Tuesday ATP Cincinnati Picks | Paul vs Kecmanovic, Harris vs Purcell
Vaughn Ridley/Getty. Pictured: Tommy Paul.
The run in for the US Open continues with another Masters 1000 event this week in Cincinnati.
It's the last tune up for the world's top players, with last week's elite field from Toronto joined by Novak Djokovic and the returning-from-injury Karen Khachanov.
Let's break down a pair of opening round encounters taking place on Tuesday, including Paul vs Kecmanovic and Harris vs Purcell.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on viewing tennis matches.
Tuesday ATP Cincinnati Picks
Tommy Paul (-170) vs Miomir Kecmanovic (+135)
10 a.m. ET
A week off a terrific showing in Toronto that included a win over Carlos Alcaraz, Tommy Paul looks to build on his success on home soil.
Taking on Miomir Kecmanovic provides him with the opportunity to do just that, as the Serbian has found himself at a loss for form in recent times.
The former standout prospect has only managed a .500 record on outdoor hard courts in 2023, and none of his recent wins stand out as particularly impressive. His fitness appears to have taken a step back, and while his game is decent in most regards, he simply doesn't do anything that stands off the page.
The American, on the other hand, is at his best on hard courts, having reached the Australian Open semifinals this year (on courts that typically resemble those in Cincinnati in terms of court speed), the semis in Toronto just last week and his his losses have primarily come to fairly strong competition. The in-form Alex de Minaur has sent him packing twice, Novak Djokovic has handed him another loss and Carlos Alcaraz has also been victorious against him.
When it comes to quicker hard courts, there's simply no denying that Paul is the better player and in better form. The head-to-head from years past is the only plausible explanation for why this is only a 2.5-game spread. I'm happy to back a much-improved Paul against an arguably regressing Kecmanovic.
Pick: Paul -2.5 games (-125 via DraftKings)
Lloyd Harris (-140) vs Max Purcell (+110)
2 p.m. ET
It appears as though Max Purcell has finally worked his way back from the injury that kept him out of grass season and hurt his form in the last several weeks.
After winning just a singular match from mid-May until the beginning of this month, the 25-year-old Challenger standout of the last year or two has managed to qualify and win a match in Toronto before losing only in a third-set tiebreak to Andy Murray and he has now qualified for the main draw again in Cincinnati.
Armed with an underrated serve, ability to hit through his plus-one shots and great variety that includes a pesky slice backhand, Purcell is still a player to watch when on quicker courts and priced up as the underdog.
That's the case in this matchup, as he takes on Lloyd Harris – himself struggling to find his top form thanks to an injury (though he was out much, much longer).
The South African has less dimension to his game, but his serve and forehand are legitimate weapons that allow him to find easier holds of serve than many others on tour.
A problem lies in the fact that without much to fall back on, when he's not landing a steady stream of first serves, or his forehand is a tad off and spewing errors, he's in big trouble.
He had a relatively surprising run to the semis in Mallorca on grass, leading many to believe that he may be on his way to building his ranking back up, but since then he lost his first match at Wimbledon, qualified and reached the second round in Atlanta, lost his first match to Sho Shimabukuro in Washington and last week dropped back down to the Challenger Tour level, being dispatched in straight sets by Liam Broady.
I'm much bigger on Purcell's trajectory and current level, so I'm happy to get him at plus-money here.
Pick: Purcell ML (+110 via Caesars)