Acapulco Semifinal Odds, Picks: Who Will Come Through Nadal vs. Medvedev & Tsitsipas vs. Norrie?
Hector Vivas/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniil Medvedev of Russia
It’s an exciting day for tennis fans as a rematch of the Australian Open final will be played in addition to a fascinating battle between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Cameron Norrie.
Rafa Nadal and Daniil Medvedev battled it out for the first Slam title of the year back in January, and they’ll now play with Medvedev set to take over as the world No. 1.
While the stakes aren’t quite as large in Acapulco, there is a place in the final on the line in addition to Nadal’s undefeated start to the year.
Will he be able to keep up his momentum?
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Stefanos Tsitsipas (-190) vs. Cameron Norrie (+150)
9 p.m. ET
Tsitsipas has been rolling in Acapulco since his opening round struggles with Laslo Djere, and he’s only been broken twice all tournament. Norrie hasn’t had as smooth of a ride, but each player has a 6-1, 6-0 win to their name in this event — a remarkable stat for an ATP-level tournament.
Norrie defeated Daniel Altmaier in the first round before getting by John Isner in the second, recovering from a set down. He throttled Peter Gojowczyk — who looked out of sorts in the quarterfinals — but Norrie was also playing at a high level.
These are the ideal conditions for Norrie, who won the Indian Wells Masters 1000 last year in similar circumstances. He likes to defend and dig in from behind the baseline, combining a difficult low backhand with a high loopy forehand.
With hard courts this slow, he thrives as it allows him to get a ridiculous amount of balls back in play and he has the patience to win with that style. His only loss in Rotterdam in similar conditions came against Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was playing at a ridiculous level.
Tsitsipas has looked solid throughout the week, but he was fortunate that he went 2-for-2 on break points against Marcos Giron while the American didn’t convert any of his four. The 6-3, 6-4 scoreline doesn’t really reflect the thin margins the match was played with.
The Greek’s hard court Elo Rating is about 80 points higher than the Brit’s, and that’s understandable. But in these conditions, there are few players that I’d back over Norrie and Tsitsipas is not one of them.
Norrie’s ability to generate six break points against Isner when he hit 27 aces behind a 67 first serve percentage is a testament to Norrie’s returning ability, and I anticipate it could cause Tsitsipas a lot of problems tonight.
Getting him at such a high number is a great spot to take advantage of.
Pick: Norrie +150 via DraftKings
Daniil Medvedev (-145) vs. Rafa Nadal (+115)
10 p.m. ET
It doesn’t get much better than this on Tour, and if you need any reminder of the epic that these two played down under, it’s always fun to have a look at the match.
As I mentioned above, the courts in Acapulco will be a bit slower than they were in Melbourne, and that should suit Nadal’s game a bit more than Medvedev. The ability to extend points is key, as is the slight neutralization of Medvedev’s serve.
Nonetheless, Medvedev has been very solid in Mexico thus far, with the power that is taken away from his serve being offset by his defensive ability. Medvedev has limited his opponents to just 11 service games won through six sets of play, and he should be able to generate opportunities against Nadal as well.
The Spaniard has been playing at a remarkably high level, but we saw a bit of a drop off in his second set against Tommy Paul. He finished the match with just a 58 first serve percentage, two aces, four double faults and seven break points conceded.
He can’t let that happen against Medvedev, because despite the fact that he got by in Melbourne with a 62% first serve rate, the slower courts in Acapulco put even more emphasis on the first serve. Nadal consistently put pace on his second serve in the Aussie Open final, taking risks to earn early advantages in points or just cheap points.
That won’t happen nearly as much on these courts, and while Nadal has been able to dominate off of the ground, Medvedev is a different beast to what he’s seen through three matches.
Of course, the mental edge should go to Nadal, who came back from the near impossible margin in Australia and came back from 5-1 in the third set of the pair’s ATP Finals meeting two years ago. Nadal has proven to be a tougher player mentally in this matchup, but I do feel that with pressure eased on Medvedev he’ll be able to maintain his level throughout the match more than he did in January.
After all, Medvedev was in firm control of the Australian Open final for about two and a half hours, but he turned incredibly tight, allowing Nadal to pick on his forehand that began to weaken.
For a player with a hard court Elo Rating approximately 160 points higher than Nadal, I believe that Medvedev’s play is still reflective of that, and he’s still the best hard courter in the world not named Novak Djokovic.
I don’t love the price that you have to pay, but I do think Medvedev wins this match closer to seven than six out of 10 times, so with an implied probability of 59%, I’m okay paying this number.
Medvedev will be able to generate more free points (22 aces and 78% first serve points won averaged over his first three matches), and he has the ability to outlast Nadal on the ground. As we saw down under, Nadal has the tools to outmaneuver Medvedev, but I’ll take my chances here.
Pick: Medvedev -145 via PointsBet
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