I didn’t get a chance to write on Saturday night and therefore lost the chance to use another Mr. Perfect pic. That hurts.
On top of that disappointment Sunday was another example of not to hedge a bet. In the past I have showed horrible ability at deciding when to hedge and how. Yesterday was a lesson in when I should have hedged. Talked about dominate Rafa was looking, how Djoker had struggled through three sets in both the quarters and the semis, and that fact that Djoker had to play the night semi-final while Rafa got the afternoon semi (afternoon semi-final winner has now won 12 of the last 13 Rome finals). And I didn’t hedge. I really thought Djoker could get to 3-all or 4-all before succumbing to fatigue. It didn’t happen, he got bagelled and breaksticked and I never got in live. Brutal.
Anyway, on to Geneva and Lyon. There is a podcast out and an article up at Bangthebook. Read and listen - I appreciate it, every time.
It’s not a week to go crazy, as motivation will be questionable across the board, so four outrights, all at small stakes.
Seven matches on day one in Geneva and the first one is probably the only one I’ll have action on. Tipsarevic is, like Delpo, a case study in a lost career. In the prime of his career, at 28 years old, Tipsarevic spent 20 straight months in the top 10. He made the quarter-finals of the US Open in back-to-back years and … was never really heard from again. He comes in on what may be his last chance to gain a foothold back on tour. Protected rankings aren’t really publicized and I don’t really know all the details. The fact that a 250 tournament chose to spend a wild card on him, ranked 317th in the world, means he is probably either out or almost out of protected ranking chances though. So, motivation should be ultra high. When he has played in 2019 he has decent losses - RBA, Dimitrov, and Querrey. He went to the third round in Houston, a clay event, and lost in two tight tiebreaks. As for his opponent, Gojo has had a rough go of it lately. In his last five tournaments he has one win, over #90 Lloyd Harris, and has lost in qualifying three times. Gojo has only won two matches in a row one time in 2019, in Rotterdam where he beat the #94th and #99th ranked players before dropping a match to Andreas Seppi. I’m basically throwing the stats out the window and taking plus money on Tips - Gojo is a career 36% winner on clay and I don’t think he should be favored here.
Hugo Dellien is the kind of guy we’ve seen a few times in the past few years. A South American Challenger level player who has a decent Golden Swing and parlays that burst of success into entry into a bunch of 250’s and 500’s across the rest of the ATP calendar. It usually doesn’t end well and after about 12 months those points drop off and the guy is back to the Challenger level. In past years we’ve seen guys like Delbonis, who won Sao Paolo, Thiago Monteiro who had back-to-back quarter-finals in Rio and Sao Paulo in 2016, Inigo Cervantes (Spanish, I know) who went to the semis in Sao Paulo. These guys go on to win basically nothing in Europe. Dellien has a clone this year as well - Juan Ignacio Londero who won Cordoba, parlayed it into some direct entries in North America and Europe this spring and… has won one main draw match. Guido Pella is the one guy I can think of that ‘broke out’ late in his career at a South American tournament and actually sustained it. Pella went to the final in Rio out of no-where in 2016 at like 25 years of age and he has since risen into the top 30 where he has stayed pretty consistently. Cristian Garin might be the second - we’ll see how next year pans out. I think Dellien might be closer to the former group of players than the latter. Since making back-to-back quarters during the Golden Swing he has been to Miami, Houston, Barcelona, Estoril, and Madrid. He has one main draw win. Over Gilles Simon. His opponent in round one is Andreas Seppi, who hasn’t won a match in a while. Both guys will be on playing on zero gas too. This is Dellien’s seventh straight tournament without a week off and for Seppi it is week number six in a row. If you have to bet this, bet the under.
Dimitrov won two matches in row! I’m sold. Kidding. I know it was only qualifiers but, Delbonis is a qualifier level kind of player. And Dimitrov is only -250. This is a slam dunk for me. Despite his failings Dimitrov is better than Delbonis on this surface across the board. The draw should be wide open for Dimitrov (I took an outright on him - listen to the pod!) and he should be motivated to get some ranking points back, as I doubt he has any delusions about winning Roland Garros.
Oh, man. I was close to throwing an outright on Jarry this week. He should be an easy winner on Monday but, his form has been hit and miss and the price is way outside the lines. Pass.
Kudla and Thompson. Is this a grass match? Two dudes who win less than 40% of the time on clay. Two dudes with combined hold/break numbers below 90% last year on this surface. Stay away.
i don’t know enough about Zapata to make a bet here. He’s played four straight weeks on the Challenger tour and hadn’t entered an ATP level event this year before this week. He came to Geneva last year and made it through qualifying and won a match in the main draw, so he knows the lay of the land. It’s hard to know what to make of his win yesterday though, as his opponent was off to play in the French qualies so, this is a hard pass for me. Taro Daniel has pretty average clay court stats and outside of a shock title in Istanbul last year he hasn’t had a ton of success on the surface. Despite entering seven clay events in 2019 he has a grand total of three main draw wins. No thanks.
Sonego might be a bit of a late bloomer but, being Italian he is trained on clay and being 6’3 he slams down a serve and holds more than 80% of the time across the last two seasons. He managed back-to-back quarter-finals at the outset of the spring clay season in Monte Carlo and Marakech and his loss last week in Rome is no shame - a tight three setter to Khachanov. Sonego has better hold/break numbers on clay than Albot across the last two years, decidedly so in 2019, and Albot has not been impressive on clay in 2019. Albot has three wins to speak of and they were against the 70th ranked Bedene, the 115th ranked Stakhovsky and an indifferent Paire. I'm on Sonego.
Can you bet against Sinner? He has rocketed into attention in the last month or so. From playing ITF events in the winter to running through qualies in Budapest, to making a final in Ostrava the next week, to beating Steve Johnson in Rome last week. The stats don’t look good yet - his hold/break numbers are very below average but, he is obviously out-performing those. Kukushkin has lost his last five matches in a row but the quality of competition has been much, much higher than Sinner potentially is at. Kohl, Djere, Berrettini, Tsitsipas, and Tiafoe are all seasoned winners on tour. I’ll pass on this match as I don’t see an edge.
Tomic is not a clay player and consistent hold/break stats under 90% prove that out. Diez is not an ATP level player though. I want no part of this match. My guess would be it’s coming in under the total as one of these guys is going to no-show.
Klizan should be the winner here. That was my initial thought and the line shows him a decent sized favorite. That idea was based on recent form. Johnson hasn’t done much winning in 2019 and especially not on clay. Johnson has lost his last five matches and he’s decided to squeeze another tournament in here. However, when you look at Klizan, it is not much better. This is Klizan’s sixth straight week playing tennis and he has only two main draw matches to show for all that tennis. Both of their combined hold/break numbers are depressed in 2019 and I don’t actually see any statistical separation between these two. They should both be motivated to get off the skid and they both won’t have any delusions about winning Roland Garros. Pass.
Chardy and PHH both come in with solid serves, they both hold serve around 80% of the time on clay, and they have nearly identical hold/break stats across the last three years. They played last year at the French Open and went a full five sets. This seems locked and loaded as an over.
Ugo was the star of the show the last time the tour was in Europe, during the indoor hard court season. He made the semi-finals in Marseille and was riding high. Since then, though, Ugo has not won a main draw match. He has a couple of qualifier wins over guys ranked outside the top 150 but, since Marseille he is 3-6 with zero main draw success. Norrie has much better clay court stats, across the board, he is more seasoned and he should be motivated to make a dent in a wide open draw (very similar type draw to the final he made in Auckland at the start of the year). This is bettable.
The Gasman is back. He makes a living at these events, putting away the likes of qualifiers such as Maxim Janvier. Gasquet hasn’t looked terrible in his brief return and Janvier is a big step down from Federer and Chardy. This line seems massively low and out of touch with the available stats and form. Even coming off a long absence, Gasquet has better results than someone like Janvier who hasn’t strung together two consecutive wins since March, even at the Challenger level. His last four tournaments have seen losses to Stakhovsky, Majchrzak, Zhizhen Zhang, Mannarino on clay, and Bjorn Fratangelo. That is not an impressive list. I make this line closer to Gasquet -600.
Tipsarevic ml, +110
Dimitrov/Sonego ml, +114
Norrie/Gasquet ml, +104
Chardy/PHH o22.5, -110