ATP Tennis 2019 May 21

There are tight margins in tennis and I don’t seem to be landing on the right side of many of them right now. Chardy was returning serve at 5-4* in the second set and had two break points to take the set and secure the over. He didn’t convert and of course was broken the next game, lost the set and killed the over. Sonego was up 5-1 in the first set tiebreak, lost seven of the next eight points to drop the tiebreak 8-6 and then lost the second set tiebreak as well to give away the match. I would hate to know my record in tiebreaks in 2019. As for Norrie, well, I’ll eat humble pie on that one. No idea how Norrie gets spanked like that on clay.

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Three of my four futures haven’t kicked off yet. The one who did got through by the skin of his teeth on Monday.

Go give the @ballboyztennis podcast a listen to and/or read the @bangthebook article. There are some pretty good cases made for this weeks outrights.


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I wrote up Dimitrov yesterday. The match got pushed to today and the parlay died when Sonego lost. So, I still like Dimitrov, can’t believe the price is so low, think the books are giving “clay courter” Delbonis a little too much respect and will look to back Dimitrov again today.

I am purely fading Sousa here. Sousa is on his sixth straight week of tennis - Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Estoril, Madrid and Rome, now Geneva. In that time he has two wins on clay; he beat Alex Popyrin, who has two total clay matches in his career, and he beat Tiafoe in a third set break, a player who’s motivation is always in question. He has also lost to clay stars such as Adrian Mannarino. Sousa also played the Golden Swing, he went 2-3, beating Guido Pella, who was coming off backk-to-back semi finals and finals, and Londero, who was coming off his first ever title in Cordoba. It’s been an unimpressive 2019 for Sousa and I think he may also be a little tired, as he is not only playing for the sixth straight week but, drastically changing altitude. Players going from Rome to Geneva had very little success on Monday. Gulbis and Albot won but, they were also playing guys coming from Rome. Jarry and Kudla won but, they were both playing guys coming off long, long absences from the tour. If you look at Gojo and Seppi, they both lost matches they easily could have won to guys who didn’t have to change elevation. Leo Mayer is coming from Madrid to Geneva, which means he is not changing elevation. I like this. I also like that the elevation will help Mayer’s serve. Mayer consistently has better hold/break numbers than Sousa, every year, and he does better in tiebreaks - something that is prevalent at altitude (there were four tiebreaks played in eight matches so far and two more twelve game sets). I like Mayer at this price.

ARV is coming from Rome and that is a concern. But, Mannarino is coming from Lisbon, which is no better. And Mannarino is terrible on clay. Terrible. ARV has much, much better hold/break stats on clay across the last three years and their careers as a whole. They have played five times, Mannarino won all three on hards and ARV won both on clay. The two ARV clay wins were…. not close; 75,61 and 62,64. I like ARV big here.

I’m not sure how you bet on Lopez/Dzumhur. Lopez is on a retirement tour and hasn’t won a clay match yet this year nor played a regular schedule. Lopez has three wins on tour this year and they were over Lajovic on hards, an injury recovering Berydch and an ever-inconsistent Benoit Paire. For his part, Dzumhur has one main draw win since February and it was over #164 Chris Eubanks. These two guys, statistically, are also very similar. Their combined hold/breaks stats are within ten percent the last three years and their career winning percentages on clay are very similar. Dzumhur is travelling from Rome and Lopez has a big serve that may be aided by some elevation, so I did take Lopez in some DFS lineups but, this match is a pass.

Zverev’s reason for being in Geneva is confusing and I want no part of this match. Especially when the line is only -450 and dropping (it was -500 when I prepared the graphic). This should be closer to Zverev -1000. Maybe Gulbis on the plus games or the over. Straight pass for me.

I’m riding Tipsarevic for better or worse. I made the argument against backing Dellien yesterday and he barely squeezed by Seppi. This is Dellien’s seventh straight week without a break, his clay court stats are not overwhelming and he has very little success outside of South America. Tips is a vet who should be immensely motivated. The 45 ranking points Tip would get from winning today would most likely move him into the top 275 and the prospect of facing Gulbis in the quarters would be hugely enticing (Gulbis/Zverev will be on court just before). I’ll take the big dog money here.


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Cuevas is a guy I almost took an outright on this week. He has made back-to-back finals, in Estoril and Aix De Provence and gotten a week of rest. He has better combined/hold break numbers in each of the past three years than Hurkacz and clay is his best surface, obviously (all six tour titles he has are clay). I am going to pass though. The price tells me that the books feel the same about Hurkacz that I do. His clay court stats are on a straight upward trajectory and while he probably isn’t quite at Cuevas’ level yet he will be soon and an upset wouldn’t be out of the question. I’ll pass on this. The over is set at 22.5 and a bunch of tiebreaks here wouldn’t surprise me - it’s the best over bet on the board and I am tempted. Chardy/PHH may have swerved me from totals for a while.

This should be a slam dunk. Paire has better hold/break stats on clay by miles, his career record on clay is far better and really this shouldn’t be a contest. Two issues; one, Paire is coming from Rome and MM isn’t, two, Paire is one of the most inconsistent players on tour. He has a title this year and he has also been out in the first round an incredible NINE times. Paire could easily win this match, it should all be on his racquet, but, he could also easily give it away. I’ll pass.

What a contrast. Moutet is 5’9. Opelka is 6’11. Have you seen the pic of Schwartzman standing on a chair to shake hands with Ivo? We’re getting a repeat here. And I want no part of it. Opelka is playing his fifth straight week and coming from Rome. Moutet is coming from a final on Sunday in Samarkand. Straight pass.

FAA doesn’t have a stats that blow Millman out of the water but, it is obvious that FAA will get there, one day. As I pointed out in the preview article, FAA has a lot of recent losses but, they have all been to top quality opponents. I rightly predicted he would be a decent sized favorite against Millman and I think he’ll get through this.

PHH is a guy I have bet on a lot. Look at the clay court hold/break stats. They are going in complete opposite directions. Johnson is much better in 2017, they are almost identical in 2018 and this year PHH is getting close to the 105% number I love. Johnson is also in a horrible rut - losing his last five matches. PHH showed yesterday he could take down a decent clay player with a big serve. Johnson is not all that dissimilar to Chardy. I’m all over PHH.

Dimitrov/PHH ml, +110
Mayer ml, -120
ARV/FAA ml, -106
Tips ml, +162

Good luck