ATP Tennis 2019 February 28

Bridge. Jump.

Nishikori was up 5*-4 in the first set and hadn’t LOST A SINGLE POINT on serve. He lost 12 of the next 13 points, was broken twice and dropped the set. THEN he was up 5–1 in the second set… and lost 4 straight games. I have zero idea what was happening there. It was like watching someone who forgot how to play tennis.

Munar had TWELVE break points…. Garin had four. Garin won.

Tiafoe won the first set…. lost the match.

Schwartzman served for the first set at 5*-3… lost the set.

Querrey. Well, that was a shit call on my part.

What a gross day.

The uplifting fact in another week of carnage is three outright picks remain.

Dubai

Three huge favs to start the day in Dubai. Not matches I usually want to cap. This tournament usually gets pretty chalky but each year the quarter-finals see at least one upset. In 2018 Malek Jaziri beat Tsitsipas, in 2017 Verdasco beat Monfils, in 2016 Lopez shocked Djokovic and Baghdatis beat RBA, and in 2015 Stan upset Nishikori and Berdych beat Nadal. Only Lopez was priced anywhere near this year's quarter-final dogs but, I’m just saying, be careful with the three-way -150 parlay I know everyone is going to throw together.

The only match worth capping is Coric/Basilashvili. I’m having a hard time making a case for Basher. Coric has some pretty large hold/break advantages last year and so far in 2019. Coric is better lifetime on hard courts and had a much better 2018. Coric has some decent history in Dubai, including making the quarter-finals last year. Basilashvili, conversely had never won a main draw match here until Monday. When it comes to head-to-head the momentum has swung hard to Coric:

You could argue that this court is slower than the Doha court and the grass court in Halle where Coric got his last two wins… but, Coric has a title on clay and his return game is well suited to a slower hard court, so I think that point is moot.
The one thing in Basher’s favor may be form — Coric inexplicably lost to Ugo Humbert last week in Marseille and he has dropped a set each to Vesely and Berdych this week. The win over Vesely was super tight as Coric eeked out both sets he won and he dropped the first set to Berdych 1–6. Coric has not looked stellar. Basher on the other hand, destroyed Khachanov 64,61 and he beat Bautista-Agut yesterday handily after dropping a tiebreak in the first set. Additionally, he hammered 19!!! aces down against RBA. 
I’m ice cold so, maybe fade this, as money is coming in on Basher and the match has moved to a pick’em. I’m taking Coric. The thought process being he has worked his way into form, losing to Ugo, squeeking past Vesely and then stepping up and beating Berdych who he was previously 0–3 against. Coric also seems to have figured Basilashvili out, given the most recent two scorelines. Basher may have been gifted the Khachanov, as he served 46% for the match yet benefited from a no-show on KK’s part. I also don’t think Basher can repeat 19 aces, a letdown is imminent.

Acapulco

Kyrgios pulled off the upset of the tournament (of the week? of the year?) last night. Letdown city should be in order today. He’s gotten “up” for big matches before and almost inevitably losses afterwards, when the drama has subsided. He beat Coric in Cincinnati, lost to Delpo. He beat #3 Dimitrov in Brisbane, lost to superstar Ryan Harrison the next day. He beat Zverev in Beijing, lost to Nadal the next match. He beat Zverev in Miami, lost to Fed right after. He beat Djokovic in Indian Wells and pulled out against Fed the next day. He beat Djokovic in Acapulco two years ago… and lost to Sam Querrey the next day. The only time I can find where Kyrgios backed up a win was when he beat Nadal in Cincinnati in 2017 and then beat Ferrer before losing to Dimitrov. 
These two also have some history — since their “incident” in Toronto they have played three times, with Stan winning both hard court encounters and Nick winning on clay. 
The best look might be the over 23.5 but, I am terrible at totals and Stan has played a whopping six matches this year that have finished 64,76 or 76,64. So, I’ll pass the total.
I’m on Stan -1.5, -138 just based purely on NK letdown; throw the stats out the window.

I’ve got nothing on Isner/Millman. What a bad read I have on Isner. He’s beaten Millman both times they have played, both on hard courts but, they are obviously tiebreak filled affairs and they honestly could go either way.

Mackenzie McDonald is playing great tennis. Semi-finals in Delray and now a quarter-final in Acapulco. But, he has been thrashed by Norrie both times they have played.

Additionally, Norrie holds strong advantages in every hard court stat I look at. If Norrie wasn’t coming from Rio, I would be all over him today. This travel spot, as I have mentioned a few times doesn’t work out well for players not named Thiem or Ferrer. Pass.

I have to hedge Zverev here. The stats may not show a Zverev advantage but, he has crushed DeMinaur when they have played.

Outside of a Davis Cup match where ADM was buoyed by the home crowd this has not been pretty. I’ve got ADM at +1400 for $50 so, there is some room here. If he happened to kill the hedge (hmmm, where has this happened before with Zverev….) I like his chances in the semis against Norrie or MM, so I wouldn’t need to spend there. That means I’d still be in the final, potentially, with about 9/1.

Sao Paulo

Ruud is playing some amazing clay court tennis (is he finally going to “arrive” this spring in Europe like we expected two years ago?) but I am wary of the “revenge” factor. It’s been mentioned a bunch throughout February because of the uniqueness of the three separate schedules but there are lots of quick re-matches and the loser of match one often wins match two. These two played last week in Rio and that loss and the intervening five days may have given Sousa the chance to “figure” Ruud out. I’ll pass.

Hugo Dellien is having a surprisingly good Golden Swing. Maybe only surpassed in surprise by Juan I. Londero. And Londero has beaten Dellien six times, including three times recently on clay. This was one of the reasons I was comfortable taking an outright on Londero, thinking he could win this match. Londero has a distinct advantage in the hold/break categories but Dellien has had just as good a 2018 and early 2019 as Londero (minus a title of course) and I’m just not running good enough to double down here. I’ll ride out the big outright price on Londero.

FAA as a pick’em, eh? Not sure how you don’t jump on that. Ran to a final last week in Rio. Beat big serving, tournament stalwart Pablo Cuevas in his element yesterday. Can’t possibly be tired, he’s 18 and the week before Rio he was out in the first round. 99.9% of players swear they don’t look at the draw or look ahead but, come on, FAA has to know if he wins here he probably gets another shot at Djere tomorrow, right? Stats from previous years can be thrown out with the small sample size bathwater and even 2019’s clay stats are hard to judge considering it is only one or two tournaments worth of data so, you can’t use numbers. This is kind of a pure “form” handicap and I like FAA here. ARV hasn’t been really good for over a year now, this is his fourth week in a row playing, at 31 years of age and he hasn’t beaten anyone ranked higher than 80th on this Golden Swing. FAA it is.

Djere. White hot. Ride the hot hand. He lost to Jaziri on clay the last time they played but it was during peak-Jaziri week when the Tunisian made his only final on tour. Jaziri has ONE win on the Golden Swing and TWO total wins on the year. And those wins were over the #132 and #135 players in the world. This line seems massively low.

Coric ml, -110
FAA ml, -120
Djere -2,5, 125
Wawrinka -1.5, -138
Zverev ml, -225 (225 to win 100)