What a shit day. Mapped out a perfect match for Monfils/Kudla, Monfils stole the second set for me and was up a break in the third…. when it all went to shit. PHH folded at the end of each set, Tsitsipas folded at the very, bitter end of the match and Zverev did the same. Both Zverev and Tsitty had three break points in the third set which they failed to convert before each facing one break point… and caving. Terrible.
I think I get MORE nervous when it becomes obvious. The draw has opened wide for both Raonic and DeMinaur. My history in two years of publishing outrights has been rather to benefit when the guy I pick actually has beat the draw. I can recount about five times where the draw has fallen completely apart and my huge long shot had a red carpet which he failed to take. Raonic and ADM are not long shots by any stretch so, maybe there is solace in that.
A truly perplexing match-up. After a horrible 2018 on grass, Brown returned to form upsetting Zverev on Wednesday. He’ll be right back on the uphill climb as he faced young star FAA in the quarters. FAA has seemingly acclimatized to grass with zero trouble (he apparently was decent on it as a junior) and has yet to drop a set yet this week. FAA is also adapting to his opponent pretty well too. He only served at 59% and only had four aces against Gulbis but, then amped it up to 15 aces and a 66% first serve percentage against Simon. He has only been broken twice but both times he was already up a break in the set and he closed out each set anyway. I don’t have a read on who wins this match or even if it is lined correctly. What I do think will transpire is that there will not be a tiebreak. With the amount these two seem able to break serve even on grass, I don’t see a tiebreak looming. Bizarrely, the only one of the seven lined matches tomorrow that DOESN’T have a tiebreak prop yet is this one…. when it pops, if it is plus money, I’ll bite.
I still think Raonic is being under-priced by the books. He has massive combined hold/break advantages on grass, he obviously has a massive winning percentage advantage on grass over Fucs, he is dynamite in tiebreaks (second sets against Tsonga aside) and he beat Fucs here last year. He has only been broken once this week and he recovered it immediately. What’s encouraging for Raonic is his ability to create break points on return for far this week - three against Tsonga and seven against Popyrin. He broke Fucs multiple times last year and I suspect he’ll do it at least once or twice on Friday and probably win a tiebreak. If there is a ‘to win the set’ number that is close to pick’em at 6-6 in a set… well, hammer Milos. I’ll also be on him to win the match.
Pouille has beaten Struff three times, including twice on grass… in Germany! And he is a dog? Pouille won this tournament two years ago. It’s not good to be beholden to the past and past results are not indicative of the future. So, let’s dig into some stats. Start with the path. Struff played Shapovalov, who has shown great success on grass yet, nor in Europe and is someone who Struff has now handled three times in 2019. Then he got to play 19 year old Miomir Kecmanovic, who has little to no grass experience. Pouille, on the other hand, had to play grass vet Feliciano Lopez and top 20 player and grass stalwart Daniil Medvedev. That Pouille was pushed to three sets in each and Struff rolled is not surprising. Pouille produced a better combined hold/break number on grass last year and, as I’ve already pointed out, has won this tournament before. Maybe we are seeing the beginning of a return to his Aussie Open form. Struff has a winning percentage on grass below 30% and I just see this as a big step up. I’m sure there will be a tiebreak, or two (tiebreak yes is priced at -225) and Pouille has put together a much better record in coin flips than Struff (including going 2-0 already this week). I’ll take Pouille at even money.
How did I not bet Kudla to win the first set yesterday. Wrote that whole piece up about how the match with Monfils would flow… and missed betting that, even though I called it. That’s a mistake. He is priced up at +150 to do so again and that feels like a solid option. What I like is the same thing as yesterday. Take Kudla to win the first set and if at any time Kudla gets up a break or wins a set, take Berrettini to win the match. Berrettini is rolling, putting out two huge players like Kyrgios and Khachanov, and doing it with ease. He broke their serves at the easiest of paces and I expect by the end of the match he’ll be doing the same to Kudla. He may suffer a tad bit of a letdown at the beginning though. No offense to Kudla but, scalping Kyrgios and Khachanov and waking up to Kudla could be a little deflating.
I have an outright on ADM. He has beaten Thompson both times they have played, in quicker hard court conditions. DeMinaur flourished on grass at the Challenger level and I suspect he’ll continue to grow into it at the tour level. He has a very impressive tiebreak record for a 20 year old and he looked solid in dispatching Seppi in round two. He’s not flashy, there was only one ace, he only generated break points in three games but, he capitalized against a grass vet and he only won 52% of the total match points but, he had to serve out the match and didn’t get broken (which is huge). I won’t have a play here but, I expect my outright to move on.
Goffin owns Mannarino. Probably even on grass. The stats all favour Mannarino on this surface but, Goffin has ruined him all four times they have played. With the way these two serve, if you wanted to practice being a tennis trader, I would suggest taking a pre-match position on Mannarino and then just betting on the guy who gets broken every time there is a break. I’m guessing you could make an easy profit tomorrow.
Garin hasn’t dropped a set yet but, like Struff, I question his path. Caruso, on grass? Robin Haase, at home, where he is 7-11? Nah. Those aren’t tough. Coric had to contend with Fritz, who is another young, quickly improving player. Coric showed his chops on grass last year winning Halle and I think he can dispense with Garin here, without much fuss.
Gasquet is still in battle with Kuku but, assuming he comes through that in straights I like him as a dog against Jarry if that’s the way the line sets up.
Brown/FAA no tiebreaks, price ?
Raonic ml/Coric ml, +102
Pouille ml, +100
Kudla to win first set, +150
Berrettini live at plus money down a break or down a set, price ?