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Wednesday ATP Miami Open Picks & Predictions: Back Griekspoor and Laaksonen on Day 1 (March 23)

Wednesday ATP Miami Open Picks & Predictions: Back Griekspoor and Laaksonen on Day 1 (March 23) article feature image
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Koen Suyk/Getty. Pictured: Tallon Griekspoor hits a forehand in a Davis Cup tie with Canada.

One of the rare back-to-back Masters tournaments of the year means we have a second consecutive Masters 1000 this week in the form of the Miami Open.

In terms of the main draw, the cross-court journey from Indian Wells to Miami kicks off on the men’s Tour on Wednesday, as 16 matches are set to get underway.

Some bigger names such as Nick Kyrgios, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Benoit Paire will all take the court, and there are a few spots where I believe there is value to take advantage of.

Here are my two best bets for Wednesday’s slate of tennis at the Miami Open.

Match times are subject to change. Odds as of Wednesday night. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

Tallon Griekspoor (-245) vs. Francisco Cerundolo (+196)

11 a.m. ET

The Dutchman Griekspoor hasn’t been in good form as of late, falling to first round opponents in two consecutive events, but he has a good chance to pick up some of his form from the beginning of the season in this setting.

Quick and humid is the name of the game in Miami, and those conditions are reminiscent of the conditions down under from earlier in the year, where Griekspoor found his success. Francisco Cerundolo, on the other hand, won’t be playing in conditions suited to his game.

Cerundolo got just one quality win in the Australian summer swing earlier this year, defeating Daniel Elahi Galan in an Aussie Open warm-up event qualifier after defeating doubles specialist Harri Helliovaara in the first qualifying round.

Griekspoor has a 24-11 record on hard courts across the Challenger and ATP Tours over the past two years, while Cerundolo is 5-6 in that span. The Argentine, who is playing the match that precedes his brother’s, is a clay-court specialist who thrives in slower, grittier conditions, and this isn’t the surface he’d ideally want to be playing on.

Cerundolo’s hard court Elo Rating is over 200 points lower than Griekspoor’s, and that’s no surprise given just how little court time he’s spent on the surface over his young career.

In 2021, Cerundolo’s 70% hold rate on hard courts tells the story of his struggles. His lack of ability to generate free points rears its head on faster hard courts, and that should be a problem for him on Wednesday.

Look for Griekspoor to excel in a situation that is suited well to his game and is suited very poorly for his opponent, creating a simple play given the lack of juice that has been priced into this matchup.

Pick: Tallon Griekspoor -3.5 Games (-110 via FanDuel)

Henri Laaksonen (-116) vs. Benoit Paire (-106)

2:30 p.m. ET

Much like the former match was a matter of conditions, this is a matter of a matchup we’ve seen play out similarly time and time again.

Henri Laaksonen is 3-0 against Benoit Paire on the ATP Tour, with all matches coming on faster hard court surfaces, so why is this match being priced near a pick ’em? It’s hard to say.

The Swiss has struggled mightily over the years at this event, going 0-4 in qualifying draws and failing to secure a win thus far. However, in the last two times he’s played the event, his opponents were Jenson Brooksby and Reilly Opelka.

Those aren’t easy opponents to deal with, particularly on this surface, and Paire has struggled similarly at the event over the years. Though he actually beat Novak Djokovic in 2018, Paire has lost three consecutive matches in Miami to less strong competition.

He’s also lost six consecutive ATP Tour matches since finding some success in Australia, and though his Elo Rating on hard courts is nearly equal to Laaksonen’s, the speedy and humid conditions in Miami are not suited to Paire’s game.

Laaksonen has value to widen the gap between the two players to 4-0.

Pick: Henri Laaksonen ML (-116 via FanDuel)

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