ATP Madrid Quarterfinal Best Bets | Picks for Aslan Karatsev vs Zhizhen Zhang, Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Clive Brunskill/Getty. Pictured: Stefanos Tsitsipas.
We’re down to the nitty gritty of 2023’s second clay-court Masters event. While some of the top guns remain in Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas, we’re also guaranteed to see a shock semifinalist emerge from the Aslan Karatsev vs Zhizhen Zhang match.
Let’s take a look at Thursday’s quarterfinals, featuring Tsitsipas taking on Jan-Lennard Struff and Karatsev squaring off with Zhang.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing tennis.
ATP Madrid Picks & Predictions
Aslan Karatsev (-190) vs Zhizhen Zhang (+150)
7 a.m. ET
The first match of the day is between two of the least heralded players remaining in either the men’s or women’s single draws.
Zhang is the first man from China to breach the top-100 in the world rankings, but his career high remains No. 91 and he’s yet to show the kind of promise he has so far in Madrid.
Karatsev will be familiar to many who recall his Cinderella run to the Australian Open semifinals a few years back. However, the Russian has dropped off the map lately and entered this fortnight in the Spanish capital outside of the world’s top-120 (his career high, for reference, is 14).
The two may possess similar game styles insomuch as they can both be incredibly erratic, play aggressive tennis and have the firepower to hit through the clay, but I’m inclined to side with Karatsev, who has looked far more convincing in his wins to this point.
Zhang has come back from a set down in three consecutive matches and needed a pair of tiebreaks to sneak out wins in each of the past two.
Taylor Fritz also had him on the ropes and played a much better match from the standpoint of winners, unforced errors, first-serve percentage and many other statistics.
There’s something to be said for being clutch, but eventually the good fortune runs out.
Finally, from a statistical standpoint, I’m happy to back the player who has won more points in 2023 behind his first serve, held serve more often and broken more often. All that, despite playing far fewer matches at the Challenger level.
It’s been a lovely run for Zhang, but I have Karatsev winning by three or more games far more often than not here.
Pick: Karatsev -2.5 (-115 via Caesars)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (-550) vs Jan-Lennard Struff (+380)
2:00 pm E.T.
In the final match of the night from the men’s draw, Tsitsipas looks to reach his second semifinal in as many events.
He’s a well-deserved massive favorite against Struff, but I’m not so sure this is going to be as lopsided as the markets indicate.
Much like Zhang, Struff has needed some luck to get here. For starters, he lost in qualifying, then had to win three consecutive three-set contests.
All that said, he does have the ability to keep things close against Tsitsipas.
The knock on the Greek No. 1 has been his one-handed backhand and the ability for his opposition to rush him on that wing, forcing errors or much more attackable short balls.
Struff has the big first serve and big forehand combination to do that. The fact that both of those things play up in Madrid’s altitude should help him find a few cheap points and, as a result, relatively consistent holds of serve.
As for Tsitsipas, I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s the superior player. He has a monster serve of his own and is the stronger baseliner by a wide margin.
I’m not looking to back Struff on the spread or on the full-match total, but I do believe there is something to be said for Tsitsipas potentially needing a bit of an adjustment period to figure out how to return and perhaps to adjust to the serve-and-volley technique.
Pick: Over 9.5 games in the 1st set (+100 via PointsBet)
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