Australian Open Day 5: Best Bets For Hurkacz vs Shapovalov, Norrie vs Lehecka
Paul Crock/Getty. Pictured: Denis Shapovalov.
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Here we go! Round 3 at the Australian Open pits seeds against seeds with the second week in sight, and the pressure is growing.
10th seed Hubert Hurkacz takes on 20th seed Denis Shapovalov, while Cameron Norrie battles Jiri Lehecka in a rematch from Auckland just a week ago.
Read on for my best bets.
Note: Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing Australian Open matches.
Hubert Hurkacz (-110) vs. Denis Shapovalov (-110)
3 a.m. ET
A thrilling matchup is on the horizon for the night session of Margaret Court Arena. This match will be full of rocket serves and big hitting, and fans are set to witness a match of the highest quality.
Hurkacz had to recover from a near two-set deficit to arrive here. Although Lorenzo Sonego is a worthy opponent, that was a match that Hurkacz was expected to come through without many struggles.
Given his pedigree, Hurkacz’s level is held to an extremely high standard. However, the current World No. 11 has not been living up to his past form since the US Open. He has continued to produce good results against lower ranked opponents, but he has struggled against the current top players in recent time.
I believe Shapovalov falls into the category of the current top players.
The promising young Canadian struggled for a while but is finally finding his stride. In complete contrast to Hurkacz, Shapovalov seems to have kicked things into the next gear post-US Open. The powerful lefty has the ability to produce winners from any spot on the court, though that can also be his downfall when he is reckless.
Hurkacz is ranked 11 while Shapovalov is ranked 22, but this matchup is a pick ’em line for a reason. Shapovalov is in better form and will be brimming with confidence – a crucial factor to staying calm which will be of the utmost importance in the spotlight.
Trust confidence and potent power to carry Shapovalov over the line.
Pick: Shapovalov ML (-110 via DraftKings)
Cameron Norrie (-340) vs. Jiri Lehecka (+265)
11:30 p.m. ET
Norrie prevailed over Lehecka 6-4 6-7 6-3 a week ago. Although he doesn’t have a flashy game, Norrie requires impeccable play from his opponents for them to have a chance and his seemingly endless stamina makes the task even more difficult. As both rallies and the match lengthen, it almost always shifts to Norrie’s favor.
The 21-year old Czech has begun to make a name for himself during his ATP Tour journey. Recently finishing as the runner-up in the Next-Gen Finals, Lehecka is looking to continue his already terrific outing at the Australian Open. Having played eight matches against top-20 ranked opponents in the past year, including his match against Norrie in Auckland, the level of play present will be of no surprise to the Czech.
Playing an opponent in back to back weeks incorporates a whole new mental aspect to the matchup. Quite often, the loser of the initial matchups bounces back and performs significantly better the second time around.
The effects are real, and I expect them to show tomorrow in this matchup. Lehecka may not win, but I certainly expect him to improve on his performance and keep this match closer than the already tight three-setter last week.
Pick: Lehecka +5.5 games (-130 via DraftKings)