Clay tennis is back in full swing. And it’s been a rocky, if not dirty, start on the red surface. I’m basically batting .500 and losing money drip by drip. I’m 8-9, down $120 since the tour left Miami.
Clay is known for some mighty swings in momentum and boy, did I feel that on Tuesday. Bedene was up 63,44 and lost five straight, recovered to serve for the match at 5*-4 in the third set and was broken twice in a row to drop the match. Krstin was all square at 5-5 in the first set when he decided, like Bedene to drop the next five games. Just unreal.
Onward I trek…
Not a great start for the outrights. Cuevas collapsed and Djere never showed up. Not the beginning to the clay season I was looking for.
All hopes rest with the tiebreak machine, Reilly Opelka.
Edmund obviously has a good history here, running to the finals last season. He seems to be pretty comfortable on clay at this stage of his career, in fact, it’s his best surface, statistically. He certainly looked the part on Monday, smashing the rising star Ugo Humbert 63,62. He also backs it up with a fairly superior hold/break number from 2018. 111% is nothing to sneeze at (only Zverev shines brighter amoung those in Marrakech). Tsonga hadn’t played on clay in almost two years before Monday’s match with Stebe. Tsonga won comfortably 61,76 but it was against a guy who had yet to play in 2019 and who had in fact, not played since the Aussie Open 2018. So, I’m not sure what to make of that win. What I will take away from the win is that Tsonga served at 71%, which is pretty amazing. Before missing chunks of the last two years Tsonga was a very solid clay player, brining in a hold/break number well over 100% just like Edmund. I feel a serve fest coming on… and with an over/under set at 22.5 I feel like the over is a good bet.
I really want to fade Haase. I always do. But, I am rather surprised that Sonego is the favorite here. These two have played similar schedules the past month and have pretty similar hold/break numbers last year. i suspected closer to pick’em and while I won’t be on it pre-match, if Sonego goes down a break early he is probably a great live bet.
The last time Taro was this big of a favorite was on clay in Rio earlier this year and he was able to cover the -3.5 handicap. Clay is Taro’s best surface, bringing him his only tour title last year and he has far superior ATP level hold/break numbers on clay than AMM. Menendez has been gifted a spot in the second round, having faced an aging local in the first qualie, a junior Frenchman in the second qualie, and a new dad in his first match back. Daniel should be a big step up. Additionally, AMM played three gruelling sets yesterday while Taro had the day off after completing his win on Monday. I’ll take the handicap here.
Avoid Gilles Simon matches at all costs.
Houston at lunch
Tsonga/Edmund o22.5, -120
Daniel -3.5, -125