Norbert Gombos vs. Timofey Skatov Odds, Pick: How to Bet Monday Australian Open Match
Patrick Smith/Getty. Pictured: Norbert Gombos hits a forehand at the Tokyo Olympics.
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Norbert Gombos vs. Timofey Skatov
|Time||7 p.m. ET (subject to change)|
|Odds via FanDuel. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
Perhaps the best story of the Australian Open’s qualifying draw was the young Timofey Skatov, who only won his first tour-level match in 2021.
The Kazakh stunned many by progressing through the qualifiers without dropping a set, but it was fully deserved considering just how well he was hitting the ball and using tactics to his advantage.
Skatov, who built up his ranking with steady play in clay court Challenger events through 2021, was incredibly patient in each match, hitting with depth and heaviness to wear out each opponent he had to deal with. A 1.5 winner-to-unforced error count throughout qualifiers isn’t surprising given how efficient he was, but it’ll be a bit more difficult to maintain that against Norbert Gombos.
The world No. 117 did well to battle through three matches in qualifying that went the distance, but he was also underwhelming at times. Struggles with Renzo Olivo and Andrey Kuznetsov don’t bode well for a big run in the main draw, and they spell particularly poor signs in a matchup with the steady Skatov.
Further, Gombos has had some issues with stamina and fitness in the past. He has a 5-15 career record in best-of-five matches, and he hasn’t won one in the past 52 weeks, going 0-5. Skatov’s ability to sustain a quality level over a full slam-length match is to be determined, but if his qualifying play is any indication, he’ll be ready to play for hours.
Another issue for Gombos is his inability to close at times. We’ve seen on a number of occasions that he has the propensity to tighten up in key moments. While a 61% career break points saved rate and a 40% break points converted rate doesn’t tell the full story, Gombos is just prone to those types of struggles.
That’s not good in a matchup against a player that grinds as well as the Kazakh can, but to Gombos’ credit, he was uber-clutch in his third round of qualifying, where he broke to stay in the match multiple times and won two key tiebreakers.
I anticipate that he’ll be tested to see if he can do that again.
As you may have guessed from the latter section of that analysis, I feel that this is a very favorable matchup for Skatov. When he got through the qualifying draw, there were about five players that presented winnable matches to the 20-year old.
While he’s raised his game to new heights this week, he’s still limited by an inability to get free points off of his serve, which is not ideal for the fast conditions in Melbourne. Gombos is one of those winnable matches, though, as he won’t create a ton of free points either.
In Gombos’ matches against Olivo and Ebden, his ace-to-double fault ratio was under 1.0, and that type of serving will help Skatov get comfortable on return and in the general feel of the match.
If the veteran Gombos comes out and simply out-classes Skatov, so be it, but he’s going to have to work incredibly hard to do that, and after being tested heavily in qualifiers, he’s going to have to be even better on the ground against Skatov.
There’s no question that this is one of the best value opportunities of the entire first round, and I love this price.
Pick: Skatov (+148)
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