Moselle Open and Astana Open Tennis Picks: Two Underdog Plays (Thursday, Sept. 23)

Moselle Open and Astana Open Tennis Picks: Two Underdog Plays (Thursday, Sept. 23) article feature image
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Credit: Matthew Stockman. Peter Gojowczyk hits a backhand at the 2021 US Open.

With so many great opportunities on the slate, there are numerous ways to take advantage.

Here are two chances to attack Thursday’s ATP tennis tournaments.

Match times are subject to change. 

Filip Krajinovic (-164) vs. James Duckworth (+130)

5:30 a.m. ET, Astana Open

Australian James Duckworth is not a household name on the ATP tour as of now. But he’s been trying to make a mark for himself in 2021.

With winning percentages on each surface that are 10% higher than his career average, he’s been able to pick up some much needed points.

Since transitioning back to hard courts after Wimbledon, Duckworth is 10-4, including a six-match win streak that includes a Challenger Tour title.

He likes playing in the indoor court conditions of Nur-Sultan. He also found solutions to the uncomfortable style he had to face against Mikhail Kukushkin in his first-round match.

On the other hand, Filip Krajinovic hasn’t had a comfortable stretch on hard courts. The Serbian is 3-5 on hard courts this year and hasn’t played a match on an indoor hard surface thus far. Krajinovic was 0-2 during the summer hard court stretch, opting to play on clay as much as possible.

Duckworth is going to make life very difficult for Krajinovic on Thursday, as he has the tools to work the world No. 37 back on the court and frequently dictate how points are played.

With a more imposing serve than Krajinovic — one that earned him 82% of his first serve points in the match against Kukushkin — I really favor Duckworth.

Pick: James Duckworth +130 via FanDuel

Karen Khachanov (-320) vs. Peter Gojowczyk (+255)

8:00 a.m. ET, Moselle Open

This is a matchup in which there’s likely going to be lots of winners, a number of breaks and a bunch of errors. Both players like to hit big and quickly win points rather than allow their opponents to lose them.

Both players are also playing at a similar level at the moment.

Gojowczyk achieved his career-best result at the US Open by reaching the fourth round.

Khachanov is playing below his standard level — which would typically be higher than the German’s — but he is 4-3 on hard courts since Wimbledon and had to battle through a tough opening match in this tournament vs. Alexandre Muller.

Gojowczyk got through Antoine Hoang twice (once in qualifiers) and Luca Van Assche to reach the second round. He’ll back himself to compete with the favored Russian. The two have met once before at the 2019 Australian Open, with Gojowczyk taking the first set before Khachanov took control en route to victory.

When the German is in good form, he can be dangerous, as we saw in New York.

Gojowczyk can play heavy consistent balls — particularly on his forehand — with a backhand that can help him attack at times.

It appears that the same form is translating to the indoor hard court surface and if Khachanov gets into a rut like he often can at any point in the match, Gojowczyk will pounce.

Pick: Peter Gojowczyk to win a set -110 via DraftKings

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