This week brings the Miami Masters ATP 1000 level event; and with it comes the return of the Serving Up Clutch teams articles guiding you through the weeks events.
A podcast has been released, and the aim of this article is to summarise the selections made within that podcast to make things easier for you, our listeners/readers, to follow how things have been going.
Our results log will be updated now weekly, so it will be obvious that our selections (if followed!) can bring a healthy profit to even an average punter.
Our selections are shown below:
Popyrin to beat Lopez 2/5
The Aussie has been in superb form recently, winning his first title in Singapore a few weeks ago and impressing in Dubai, pushing Khachanov close before falling in a 3rd set tiebreak. I expect this form to continue against an out of form Lopez, who will not enjoy the slow conditions. Even if Lopez serves well, Popyrin’s excellent tiebreak record (won 11 lost 3 in 2021) should see him advance to R2.
Musetti to beat Mmoh 4/9
The talented Italian had a superb run to the SF in similar conditions last week in Acapulco, taking out Schwartzman, Tiafoe and Dimitrov. He has far greater weapons than Mmoh, who will struggle to hurt Musetti here.
Chardy to beat Kudla 4/11
Chardy has made a brilliant start to the year, reaching the SF in one of the Melbourne ATP250s, beating Humbert and Goffin in Rotterdam, and De Minaur and Khachanov in Dubai. These slow conditions give him time to unleash his monster forehand, and Kudla will be unable to hurt the Frenchman, since he lacks the same kind of weapons.
Vesely to beat Djere 4/7
Vesely’s lefty big serve and big forehand combo will cause Djere many issues, who has just come off an underwhelming few weeks on the South American clay. This alongside Vesely’s far superior record on hard courts makes him firm favourite here in my eyes.
MIAMI OUTRIGHT: DANIIL MEDVEDEV 5/2
MIAMI WILDCARD: GRIGOR DIMITROV 50/1
Time for one of my favourite events of the year in Miami, an event Charlie and I were supposed to attend in 2020 (sad). This is the second time the event will have been held at the Hard Rock stadium, though this year the stadium court will not be in use, so be aware that the top players will be more exposed to the elements than usual. The court is not quick, though it is quicker than the one we used to see at Key Biscayne, at around 36 Court Pace Index (C.P.I), compared to 30 at KB. With that in mind, I believe this event will suit a specific profile: players with an extreme weapon in order to penetrate the court, but also with the ability to rely on consistency in slow and humid conditions. Those players with no weapons technically or physically (someone like Alex de Minaur, who prefers courts with more pace, comes to mind here) will be expected to struggle.
Sam Querrey to beat Lu Yen-Hsun 2 sets to 0 (1/3)
Lu is on a prolonged retirement tour- somehow still being accepted into these events on a protected ranking to gain one last payday. Lu has played 4 matches in 13 months, winning 1 set in those matches. Whilst Querrey has not been in the best form of late and not having played since the Australian Open, these conditions are perfect for him, with a great record in his home country and having won Acapulco in similar conditions in 2017. He still has the serve to pick up cheap points, and the court is slow enough for him to have time on return. Expect Sam to have no issues here.
Seb Korda to beat Radu Albot (4/9)
I am a huge fan of Albot and his variety; however, these conditions are too slow for him and he will struggle to hit winners on this surface. Seb Korda, on the other hand, is very much in my sights when it comes to this surface. At 6’4 he has a huge serve and is also a great athlete to boot, falling back on his ability to rally if the serve is not firing. The sample quality this year is good too, reaching the final in Delray Beach in similar conditions.
Jeremy Chardy to beat Denis Kudla (1/3)
Chardy is red-hot right now, and arguably top 20 in the world on current form. Despite his big serve and forehand, Chardy is more at home on slower surfaces, as he requires significant time to set up his strokes, whilst also hiding his weak backhand. Kudla is a little in the Albot mould but lacks his variety and any sort of weapon to hurt Chardy. A very consistent performer at the challenger level, but Kudla often gets exposed once he makes the step up, especially against an opponent with Chardy’s qualities.
Jiri Vesely to beat Laslo Djere (8/15)
As a fellow lefty, I am a big fan of Vesely’s big yet consistent game. Pretty effective on all surfaces, Vesely has an elite serve whilst also tweaking his game in recent years to become very solid in rallies. Djere’s biggest part of the season, the clay golden swing, has just passed and it was an uneventful one for the Serbian. His clay court game does not adjust well to hard courts, and he too lacks the weapons for a surface like this, especially coming in cold having played on clay for the last month.
MIAMI OUTRIGHT: ALEXANDER ZVEREV 10/3
MIAMI WILDCARD: DENIS SHAPOVALOV 25/1
This week brings one of the more illustrious titles on the tour, and also a great historical event for betting; with many favourites coming out on top across the years to bring home big results, and in some cases even the title! Below are my selections for the week, with some very brief analysis as to why:
Jiri Vesely to beat Laslo Djere (8/15)
This match brings a two players who historically favour the clay courts together in a hard court battle.
The bigger serving nature of Vesely will win him a number of free points, which tends to make him more favourable on an outdoor hard court than his opposition in this first round encounter, and Vesely’s ability to maintain in longer rallies from the back of the court will allow him to nullify Djere’s consistency; which is the weapon he tends to use to exploit his opposition.
Providing Vesely serves well and keeps his error count low, he should prevail in this first-round match.
Lorenzo Musetti to beat Michael Mmoh (4/9)
This match brings together two youngsters on the tour in an interesting first round clash. Simply put however, this match will be on the racket of Musetti. In a slower environment such as Miami the court mimics that of a clay court, and this will suit the Italian player due to his expertise on that surface. He takes bigger cuts at the ball than Michael Mmoh, and even with the American’s fine athleticism, Musetti should have too much heat to handle making him a firm favorite in my eyes.
Steve Johnson to beat Yanick Hanfmann (5/6)
This match brings two very contrasting gamestyles together; with Hanfmann looking to dominate behind large first serves and big forehands, and Johnson more happy to stick in the longer rallies and construct his points in a manner to frustrate his opposition.
This match will be won on the quality of Steve Johnson’s serve, and his capability to frustrate Hanfmann with his exclusive slice-only backhand which should draw errors from the German.
The most risky leg of my accumulator by far due to the lack of court-time Steve Johnson has had lately, however at these odds not one to overlook.
Soonwoo Kwon to beat Ilya Ivashka (4/9)
This final leg of my accumulator is a classic ‘cat and mouse’ battle between a counter-puncher (Kwon) and an aggressive big serving baseliner (Ivashka)
In these slower conditions the match will favor either the player who can keep their error count the lowest, or in rarer cases the player who has immense firepower. Unfortunately for the Belarusian, I do not believe that Ivashka possesses the same level of firepower as some previous winners of this event in Isner and Thiem, and I therefore think that Kwon will be able to exploit the high error count Ivashka will likely post (as current form would suggest), and take home the win in this exciting first round match.
MIAMI OUTRIGHT: ALEXANDER ZVEREV 10/3
MIAMI WILDCARD: JOHN ISNER 100/1
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