Daily ATP Hitter: Will Lucas Pouille Continue “Road” Heroics In Italy
We were stricken with another episode of “Morning Sickness” on Monday, as our hitter, Karen Khachanov, lost 7-5, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (6) to Philipp Kohlschreiber. KK blew a 5-2 lead in the first set (squandering a set point on Kohlschreiber’s serve for 6-2), and then, most impressively, at 6-all in the final tiebreaker, bungled a SITTING FOREHAND, which clipped off the tape and hung up for him, pretty much deciding the match.
Imagine losing a match on this point (6 all in third set breaker) pic.twitter.com/CpKZ9V4Deg
— djs (@scottipippen) May 14, 2018
Had he hit it anywhere INSIDE THE LINES of the court, he probably would’ve won the match. But I guess it just wasn’t in the cards for us. And, with that, we shake it off and look ahead to more tennis from Rome on Tuesday morning.
Match: Lucas Pouille (-125) vs. Andreas Seppi (+105)
When: Not before 6 a.m. EST
H2H: Pouille leads 1-0
Good match, this. It seems oddsmakers have finally adjusted their price on Pouille, given the Frenchman’s poor form of late, which is evident from the “pick ’em” price on this match.
And while it will, indeed, be a “home match” for Seppi, it won’t be the first time these two will play a match on the Italian’s home soil, or clay, rather. Just last month, the two met during Italy and France’s Davis Cup tie (which was played in Italy on clay), and Pouille was priced at -278 ahead of that one.
France knocked out Italy in that Davis Cup tie — and it was Pouille who had the decisive wins (against Seppi and the Italian No. 1, Fabio Fognini). So that leads me to believe there’s a ton of value with Luca here at his discounted price (half off!), especially after Pouille showed and proved he can deliver in hostile territory, so to speak.
From a style perspective, the edge certainly goes to Pouille, whose game is so much bigger than Seppi’s. Pouille’s got the advantage serving (don’t get me started on Seppi’s second serve), he’s got the advantage off the ground, and — on a slow clay court — he’s got the advantage in terms of surface as well.
Seppi’s never been one to perform at this tournament, posting a mediocre 8-12 record at the Rome Masters. Pouille, on the other hand, enjoyed a minibreakthrough here when he advanced to the semifinals as a lucky loser in 2016.
Both men lost in their first match here last year — Pouille in two tight tiebreakers vs. Sam Querrey and Seppi, as a wild card, vs. Nico Almagro. I think Pouille can bounce back in Rome and make another deep run this year. But that all starts with a win Tuesday.
At around pick ’em, I’ll happily back Pouille.
THE PICK: Pouille -125
Photo via Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports