Rafa rolled. Fed and Stan played another classic that Fed eeked out. Basically, Tuesday at Roland Garros was something we’ve seen before a whole bunch of times.
Good news is I am now 12-3 in June. Let’s keep that rolling.
Wednesday is supposed to just be a lovely day….
Rafa at even money x2 is into the semis. Not hedgeable but, playing someone he has owned on clay. I’d probably gladly sacrifice the outright to see Fed beat him, to be honest.
AZ and KK play today. Sphincters tight.
Look, there’s going to be an upset today. Maybe two. I went on record during the @Ballboyztennis podcast and in the @bangthebook previews that the French is chalky. Moreover, we generally get the top 8 seeds in the quarters. And sure enough that basically happened this year - Nadal/Nishi in the 4th, Djoker/Zverev in the 1st. The second quarter has Thiem and Khachanov instead of Thiem/Delpo. That isn’t a HUGE upset; Khachanov is the 11th ranked player in the world. The third quarter had Fed/Stan instead of Fed/Tsitty. Well, Stan may not be top 10 anymore but, he sure was at one time and he is a three time Slam champ, so it wasn’t a huge surprise he advanced past Tsitty (in fact, I bet on it). So, we got the chalky quarters I predicted. But, here is the round where the French swerves. The semis and the finals (because of Rafa) largely also turn out chalky. But, the quarters? The quarters are fun. There is an upset almost every single year amoung these four matches. The only three years in the last decade where chalk has prevailed in all four matches were 2016, 2012 and 2011. The other seven years saw some sizeable (and sometimes multiple in one year) upsets. Last year Cecchinato beat Djoker as a +800 dog. In 2017 Thiem beat Djoker as a +200 dog. In 2015 there were two as Tsonga beat Nishikori and Stan beat Fed, both as +200 or bigger dogs. In 2014 Gulbis beat Berdych as a tiny dog. In 2013 it was Tsonga again causing the drama, this time beating Federer. In 2010 both Federer and Djoker succumbed to the upset bug, losing to Soderling and Melzer respectively (a little revenge for the Swede there). In 2009 Gonzalez upset Andy Murray and Soderling upset Nik Davydenko, both as tiny dogs. This round is full of drama. Did you notice two rather famous names appeared on that list THREE times each? That’s right, Djokovic and Federer have both been upset THREE times in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Well, Fed survived yesterday. Can Novak today? He is under huge pressure, with the Djoker-Slam looming. He hasn’t really played anyone of substance yet which is concering. Like Federer yesterday, who I argued had had an easy path, Djoker hasn’t been challenged yet. Hurkacz is good but, young (it’s only his fourth main draw). Struff has been around the block and never challenged the big names. Caruso and Laaksonen aren’t even top 100 players. This could be a huge step up for Novak (and that is generally why these upsets happen in the quarters - these guys get cake draws and then suddenly have to “step” up). Fed squeezed past Stan in two tiebreaks and I expect Zverev to similarily push Djoker. He’s beaten him twice, including once on clay and once just in December on one of the biggest stages on tour. Much has been made of Zverev’s struggles in 2019 but, he’s doing just fine statistically - on clay these two are within 4% in hold/break stats across the past four years. Zverev would consider clay his best surface and hey, what better way to shut up all these media and fans than making his furtherest push in a major by stepping right over Djoker. The stats don’t concern me, the fatigue doesn’t concern me (he’s 22), and the pressure doesn’t concern me (there’s equal pressure here). Let’s go AZ.
I feel like I am the only one out there who doesn’t think Thiem is winning this tournament or going to the final. I subscribe to the theory that the pressure is getting intense for Thiem and he may actually surprise everyone at the US Open instead, while the French breakthrough comes post-Nadal. Anyway, he didn’t have to face Verdasco and Cuevas faded hard but, Thiem still dropped a set in his first three matches this fortnight and I could see him getting into trouble here. Khachanov may be the only guy in the quarter-finals playing stress free tennis. And he showed last year in Paris-Bercy (he’s now won 10 straight matches in Paris on different surfaces) that he could play with and beat the big boys (33/1, thanks again). Unlike with Djoker/AZ, there is no statistical argument to make in KK’s favour. Thiem has dominant stats on clay, no doubt about that. But, other than a weird set against Gregoire Barrere (that I think Khachaonv just lost on purpose to cost me my bet) Khachanov has looked as good as anyone else not named Djoker or Nadal. I have an outright on Khachanov that I already fucked up (again…) against Delpo so, I’ll leave Zverev alone and hope he wins. If he doesn’t and that future dies, I’ll have to try and do something with KK. I think I’ll look live at Thiem if Khachanov wins one of the first two sets.
It’s doggy day in Paris (if we get tennis).
I’m already on Sugita, as a fade of Ivo, Ram, because is awesome on grass, and Staks/Lopez (Staks lined moved dramatically today after the rain) because they both have huge experience advantages on grass over their opponents, all from yesterday.
I’ll be adding Schnur/Evans, as they both have much better grass stats than their opponents.
Zverev ml, +600
Zverev +6.5, +110
Sugita ml, +162
Ramanathan ml, +100
Stak/Lopez ml, +104
Evans/Schnur ml, +108
Possible Thiem hedge in-play