Tallon Griekspoor vs. Fabio Fognini First Round Australian Open Odds & Betting Pick (Jan. 15)
David Gray/Getty. Pictured: Fabio Fognini hits a backhand at the Sydney Classic.
Tallon Griekspoor vs. Fabio Fognini
|Time||12 a.m. ET (subject to change)|
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Tallon Griekspoor was one of the winningest players in tennis a season ago, capturing a ridiculous eight titles on the ATP Challenger Tour and getting his first dose of success in the main draw by taking out Jan-Lennard Struff in the U.S. Open.
His opponent, Fabio Fognini, has a great history at the year’s first Grand Slam and enters with a couple of competitive matches under his belt. With the upper hand in experience and fitness, will the Italian prevail?
Griekspoor Balancing Momentum with Injury
Griekspoor may have been a late bloomer, but boy did he bloom. The younger brother of Scott Griekspoor, a staple on the ATP Challenger Tour, Tallon had just about a perfect season in 2021. He finished the year 62-20, picking up the majority of his wins on clay but going 11-3 on hardcourts, 10-4 indoors and 3-1 on grass.
The next step for the 25-year-old, ranked number 62 in the world, will be consistent match wins on the ATP level. He got his season off to a good start last week in Melbourne, where he easily dispatched of Dominik Koepfer and won a war with Aussie Alexi Popyrin, but a foot injury forced him to withdraw from the tournament before facing Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
While Griekspoor doesn’t rely too much on his movement, boasting an above-average serve and forehand combination, picking up an injury just a week ago is obvious cause for concern. He’ll be made to run around by the crafty Italian, and without a ton of best-of-five experience, it might become a big deal.
Fognini Coming Back to Place of Success
Fognini has consistently been an oddsmaker’s nightmare. The hardest man in tennis to peg, the Italian boasts talent which has led him to upset victories over Rafael Nadal and a Masters 1000 title, but his mental fortitude has been what’s held him back from true greatness.
The former Aussie Open doubles champion hasn’t quite been the same since the pandemic hit, going just 6-10 across all competitions in 2020 and 22-24 last season. Much of the slow 2020 season would have to do with double-ankle surgery, which took him about a month’s worth of matches to finally rehab from.
Ironically, one of the few places Fognini has consistently performed over the last couple of years is the Australian Open. He’s gone to the Round of 16 in back-to-back seasons, coming through two epic five-setters in 2020 and taking out a couple of tough opponents in Salvatore Caruso and Alex de Minaur in 2021.
Fognini debuted last week in Sydney and did well to win his match in two sets against Daniel Altmaier before fighting back against Brandon Nakashima before ultimately losing in two tiebreaks.
Griekspoor vs. Fognini Betting Analysis
There’s limited information out there about Griekspoor’s injury, but from what we have available to us, it seems the Dutchman was very much looking forward to the match and confident he could push Rafa to the brink. While you don’t come here to read my speculation, I will say this doesn’t sound like a situation where Griekspoor was trying to be overly cautious.
With that said, based on what we do know, even the slightest physical issue becomes a big deal when you’re playing best-of-five. That’s even more true when you’re talking about a guy who has played very few Grand Slam matches in his career.
The over was my initial thought here, but the line seems to be a little out of hand. I’ll instead back Fognini, who has a great history at this tournament. While I consider myself an early fan of Griekspoor and think his season will be fruitful, I’m not so sure it starts off right here. Fognini looked dialed in this week in Sydney, and we know a focused Fognini can be a tough customer.
Pick: Fognini -115 via DraftKings