ATP Daily Hitter: Best Sunday Value at the Miami Open
Bit of a let down for us yesterday in Miami, with Yoshi Nishioka failing to ever really get out of the gates. Unfortunately, the Czech was simply too good — and Yoshi never really got himself into the match. That was somewhat of a common trend among underdogs throughout Saturday, as Thanasi Kokkinakis proved to be the only dog who barked — having nicked a third-set breaker off of Roger Federer.
With another full slate of tennis action on Sunday, let’s close out the week strong.
Sunday Daily Hitter
Match: Juan Martin del Potro (-250) vs. Kei Nishikori
Where: Miami Open
When: Not before 2:00 p.m. EST
For years, I’ve looked forward to matches played between these two: the relentless offensive onslaught of Juan Martin del Potro versus the defensive counterpunching prowess of Kei Nishikori. This year, the rivalry is somewhat subdued, with the current form of Nishikori — but, luckily for Kei, I get the feeling that Delpo’s energy levels will give the Japanese player a fighting chance in this one.
In fact, I like Nishikori to scrap this out. After two long weeks back to back, in Acapulco and Indian Wells, I think del Potro might be vulnerable here in Miami. And a player like Kei, who can run down Delpo’s strokes and make him hit extra balls, is exactly the type of player I am looking to back against del Potro (and it’s not often that I’m actively looking to oppose Delpo).
Delpo hit just five aces against Haase in his last match (a messy three-set encounter) and if the big Argentine isn’t getting quick points on his serve today, it could be another long match. These courts in Miami seem to be playing a lot slower than Indian Wells, even, and I think Nishikori has the advantage on this surface — where he can run down balls and counterpunch from defensive positions. By the third set of his first Miami match against Millman, Nishikori seemed to have settled in and looked very comfortable tracking balls down from behind the baseline.
Since his return, Nishikori has been looking for that one “big” win against a top-tier player to give him some much-needed confidence — and today could be a perfect opportunity for him to knock out Delpo and continue his run at Miami. The longer this match goes, the more of an advantage I give to Nishikori — especially in front of the Miami crowd. So, at the very least, if Kei can push a third set — I think we’ll be in for an exciting finish. Nevertheless, at +204, I think this is a good shot to take.
DAILY HITTER: Kei Nishikori +204
Match: Diego Schwartzman vs. Milos Raonic (-154)
Where: Miami Open
When: Not before 9:00 p.m. EST
I fancy little Diego here. Raonic’s return has been a mix of good and bad reviews, but he still looks a little uncomfortable playing longer points. If Schwartzman can get himself into rallies, I like him to get the better of Raonic in most of their long exchanges. Raonic served and volleyed a bit last week (further evidence that he’s still a bit uncomfortable), but I don’t expect that tactic to fare well for the Canadian against Schwartzman. Schwartzman is a great counterpuncher that can find the passing lanes against net-rushers.
BONUS HITTER: Diego Schwartzman +129
Photo via Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports