Well, Day one did not go as planned. Windy outdoors conditions, super slow courts, coupled with travel and, probably, just poor handicapping on my part led to a 1-3 day. Ugo Humbert and Cameron Norrie were simply run right off the court.
Anyway, I read somewhere on Twitter that losses count as +2 units earned for “learning”. So, I consider yesterday a learning experience. Right?
Four Frenchman played yesterday, they went 0-4. Is Mannarino going to turn that luck? I don’t think so. Sandgren won a tournament in outdoor, slightly windy, conditions in the South Pacific earlier this season. Neither of these guys look in good form, having lost in round one in Acapulco. And outside of Auckland, neither guy has been able to put together a stretch of wins in 2019. Sandgren is even on a three match losing streak. I suspect he’ll be able to get on the winning track today though. I watched Sandgren play in a match against Henri Laaksonen in Hawaii that was so windy the court signage was blowing away. He should be fine here. Sandgren has better hold/break numbers on hard courts across the past two years and his losing streak hasn’t been to plugs - he lost to Opelka in New York (Opelka won the tourney) and to Ferrer in Acapulco (legend). I’ll take the dog money here.
I have a tiny outright on Hurkacz and after yesterday I am super nervous about this match. Guys like Ivashka and Humbert who had never been to Indian Wells before got run over. The slower conditions may blunt the service advantage Hurkacz has and Young played last week in the Indian Wells Challenge event, so he is used to these conditions. Young is probably a live dog, despite his last few years in the tennis wilderness. I’m plenty nervous.
My other ting outright is on Fritz. The story is the same for him as it is for Hurkacz. I’m plenty nervous. Now, the differing factor here is Fritz has previous success at this venue. Fritz went to the fourth round last year, in the process turning around a dismal start to his season. Fritz on a Challenger event a month ago in Newport Beach and hasn’t played much tennis since. So, he could be rusty. The hold/break stats are really close across of the past three years and I don’t think I’ll get involved here. If anything, take the over; it is set at 23.5. They have played two matches, one ended in three tight sets and one ended 76,76.
I’m always down to fade Taro Daniel. the guy drives me nuts. Lajovic has the better hold/break numbers on hard courts the last two years by a significant margin - 2019 has been a struggle for both guys, and as they are both sporting hold/break numbers in the 80’s, I’ll toss those out. The courts are playing slow enough that being a clay courter like Lajovic should help and Lajovic has beaten Daniel all three times they have played (twice on clay). I’ll take the cheap handicap here.
I wrote extensively about guys coming off maiden titles last year. It can go one of two way - motivational, spurs you onward, you do well the next week…. or you party and relax. The second option is very true when it happens to older guys (look at Tennys Sandgren, just mentioned above). Albot “broke through” at 29! He is 0-4 lifetime against Copil and Albot took last week off after winning. I’ll avoid this match, feels like Copil or nothing.
Jarry and Tiafoe are both in terrible form. Terrible. I lean hard to Tiafoe here just based on how bad Jarry was in February. But, if you’ve been following along for any amount of time you know I don’t bet Tiafoe…..
Is Dan Evans the hottest tennis player on the planet right now? Semi-final last week in Indian Wells, finals in Delray Beach, finals in Quimper. Dude is legit fire right now. Couple that with Wawrinka’s inconsistency in non-Slam events and this is Evans or pass. I’ll pass just because in all that winning Evans only beat two top 50 players (Isner and Tiafoe in Delray).
Seppi and Gojo are almost the same player - within 4% each year on hold/break stats, career winning percentage within 0.030% both had 21 wins on hards last year. Total pass. Maybe the over? They have played twice and both went three sets.
Qualifying, in these conditions and with these courts may be super helpful - three qualifiers won matches yesterday. Munar has never been to Indian Wells before and I’m hesitant to back him here. Popyrin went through qualies, played in Acapulco last week (Munar is travelling from South America) and their hold/break numbers, while in Munar’s favor, are pretty close. Popyrin or avoid and I’ll pass.
Re-read the above paragraph. The advantages in stats that Gulbis enjoys here are even more pronounced than Munar. But, Bolt came through qualifying AND he played til the quarters last week in the Indian Wells Challenger. Gulbis doesn’t have a great history here and I’ll pass (came real, real close to betting Gulbis -1.5, -125).
Istomin came through qualifying, should be acclimatized, he was in Indian Wells last week, and he has slight advantages in hold/break numbers over Haase in each of the past three years. Haase is travelling from Dubai and is having a terrible year - he has two wins, over 35 year old GGL and #336 Dimitar Kuzmanov. This pick is really bucking the h2h which I usually adverse to when it gets up to to 3-0 and 4-0 and beyond but, Haase just seems a great fade and I’ll grab the -1.5, -120 here.
Sandgren ml, +100
Lajovic -1.5, -125
Istomin -1.5, -120