Tennis Betting Odds, Preview & Best Bets for Kokkinakis vs. Monfils, Shapovalov vs. Safiullin
Brenton Edwards/Getty Images. Pictured: Thanasi Kokkinakis hits a backhand at the Adelaide International.
The ATP heads into its first semifinal weekend of the year as the ATP Cup, Adelaide International and Melbourne Summer Set events have reached their respective semifinal stages.
While Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev will be the biggest headliners of the evening, there is value to be found in other matches.
Here is how I’m betting the slate of tennis Down Under.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Denis Shapovalov (-300) vs. Roman Safiullin (+225)
9 p.m. ET
Shapovalov, the young Canadian recorded an important win for his team Wednesday, taking out Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets. However, he hasn’t looked entirely sharp throughout his first week of the season, and Safiullin is the type of player that could cause issues for him as Dan Evans did in the first round.
While Struff is a player that likes to control points on his racquet through power and aggression, Safiullin has the patience and defensive ability to draw errors out of Shapovalov. That’s been the nagging issue for the young star throughout his career, and we saw it against the veteran Evans.
A key difference in Shapovalov’s performance against Evans and Struff was his level of serving. Against the Brit, Shapovalov hit six aces compared to seven double faults, winning 70-plus percent of the points behind both of his serves, but hindering himself in key moments.
Against the German, the ratio of aces to doubles was nine-to-two and Shapovalov got more than 10 percent more of his first serves in. Still, it was a grind to the finish and Shapovalov was fortunate Struff only converted on one of his six break opportunities.
Playing against one of the brightest talents in the world in Jannik Sinner, Safiullin didn’t back down for a second, and if it wasn’t for a brutal three-point stretch at the end of the first set tiebreaker, Safiullin would’ve nabbed the set and changed the complexion of the match.
That’s tennis, but some positive regression from his one-of-12 break-point conversion number can be expected as well, and all signs point to a tight battle between the duo.
Look for that to be the case.
Picks: Safiullin To Win a Set (-120 — 0.5u) | Safiullin (+230 — 0.5u) via Caesars
Gael Monfils (-290) vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis (+215)
4:45 a.m. ET
A quick glance at Kokkinakis’ career results on hard courts will leave you wondering why he’s only ranked 171st in the world, as he’s only had one year on tour with a sub-.500 record on the surface.
There’s no question the Aussie hasn’t been able to live up to the immense talent that allowed him to beat Roger Federer, but based on his early play, there’s hope that this could be the year for a breakout.
Impressive performances that required some major efforts against Frances Tiafoe and Mikael Ymer, paired with a dominant showing over John Millman, allowed Kokkinakis to reach the semifinals. And the key has been his serving and forehand.
Through eight sets of tennis, Kokkinakis has compiled 33 aces against just four double faults. Those are service numbers of the highest order, and when he can back it up with a powerful first ball and consistent depth off of both wings, you see why Kokkinakis can be a dangerous player.
Monfils was consistent in his first two matches — against clay-courter Juan-Manuel Cerundolo and American Tommy Paul — but those matches haven’t told us too much about just how good Monfils will be.
Cerundolo is a feisty clay-court specialist, but he doesn’t have the type of weapons that can exploit a quality hard court player, while Paul unraveled to an extent in the second set of their match. That’s no discredit to Monfils, who has taken care of business, but an in-form Kokkinakis is a totally different test.
If the Frenchman’s service level drops at any point, as he’s very prone to at times, watch out.
Picks: Kokkinakis To Win a Set (-135 — 0.5u) | Kokkinakis (+215 — 0.5u) via FanDuel
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