ATP Daily Hitter: Best Saturday Value at Indian Wells

ATP Daily Hitter: Best Saturday Value at Indian Wells article feature image

Jan 19, 2018; Melbourne, Australia; Fabio Fognini during the match against Julien Benneteau (not pictured) in the Australian Open. Mandatory credit: Luttiau Nicolas/Presse Sports via USA TODAY NETWORK

Solid day for us, yesterday, getting two of our three plays home. Of course, it was the one we felt most “sure” about — Mikhail Kukushkin — who lost out in the third set (as the only favorite), while we cashed in our two dogs (Daniel +190, de Minaur +120). With another full card for us Saturday, let’s extend our good start to the tournament.

Saturday’s Daily Hitter

Match: Jérémy Chardy vs. Fabio Fognini
Where: BNP Paribas Open | Indian Wells
When: Not before 3:30 p.m. EST

This line looks a little generous toward the at-times-volatile Italian, with Fabio Fognini (pictured above) listed as a -225 favorite ahead of this one. In my opinion, I’d have this match a lot closer to the Fognini -150 (Chardy +120) range. Their last match — played on similar conditions last season in Miami — was priced at pick’em and played out in three tight sets. At +178, there’s a great deal of value with the Frenchman.

And Chardy looked really freaking good last round against the veteran Juli Benneteau. Frankly, I had my eyes more focused on Maxi Marterer (again) or even Taylor Fritz (at a nice underdog price) for today’s hitter … until I watched the film (AKA the TENNISTV replay) on Chardy’s opening round match. Man, Chardy’s first serve and forehand were firing. When Chardy’s feeling up to it, he actually plays a pretty brand of tennis; serving big and waiting for any short ball to come so he can pounce on it and put it away with the big forehand. And with how slowly these courts play off the ground — having a shot as big as Chardy’s forehand, which can end rallies in the blink of an eye, is a great weapon to have in the arsenal.

For me, this match will be won (or lost) on Chardy’s forehand. Fognini doesn’t serve big, which will give the Frenchman consistent chances to get himself into rallies. If his forehand is even close to as big as it was yesterday against Benneteau, he will put himself in a great spot to win this match. Another thing to keep in mind is the change in surface for Fognini, who just played three consecutive tournaments in South America on the clay. With this being just the first hard court match for the Italian since the quick-playing hard courts of Melbourne, I look for the Italian to struggle with point construction; at least early on.

But I like Chardy to get the result here and look for this one to be a vintage “bad Fognini” day. Stuckey and I have always joked in the past that Fabiolo often plays out like a box of chocolates. Some days (like the days Fognini comes out and beats the Rafa Nadals and Andy Murrays of the world), there’s nice warm salted caramel in the middle. But, other days, like the ones he loses to relatively unknowns … there’s licorice. Hopefully, for us, it’s a licorice-Fognini day today.

DAILY HITTER: Jérémy Chardy +178

Stuckey Says

Sofya Zhuk +107

Su-Wei Hsieh +179


Photo via Luttiau Nicolas/Presse Sports via USA TODAY NETWORK