Welcome to another day of previews for the Australian Open. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read through these previews, and as always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter (@Ace_TheProfits).
Tomas berdych vs juan martin del potro
Big berd seems a tad too long here, especially when you consider how much Del Potro was physically struggling at the end of his match against Khachanov in the previous round. Berdych has had a couple of lapse in his first two rounds, but otherwise has been absolutely rock solid over the best of 5 set format. It is almost as if he took a whole heap of confidence from winning the Tiebreak 10s tournament, as ridiculous as that may sound.
Now I think this will be one of the best matches of the day from a viewing standpoint, and I think the underdog status of Berdych on form to start the year is a little off, so I am happy to sneak a little 2 unit play on Berdych to get over the top of Del Potro. Del Potro doesn’t quite back up like he used to, and if he is ever so slightly off here, this could spell trouble if Berdych serves well.
2 units Berdych to defeat Del Potro at $2.31 at Pinnacle
Marton Fucsovics vs nicolas kicker
Here we have a perfect position to take a player at the minus games handicap in what I believe will be a brutally one sided affair.
Kicker has done a phenomenal job to reach the third round, but all good things must come to an end in my opinion. I think there has been an overreaction of a couple of games here for Kicker, and those who have followed the last few weeks have noted the troubles that Jordan Thompson has had with his forehand to start 2018, so it wasn’t a MASSIVE shock that Kicker was able to grind out a 5 set win there. We found ourselves with a tidy little profit backing Kicker on Thursday, however that was largely due to the conditions more than the actual match up physically on the tennis court. In any other conditions, Lacko wins that match comfortably, however the heat was the biggest factor to consider on Thursday was that heat.
Today, the weather isn’t so kind to Kicker, and it won’t play a factor at all. Even worse, he is coming up against his most accomplished opponent of the week, and it also happens to be someone who absolutely obliterated him 2 weeks ago in India, where he won only 3 games.
Martin Fucsovics is in arguably career best form at the moment, with a seriously impressive start to 2018. This is how his 2018 has stacked up to begin:
- Defeated Kicker on the way to losing to Paire in the second round (great form around Paire’s leadup form – and Fucsovics did have match points in this one)
- Made it to the final of the Canberra Challenger (lost to Seppi in 3 sets – note Seppi is through to the 4th round this week at the Australian Open as well.
- Defeated Albot and Querrey on the way to the third round today – only dropped his serve twice vs Querrey too, which was quite impressive.
Fucsovics is playing with an exceptional amount of confidence, and when he is confident, his best can be blistering. Part of the appeal with Fucsovics is that he is a big game player – refer to his Davis Cup heroics when Hungary defeated Russia in 2017 for example. I think he has what it takes to capitalise on this amazing opportunity that has been presented to him today.
Combing through their match-up 2 weeks ago (which i will mention, but this was already a 5 unit play before this is even taken into consideration. Prior to this tournament (so excluding the two wins in favourable conditions this week), Kicker had won 5 matches on hardcourt since the start of 2016, with 2 wins in ATP qualifying, and 3 at Challenger Level (all at Curitiba Challenger in August 2016). The rankings of all the players he has beaten at the time were: 160, 277, 379, 432 and 516. Completely different ballpark today.
Fucsovics has the form on hardcourt (in ALL conditions), he has the head to head advantage, and he has the ability to dictate here as much as he wants. This is about as confident as I can be on a -6.5 game handicap play, and as a result I am comfortably staking 5 units on Fucsovics to get the job done. I see this covering in either 3 or 4 sets, as I think there may be one very one sided set amongst the play today.
5 units Fucsovics -6.5 game handicap at $2.02 at Pinnacle
Lucie Safarova vs Karolina Pliskova
This will be quite an exciting match-up in my opinion, pitting two of the better servers against each other. Whereas Pliskova was able to get the better of a one-dimensional Haddad Maia, and the first game of the match where Haddad-Maia put up two double faults pretty much told the story. Pliskova did play quite well, showing us all why she is considered on the of the best chances to win the Australian Open this year.
Don’t underestimate Safarova though. She had match points against Kerber in Sydney, which looks like better and better form every day based on how well Kerber is going at the moment. Also, a couple of years ago when I did some extensive research into Safarova and her first set scores (along with the rest of the top 10 at the time), Safarova had the highest rate of over 9.5 games, as well as tiebreaks. Across 2015, Safarova had over a quarter of her first sets on hardcourt go to a tiebreak. Looking through her recent stats as well, it doesn’t seem that a lot has changed by the looks. She is serving well, having only dropped serve twice this tournament (compared to 3 times for Pliskova), and she is far more capable on the return of serve than Haddad Maia (who i think i can only take in future against shorter, slower players).
It also helps that in their previous 7 meetings, their match total games has gone over the 21.5 games on 5 occasions. The other two times? 21 games. Longer matches seem to attract these two, and as they are both very proficient servers and both serving VERY well at the moment, this seems to be the logical play for mine. I also like Safarova to potentially win this match, but I feel there is at least a tiebreak or 7-5 in this match and as a result I would rather take the over 21.5 games as opposed to the +1.5 set handicap that is also available at similar odds. I just don’t want to have to bank on Pliskova missing serves in a tiebreak to take a set here, I much prefer the overs.
Let’s hope for lots of holds of serve.
4 units total games over 21.5 at $1.88 at Pinnacle