Wednesday ATP Acapulco Odds & Predictions: 3 Americans to Back (Feb. 23)
Hector Vivas/Getty. Pictured: Tommy Paul hits a forehand at the Mexican Open.
It was another wild night in Acapulco on Tuesday, and the tournament is quickly becoming an early candidate for ATP tournament of the year with all that has already occurred.
Yesterday, it was an incident on the doubles court that took the most attention. Alexander Zverev was upset with a call that was made in the deciding super tiebreaker of his doubles match, and afterwards he unleashed a vicious tirade on the umpire that included bashing his racquet on the chair.
Alexander Zverev has been THROWN OUT of the Mexican Open for attacking the umpire's chair at the end of his doubles match 😮😮😮 pic.twitter.com/CWhQ1r6kwj
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) February 23, 2022
Zverev was subsequently disqualified from the tournament, putting Peter Gojowczyk through to the quarterfinals.
With seven matches on tap for tonight’s slate, here are the matches that I’ll be betting.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.
Tommy Paul (-300) vs. Dusan Lajovic (+230)
7 p.m. ET
The Serbian picked up one of his best wins in recent memory on Monday, edging out Sebastian Korda in a match that contained 15 breaks.
Paul battled well against Matteo Berrettini, but was fortunate to advance via an injury that was bothering the Italian. It would have been a tight third set between the two that could have gone either way, but here we are.
The American dominated Lajovic in their only prior meeting, which came in similarly slow hard court conditions in Indian Wells. I believe we’ll see something similar this go around as well.
Lajovic took advantage of extremely loose play from Korda, who opted to try and hit through Lajovic time and time again despite the pace of the courts. Paul is not that type of player, and he has the rally tolerance to sit at the baseline and grind with Lajovic.
In essence, he’s a better version of the Serb, who hasn’t had a winning record on hard courts in each of the past three seasons. The inverse is true for Paul, who will be quite comfortable with this matchup. He’s more consistent off the ground, is more impactful on serve and has more confidence.
Paul amassed three aces and a 79% win rate behind his first serve in two sets of play against Berrettini, while Lajovic amassed two aces and a 55% first serve win rate against Korda. Those are going to be hard numbers to overcome, so I’m happy playing Paul against the spread here — even if I have to pay a decent price.
Oh, and Paul’s hard court Elo Rating is about 170 points higher than Lajovic’s. Enough said.
Pick: Paul -3.5 games (-125 via Caesars)
Pablo Carreno Busta (-280) vs. Marcos Giron (+215)
7 p.m. ET
While Giron’s round of 16 match ended with one of the weirdest retirements I’ve ever seen, he put forth a patient and well-rounded effort before that.
He was able to hang in longer rallies against one of the most consistent players on Tour off of the ground, and when he did get his first serve in he was very effective behind it. The 57% clip he served at wasn’t good, but it’s his second-lowest number of the year and we can expect that to improve.
When it was going in, he won 79% of his first serve points and was consistently able to take the initiative in them.
Against Carreno Busta, a player with a similar style to John Millman who executes it better, he’ll have to be even more aggressive. The Spaniard took out an out-of-sorts Oscar Otte in the first round, but Giron won’t be as easy to deal with.
The 150-point hard court Elo gap becomes 60 with Giron, and we saw Carreno Busta have difficulties in similar conditions last fall in Indian Wells, where he fell 6-0 6-4 to Karen Khachanov.
While Giron deserves his status as a solid underdog here, getting 3.5 games with an uber-reliable hard court player is hard to pass up.
Pick: Giron +3.5 games (-105 via DraftKings)
Taylor Fritz (-550) vs. Yoshihito Nishioka (+390)
8:20 p.m. ET
There are times when you are lucky to win a bet, and then there is whatever happened when Nishioka took on Feliciano Lopez in the first round.
Nishioka dropped the first set 6-2 while playing brutal tennis before serving up a bagel to Lopez in the second and coming through the third 6-4 to secure the cover. It’s one of the luckiest covers I’ve had in a long time, but overall it was just dreadful tennis from start to finish.
The Japanese number two struggled to find his range off of the ground all match, and without a potent serve on extremely slow courts, he was hardly able to generate free points. In fact he won 13% more of his second serve points than his first serve points.
Fritz is in-form right now, and despite his Dallas Open loss to Giron, he’s playing high-level tennis. More importantly, he didn’t even play that well against Adrian Mannarino on Monday and he still came through with a routing 6-3 6-3 win thanks to the 32 points he won on return.
Even if Fritz isn’t at his best off of the ground, he’ll be able to amass far more cheap points than Nishioka, and this shouldn’t be that hard of a task.
With a hard court Elo nearly 200 points better than his opponent and far more confidence behind his game, this is a spot for Fritz to dominate.
Pick: Under 20.5 games (-110 via DraftKings)
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