Australian Open Round 1 Odds, Picks: Alexei Popyrin vs. Arthur Rinderknech (Monday, Jan. 17)
Sarah Reed/Getty Images. Pictured: Arthur Rinderknech
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Alexei Popyrin vs. Arthur Rinderknech
|Time||11:30 p.m. ET (subject to change)|
|Odds via Caesars. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Coming off perhaps his most fruitful season on tour — one which helped him rise into the top 60 — Alexei Popyrin will look to get his 2022 rolling at long last at the Australian Open, a tournament held in his home country which has historically been good to him.
Standing across the new will be the red-hot Arthur Rinderknech who, too, had a tremendous 2021 and put himself on the map with some impressive runs at main-draw events. Unlike Popyrin, Rinderknech can already boast success in 2022, but unlike the Aussie he can’t say he’s ever won a match at the year’s first Grand Slam.
Popyrin’s Home-Court Advantage
Popyrin is a fan favorite everywhere he goes, and it’s easy to see why. Aside from his great name and nicknames (“Pop” or “Popy”), his game is relentless. He has a pretty decent serve and will break his opponents down with pace before moving to the net and showcasing his delicate hands.
He has great competitive spirit and it’s led him to some famous victories, such as straight-set defeats over the likes of Dominic Thiem and David Goffin right here at the Australian Open.
Last season has to be considered a success for the Aussie. He won his first ATP event in Singapore last February, taking out Marin Cilic and Alexander Bublik along the way, and aside from a win over Jannik Sinner he can feel good about pushing Daniil Medvedev to the brink in a third set at a Masters 1000 and nearly taking out Carlos Alcaraz last summer at the beginning of his rise.
While 2021 saw Popyrin begin with two straight wins, 2022 hasn’t started quite the same way. The Aussie has looked out of sorts, defeating just struggling Italian Stefano Travaglia before being taken out by Tallon Griekspoor and Pedro Martinez.
The former is an opponent that is at least on Popyrin’s level, though the latter is not. This also comes on the back of a disappointing loss at the Davis Cup to Borna Gojo in late November.
Rinderknech Is in Great Form Already in 2022
The tall, big-serving Frenchman was hard to miss in 2021. He won 54 matches across all competitions, reaching three quarterfinals and a semifinal on the clay and another semifinal at an early-season indoor tournament in France. Rinderknech now finds himself ranked No. 48 in the world thanks to all his hard work and is a staple in main draws.
Rinderknech has come out of the gates firing in 2022. After losing his first match of the year at the ATP Cup, he shook off the rust to give Jannik Sinner a close contest before going on a five-match winning streak. Four of those wins came in Adelaide, where he made it all the way to the final before losing to hometown hero Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The Texas A&M product features one of the biggest serve-and-forehand combinations on tour, playing a slightly similar game to Popyrin only with much more power. While he struggled from the back of the court initially last season, he’s gotten far more comfortable and had some very quality wins last week over Mackenzie McDonald, Soonwoo Kwon, Karen Khachanov and Corentin Moutet — all players who won their first-round matches at the Australian Open on Monday.
Popyrin vs. Rinderknech Betting Analysis
It’s rare to have form to go off of this early in the season, but we sure do have that here — at least with Rinderknech.
The World No. 48 is playing some exceptional tennis, hitting through the court with ease and blowing the ball by his opponents. His game is perfectly tailored for these fast courts in Melbourne, and while you could say the same about Popyrin — who has won a match at the Australian Open in each of the last three years — this simply doesn’t seem to be the spot to back him.
The Aussie has looked very flat out of the gates and that’s something that’s especially concerning to me given the volatile nature of his 2021 season. There were plenty of highlights, but in the end Popyrin was just 32-26 and fell into a few awful ruts. This is reminiscent of one of those losing streaks.
Pick: Rinderknech -136 (FanDuel)