ATP Tennis 2019 March 20, Miami Day 1

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New artwork to open the second leg of the Sunshine Double! Courtesy of the amazing @whale_capper, of course.

Who didn’t love GI Joe? I certainly don’t know everything about tennis but, hopefully after reading these every day, you’ll know what I know, for better or worse, and maybe that’ll help you land some bets. Knowledge is only half the battle though, as you’ll also know from reading these little blurbs - knowing when to actually place a bet helps too and I seem to leave money on the table all the time.

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Hit another outright last week. Although if it is possible to be disappointed by a cash, I certainly was. Imagine Djoker going out and then still having Fed lose in the final… it was a total replay of his match with Tsitsipas at the Aussie Open. Thiem went 3/4 on break points while Federer went 2/11. Kind of unreal.

Either way, my reads still seem on track, as Hurkacz at 300/1 and Isner at 100/1 both made deep runs. So, I’m still feeling pretty confident.

The outright preview is up @BangtheBook for those that like to read and @ballboyztennis for those that like to listen. Please check them out!

Day 1

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This is a straight fade of Bernard Tomic. He showed brief flashes of caring again late last year when he sprinted to the finish line in an attempt to gain direct entry to the Aussie. It worked and he has since done… nothing. Tomic has two wins in 2019, one over #130 Lukas Lacko and one over #531 Lucas Gomez. And he dropped a set to both. Berdych also owns a 5-0 head-to-head record against Tomic and has massive advantages over the Australian in hold/break stats. I’ll parlay Berdych.

Delbonis has one win on hard courts at the ATP level, including qualifying, since April 2017. It was over Ryan Harrison (not impressive). Delbonis has three wins this year on hards, at the Challenger level, in January, and the highest ranked player he beat was Gregoire Barrere at #163. Gojo isn’t having the most impressive season so far in 2019 and, most concerning, he has never won in Miami. The qualifiers? His most recent losses in 2019 were to Berrettini in Phoenix, who went on to win the event, and Roger Federer in Indian Wells, who made the final and is, well, Roger Federer. Gojo has distinct statistical advantages over Delbonis in every category I look at (other than history this event) . I feel pretty comfortable that Gojo can get past Delbonis here and I’ll match him with Berdych.

If you are looking for a dog today, Janko Tipsarevic may be your best bet. Tipsarevic has had an interesting and varied career. A former top ten guy who has suffered various ailments, he seems to somehow still have protected rankings left. If he is in the draw, you’d have to assume he is motivated, and he has the benefit of playing Bradley Klahn in round one. The stats obviously don’t tell a story that points hard to Janko but Klahn is hardly a huge threat. Klahn wins less than 30% of his hard court matches and his hold/break numbers are poor to say the least. Tipsarevic is travelling from Thailand, so I’ll ultimately avoid this match but if you are someone who discounts travel burden and you’re looking for a plus money shot, Janko might be your guy.

Normally I would discount Andreozzi on hard courts but he acquitted himself well in Indian Wells and he went to the semi-finals in Phoenix last week, losing to eventual champ Berrettini. And Kukushkin is coming off a crushing loss in the finals, also to Berrettini. Kukushkin had three match points and SIXTEEN break points. He ended up dropping two tiebreaks in heart breaking fashion. This match is a straight pass.

I’m having a hard time with Taylor Fritz. I backed him outright in Indian Wells and he disappointed, bigly. He has two solid wins in 2019, over John Isner and Gael Monfils - and both heavily involved him winning coin flip tiebreaks. Outside of those, he has disappointed, losing puzzling matches to Steve Johnson, Mackenzie McDonald, Cameron Norrie and Denis Kudla. Marterer is hardly a stellar hard court player but he is boasting better hold/break numbers in 2019 on the surface and it is enough to make me pass on this match.

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Ivashka, like Fritz, disappointed me in Indian Wells. He holds decent sized advantages in hold/break numbers over Fabbiano and Fabbiano wins on hard courts less than 30% of the time. After going three rounds last week in Phoenix, Ivashka is now on his fourth straight week of playing tennis, with travel, so, I’ll pass on this match.

ARV is hardly good off clay courts. But, he is having a better year on the surface than Copil, which is surprising. And ARV holds a 2-0 head-to-head over Copil. I would never back the Spaniard on hard courts though, so I’ll pass on this. In fact, given the surface, despite the stats presented and the head-to-head history… Copil may be a decent dog.

Berrettini and Hurkacz both are coming off successful weeks, both are having decent 2019’s and they have very similar hold/break stats on hard courts. Not surprisingly this is lined as a pick’em, making it an easy avoid.

I don’t know enough about Nicola Kuhn to make a call here. He has decent hold/break stats given his age and Mischa is having a terrible time of it. Zverev’s guile and experience could carry him through though and this is another easy avoid.

RCB and Kudla have very similar hold/break numbers and winning percentages on hard courts. They both have also historically struggled to get through qualifying here. I don’t see an edge here.

Jeremy Chardy made a run to the fourth round here last year. It’s a new venue but Chardy should be motivated to maintain whatever ranking he can this week and he has been given the draw to do it. Chardy and Jarry have almost identical hold/break stats on hard courts and both have slightly losing records in tiebreaks. They are both big serve kind of players and I expect a tiebreak or two here. I lean to Chardy for two reasons - the aforementioned success in Florida and the fact that Nic Jarry is now playing tennis for the ninth straight week. I am not sure I have ever seen this before. Jarry is playing a Thiem-like schedule and paying the price for it. Other than last week at a Challenger event in Phoenix, Jarry has only made it out of the first round of a tournament twice this year - beating a slumping Frances Tiafoe and the underwhelming Robin Haase over a few tiebreaks. I’ll take Chardy on the small -1.5 handicap.

Berdych/Gojo ml, -109
Chardy -1.5, -138

PS, this tweet is still valid… I may or may not have parlayed these for the cost of a lunch

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Good luck