Gambling is a fickle thing. And I am experiencing the wrong side of that back-and-forth with regularity right now. Sonego was up a break in all three sets, he served for the match at 5*-4…. and didn’t win. Total points in the match were 122 to 121 and they both broke serve 5 times and held 17 times. Just a punch right in the teeth.
Two of the three futures I have get into action on Tuesday and one gets pushed to Wednesday. If you haven’t read the preview article at @bangthebook, please do so. I think they are pretty detailed and I put a ton of time into them.
Also, check out this weeks @ballboyztennis podcast. We got side-tracked into a pretty decent discussion of how to actually handicap a tennis future. I hope it’s worth listening to.
There are 18 matches today, time to find a winner or two.
Marterer has one win on clay at the ATP tour level this season and it was over the #148 ranked Facundo Bagnis. That is…. unimpressive. Londero is in a similar spot. Outside of his surprise win in Cordoba, when he shocked the tennis world (that’s not really an exaggeration), Londero hasn’t done a lot of winning. Prior to Cordoba he was ranked outside the top 100, at this time last year he was ranked outside the top 300, and as far as I can tell his only main draw win on the ATP tour outside of South America was over #177 Carlos Berlocq. I lean Marterer here at plus money considering his ATP level results are more consistent, historically, and there is a strong chance that Londero’s 2019 ATP hold/break numbers are a product of an outlier performance that will soon be buried under the weight of the rest of his results, meaning his numbers will regress back to a below average level. Pass.
At 22 years of age, Garin is one the fastest rising, late blooming #nextgen players on tour. He made a final in Sao Paulo, he won a title in Houston and he went three deep at Barcelona last week. His hold/break stats in 2019 are built on 19 matches across three continents, probably no longer a small size. Maden, conversely, is a 29 year old who is a perfect example of a AAAA player (MLB reference!). Dominant at the Challenger level, making multiple finals in the last two years, but, hardly successful at all on the ATP tour. His 2018 hold/break stats look good but, are built on five matches across two European 250’s (Budapest and Munich). Even if you want to compare Challenger level performance in 2018, Garin comes out ahead, racking up a 38-15 record on clay last year compared to Maden’s 13-12 record. I think Garin continues his success and he’s a good bet any which way you choose to back him.
Benoit Paire. Motivated. A title in Marrakech. Three rounds deep in Barcelona. A Schwartzman who is struggling with consistency, unable to win two matches in a row since his defeat in the final of his home tournament in Buenes Aires. Pure stay away for me.
I broke down Klizan and Gulbis yesterday. Here it is: Martin Klizan, flat out, is ahead of Gulbis in every category I look at when capping a tennis match. Start with hold/break stats on the surface in question; better each of the last three years. And the full sample sizes of 2017 and 2018 show it’s not just bad better than worse. Klizan’s clay court hold/break numbers are actually good. Klizan has a career winning percentage that is better on this surface. Klizan had a much better 2018 on this surface. And Klizan actually has a winning record in his career in tiebreaks. As for recent form, Gulbis is straight fade material - he has lost his last seven matches, winning only two sets along the way. Their rest factor is the same but, Klizan’s familiarity with the venue is way higher than Gulbis. The last thing I look at, as a just in case, is head-to-head. They’ve each won a match against the other on clay but, Gulbis’ win was four years ago and Klizan’s was last year, making it slightly more relevant. I’m on Klizan!
I also broke down Monteiro and Struff yesterday: Struff is a decent sized favorite and in the smaller size of 2019 his hold/break stats are strikingly higher. That is coupled with the fact that Struff went four rounds deep in Barcelona before losing a tight affair to Rafa; a good showing for him in a deep 500 level event. The issue I have with backing at this high of a price is that in the previous two seasons, a much bigger sample size, Monteiro and Struff actually have pretty similar hold/break numbers and their career winning percentages on clay are not that different. Monteiro has been through qualifying here over the past two days and Monteiro has a fairly unique ability to show up and produce an upset - when he cares. I’ll pass on this.
I usually avoid matches with a moneyline set up like this. Without even capping them. But, tell me this, when is the last time Zverev won a match? Well, he has one victory in 2019 and it came in a match where his opponent retired. In his five losses in main draw, non-slam matches in 2019 he is 0-5 in covering a six game spread. That is literally atrocious. And I want some. Pella is pretty ascendant. His 109% combined hold/break number in 2019 is one of the best on tour. He is my outight pick this week because he is rolling this calendar year. It’s a big number but, I’m on it.
Copil is pretty terrible on clay. He’s hasn’t crossed a 90% hold/break barrier in years. He also hasn’t won a main draw clay match in over two years. On the other side of the equation, Molleker has only two wins over a top 100 player on tour - Ferrer last year, who is close to retirement and strangely enough Struff on grass. I lean hard to Molleker just based on his career to this point on clay. He is a rising star and clay is his best surface. I have to assume he is about to start cracking those top 100 players at some point. I’m just not willing to risk money at this point. Pass.
Edmund is -900. I don’t know how to play that. Covering a spread given his current form is possible but, npt worth the risk.
Berrettini is coming off his second title. I wrote extensively last year, at DeepDiveMedia, about players playing the week following a win. It was actually inspired BY Berrettini. He won his inaugural title in Gstaad and followed it up immediately with two wins in Kitzbuhel, against decent players too, before falling in the quarter-finals. He can back up a title win. Berrettini’s hold/break numbers the last two years are better than Istomin’s (this year, far better), his career clay winning percentage is much better as was his clay record in 2018. These two played earlier this year, on a surface most more conducive to Istomin and Berrettini still won. I’m in on Berrettini, I can fade him next round.
Kohl and Seppi have played ten times, they are intimately familiar with each other. Their hold/break stats are not different enough over the past few years on clay, nor are their career clay winnings, to justify a moneyline of this price. Like Edmund, I guess Kohl wins this but, I am unsure of how to bet it.
Head-to-head’s aren’t always instructive but Millman beat Tomic 1 and 2 on clay last year. That’s destruction. Millman also has impressive hold/break advantages over Tomic on clay in the last two years. Tomic is also on his fourth straight week of action and that always makes me nervous. Millman hasn’t had the best 2019 and his last few matches on clay haven’t been stellar. Additionally clay is his worst surface so, despite the hold/break advantages, I will pass on this match.
I bet against Popyrin in qualifying and I feel no discomfort doing so again. I don’t think Sousa is winning this tournament again but, I see no reason why he can’t wave the flag again for at least one match (especially considering his brethren, Pedro went out early). Sousa’s best surface is clay and he far exceeds Popyrin in any statistical category you look at. This price seems ludicrously low. I’m on Sousa.
I’m hesitant to buy into Jarry being ‘back’ after one solid run in Barcelona. Jarry had a terrible start to the season on clay and his hold/break numbers have suffered. Jaziri is far from from dominant on the surface and he is on his fourth week of action in a row, so he is in a perfect fade spot. But, either way, I don’t want to get involved in this match. Pass.
I fully expect Lajovic to pull out the win here. But, I have an outright position on Lajovic and I am hesitant to double down in the first round. I’ll wait and see if Lajovic shows up.
PCB is still re-habbing an, apparently, pretty significant injury. Chardy is less than consistent on clay. This is an easy match to avoid for me.
Fokina is a kid on the rise. Fritz is on his fourth week of play in a row. These two played last year when Fokina was only 18, in Madrid, on clay and Fritz won a tight three setter. I don’t see an edge here despite Fritz’s history on the surface.
I don’t bet Tiafoe matches.
Cuevas has had a day to rest up. After a brutal travel schedule, he has had a day to get things in order. Cuevas is dominant in every clay category, especially in comparison to Caruso. I avoided this match up in qualies because of Cuevas’ travel. But, now, especially with the chance to avenge his loss from two days ago, I will be on the Uruguayan. When players have to play back-to-back matches against each other they routinely split the series and we’ve seen it happen multiple times already in 2019. I don’t really like anything in Estoril but, Cuevas should win.
Garin/Berrettini ml, -104
Klizan -2.5, -138
Pella -5.5, -138
Sousa/Cuevas ml, +104