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Thursday, 25 July 2019

Tennis Picks 2019 (July 25th)

This has not been a great week for the Tennis Picks and some of the frustration is down to the poor conversion of break points between the players I've picked and those they are playing.

It was the case on Wednesday as Casper Ruud blew a set and a break lead before going down in three sets. Dominic Thiem then missed his first eight break points before finally converting some and the day was wrapped up by Juan Ignacio Londero missing five break points before dropping the first set in his eventual three set defeat.

This week has thus been one of the worst of the 2019 season, but there are still four days to come before the tournaments are completed in Hamburg, Gstaad, Atlanta, Jurmala and Palermo. If Thursday is a really poor day I am thinking I might put a pin in the week, but I am looking for better results from the three selections made below.

Alexander Zverev - 3.5 games v Federico Delbonis: There were high expectations of Alexander Zverev going into the 2019 season after his success at the ATP Finals last November. Ultimately he has underwhelmed and Zverev was very critical of himself after another early Grand Slam exit at Wimbledon earlier this month.

He is clearly searching for a level of confidence and that has meant Zverev has taken an entry into the Hamburg Open where the ATP are running a 500 level event this week. The home favourite earned a solid win over Nicolas Jarry in the First Round, although that was against an opponent who was winning a title on Sunday and could have been a little fatigued.

In the Second Round Alexander Zverev takes on Federico Delbonis who was a Semi Finalist in Bastad before his run was ended by Jarry and who has followed up with a solid looking win over Marco Cecchinato in the First Round here. It has been a good month for the Argentinian who has won a Challenger title in Perugia before the run in Bastad and who continues to play his best tennis on the clay courts.

A solid month of clay court tennis has seen Federico Delbonis really improve the way he has been returning serve with 44% of points won against an opponent's serve. That has seen the Argentinian break in 36% of return games played and he will feel he can put Alexander Zverev under pressure with what has been a vulnerable confidence in matches over the last few months.

In 2019 Alexander Zverev has seen his numbers drop being serve and return on the clay courts, and that has seen him offer up seven fewer wins this year compared with 2018. He might be able to close that number in what is a relatively weak field for an ATP 500 event, but this is going to be a tough match for Zverev.

These two have some similar numbers which does make it difficult to back Zverev here, but I think a couple of factors could favour him. He should be the fresher player considering how much tennis Delbonis has played over the last few days, while their match at Geneva ahead of the French Open on the clay courts there will stand him in good stead.

Alexander Zverev held 81% of his service games played compared with Federico Delbonis who was at 64% in the same category. There was a marked difference in the percentage of service points won by each player and, while Delbonis is playing with more confidence now, I do think we will see the service edge with the German in this one too.

This is a big spread on the handicap considering how vulnerable Alexander Zverev's confidence seems to be, but I think the home crowd can carry him through this one. Federico Delbonis can cause problems, but I think Zverev is going have a little too much for him and can win and cover here.

Bernard Tomic v Matthew Ebden: Falling out of the top 100 of the World Rankings has not exactly humbled Bernard Tomic who still seems to have a strained relationship with the rest of the world. He is not in the mix when it comes to the Australian Davis Cup team, while Tomic has perhaps been enjoying the spoils of his career rather than looking to really make the most of his potential.

His come from behind win over Frances Tiafoe in the First Round is a big result, but it will be meaningless to Tomic if he is not able to take advantage of opening up the draw. However I have no doubt the fact that Tomic is so erratic day to day that the layers are not convinced he will be able to do that when facing compatriot Matthew Ebden.

The latter was a solid winner in the First Round too, but in general Matthew Ebden has had a difficult time on the hard courts. He only improved to 3-9 on the hard courts with his win over Kamil Majchrzak and Ebden has seen his numbers decline significantly from 2018 to 2019 on this surface.

In those years Matthew Ebden has seen his number of service games held drop from 78% to 73% on the hard courts and that has only made it more difficult to hide the relatively weak return numbers. It will be an issue for him against someone like Bernard Tomic who has been holding 84% of his service games played on the hard courts in 2019 and who continues to be as good as his serve allows him to be.

Bernard Tomic has also been a lot more effective than Matthew Ebden when it comes to the return of serve and I do think he is someone that can be backed at the prices on offer. The 3-0 head to head in favour of Tomic is not entirely relevant as their last match against each other came back in 2014, but compatriots playing each other can produce something of a hierarchal issue for the supposed underdog to overcome.

I do think Matthew Ebden will feel like that even though this is a virtual pick 'em on the day. Backing Bernard Tomic is not an easy decision, but I think he can use the stronger serve to edge out his fellow Australian.

Miomir Kecmanovic v Ugo Humbert: Two very young players on the Tour have begun to make an impact at the main ATP level which has seen Miomir Kecmanovic and Ugo Humbert both reach peak World Rankings going into this tournament in Atlanta. Another strong run will see them improve further and the layers have set this up as a pick 'em with both having very similar numbers for the 2019 season.

These two actually met in Antalya on the grass courts when Kecmanovic managed to beat Humbert in straight sets back in June, but the hard court form also seems to suggest that the young Serbian can be backed here.

Miomir Kecmanovic reached the Quarter Final in Indian Wells earlier this season and, while he has yet to really put together some consistency on the surface, he is someone who has produced some decent numbers. The Serbian has held 85% of the service games he has played on the hard courts at the main ATP Tour level and he has also broken in almost 22% of return games which does make him a credible player on the surface.

Those numbers stay steady on the serve when only considering the Kecmanovic performance against players outside of the top 20 of the World Rankings on this surface. However Kecmanovic will be confident going into this match considering he has upped his return numbers to finding breaks in almost 28% of return games played.

I do have to admit the return numbers are in for a strict test from Ugo Humbert as the young, lefty Frenchman has held 87% of service games played on the hard courts. The serve has been a massive weapon for Humbert who has won 67% of points played on the hard courts in his matches on the main Tour and that is going to give him every chance of trying to build some scoreboard pressure on Kecmanovic.

The issue for Humbert has been trying to get enough out of his own return of serve and against a server like Kecmanovic he can't expect to have a lot of joy. Ugo Humbert has only broken in 13% of return games played on the main Tour, but even adding the Qualifiers and Challenger events in 2019 and he has broken in less than 20% of his return games played on the hard courts.

With similar levels of serving, I do think the Kecmanovic return can give him the edge when it comes to facing someone like Humbert. Both should be confident that the serve can set them up for success, but I favour Kecmanovic to earn the win and place into the Quarter Final.

MY PICKS: Alexander Zverev - 3.5 Games @ 1.72 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Bernard Tomic @ 1.80 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Miomir Kecmanovic @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)

Weekly Update: 2-5, - 6.36 Units (14 Units Staked, - 45.43% Yield)

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