ATP Tennis 2019 May 8

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I can admit Cecchinato and Sousa were bad calls. Cecchinato had a tough clay opponent who also likes fast surfaces, I had no business making that bet. DSS had a good run here last year and the conditions are ones he appreciates. I probably should have avoided that. As for Sousa, there were a bunch of red flags I pointed out and then talked my way around. He still shouldn’t have lost to Mannarino on clay but, more importantly I should have avoided the match. The other gut punch was Steve fucking Johnson losing SIX straight points from 5-1 up in the second set tiebreak. Just once, just one damn time, I want to be on the winning side of one of those collapses.

Oh, and I had another retirement go against me. I laid out yesterday how I though the Opelka-Thiem match would go, it went exactly according to plan, I jumped in live, Thiem broke serve immediately, and Opelka retired. That’s now 1-11 on retirements. That is insane variance. That’s almost a $1,000 of profit I could sure use.

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I guess Coric at 50/1 wasn’t so great, huh? I will say, like the Johnson collapse and the Opelka retirement, Coric’s loss was a microcosm of what may be holding me back as a tennis bettor, in a larger sense. Coric went 0-12 on break points before finally converting one, albeit too late to matter. Like the Johnson loss, I never seem to be on the guy who converts two out of three break points and saves thirteen out of thirteen. It’s always the reverse. It is a trend, like the retirement one as well, that I’ll have to look deeper into.

Day three

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As I stated above in the whining/self-loathing section, these conditions should play perfectly for Schwartzman; he is very adept on clay and he is on record saying he enjoys faster surfaces. He has a better combined hold/break number than Chardy in every season on clay and obviously this year and last, he has far outperformed Chardy on the red dirt. DSS compiled 17 clay wins in 2018. The concern for me though, is the same as it was yesterday - this is DSS’ fourth straight week playing tennis and he is obviously lined up to play Rome next week. I suspect DSS wins but, I think the price is a little steep (my rudimentary model makes this closer to -150/-175) and the travel concerns me. I’ll pass.

I don’t think I have any desire to get involved in this Djere/Delpo match. Delpo, like Cilic, is under-rated on clay and if healthy could make some noise. But, it is his first match since February, and really, if you discount Delray Beach where he never really looked right, this is his first serious match since about October. Djere catch a tired and recovering Thiem by surprise on the Golden Swing in a similar spot and with a clay title and two other semi-finals this year, he is certainly capable. I would want a bigger number on Djere though to put a play in, so I’m out.

I can find points against both Fucs and La Monf. Monfils somehow trails Fucsovics in hold/break numbers in each of the past three years, which surprised me. I mentioned during qualies that players who routinely hold their serve more than 80% of the time were doing extremely well here in Madrid. That trend carried through into round one. The only players who routinely averaged more than 80% at holding serve to lose where Dimitrov and Johnson who both lost 67,67 and Kyrgios who obviously was here by mandate (PHH would be a fourth but, he was playing someone who similarly routinely holds above 80%). Fucs is someone who holds above 80% of the time on the regular, while Monfils is a tad more traditional of a clay player, with hold numbers in the low 70’s and break numbers just over 25. Monfils certainly dominated his first round match but that was to be expected (I was on Monfils over Seppi) so I don’t know what positives to take away from that other than Monfils didn’t get hurt. As for Fucs, the main drawback is this is week four without a break. That concerns me. I think Monfils gets this win just based on sheer talent but there is enough concerning material here that I’l pass.

Does Fog care? It’s the ever present question. On paper it looks like a routine 64,63 over Edmund. Yet, if you dig a little deeper, it looks like a true shitshow. Fog faced eight break points and Edmund faced 16! What really handed Fog the win was his ability to feast on second serves and at the same time protect his own second serve - he won 62% of second serve points on return and 52% on serve. That is impressive. His hold/break stats far outshine Millman’s in the last two years and of course their histories on clay couldn’t be more different. Millman is coming up the mountain from Estoril and he barely survived two tiebreaks against Steve Johnson. This looks like a Fog cakewalk and it is priced accordingly. I’m going to guess that fog cares - he took an extended two week vacation after winning Monte Carlo and now he can see Thiem and then possibly Fed in his front windshield. He beat Thiem last year on clay in Rome and probably wants to prove a point (another one) if given the chance. And if Fed tires and/or isn’t 100% by Friday, Fog might have dreams of a second Masters. A spread of -4.5 always scares me and I’ll stick to parlaying this.

Tsitty should truck Mannarino. I’m not touching something with this big of a line.

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Two guys stuck in slumps, looking to break out. Verdasco hasn’t been able to string together two wins in a row since early, early February and he hasn’t beaten two top 100 players in a row since October. His win over Radu Albot was far from confidence inspiring as he once again lost focus and from a set and a break up, gave away the second set (AND MY UNDER BET). As for Khachanov, Munar was his first win in, literally , ages. Their clay court stats are close enough that there isn’t much of an edge here. I expect Khachanov is rightly favored and should squeak through but, -175 feels expensive, this is his fourth straight week of playing, and I’m not sure what Verdasco is going to bring to the table. I could see three sets here more than any other match on the card. Pass.

I can’t believe Pouille saved twelve break points in a row and beat Coric. Surprised me. Makes me not want to get involved here at all. I like Hurkacz (had a future on him already this year) and I expect him to finish what Coric should have. He’s done it once already this year to Pouille, albeit not on clay. I’m going to pass just based on Pouille’s experience and the fact that maybe, just maybe, Bordeaux instilled some confidence in the Frenchman. Pass.

Zverev is just the kind of guy that would not give two shits about tradition, good byes, and respecting a tour vet. You can easily see how someone like RBA may have taken his foot off the gas. Zverev won’t. Zvrev smacked Ferrer on clay the last time they played on the surface and he ran away with the second set in Acapulco earlier this year. I think this is a motivated Zverev, looking to defend points he needs to keep after blowing Munich last week. His clay court stats are competitive with the best on tour and I expect he’ll be too much for Ferrer, especially considering Ferrer is playing on back-to-back days after going three, gruelling sets with RBA. Zverev wins.

Can’t do much with a -700 line. Nishikori should be fine.

Pella has to run out of gas at some point, right? He has played more ATP level tournaments (13) than anybody else. And he is making deep runs all the time. This run through Europe for example has seen Pella go four deep in Monte Carlo, four deep in Barcelona, and three deep in Munich. Then he goes three sets with Medvedev. Wawrinka, statistically, is a better clay player than Pella. The only place Pella looks better, despite all his winning in 2019, is his 2018 hold/break numbers. And 2018 is a year Wawrinka spent recovering from considerable injuries. Wawrinka doesn’t routinely make deep runs in Masters series events but, and this is pure storyline, pure narrative, not statistical at all, Wawrinka has been making some waves off the court. You can imagine someone would really want to back those kinds of waves up with some solid play. I see a motivated Stan here, playing above and beyond his stats and dispatching Pella here.

I’m going to bet against Tiafoe. Send me your hate dm’s early. I can’t get away from this. It never ends well. But, Kohl is better in every single statistical category I present. There isn’t any argument you can make for Tiafoe from a stats perspective. Even if you compare travel schedules, Tiafoe is coming up 2,000 feet while Kohl is moving over from a similarly elevated Munich. I’m sure this won’t end well.

How sick is Nadal? I feel like this dude is the off-court version of Monfils on-court. If Monfils hobbles around the court when he is playing, always looking injured, well, Nadal spends every second off the court whining about his various ailments. There is a great chance he shows up and just trucks FAA. This happens all the time. Nadal pulled out of Indian Wells, sat out for a month complaining about his knees then showed up in Monte Carlo and laid waste to RBA and Dimitrov before slowing down against Pella. Statistically there is no case to make for FAA. And historically, FAA has actually done better against big named, top ranked guys on hard courts (see Miami and Indian Wells) than he has on clay (see Zverev and Nishikori the last two weeks). 5.5 seems like a big number for Nadal to cover if he is not 100% healthy on a faster hard clay court. I really want to back the kid here and maybe this is, again, more narrative than stats based but, he did look amazing against Shapo. I’ll take the handicap.

Kohl/Fog ml, -110
Stan/Zverev ml, +104
FAA +5.5, -138

Good luck