ATP Tennis 2019 February 27

Oh man, DeMinaur just kept me from the sweep. Actually, his performance was a little concerning. He lacked the power to hit any winners against Jarry and the slow court seemed to help Jarry get to balls as much as it did DeMinaur. It reminded me a lot of the match DeMinaur lost to Tsonga earlier this year in Brisbane. Power combined with any kind of movement and ADM is kind of out of options. Anyway, a 3–1 day is much needed. In fact, I need about six more of those in a row.

I lost my Dubai outright on day one. I mentioned on the podcast that Cilic had a tough first round match-up and that proved prophetic. He was never really in control of the match, even after taking the second set. It was ugly. It’s too bad too because Medvedev also went out and Tsitsipas was pushed to the limit by Matthew Ebden. The top half of the bracket looks super competitve — a Nishikori/Monfils semi-final would be fireworks.

Obviously, ADM survived in Acapulco but with an 0–3 record against Zverev and a less than inspiring performance on Tuesday that outright looks shaky.

South America could be the last hope- despite hitting six outrights already in 2019 none of them have been on clay. Here’s to Londro or Pella changing that fortune this week — Londero looked stellar in round one.

Dubai

I love that Dubai crunches all second round matches into Wednesday instead of splitting it up like other tournaments (I know it’s to get done on Saturday for the long travel to the American west coast) and I wish more venues would do this. There is, however, not a lot to get involved with on Wednesday despite eight matches. Lots of huge favorites. I’m not sure Nishikori, Tsitsipas, Monfils, or Federer will be severely challenged in any way. The only one of the four that I see an angle in is Nishikori/Hurkacz. Tsitsipas lost to Gerasimov two years ago but it was indoor on carpet, which would enhance Gerasimov’s serve and it was obviously before Tsitsipas “emerged”. Monfils has beat Bags handily the last two (recent) times they have played.

Given that Bags dropped a set to a local wild card and Monfils showed his form from Rotterdam had not deserted him, I would expect more of the same on Wednesday. I’m actually tempted by the -4.5 spread. I’d be tempted by Federer too but seeing as he dropped a set to Kohl, I’ll avoid that one too even though he is 6–0 against Verdasco. It wouldn’t surprise me if Fed or Tsitty covered.

The pick of the four big favorites that I will dig into is Nishikori. Hurkacz is young enough that he still struggles with top talent. Even top 100 talent. Dating back to 2016, when he was 19, he has accomplished the following:
2016 — #41 L. Mayer (L), #95 Berlocq (L), #59 F. Mayer (L), #67 Struff (L)
2017 — #82 Dzumhur (L), #91 Fabbiano (L), #85 Gombos (L), #99 Kavcic (W), #98 Ebden (L)
2018 — #52 Bedene (L), #62 Fucsovics (L), #84 Jaziri (W)#80 Bags (W)#54 Sandgren (W), #4 Cilic (L), #82 Daniel (W), #68 DeMinaur (L), #41 Tiafoe (L), #80 PHH (L), #54 Harrrison (W), #48 Fucsovics (L), #7 Cilic (L), #81 Copil (W), #26 Chung (L), 
2019 — #91 Ivashka (L), #87 Vesely (W)#94 Ivashka (W), #73 Karlovic (L), #83 Gulbis (L), #77 Krajinovic (W), #12 Tsitsipas (L)

Hurkacz is 10–21 against top 100 players and 0–7 against top 50 players. Kei buries guys like this. In 2019 alone he has gone 12–2 so far, he has played only one guy outside the top 100 (and it may have been the guy he struggled with the most!). If you remove his four Aussie wins (five set standards instead of three set standards) you are left with eight wins. Nishikori has covered the -4.5 spread against #62 Kudla, #40 Chardy, #84 Gulbis, #48 Fucsovics and #59 Paire. He failed three times — #16 Medvedev, #19 Dimitrov, #36 PHH (and he missed merely by the hook with Dimitrov and PHH). He should truck Hurkacz on Wednesday. Nishi has huge hold/break advantages and he wasn’t broken by Paire on Tuesday, who breaks serve almost 20% of the time on hard courts. Hurkacz struggles to get to 10% at this early stage in his career.

I’m not capping anything else in Dubai (I do like Berdych a bit though). What a shit show.

Acapulco

Nadal should wipe the floor with Kyrgios but Kyrgios, regardless of health or form usually gets up big for the Big Four. He has wins against all of the big names on tour (with the exception of Andy Murray). Kyrgios had shown nothing resembling real tennis until last night, Nadal on deck. So, anything goes here. My ADM future would love to see NK care enough to beat Nadal and then want to play video games enough that he drops his quarter-final to Stan.

Wawrinka certainly didn’t blow Ryan Harrison off the court but he did just enough, in a first round match, to get the win. Small margins between big servers on a hard court — something Stan is fairly used to. If you eliminate 2018, when Stan was in injury recovery mode, you see a vast difference between these two players statistically. And really, Johnson isn’t that dissimilar from Ryan Harrison; good serve, good forehand, decent movement, underwhelming backhand. Again, though, much like against Harrison, I’m not sure Stan is covering any spread here. 64,76 or 75,64 is the kind of scoreline I expect, so I’ll parlay this again.

Querrey holds a weird kind of spell over Isner, having beaten him FIVE times. It’s kind of surreal. Isner has not looked good all year and he dropped a set to Adrian Mannarino yesterday. I suspect this goes long but, at 25.5, I don’t want to get involved in totals. In breaking down the stats, Querrey backs up his head-to-head dominance by having superior hold/break numbers in each of the past three years on hard courts. Querrey thumped GGL yesterday and that was on the back of a semi-final appearance in New York, so I’m hoping his form remains better than Isner’s. Of course, Querrey also has good history here.

Neither Millman nor Gojo have impressed me in 2019 and there isn’t enough statistical separation between them to interest me. Gojo is on travel from Marseilles and that could mean he is a fade candidate but, at -250 I feel Millman is priced out of my range.

How many times can I go back to the Tiafoe well? He looks dominant, on paper, in comparison to McDonald. And McDonald is coming off a semi-final appearance in Delray, while Tiafoe should be rested considering he went out early in New York and Delray. Additionally, Tiafoe got to play Monday and have Tuesday off. If he was NOT going to care about Acapulco, he could have easily folded to Thompson after dropping a set. I think he cares here, I think the stats support him and I think all the losses he has suffered to McDonald (3) were on the Challenger tour and maybe more indicative of a younger, less engaged Tiafoe. Let’s hope that’s not the one I get today.

These two are both coming from Rio, so that cursed travel is negated. These two guys are very similar in hold/break stats and career hard court winning percentage, so the line feels right. Schwartzman was able to beat Norrie (in a tight match) on slower, indoor hards last year in Antwerp, so I feel the edge goes his way. Norrie had one main draw win since making the final in Auckland before edging past Nishioka yesterday; so something is clearly off. DSS, meanwhile, has run a few rounds deep at every tournament he has entered, including making the final in Buenes Aires (I’ll discount the withdrawal in Rio, which he obviously shouldn’t have entered). I’m on DSS moneyline in a parlay.

Zverev breezed past Popyrin on Tuesday and he is met with the retiring David Ferrer today. I expect Ferrer will push him, as he’ll get to everything and never give up, as is his M.O. But the Zverev power and movement should be too much for the little Spaniar; as the last three match-ups have proven.

Sao Paulo

I’ll pass on both first round matches. I expect Cuevas to go through and maybe make another deep run here but he obviously had trouble with FAA last week and, man, would I love to see FAA back up that finals appearance

Djere “shoud” roll Giannessi here. But, coming off his first title, travelling to altitude, I’ll just wait and see. If Djere looks dominant here I could easily see another deep run and a shot at back-to-back titles. Sometimes the first round match is the biggest obstacle and once that is hurdled the player is engaged.

I really want to bet Mayer here, based on his usual game, his statistical edges over Sonego and his history here. But, his form seems so bad. He is 1–3 on the Golden Swing and Sonego looked sharp on Monday in dispatching Delbonis 64,64. They both hold serve around the 80% mark and I’ll just avoid this match.

Munar has started to show real signs of dominating lower end talent- Garin is ranked #91. Munar has beaten seven players already this year who were ranked outside the top 50. he has covered the -2.5 against six of them, only failing to cover against Norrie last week in Rio. When he wins, he wins going away. He also has some revenge in his favor after losing a close match to Garin last year in Portugal. I think Munar’s serve will play bigger in the altitude than Gari’s ability to break serve and I’ll back Munar here.

Nishikori -4.5, -110
Querrey ml, -125
Wawerinka/Tiafoe ml, +102
Schwartzman/Zverev ml, +103
Munar -2.5, -110

Good luck

PS — if you can buy games, a fun parlay of Fed/Tsitty/Nishi/Monfils all at -3.5 instead of -4.5 pays about 4.25/1. Just sayin’…

PSS — Nishikori was mind-blowingly bad. Holy fuck.