ATP Tennis 2019 May 11

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Am I the biggest Alex Zverev sucker out there? Maybe only @jaystennis20 is a bigger one. I’ll wait till after the French to really re-visit it but, man, oh man. Frustrating losses for the kid.

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The Fed future died. And I missed the glaring chance to easily hedge because I thought the greatest tiebreak player ever might squeak out a tiebreak. I was greedy and wrong. I should have stuck to original convictions. Hurts.

Day 6

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Blockbuster city. And disclaimer time. I’m the biggest supporter of a “Lost Boys” slam break through, a #nextgen Slam break through, an anyone-other-than-the Big Four/Five Slam break though (one that isn’t a one off like JMDP/Cilic). I think Thiem is uniquely situated as the one to do it, in that he could conceivably win the French or the US Open and I don’t think too many people would be surprised. I’m also not a fan of NOvak Djokovic.
But….
I’m going to be on Djoker. Lots of people will point to the recent head-to-head and say that the last two meetings between these two have both been on clay, they are both recent, and Thiem won them both in stunning fashion. They split tiebreaks but the other four sets in those two Thiem wins were all Thiem. Here’s what people need to remember; these were both post French Open 2016, during Djoker’s sojourn through mediocrity. The clay hold/break stats in the last three years are remarkably similar, as is their career clay winning percentage (if nothing else this comparison lends credence to the fact that Thiem is oh, so close). So, on a statistical basis, the line looks right. However, if I said to you, context aside, you can have Novak Djokovic at -125… against anyone, on any surface… would you even balk at it? The only time he was lined even close to this was the 2019 Aussie Open final, against Rafa, where he was -130. He won 63,62,63. The only other recent matches I can find where Djoker was even lined under -500 was against Federer in Paris in 2018, which he also won (albeit in way tighter fashion) and against Zverev in Shanghai (-300) where he won 61,62.
Anyway, I think Djoker shows up in these spots - his “shocking” losses recently have been to RBA, Kohl, and Medvedev… maybe matches he wasn’t “up” for. My opinion of Djoker is that all he cares about is Slams now (post French 2016). None of those 2019 losses had anything to do with a Slam - the first one and last one were warm-up events and the other two were hard court matches no where near a hard court Slam. Djokovic hasn’t been broken yet in Madrid, hasn’t dropped a set and must being seeing this match as a huge measuring stick for that up-coming slam. There are conceivably only two guys who can stop a second “Djoker Slam” and Thiem is one of them. Thiem is also coming off a massive, tough, tight, three setter yesterday. Djoker moneyline.

Head-to-head is not always instructive. For example, I just wrote a lengthy match preview above saying I am ignoring recent results. Sometimes though, it can speak volumes. Rafa owns better clay court stats than anyone in history so, studying those don’t help. My kids could look at those and pick Rafa to win. Especially at -700. But, Rafa has played Tsitty three times. And never dropped a set. Really, other than a second set tiebreak in Toronto, none of the them have even been close. Routine doesn’t even describe them. When they played on clay last year Rafa won 62,61. Like Djokovic, Rafa, I’m sure, can see Roland Garros in the distance and if yesterday is any indication, he is warming up. I’m not putting a whole lot of thought into this. I faded Tsitty yesterday based on what I thought was potential fatigue. After another three setter with a top five player, fatigue can only be more of a factor. Rafa rolls.

Djoker ml, -125
Rafa -4.5, -138

Good luck