Thursday ATP Odds & Predictions for Rafa Nadal vs. Tommy Paul & Marcos Giron vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (Feb. 24)
Pedro Pardo/Getty. Pictured: Rafa Nadal hits a backhand at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.
- Thursday's tennis slate is packed with big names like Rafa Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev all in action.
- Avery Zimmerman has identified three matches with value. Check out his analysis and best bets below.
There has already been an enormous shock on the ATP Tour this Thursday, as Jiri Vesely beat Novak Djokovic as a +1300 underdog to unseat the Serbian as the world number one.
Daniil Medvedev will take that title as of next week, but right now we still have a considerable amount of tennis to consider for this evening.
Acapulco and Santiago will have matches rolling, and Rafa Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Medvedev will all be playing.
Without further ado, here’s how I’ll be betting the slate of matches.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Alejandro Tabilo (-160) vs. Cristian Garin (+125)
7 p.m. ET
If I told you at the beginning of the year that Alejandro Tabilo would be a favorite against his fellow countryman in Chile, you’d probably be confused, but at this point in the year, the price is well warranted.
Tabilo comes into this match having done really well in the beginning of his season. Tabilo picked up a final appearance in Cordoba, four wins down under, and he dominated Renzo Olivo in his opening round in Santiago.
It appears that this is going to be a real breakout season for the 24-year-old, who is combining power with finesse to build a dangerous game style suited best for clay. Unfortunately for his opponent, Christian Garin seems to be dealing with a regression in play.
The clay-court specialist hasn’t won a match on the surface this year, dropping his first round matches in Cordoba and Rio to Sebastian Baez and Federico Coria, respectively, and he’ll have another tough test tonight.
Garin couldn’t win more than 60% of his first serve points in either match – a worrying sign for a player who won 65% or more of those points in all but two of his prior nine matches on the surface.
If that trend continues, it’s going to be a long night against a player in Tabilo who has won fewer than 68% of his first serve points just once throughout the Golden Swing.
His clay Elo Rating is creeping closer to Garin’s by the tournament, and frankly, he’s just a better player at the moment, despite the duo’s rankings.
Pick: Tabilo -1.5 games (-130 via PointsBet)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (-550) vs. Marcos Giron (+390)
7:20 p.m. ET
It’s been a big week for the American Marcos Giron, who has a chance to earn the best win of his career when he faces the world number four.
Giron put forth a monster effort to come back and beat Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets, and it was really a deserved win. Giron amassed eight break points while Carreno Busta managed just three, and he was the better player throughout the match.
His six aces outpaced Carreno Busta’s one, he had just one double fault compared to Carreno Busta’s two, he won more return points, and he consistently controlled the pace of the match.
Stefanos Tsitsipas put forth one of his best performances of the year yesterday, dominating J.J. Wolf from start to finish. He won 89 percent of his first serve points, 85 percent of his second serve points, a whopping 90 percent of Wolf’s second serve and 47 percent of his first serve points.
That explains the 6-1, 6-0 scoreline, and it’ll be a big boost of confidence for the Greek, but this is a good chance to sell high on him. Tsitsipas hasn’t put forth two consecutive excellent performances all year, and Giron has the patience to push him and force him to maintain a high level all match.
Tsitsipas is clearly the better player overall, but don’t count out Giron’s chances to push him in conditions that both players will be very comfortable in.
Pick: Giron +4.5 games (+110 via DraftKings)
Rafa Nadal (-850) vs. Tommy Paul (+520)
9 p.m. ET
Rafa Nadal is having one of the best openings to a season that he’s had in all of his career. In terms of wins, it already is, but the 21-time slam champion hasn’t really been tested in Acapulco.
His first round came against Denis Kudla, who hasn’t found his form in a long period of time and entered the draw as a lucky loser. His second round came against a completely knackered Stefan Kozlov.
Tommy Paul is a completely different test, and 5.5 games is a lot of slack to give to a player who is 9-4 on the year on hard courts.
Of course, Nadal will love the uber-slow courts in Acapulco, but Paul is someone who doesn’t mind the speed either. He’s a solid competitor on clay, and he was able to push Matteo Berrettini into a likely third set before the Italian withdrew with an abdominal issue.
Paul also posted his two lowest first serve percentages on the year, so it’s a bit of a credit to him that he was still able to work through the matches. We can expect a bit of positive movement in that regard, and considering he’s won over 70 percent of his first serve points in all but three matches this year, he will need it.
Nadal is playing brilliant tennis, but this is simply a number that I have to take.
Pick: Paul +5.5 games (-130 via FanDuel)