US Open Betting Pick & Prediction: Mikhail Kukushkin vs. Cristian Garin (Wednesday , Sept. 2)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images. Pictured: Mikhail Kukushkin
- Cristian Garin enters his Round 2 US Open match as a -125 favorite against Mikhail Kukushkin (+100).
- Gil Gross previews the 1 p.m. ET matchup, including where he's finding betting value.
US Open Odds: Mikhail Kukushkin vs. Cristian Garin
|Mikhail Kukuskin Odds||+100 [Bet Now]|
|Cristian Garin Odds||-125 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||39.5 Games [Bet Now]|
|Time||Wednesday, 1 p.m. ET|
Seventy-one ranking spots separate Mikhail Kukushkin and Cristian Garin, but it’s the court conditions that have me backing the World No. 90, Kukushkin.
The Kazakh’s unorthodox backhand is the key. His double-hander is one of the flattest shots on the ATP Tour. It’s a stunningly consistent shot, with low net clearance and often very little pace.
On any low-bouncing court, it’s a difficult shot to deal with since the ball doesn’t jump up into the opponent’s strike zone (between hip and shoulder), instead skidding low along the court surface. Most righties with one-handed backhands handle the low ball with more comfort.
Cristian Garin has a two-hander. From a low trajectory, he doesn’t have the topspin necessary to bring the ball up over the net and back down inside the court.
One way to counter a low-bouncing ball to the backhand is to slice, but Garin doesn’t have that shot in his arsenal. Essentially, the Chilean will be forced repeatedly to hit his weakest shot in this matchup: the low backhand.
It’s no coincidence that most of Garin’s success has come on high-bouncing clay, where he was 20-9 in 2019. On hard courts, he was 12-15. On Monday, Garin came back from down two sets in a victory over Ulises Blanch, ranked No. 244 in the world and without a tour-level victory.
After getting 6-0 bageled in a third set against Alizaj Bedane last week, Garin can’t be feeling great about his game. If the coronavirus pause compromised his fitness at all, he could pay the price for the five-setter in Round 1.
Kukushkin is coming off a routine straight-set win over No. 78 Attila Blazas. The Kazahk has had plenty of success in the best-of-five format, particularly at Wimbledon and the US Open. He made the Round of 16 at the All England Club last year, benefitting from the low-bouncing grass. At the US Open, he’s knocked out a seed in three consecutive years: David Ferrer (2017), Hyeon Chung (2018) and Roberto Bautista Agut (2019).
I favor Kukushkin to win the match, so any line at plus-money sounds good to me.