Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Mikael Ymer Preview & Best Bet (Jan. 18)
Andy Cheung/Getty. Pictured: Stefanos Tsitsipas hits a backhand volley in a practice session at the Aussie Open.
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Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Mikael Ymer
|Time||4:15 a.m. ET (subject to change)|
|Odds via PointsBet. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.|
The World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas kicks off his maiden 2022 grand slam campaign against Mikael Ymer in a rematch of the 2021 third round battle in which the Greek took care of business in three sets.
Ymer and Tsitsipas also met in the Moselle Open in 2020, where a similar plot followed and Tsitsipas won in straight sets. Ymer hasn’t been able to push the 23-year old past a 6-4 set, and three of the five sets that the duo has played have had 6-1 outcomes.
Nonetheless, there are reasons to believe that this match won’t be as straight forward. Ymer has already shown that he’s comfortable at Melbourne Park with a 3-2 record at the Australian Open and an ability to play on faster surfaces. He comes into the match with two wins and a tight Adelaide loss to Thanassi Kokkinakis.
Tsitsipas enters the matchup in a much different manner having withdrawn from his two final events in 2021 due to an elbow problem and failing to establish a confidence that the issue is fully gone thus far in Australia.
He had to pull out of his opening ATP Cup singles match and Hubert Hurkacz and has since played just one full match, a three-set loss to Diego Schwartzman. That’s one of the player comparisons that you could make to Ymer given his emphasis on extending rallies from the baseline and being willing to defend point-after-point.
In his career, Ymer is 8-9 in best-of-five matches but just 0-6 against the top-10. That’s a good sign for his ability to maintain his fitness throughout the match, but the fact that he hasn’t won a set in 13 attempts against top-level competition is not a good one.
Though he’s just 23, as Tsitsipas is, this is a big moment for the Swede to show that he’s capable of doing more than being just a standard mainstay on tour. A win here would be the biggest of his career, which is currently likely his 2021 French Open win over Gael Monfils.
Though he hasn’t been able to muster much success in the past, this is a context and situation that projects well for Ymer.
He’s played some high-quality tennis in the opening stages of the year, and he likely comes into this match in a better physical place than Tsitsipas, who still has lingering fitness questions that will be tested quickly in a slam setting against a player that is happy to engage in long rallies.
That will put the onus on Tsitsipas’ ability to generate free points off of his serve, and against Schwartzman, they were infrequent. Tsitsipas hit 10 aces against three double faults, but he got just 55 percent of his first serves in and allowed Schwartzman to win 47 points on return, 20 more points than he managed.
That’s not to say that I believe Ymer will necessarily come out and put himself in a position to win the match, but I do think he’ll compete far better than he has in the past against Tsitsipas and fellow top-10 players.
This will be a fascinating encounter, and I believe Ymer will test the Greek a bit, which may not be the worst thing for Tsitsipas.
Pick: Ymer to win a set (-121 via PointsBet)
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