Thursday’s accumulator was horrendously unlucky, as Sinner 2-0, Evans and Paul all came in, but our final leg, Opelka, managed to lose from a set up, in a deciding set tiebreak where he failed to convert 2 match points. It’s frustrating as the luck hasn’t been with us this week, however we have to trust the process and know that the wins and profit will come!
We are now onto the latter stages of the ATP Cup and the Melbourne ATP250, and now that everyone has played a few matches it should be a bit easier to judge how well people are playing, and thus where the value lies.
Pablo Carreno-Busta (ESP) to beat Majchrzak (POL) 2/7 (ATP Cup):
Both of these men didn’t drop a set in singles action in the group stages of the ATP Cup. However, a lot of their wins have to be taken with a pinch of salt, or in some cases a lot of salt. Kamil Majchrzak dispatched Pervolorakis (ranked 399) and Bakshi (ranked 974), but did have a decent win over Delbonis (ranked 44). However, Delbonis is a clay courter, and failed to win a single hard court match in 2021 (despite 10 attempts). Pablo Carreno Busta beat Tabilo, who is ranked 139 but has played much better than that this week, Durasovic (ranked 345) and Krajinovic (ranked 42).
Oddly, Majchrzak won their only previous meeting 6-1 6-1, but this was in a clay Challenger way back in 2015. Carreno Busta is a significantly better player now, someone who’s results are very consistent and who doesn’t have any real weaknesses. To beat him, you have to outplay him, he never gives it to you, and I don’t see Majchrzak doing that due to his lack of massive weaponry. Carreno Busta has a slightly heavier weight of shot, as well as a greater ability to find corners and create spaces, so I expect him to dominate most of the rallies and get the win here.
Jaume Munar (ESP) to beat Maxime Cressy (USA) 11/10 (Melbourne):
Despite his lack of success on hard courts in his career, Jaume Munar has advanced to the Quarter Finals here, beating an erratic Anderson and Laaksonen, both in straight sets. Against Anderson he did what he did best: made him play one more ball, and punished the errors Anderson made. He also kept better depth than I have often seen from him on a hard court, and putting enough pace on it to make it difficult for Anderson to attack.
Maxime Cressy made light work of Australian wildcard Hijikata before taking out 2nd seed Opelka in a deciding set tiebreak. That match was a fairly low quality affair, and very serve dominated as you would expect, with just one break in the match. Cressy is a very rare breed in the modern game: someone who loves to serve and volley. His serve was less consistent than usual, and he gave Opelka plenty of chances to pass him, which weren’t taken. Munar is an infinitely better returner than Opelka, so he will put more pressure on Cressy’s serve, and will punish any poor approaches or volleys from Cressy by passing frequently. As long as Munar can take care of business on his own serve, then I think he should get the win here, and is a great value underdog pick.
Rafael Nadal (ESP) to beat Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 2-0 at 4/7:
Rafael Nadal needs no introduction, but one thing to bear in mind here is his lack of matches in recent months. Playing his first ATP singles match since August last year, he managed to beat an experienced player in Berankis with relative ease, 6-2 7-5. He also got some more match time under his belt in a doubles with Munar, getting the win 6-3 3-6 10-4. The lack of match time is the main reason these odds aren’t shorter, but I don’t see that being an issue here.
Tallon Griekspoor is on a very hot run of form, having won his last 28 matches, which is not something to be ignored. However, all of these were at Challenger level, excluding the two wins this week over Koepfer and Popyrin. Nadal is a totally different proposition, not only does he still have the level of performance in him that has seen him win countless matches and titles over the years, but I think he still has an aura surrounding him that other players on the tour fear. Many times we have seen players who play one of the Big 3 for the first time completely freeze, which could happen here as it is their first meeting. Even if he doesn’t, I just don’t see him producing the level required to challenge Nadal, who will be more determined than ever to gain valuable match practice before the first Grand Slam event of the year in just over a week.
Bonus: Value pick of the day: Rafael Nadal (ESP) Outright 8/5 (2 units)
Neither of us selected an outright pick for Melbourne due to the odds not being out at the time of recording our podcast, so we will now pick ours as the favourite: Rafael Nadal. Most of the names that coud have challenged Nadal, such as Opelka, Murray and Kyrgios have already exited the draw, meaning that I can’t see anyone else lifting the title. The only player left who could perhaps challenge him is Dimitrov if he plays his best tennis, but that is a big if. Nadal and his partner Munar have withdrawn from the doubles event, after they have both made the Quarter Finals of the singles, and presumably both fancy their chances of going all the way. For me, for Nadal to win 3 matches, all of which he would be heavy favourite for, 8/5 is a very decent price, so I would be putting 2 units on this.
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