Sunday Tennis Picks: Take Young Guns in ATP Finals (Sept. 26)
Credit: Elsa, Getty. Hubert Hurkacz hits a backhand at the US Open.
Finals Sunday on the ATP Tour is here, and both tournaments have tight matchups to wrap up the week.
While the Moselle Open final in Metz has the higher profile names, the Astana Open final features a fascinating matchup that will result in one player winning their first ATP title.
Here is how I’m looking at the two matchups.
Hubert Hurkacz (-110) vs. Pablo Carreno-Busta (-110)
7:30 a.m. ET, Moselle Open
I haven’t been high on the value of 24-year old Hubert Hurkacz all week, but he’s continued to play consistent tennis to thwart the threats of Andy Murray and Peter Gojowczyk. He’s served well in crucial moments and taken advantage of opportunities when presented to him.
His singles success has been backed up by a spot in the doubles final, so he’ll have two matches to play on Sunday. It’s a good sign that his all around game is firing, but especially the serve.
Pablo Carreno-Busta has had equally impressive results this week, getting through some nervy moments to reach the final. On Friday he got past the soaring Holger Rune in a three set battle and on Saturday he got through Gael Monfils in a second set tiebreak 10-8.
That tiebreak will serve as a big boost of confidence for the Spaniard, as he hasn’t been able to convert on break points at a consistent rate all tournament. He’s only 8-for-25 on the week, which is far below his 46% break point conversion rate on hard courts in 2021.
Against a player like Hurkacz, he won’t be getting 10 break opportunities in the match. However, the Wimbledon quarterfinalist Hurkacz has also struggled to convert his BP opportunities this week, winning them at a 30% clip.
The key difference is that when serving well, Hurkacz will concede far fewer opportunities. He can afford to drop some chances while Carreno Busta won’t be able to. This gives me the belief that Hurkacz should be a -130 or -140 favorite, so getting him at a pick ’em is great value.
Pick: Hubert Hurkacz -110 via Caesars Sportsbook
James Duckworth (-122) vs. Soon-Woo Kwon (+100)
4:30 a.m. ET, Astana Open
In a battle of first time finalists, this projects to be a really high quality matchup. Despite the match lacking name-brand players, the world No. 82 and world No. 65 are playing the best tennis of their lives, and both will be confident heading into the final.
James Duckworth is coming into the battle with nine wins on the bounce. Though five came in a challenger event last week, they shouldn’t be discounted. Duckworth has had a nice 2021 season, but his hard court results haven’t been spectacular. On the ATP tour he’s 8-9 on the surface, and prior to this event he hadn’t won a tour level indoor hard court match.
Soon-Woo Kwon, however, has historically had his best results on the surface. With a 7-4 tour level record coming into the tournament, he had already shown what he’s capable of. In the tournament, he’s simply hitting the ball as well as he ever has.
The South Korean has both attacked and defended well off both wings, giving very few cheap points away all tournament. That was on display in his semifinal match with Alexander Bublik, where he was able to nullify the power of the Kazakh in the final two sets and advance.
At the post-match handshake, Bublik asked Kwon, “have you ever served this well in your life?” It’s a testament to the holistic game that Kwon has shown all tournament, and it’s why he’s more than capable of taking out Duckworth in the final.
Kwon has an edge on the ground and the way he’s serving, it’s hard to say that Duckworth has a big advantage there as he typically would. Go with Kwon at even money to win the title.
Pick: Soon-Woo Kwon +100 via FanDuel