I really am my own worst enemy. Don’t bet on guys coming off a Sunday match… don’t bet on Gilles Simon… don’t bet on guys coming off an injury… broke ‘em all. Lost ‘em all.
One day I’ll learn that going 1-0 is better than going 4-3. One day.
All three outrights are still alive. I’ve done it, kind of, again. A 200/1 into a third round with a really good shot of making the quarter-finals (Garin is a heavy favorite in round three). This will be the fourth triple digit outright into a quarter-final in the last two years, should he win. It doesn’t amount to money in my pocket but, get enough lottery tickets deep and eventually….
It seems odd that two players, regular top 50 players, in their 30’s, have never played. I mentioned in the outright preview that seeded players with byes don’t fare too well in Budapest. And Cilic is neither facing a push-over nor is he in overly good form. There isn’t much to choose from between these two on clay - in 2018 their hold/break numbers were not far apart. They both have career winning percentages exceeding 60% on clay and both have career winning records in tiebreaks. Cuevas isn’t dominating in 2019 but, he has put together a hold/break number of 108% over the course of 14 matches on clay so far this year. There is no one on his resume in Cilic’s atmosphere but, then again, Cilic hasn’t even won more than one match since the Aussie Open. This feels like a gift at plus money considering Cilic lost his only clay match this year, last week, to someone with very similar clay stats to Cuevas, in Guido Pella. I’ll take the Argentine and hope he doesn’t fold late. Money has already come in on Cuevas since I prepared my graphics this evening, so I am late to the party a bit here but, still getting plus money.
I feel the same way about Bedene as I do about Cuevas. Bedene and Berrettini had very similar hold/break stats on clay in 2018. Bedene is a more experienced if not a more accomplished clay player. Berrettini has only had the one match on clay in 2019 and he lost to Dimitrov in a match that looked much closer in the final scoreline than the stats within - Berrettini saved 14 break points before succumbing. Bedene has made a quarter-final and a semi on clay already this season and he went to the semis here last year - he is actually quite comfortable in Budapest, having made the semis and the finals in his two trips. I’ll take the dog money.
I don’t see an edge between Basil and Gojo. They both have below average hold/break numbers on clay, they both win less than 50% of the time on clay, and while Basil has been slightly more successful on this particular surface, Gojo has won both of their previous matches. I’ll pass on this.
Djere is priced too far out for my taste. And there hasn’t been a whole lot of people covering -4.5 spreads in Budapest or Barcelona this week. I don’t see Sinner winning this match though, as this is his first match against anyone ranked anywhere near Djere. Given Sinner’s ability to drop serve at this level, as was on display in the second and third sets yesterday, I think there is a good possibility that Djere will get this done in less than 20 games. The u20.5 allows for an extra game that the -4.5 does not. I’ll take it.
Much like Basil and Gojo, I don’t see a lot between Albot and Krajinovic. Clay is both of theirs worst surface. And while Krajinovic has the much more accomplished clay record at the Challenger level he hasn’t played a clay match in almost two years. I’ll pass.
A chance to fade Robin Haase? At a cheaper price than the open because money is actually coming in on the Dutchman? Sign me up. Coric had the far better hold/break stats in 2018, he is the ascendent player, and Haase certainly struggles with top tier players. Haase has gone 1-9 in the last year against top 20 players and he is 6-19 against top 20 players over the past three seasons. Only one of those six wins has come on clay, against David Goffin in 2017. I have to hope Coric is motivated to be here (unlike Cilic I suspect) after going four rounds in Monte Carlo and not being signed up for anything next week. Being nervous about that motivation and knowing that Coric dropped at least a set in three of his four matches last week, I look to parlay this moneyline (the spread of -3.5 is also juiced to -150 which is unpalatable).
Tons of action in Barcelona on Thursday. And it will be headlined by Nadal vs Ferrer for the 32nd time. Nadal has obviously dominated the series but, Ferrer routinely takes a set (in each of their last four completed matches) and as we’ve seen in the past two outings for Nadal, the great lefty doesn’t seem in peak form. I’m not putting a ton of thought into this. The spread seems high and I’ll jump on what should be a super motivated Ferrer at plus games.
Tsitsipas has beaten Struff handily both times they have played. Even worse on clay. And that match was two years ago before Tsitty really broke out. Barcelona was also the venue where Tsitty first had that ‘break out’. Clay is the Greek’s best surface and his hold/break stats last year far out-strip Struffs. Neither player had a special Monte Carlo experience and I suspect Tsitsipas will want a chance to not only rectify that but to retain his points and get another shot at a vulnerable Nadal. That’s a lot of narrative but I think the hold/break stats and the career record on clay back it up. Much like Coric, Tsitsipas has a spread of -3.5 that is juiced to -150. I’ll avoid that and instead take the u21.5.
Thiem should, should, get past Munar. Thiem’s hold/break stats on clay aren’t elite level but he has routinely outplayed those numbers the last two years. What’s concerning for Thiem is how much Munar is improving (they have similar hold/break numbers in 2019) on clay and how bad Thiem lost to Lajovic last week. He routined Schwartzman on Tuesday but, that wasn’t unexpected. I’ll avoid this match in case Thiem has a letdown.
I don’t know what to make of Paire’s sudden dominance. Clay is certainly his most comfortable surface and this is the right time of year for him to succeed, in smaller events that higher ranked players avoid while they concentrate on the glut of Masters in April and May. Unfortunately, this is Barcelona, not Marrakech and Paire has plenty of opposition. Pella is running hot on clay in 2019. Like Paire, he has a clay title already and last week he made the quarters and put up a fight against Nadal. I’ll pass on this match as it seems like two guys peaking on their desired surface.
I have an outright on Garin. He is heavily favored. I’m just going to cross my fingers here and hope. I don’t want to get involved.
FAA has to be considered one of the hottest players on tour. His run of success during the Golden Swing and the Sunshine Double was extraordinary. He showed last week though, that he could still be vulnerable to elite talent, when he was dusted by Zverev. Nishikori showed, on Tuesday, after a rough first set that he may be coming out of his little slump. In years past Nishi was an elite level clay player and I suspect that will show up on Thursday. FAA won’t be able to blow Nishikori off the court and if he could only break Jaziri twice when the Tunisian was serving at 59% then he will certainly have trouble getting to Nishikori. I’ll match Nishikori with Coric.
Tell me how to handicap Medvedev and McDonald on clay this week? Before Monte Carlo these two were a combined 1-9 on clay at the ATP level. For their careers. Come on. Suddenly they are both masters of the red dirt? Ya, I’ll pass on this. Especially with Medvedev priced at -600.
Jarry manufactured easily his biggest win of a dismal 2019 yesterday when he eliminated Zverev in a tight three sets. It would not be surprising at all to see him suffer a bit of a letdown. Similarily, Dimitrov also fought through a tough three setter and his history on clay doesn’t inspire me to believe he will back that win up either. Based on the hold/break stats from 2018 this should be a tight, serve heavy affair. I definitely lean to the o22.5 but, I have enough action out there already and Dimitrov on clay gives me bad flashbacks. Pass.
Cuevas ml, +110
Bedene ml, +110
Djere/Sinner u20.5, -125
Ferrer +5.5, -138
Tsitsipas/Struff u21.5, -110
Coric/Nishikori ml, +102