Welcome to another day of tennis, as the second round of the Australian Open comes to a close. Just to be aware today, as I write this at 10am the temperature is alreay 30 degrees, and forecast to still be around 36 degrees at sunset today.
On days like today, I would much rather be on the bigger prices than shorter, especially considering the heat that is going to be lingering. I am not as fussed about the heat on the main courts from mid afternoon once the sun starts to escape, however it will be constant on the outside courts, and is definitely something you should take into consideration when making a play today.
Halep vs Bouchard
Happy to oppose Halep coming off her first round, where she really struggled vs Aiava, and that was before her ankle roll. For a player who relies so heavily on her movement, it has to be a concern for Halep tonight, especially up against Bouchard owning off her best performance in months. Bouchard plays some of her best tennis in Melbourne, and this would have been a 2 unit bet in normal conditions. When you add in the Halep ankle and Bouchard having more exposure to matches in the heat this month, this doubles to 4 units.
4 units Bouchard to defeat Halep at $6.05 at Pinnacle (ensure at a bookmaker that pays out on retirement once a set is complete)
Zverev vs Gojowczyk
Similar to my play on Bogdan to beat Putintseva earlier, I am not sure that Zverev has the concentration levels to stay ‘on’ from start to finish against Gojowczyk today. Zverev was very fortunate to get through round 1 in straight sets, and when you consider the form of Gojowczyk over the last few months, I think we are very fortunate to receive +6.5 games head start in this battle of the Germans.
Short and sweet, but all this takes is one lapse of concentration and I think Zverev will have a very tough time covering 6.5 games. Considering his form in the area, I am happy to take him on today.
4 units Gojowczyk +6.5 games vs Zverev at $1.93 at Pinnacle
Keys vs Alexandrova
All of a sudden that first up match for Keys vs Konta doesn’t seem to be as great an indicator as we initially thought, with Konta having a horror January compounded by her second round straight sets loss to Pera earlier today. Keys in my opinion didn’t look so crash hot in the second and third sets against Konta, and she was a couple of points from finding herself in a third set against Wang in the first round, having to reel off 5 consecutive games to take the second set 7-5.
Those if you who have followed me for a while know I have a slightly inflated opinion of Alexandrova, but that is because I really enjoy watching her play – when she is on, she is ON! When she goes off the boil though, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. When you see me back her, it is rarely as a favourite and always head to head over a game handicap. Her best tennis is top 10 stuff, it is just a question of how long she can sustain that level as to how well she goes moving forward. Alexandrova can re-direct pace quite well, and if Keys is off ever so slightly with her movement or form, she is in a whole lot of trouble today, and when Keys still has a few things to prove considering her not so great run since the US Open run, there is value in taking Alexandrova at the big price.
Oh, and I will be here to cheer her on!
3.5 units Alexandrova to defeat Keys at $5.46 at Pinnacle
pliskova vs Haddad Maia
A Haddad Maia victory is not entirely out of the question in these conditions, however I am happy to play it safe here and make a play on the over 18.5 game total. Pliskova is not the best at handling extremely hot conditions, and I think as a result here she is going over have to play it smart to conserve energy throughout the match. Part of that includes perhaps not attacking every service game of Haddad Maia, particularly if she does find herself down 30/0 and 40/15 at times. Haddad Maia has a tricky lefty serve that can be difficult to manoeuvre at times, and I think she may even have the ability to force at least a tiebreak here if she serves well. As a result, I am comfortable with a 4 unit play on over 18.5 total Games.
4 units total games over 18.5 at $1.86 at Pinnacle
Bogdan vs Putintseva
i simply cannot have Putintseva here as a favourite, considering when I watched her late in 2017 she was genuinely struggling to play out 3 set matches at times. Putintseva got the better of Heather Watson in round 1, 7-5 7-6, but if Bogdan plays as she did in round 1 against Mladenovic, with a very vocal Romanian support base, I think she will be too strong here, and actually have a too much weight of shot for Putintseva in these conditions.
Putintseva can struggle to keep her emotions in check on the court at times in perfect conditions, so it is a massive as for her to keep them in check in the absolute heat – and if I didn’t already think there was a massive advantage to Bogdan, the conditions tip this right to a 5 unit play in my opinion
5 units Bogdan to defeat Putintseva at $2.12 at Pinnacle
Tim Smyczek vs Albert Ramos
Little Timmy Smyczek should not be $3 today against Albert Ramos on form – I think Tim is well and truly capable of matching it with Ramos here in 5 sets on form. Ramos put together his first solid match in quite a while against an out of sorts Donaldson, who is largely unproven at Grand Slam level. I am adopting the winning form is good form approach, and considering how Smyczek has handled the Melbourne conditions in the past (who could forget that epic vs Rafa), I am content in placing 2.5 units on Smyczek to upset Ramos today
2.5 units Smyczek to defeat Ramos at $2.99 at Pinnacle
Kicker vs Lacko
There aren’t many things worse than playing a guy like Kicker who can go all day regardless of the conditions, like Jordan Thompson discovered the other day I think there is a massive overreaction to Lacko’s win against a clearly out of touch Milos Raonic, and I don’t think he should be the $1.19 that is currently on offer for him. It is stinking hot, and I think Kicker should comfortably be able to at least take one set here, and believe the $5.50 to Win is also excessive. To take a set at $1.76 is value, the win would be icing on the cake.
4 units Kicker +2.5 sets at $1.76 at Crownbet
1 unit Kicker to defeat Lacko at $5.50 at Pinnacle
Radwanska vs Tsurenko
i have been keen on tsurenko to win here for the last 24 hours however this weather has put me off a tad. That being said, o think Tsurenko has the shots to trouble Radwanska, however I am keen to oppose Radwanska over the shortest duration possible – the first set. I cannot see Tsurenko winning if she drops the first set, however I can see Radwanska come back from a set down like she did against Pliskova. Tsurenko will come out all guns blazing, and with the set result relying on how Tsurenko hits it, I am comfortable taking the $2.26 for Tsurenko to win set 1.
3 units Tsurenko 1st set winner vs Radwanska at $2.26 at Pinnacle
Vondrousova vs Garcia
Very similar reasoning to my above play on Tsurenko. Again I liked the price, but considering the heat, and Garcia’s slow start vs Witthoeft in round 1, I would prefer to take Vondrousova to win the first set only. Great value in my opinion, as Vondrousova has been very solid lately, and has the shot making to disrupt the rhythm of Garcia. Hopefully that back of hers takes a little while to get going today.
3 units Vondrousova first set winner vs Garcia at $2.76 at Pinnacle