordoba, Buenes Aires, New York, Delray Beach, back to Sao Paolo. That’s five different continents in six weeks with a four day break between Melbourne and Newport. LOL, what? How do you even afford that? Air Miles? Lorenzi has beaten Londero three times but none recently and I’d be fading Lorenzi simply on travel alone.

ARV isn’t what he once was. At 31 he is starting to show signs of slipping and he has tumbled to the low 80’s in rank. But, he should be able to handle Bagnis and I think this line is woefully short. Last year’s hold/break stats don’t speak to it but this year and 2017’s show the talent gap between these two. Additionally, they have played twice and Bagnis has never won more than 3 games in a set. ARV has went to the quarter-finals in back to back weeks here on the Golden Swing so, his form may be the best it’s been in a long time. I’ll take the cheap handicap here.

Hurkacz -2.5, -120
ADM -3.5, -120
Ruud -1.5, -125
ARV -2.5, -120

Good luck