Odds and Picks for Rinderknech-Shapovalov and Gaston-Baez (Nov. 11)
Credit: Icon Sportswire, Getty. Denis Shapovalov lunges for a backhand at the St. Petersburg Open.
Eight matches are set to be played across the ATP Tour on Thursday, and there are a couple that offer excellent value on underdogs.
With the Next Gen Finals reaching the final round of group play and the Stockholm Open entering the quarterfinals, here are my best bets for Thursday’s play.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on watching tennis matches.
Denis Shapovalov (-230) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (+188)
1:20 p.m. ET, Stockholm Open
The reigning Stockholm champion has just four wins on tour since the US Open, and he’ll have a difficult task awaiting him in the quarterfinals.
Rinderknech is a player who has risen to the occasion at times this year. He’s reached five ATP quarterfinals and a lone semifinal in addition to a Challenger title in Istanbul. Rinderknech has also played a bulk of his tennis on indoor hard courts, where he has a 26-13 record on the year.
It makes sense for a player that has a big serve and likes to attack off the forehand wing to prefer faster hard court surfaces. Though the courts in Stockholm aren’t playing particularly fast, the conditions are still suited for the Frenchman’s game.
Throughout the summer and fall hard court seasons, Shapovalov has struggled to capitalize on his Wimbledon semifinal run. The Canadian seemed destined to build upon his best career achievement to date, but he’s fallen into the same habits that have limited his career.
Shapovalov has massive potential. With enormous talent and a signature one-handed backhand, he’s already risen to the top 10 in the world, but loose play and a tendency to spray balls have thwarted him.
Those issues have returned throughout this period, and a player like Rinderknech has the ability to expose the world number 18. If he comes out firing, Shapovalov could have a lot of trouble on return, putting an immense amount of pressure on his service games.
Rinderknech has an incredible seven-to-one ace-to-double fault ratio on hard courts in 2021, and he’s been able to win 78% of the points behind his first serve. A 65+% first serve rate will be key to holding Shapovalov on the back foot.
On the flip side, Shapovalov has a marginally 1+ ace-to-double fault ratio on hard courts this season, and he hit four aces and seven doubles against his second round opponent Andrea Vavassori.
This matchup projects far closer to a 50-50 type battle than the 35% implied probability being given to Rinderknech, so this is a great price to fade Shapo.
Pick: Arthur Rinderknech +188 via FanDuel
Hugo Gaston (-135) vs. Sebastian Baez (+105)
1:30 p.m. ET
This is a great spot to buy in on Baez after the Argentinian failed to convert on a set against Sebastian Korda but proved that he can hang with upper echelon hard court players.
A win will get Baez through to the semifinals of the event, and I think he has a great chance to get there against Gaston, who played the longest match in the history of the Next Gen Finals on Wednesday.
The man who lit up the crowd in Paris has played well in Milan, but his unique style hasn’t allowed him to get through solid ball-strikers without a strong crowd behind him. With Baez’s level so high and the stakes clearcut for the 20-year old, he’s in prime position to get one of the best wins of his career.
These matches represent the first matches that Baez has ever played on an indoor hard court surface, but he’s shown that he’s capable of adapting. Baez has won over 50% of the points behind his first and second serve in each of his first two matches.
While Gaston is in good form, he’ll be devastated that he hasn’t been able to get over the line in two five-set matches, and Baez should be able to capitalize on the frustrations of Gaston.
Back Baez to get through to the semifinals.
Pick: Sebastian Baez +105 via DraftKings