Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Underdog to Pick Up First Title
BSR Agency/Getty. Pictured: Felix Auger-Aliassime celebrates after defeating Andrey Rublev in Rotterdam.
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime
|Time||9:30 a.m. ET|
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Super Bowl Sunday has an enticing appetizer in the form of the ABN Amro Tournament’s final in Rotterdam between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Felix Auger-Aliassime.
It’s possible that the ATP’s first of three finals could have better ratings than America’s biggest sporting event, but we’ll have to see how that pans out.
In all seriousness, this is a really intriguing matchup between two young stars in the game, and it has some solid implications for a 500-level final.
The 21-year old Aliassime is 0-8 in Tour level finals, and he really hasn’t been able to find his footing in any of the finals he’s played in throughout his career.
In 2019, he lost two finals and clay and a third on grass. In 2020, he lost three indoor hard court finals, and in 2021 he lost one on grass and one on an outdoor hard court down under.
He actually lost one of those finals in 2020 to Tsitsipas, who has won the last five in this head-to-head.
Auger-Aliassime has been playing some of the best tennis of his career in 2022, winning the ATP Cup with Canada, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (and being two sets up with a match point in the fourth set against finalist Daniil Medvedev), and now reaching the final in Rotterdam.
He had to beat last year’s champion, Andrey Rublev, to get here. Auger-Aliassime was a set down and fought back to handle the third set with relative ease.
The biggest question for the Canadian will be how he handles the moment once again. He’s reached a number of finals at the highest level of the game, but he hasn’t been able to put himself in a position to convert on any occasion.
In fact, he hasn’t won a single set in any of those finals, and there have been occasions when his game completely deserted him.
He’s looked more composed and calm in pressure moments since the addition of Toni Nadal as a coach, but this will be a major mental test for him.
Tsitsipas is no stranger to finals either, but he’s also familiar with getting the job done. The Greek has seven titles to his name to go along with 10 other final appearances, including an ATP Finals and Masters in Monte Carlo.
He’s had his struggles at times this week, such as the sets lost against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Jiri Lehecka, but overall he’s played excellent tennis, evidenced by the fact that he’s conceded 16 break points this week in comparison to the 34 he’s generated.
A title in Rotterdam would be a good boost for him after his 2021 season was ended to due to injury at the ATP Finals.
I’m going to bite the bullet and back a man who hasn’t won a single set in any of his ATP finals. I’m happy to look back on this and feel silly, but the level of tennis that Auger-Aliassime is playing is just out of this world.
Much like Tsitsipas, he has quite an uneven break point ratio. Auger-Aliassime has generated 44 break opportunities of his own while conceding 20, and he’s only been broken seven times. That’s an eight percent increase on his 2021 save percentage on hard courts, and it’s easy to understand why that’s the case.
Auger-Aliassime’s lowest first serve percentage all week has been 59, and he’s won a minimum of 72 percent of those points in each match. He’s also dealt with double fault issues in this tournament with composure, steadying himself in key moments by dominating on serve in most situations.
Most importantly, he’s won more than 50 percent of his second serve points in each match, allowing him to stay firm when suffering a dip in his service level.
While the world number four has been playing at a high level as well, I would back this version of Auger-Aliassime against most players on Tour as an underdog, even in conditions that should slightly favor Tsitsipas.
Maybe we see the same story from other Auger-Aliassime finals, but I’m ready to say he’ll be at his best tomorrow.
Pick: Felix Auger-Aliassime (+100 or better)