Well, how can you be more wrong than just wrong? I got every single side wrong on Tuesday. That’s actually hard to do. Thankfully, I hit some totals.
Also, I got screwed by a rain delay. Gasquet broke to take the second set on Monday night and was set to serve first and then the rains came. Chardy had a night to re-group and won the third set easily. That always sucks.
Zverev lost. The kid continues to amaze me. Djoker, Fed, Nadal and Thiem all get underway on Wednesday, weather permitting, so it should be an interesting day.
Is Djokovic going to care enough to whip Shapo? With Zverev going down Djoker must see a clear (and relatively easy) path to another final. But, will he drop into cruise control or will he keep his foot to the pedal? Pedal to the floor like Madrid, where he didn’t drop a set? Despite his struggles post-Aussie Open this year he still has a tendency to cover big spreads against players he “should” beat. Last week in Madrid, before running into Thiem, Djoker covered the -5.5 line against both Fritz and Chardy. And Shapo is the kind of guy that can get blown away on the red dirt. Other than a nice run in Madrid in 2018, the last two seasons have been brutal loss after brutal loss on clay for Shapo. He went out in the first round in Monte Carlo and Budapest in 2018, lost to the 70th ranked player in the world at Roland Garros, then followed that up with first round exits at all three clay events so far in 2019 - Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. Futhermore, when Shapo plays big named guys on clay he gets shelled - he lost 46,16 to Nadal and 46, 16 to Zverev in 2018. The hold/break numbers on clay leave little to the imagination, Djoker ran over Shapo with a final set bagel at the Aussie this year, and I expect that domination to continue even if Djoker is at half-mast. A 64,62 scoreline wouldn’t shock me at all. I’ll risk the big spread.
I’m on the Kohl/Cecch o22.5. I wrote it up yesterday, go check it out.
Oh man, Nick Kyrgios. Ever the temptress. Looks good, want to bet him; looks like garbage, hate that I ever considered betting him. Which guy shows up? Like Djoker, he must see Zverev tumble out and think, could I? He’s beaten Djokovic handily before so, the idea that he can go deep this week, even on clay, shouldn’t be out to lunch. Of course, it could rain and be miserable and Nick could decide to go home. Flip a coin. The tempting thing though (there’s that word again…) is that Ruud, while a rising star, doesn’t have any big scalps to his name. He beats guys he could be expected to beat, even as a teenager. Ruud has three top 40 wins to his name; two over Joao Sousa, a questionable top 40 guy on any day, and a retiring David Ferrer. Hardly impressive “big” wins. The price seems cheap here, based on the tennis community being generally high on Ruud and everyone being aware of Kyrgios’ penchant for tanking matches, especially on clay. I feel like I’m being sucked in but, I have to do it. This is a serious over-reaction.
Goffin has, maybe surprisingly, beaten Delpo twice recently. This is only Delpo’s second match back (and only his fifth of the year). I have described in detail, many times, Goffin’s ability to lose as a betting favorite in 2019. And these two fellas have almost identical hold/break numbers in each of the last three years. If you have to bet this match, bet the over. Otherwise, stay far away.
DSS owns ARV. Owns him. Three matches, three straight set wins where ARV couldn’t even get one set to a tiebreak. They’ve both been playing every week of the clay season but, ARV has additionally had to run through qualifying this week. If anything DSS should be fresher and he should have an amazing mental edge here. I’m all over DSS here.
Cilic won last week over Struff. Usually when there is a re-match so soon, the player who lost gets revenge. It happens all the time. And Cilic is far from being in great form - he was broken twice in the second set yesterday by a guy most tennis fans have never heard of. There’s a good chance Struff can get to Cilic’s serve on Wednesday. What I do see is two guys who have played three times and gone the distance all three times. 15 out of the 28 matches so far this week have gone three sets and 16 of the matches have gone over the 22.5 total. I’m on the over here.
Nishikori has beaten Fritz both times they have played. Relatively easily, including once on clay in Barcelona two weeks ago. Nishikori has a great history here in Rome and he should be a tad more fresh than Fritz. Fritz is, amazingly, playing his sixth straight week AND he had to go through qualifying this week. This doesn’t seem like it will result in peak performance come Wednesday. Nishikori should be able to run him off the court and the hold/break stats on clay back that up. Nishikori has massive advantages on this surface and I expect that to continue.
Tsitsipas has to run out of gas at some point. This could be a tricky match-up with a talented local kid who will have quite the partisan crowd. The line seems way out of whack. I’ll pass.
I can’t back Fog. I just can’t tell when he is going to show up. He has massive hold/break advantages and is obviously much more accomplished on clay. Fog just doesn’t have a great record here, at home, and I can’t trust that he’ll show up with Roland Garros looming.
Fed should roll. I have faith that his clay quest this year is not in vain. He wants and needs ranking points so he can catch Nadal by Wimbledon and get the second seed to avoid Djokovic. After one tournament back on the surface he showed he is still pretty elite. His hold/break numbers, in a small sample to be sure, quickly returned to elite levels (114%), near Djokovic and Thiem. Sousa squeaked by Tiafoe yesterday and has to turn around and play the best player of all time in the first match of the day. I’m jumping in deep, again, with another huge spread.
I mentioned this possibility on the podcast. I’m not saying Thiem is going to lose. He is amazing on clay and is maybe tennis’ best shot to end the “Big Four” era in Slams. But, he has historically struggled with Verdasco - he is 0-3 across all three surfaces. This is straight stay away. If you have to play it and want a lottery ticket, through a few bucks on Verdasco at +350. There is no statistical argument for it. But, there is a real chance Thiem is already looking ahead to the French and he could check out against a guy he already struggles with.
Something is off with Nadal. I’m not chancing anything here until we see him play.
Djoker -5.5, +110
Kohl/Cecchinato o22.5, -120
Kyrgios ml, -138
DSS/Nishikori ml, -117
Cilic/Struff o22.5, -138
Federer -5.5, +110