Thursday ATP Rotterdam and Bueno Aires Odds, Picks, Predictions: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman on Upset Watch
BSR Agency/Getty. Pictured: Stefanos Tsitsipas during the ABN Amro Tournament in Rotterdam.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is the first seed at the ABN Amro Tournament in Rotterdam while Diego Schwartzman is the second seed in Buenos Aires, but I believe both could face difficulties on Thursday.
Both face unseeded players in Ilya Ivashka and Jaume Munar, but the world numbers 48 and 90 are being underpriced.
Read on to see why I’ll be backing these two underdogs to compete well on Thursday’s slate of tennis.
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Stefanos Tsitsipas (-400) vs. Ilya Ivashka (+300)
7:50 a.m. ET
The struggles that Tsitsipas endured in his first-round encounter with Alejandro Davidovich Fokina weren’t a complete blip in the radar.
Court conditions in Rotterdam are playing incredibly slow and flat, meaning some of the best aspects of the Greek’s game — power and spin — are somewhat limited. Tsitsipas isn’t able to register as many quick points as he’d like, and rallies are more challenging considering he doesn’t get as much purchase on his groundstrokes as he would on clay.
Against Davidovich Fokina, the Spaniard excelled more in longer rallies, and if it wasn’t for Tsitsipas’ absurd 53 percent first serve unreturned rate, he likely would have fallen. Tsitsipas amassed 15 aces, but he was only able to make 57 percent of his first serves. Against Ivashka, any drop in free points will likely cost him.
The Belarusian looked as good as he has since the latter part of 2021, when he went on a hard court tear that included an 11-of-13 win span. He controlled rallies against Lloyd Harris, who wasn’t at his best, but that’s a good sign coming into this match.
If Ivashka can get more first serve returns in play than Davidovich Fokina, he’ll put himself in a position to win considering he’ll be competitive from the ground and boasts an effective serve in his own right. Against Harris he won more than 65 percent of his points behind both serves and was continually convincing on serve.
This is a tricky spot for Tsitsipas, and I’m happy to back a player who has the capability of playing top-20 hard court tennis against someone who could be lacking confidence if he suffers any dip in level during the match.
Pick: 0.5u Ivashka +1.5 sets (+110) | 0.5u Ivashka ML (+300) via PointsBet
Diego Schwartzman (-340) vs. Jaume Munar (+270)
6 p.m. ET
Many people believe that Schwartzman is a clay-centric player, but at this point in his career I don’t necessarily believe in that method of thinking. That’s not a criticism of Schwartzman, either.
The reality is, the Argentine’s 60 percent win rate on clay last year wasn’t as good as his 63 percent clip on hard courts, and it’s not hard to understand why. The bump in service effectiveness he gets on hard courts outweighs the disadvantage that he loses from his opponent’s boost. Schwartzman is such an efficient returner that it benefits him.
That isn’t to say that he isn’t a good clay-courter, but I’ll give you a comparison to consider. In Australia, Schwartzman’s combined average of first serve points won was 67 percent while his second serve clip was 58 percent. In Cordoba this past week, those numbers moved to 74 and 51.
On return, he notched 32 percent of his first serve return points in Australia and 56 percent of his second serve return points. In Cordoba, the splits were 37 and 66. While there are a number of dependent variables that impact those stats, the reality is that Schwartzman isn’t a true clay court-dependent player, and his odds shouldn’t reflect that.
Munar is an effective clay court player, and he’s playing quality tennis at the moment. His 6-4, 6-4 win over Tomas Etcheverry wasn’t reflective of how well he played, as the Spaniard won 13 more points on return and generated nine more break points.
He also improved his serving significantly from last week, hitting four aces, 77 percent of his first serves and no double faults. While we can expect a touch of regression there, he’s well-suited to push Schwartzman, and at this price he’s worth backing.
Pick: 0.5u Munar +1.5 sets (-110) | 0.5u Munar ML (+270) via FanDuel