Maxime Cressy vs. Christopher O’Connell Australian Open Odds & Preview: Big Server to Continue Hot-Streak
Brandon Malone/Getty. Pictured: Maxime Cressy hits a volley against Tomas Machac at the Australian Open.
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Maxime Cressy vs. Christopher O’Connell
|Time | TV||12 a.m. ET | ESPN+|
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Maxime Cressy and Christopher O’Connell will face off in a match that presents both players an amazing opportunity to get to the fourth round of a grand slam.
It’s likely Daniil Medvedev that awaits the winner, and this is tennis so anything is possible, but even a jump between the third to the fourth round of a major would be a massive achievement for both players.
This is the first slam that Cressy is playing outside of the US Open, and the third round already represents his deepest run at a major. O’Connell has played six main draws at slams and has also achieved his deepest run already at a major by progressing to the third round.
Beyond the legacy-building and ranking points on the line, there’s also a significant money jump that exists between the third and fourth round. A third-round exit results in a $221,000 pay check, while a fourth round exit boosts that number to $328,000. In short, this is a very important match.
If you thought serve-and-volleying was a thing of the past, watch Cressy take the court at the Australian Open. The big-serving and aggressive player likes to get to the net early and often, and it’s reflected off of his serve and in groundstroke rallies.
And while it’s certainly harder to use the ‘S-and-V’ than it used to be in earlier eras, Cressy is showing that confidence and a deft touch can be conducive to success at the highest level of the game.
Cressy got through his first two rounds with wins over John Isner and Tomas Machac, the former a player that is similar at a general level to Cressy himself. Machac has a better baseline game, but he still wasn’t able to outhit the American, who held his level after allowing it to fall in the second set.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign for Cressy is that he hasn’t played all that well. A 60-to-32 ace-to-double fault ratio is slightly underwhelming for someone who serves as well as him, but considering he’s only made 59% of his first serves in each match, you’d expect his second serve points won percentage to be lower, but he had it above 80 percent against Isner and at 59 percent against Machac.
That means his aggressiveness behind the second ball is paying off, and O’Connell is going to need to find a solution after he faced two completely different players to Cressy. Matches with Hugo Gaston and Diego Schwartzman certainly tested his baseline game, they’re two of the smallest servers (and people) on tour.
The Aussie was brilliant in his round two win over Schwartzman, out-hitting a player that is one of the best ball-strikers on tour. Schwartzman was dealing with a bit of a back injury, but that shouldn’t take away from the excellent performance O’Connell had. Despite amassing a 59 percent first serve rate and only winning 47 percent of the points behind his second serve, O’Connell has been so solid from the ground that it hasn’t mattered.
This is a matchup that I believe has a considerable edge in Cressy’s favor.
If the former UCLA player was only capable of serving well, this would be a different story, but that’s simply not the case with Cressy. Against one of the best servers in the world in John Isner, Cressy generated nine break points. Against Machac, that number was seven.
Cressy’s confidence has allowed him to strike the ball cleanly and consistently, and with the ease with which he often gets through service games, that can put significant pressure on his opponent.
O’Connell has been beating his opponents on the ground as much as he has with an effective but not overpowering serve, so he’s going to have to be that much better to really get a foothold in this match.
While -164 is a touch too steep to pay for Cressy on the moneyline, I would say if O’Connell gets the chance to serve first and if Cressy doesn’t instantly break he should have value on the live line which could dip below -140. Be on the look out for that to provide yourself a bit of insurance.
Nonetheless, at plus-money on the set spread, I feel as though the value is there for Cressy to hold his level well enough to get through without much trouble and cover this number.
Pick: Maxime Cressy -1.5 Sets (+115)