Hubert Hurkacz vs. Adrian Mannarino Australian Open First Round Betting Odds & Pick (Jan. 19)
Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty. Pictured: Adrian Mannarino hits a forehand at the Australian Open.
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Hubert Hurkacz vs. Adrian Mannarino
|Time||12:30 a.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Hubert Hurkacz is on a mission to top his incredible 2021 season, which included his first-ever Masters 1000 title and a Grand Slam semifinal appearance, both of which briefly pushed him into the top 10. Lifting the trophy at a slam would certainly help accomplish that goal, and he’s at least part of the way there.
The crafty Adrian Mannarino will stand in his way, an opponent who gave him a real fight at the start of last season who’s finally back in form after taking a while to recover from the knee injury he suffered against Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
Is there value on Mannarino here as he gets back up to speed? Let’s dive into this one.
Hurkacz Showed Signs of Weakness in Round One
The Polish number one only went 36-23 last season across all competitions, but he sure made those wins count. Hurkacz finally tapped all the way into his potential with a Masters 1000 win in Miami which included wins over Denis Shapovalov, Milos Raonic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Jannik Sinner. If that list wasn’t enough, he knocked off Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer on the way to the Wimbledon semifinals and won two more smaller tournaments for good measure.
The Australian Open isn’t a place Hurkacz has historically had much success. He’s only won two matches in Melbourne, the first of which came in 2020 over Dennis Novak and the second of which came on Sunday against Egor Gerasimov. While it pushes Hurkacz to 4-1 on the year, the form might be the slightest bit deceiving.
Hurkacz took out Aristotelis Thanos (the best name ever, but one attached to the number 1074 player in the world) to begin his season at the ATP Cup before falling a set behind to world number 654 Aleksandre Metreveli. From there, he’d defeat Diego Schwartzman in a match where the Argentine made an uncharacteristic number of unforced errors and lost to Roberto Bautista-Agut.
Even in his win over Gerasimov, Hurkacz struggled. He was broken serving for the first set, fell behind by a break in the second before taking a two-set lead, fell behind again by a break in the third, was broken serving for the match and would eventually need to win it in four.
It’s not good when a weak returner like Gerasimov is giving you such fits on your serve, especially when you can be so reliant on it. Hurkacz could stand to improve here.
Mannarino a Tough Opponent to Deal With
The grizzled Frenchman is one of the smartest and most skilled players on tour. His racquet tension is incredibly soft and he is an expert at using pace to his advantage and winning points on fast surfaces. He’s an excellent returner and is very accomplished on hard courts, boasting a third-round run here in Melbourne just last year.
The issue here is that Mannarino is quickly aging at 33 and hasn’t played his best tennis in months. He struggled on clay — which is no shocker given his track record on the surface — before seeming to find himself again last grass season.
It was then — after taking a two-sets-to-one lead against Roger Federer — that everything went wrong. A knee injury forced Mannarino to retire, and while he would return just two months later and pick up some match wins, he never really found a rhythm.
Mannarino’s first two matches of the season — against Botic Van De Zandschulp and Maxime Cressy— couldn’t have been much harder. He didn’t get much luckier in the first round here, playing Aussie James Duckworth, but he appeared to moving exceptionally well and the rust was gone from his flat backhand.
Hurkacz’s first match was very troubling, and while things can always change on a dime in tennis this spread is a bit extreme. It would be quite the jump for Hurkacz to go from giving up a set (nearly two!) against Gerasmiov to wiping the floor with Mannarino.
The two met last year in Rotterdam, and it was a very tight match. Hurkacz won 6-3, 7-6, but fell behind by a break in both sets. Mannarino was in almost every service game, and given how poorly Hurkacz held on to his own serve on Monday that’s likely to be the case here.
Mannarino’s exceptional returning skills should work for him here, forcing Hurkacz back to the baseline and limiting the ability for him to go on the offensive. I was also very impressed, watching their Rotterdam match back, with how well Mannarino disguised his own serve and had the wide serve working for him. I’m not too concerned with him donating a boatload of breaks, and will back him in plenty of rallies given he’s the better mover of the two.
This is a dangerous spot for Hurkacz, and getting 7.5 games seems like a gift. I’d set the line at 5.5.
Pick: Mannarino +7.5 Games (via FanDuel)
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