Wednesday Hitters: Australian Open Day 4 Betting Value
© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Gilles Simon called it quits (in somewhat epic fashion) after going down 3-0 in the second set of his second-round loss to Pablo Carreno Busta. Simon appeared to be in charge of play until an injury flared up midway through the first set. Each book has different rules for tennis wagering, so make sure you always double check the fine print about refunds. With another 16 matches on tap for Day 4 at the Australian Open, let’s poke around tonight’s card.
Lukáš Lacko (-625) should get the job done against Nick Kicker (who prefers the clay), but he’s far from a reliable favorite, especially at that price. Domi Thiem (-1000) takes on American Denis Kudla in what should be one-way traffic, as Kudla’s reckless game won’t bother Thiem. Albert Ramos (-230) vs. Tim Smyczek should be interesting, though. Ramos has been tragic of late, and Smyczek plays the methodical brand of tennis that won’t be overly bothered by the pushing style of Ramos. Smyczek won the only match played between the pair back in 2013. Interestingly enough, it was Smyczek who was a solidly priced favorite there. There’s value with Smyczek tonight at +190.
Hungarian Márton Fucsovics (+225) has always possessed the talent but has never put it all together over the years. However, he’s had better results over the past six months, solidifying his spot in the top 100 of rankings. He won’t back down tonight against Sam Querrey in a matchup of two similar games. Both players have big first serves and hit flat, powerful strokes from the baseline. Querrey didn’t face one break point in his first-round victory over the fading game of Feli Lopez. Value sits with the underdog Fucsocvics tonight, who has the thrashing groundstrokes to take down Querrey
Later on, we will get to watch the electric game of Tomáš Berdych (being facetious) against “over king” Guillermo García-López, who has been an interesting case over the past year or so. He spent much of last season off Tour — opting instead for Challenger level tournaments. GGL should come into this match brimming with confidence after eviscerating Ben Paire in the first round. GGL has the offensive weapons to take Berdych deep, but that’s not really a dice I want to roll.
Hyeon Chung (-225) will face Daniil Medvedev in tonight’s NextGen battle royale. I’m still not sold on Chung’s ability to put points away, with his offensive game lacking a true go-to weapon. Medvedev has a more refined attack, but the mental side of his game has question marks. Oddsmakers seem pretty confident in Chung, pricing him above two dollars, but I have to disagree. Medvedev, who has played some of the best tennis of his young career over the past month, is definitely not getting enough respect from layers. It is worth noting Medvedev could have tired legs following his title run last week in Sydney.
The match of the night features Novak Djokovic (-556) and Gaël Monfils at Rod Laver around midnight EST. The extreme athleticism of Monfils will provide a true test for the offense of former World No. 1 Djokovic. Monfils will probably start hot, but Novak should get across the finish line with relative ease. I expect Djokovic to put on a show tonight, proving to the world that he is indeed a threat in Melbourne.
Juan Martín del Potro (-500) takes on Karen Khachanov in a big-hitting affair. The two have pretty similar power games, but the forehand of del Potro should dictate against the young Russian. Fabio Fognini (-333) looks a bit overpriced against another Russian, Evgeny Donskoy, but I will stay far away. Fognini at a price close to -350 simply does not warrant any consideration, but I’m also not running to bet Donskoy.
Frenchman Richard Gasquet should show his class as a huge favorite against Italian Lorenzo Sonego. The same could be said for Fernando Verdasco ahead of his match against German Maximilian Marterer, although you can never rule out a letdown match from the inconsistent Verdasco. David Goffin looks overpriced against Juli Benneteau, who has given him headaches in the past (1-2 against Benneteau H2H). If Goffin comes out as sluggish as he did last match against Matthias Bachinger, Benneteau could pull off the upset.
I have had “Gojo vibes” for a few days now ahead of the Peter Gojowczyk – Sascha Zverev (-625) bout. I previously wrote about my concerns with Zverev’s forehand — and Gojo hits so flat and through the court that he can expose Sascha’s short forehands. We will see if he can actually win three sets against the World No. 4, but Gojo has the game to make this an uncomfortable match for Sascha from the start. And, finally, I fancy both Swiss players, Roger Federer (-5000) and Stan Wawrinka (-278), to get through to the third round.
Jiří Veselý +215
If you’ve followed my writing (or my Twitter) for any substantial amount of time, you’ve heard me preach one recurring mantra: NEVER BACK MANNARINO AT A BIG PRICE. Tonight, we have a prime opportunity to apply that mantra, with the Frenchman listed as a big favorite (-278) against Czech Jiří Veselý.
Over the past three Australian Opens, Mannarino has lost to players who I consider to have big serves. Last year, Mannarino got ousted by Khachanov, who has a hearty first serve. The year prior, Mannarino got bounced by Sam Groth as a big favorite; obviously, Grothmeister has a huge serve (and not much else). And, the year before that, Mannarino couldn’t handle the serve (or heat) against Feli Lopez. Tonight, he will face the (at times dominant) first serve of Veselý. With the Czech player finally getting himself off the Australian Open snide (winning his first match against Šafránek), I think Veselý can go one more round here.
The weather forecast calls for a blistering sunny day on Day 4, which would benefit the serve of Veselý — while potential hurting the energy level of Mannarino, the defensive pusher. Additionally, I’ve been impressed with Veselý’s performance thus far from behind the baseline. Granted, Šafránek is far from Agassi on the other side of the net, but Veselý didn’t back down from any long rallies or prematurely pull the cord on points. He has complete control of his backhand at the moment and will put rallies away on his own terms when Mannarino sags back deep in the court.
Lesia Tsurenko +165
At this point in her career, Tsurenko’s opponent, Agnieszka Radwańska, does not deserve this price against someone with the caliber of game that “Lesiiiiiiia” possesses. They have only met one previous time, but you can throw out a 2012 result on clay. At this price, take a stab with the now-healthy Ukrainian, who has a sturdy enough game to stay in rallies and the backhand to hurt the Pole.
Hitters: Veselý +215, Lesia Tsurenko +165
Feeling Lucky: Fucsovics +225