ATP Daily Hitter: Back to the Pouille-Well in Rome?
Photo via Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday morning’s hitter was a bit of a roller coaster for us, as Lucas Pouille hit Andreas Seppi off the court in the first set (6-2) before, ultimately, going down a break in the decisive third set.
But Pouille rallied back — showing great fight — and forced a third-set tiebreaker, which he went out and took with the help of this yuge forehand winner to set up match point (and an absolutely clinical “COME ON”).
In the end, it doesn’t matter how much you perspire, but whether you win or lose — and, Tuesday, we won. With another full slate of tennis Wednesday, we look to keep it rolling in the Italian capital.
YTD: 47-44 +11.23 units
Match: Lucas Pouille (+140) vs. Kyle Edmund (-160)
When: Not before 1 p.m. EST
H2H: Pouille leads 2-1 (Edmund win by retirement)
Back to the Pouille well for us, folks.
Similar to Dominic Thiem’s first-round (near-nightmare) match vs. Borna Coric last week in Madrid, I get the feeling that Pouille can use his early tournament adversity to springboard him forward in Rome.
Aside from one game at 3-4 in the second set, when Seppi broke Pouille to force a third — and at 2-3 in the third set, when Pouille tightened up — the Frenchman served quite efficiently Tuesday. He hit his first serve 64% of the time, a decent rate, and won 75% of those first serves (stellar stuff). If he can handle business on his serve again Wednesday, I see this match playing out far closer to a pick ’em, or even advantage Pouille.
Over the years, Pouille has proven he can handle Edmund’s power and still dictate matches on his own terms. The pair met thrice last year, and Pouille won two, including the only match played on clay — a Davis Cup clash, which Pouille won in straight sets (3-0).
I watched the tape from that match this morning and fancy Pouille to get the better of “Nice Guy Eddie” on the slow clay courts in Rome. While Edmund and Pouille have similar firepower in terms of offensive ability, it’s Pouille who is the far better counterpuncher, and that’s what stood out to me watching the tape.
After watching these courts for a couple of days, I can’t see Edmund hitting through Pouille — at least not consistently — which will give Pouille a chance to strike back on the counterpunch. Edmund had his hands full in his first-round match against Malek Jaziri — who plays a similar (almost generic version) style as Pouille — and I’m keen on Pouille to finish Eddie off.
Back to Pouille we go.
THE PICK: Pouille +140