Rain delays almost always suck. Thursday was no different. Sousa got extra rest, and Fed missed covering the spread by one game. Kyrgios fought back to force a third set and then lost by being fucking disqualified. Cecchinato won the the first three games of the match and then won FIVE more points in total in the first set on the way to a 36,26, loss. So much potential for a good day, once again thwarted.
Djokovic still lives. 3/1 is not sexy but, I’ll take it if it comes through. I’ll most likely have to look for some method of a hedge because Rafa is somehow super fucking Godzilla Rafa again. I’m guessing at this pace Rafa is going to be about -225 in the final if he faces Djokovic. 2016 Djokovic was favored on clay at this event over Rafa (Rafa +250). 2018 Djokovic was a huge dog at this event to Rafa (Rafa -600). I expect this one will land somewhere in the middle.
I think this line is too high. That’s the starting point. Djokovic was -225 at the US Open last year and it was also -225 on clay, here in Rome in 2017. Of course, Djoker won both those matches in straights. So, what could be driving this up? Well, Djoker hasn’t dropped a set in two weeks, won Madrid and is rolling through Rome Hes dropped a total of seven games in four sets and hasn’t been broken yet. Furthermore, he has won seven of the last eight matches with Delpo, dating back to 2013. That clay match in 2017 here in Rome, ended 61,64. Delpo was broken by Goffin and Ruud yesterday, and those seem like players a few steps below this version of Djoker. Even in down years like 2017 Djoker still had better hold/break numbers than Delpo and while I expect this may be closer than the line would indicate, Djoker should still easily win this. Delpo is still recovering from a pretty long lay off and he had to play two matches yesterday. On clay. Playing two matches is about the same as eating breakfast and lunch back-to-back for Djokovic.
Nishikori has managed to overcome Schwartzman all three times they have played. And I don’t want to over think that. Nishikori has far better hold/break numbers across a decent sample size in 2019 and his career record on clay is much better. Additionally, Nishikori is great in tiebreaks and nails in a third set (of which these two seem to play every time). Normally I would add an over here, based on their personal history (all three matches went three sets) and the closeness of their combined hold/break stats but, there were a whopping 16 straight set matches out of 20 yesterday. I have a real fear that with this disastrous schedule multiple players are simply looking for an excuse to get out or Rome. I’ll pass on the total and just get on Nishi to win.
Federer is a dog. Plus money. I can’t pass that up. I’ve faded Tsitsipas to my detriment a bunch of times in the last two weeks but, well, I’m a sucker for punishment I guess. He has to get tired at some point. He played the late, late match yesterday and has to come back for an afternoon match today. Fed’s stats have rebounded nicely from three years off and if anything, Fed showed in Dubai how much of a one-off that loss at Melbourne was. He staved off match points against Coric and I like that to motivate him a little here. He can see Rafa over the horizon, waiting on Saturday and that would be a nice test, I’m sure.
Nadal is fucking cruising. Like, this is unprecedented. Verdasco is 35 and is playing non-stop three setters. 6.5 games seems absurd but, I mean, Nadal has lost two games. All tournament. Two games. I think this is Nadal-on-a-mission mode. In their last four matches on clay, Nadal has won three of them and he has remarkably covered the -6.5 all three times. I expect Verdasco to be tired and Nadal to be Nadal.
Djoker/Nishi ml, -126
Federer ml, +110
Nadal -6.5, -110