Vienna and Nur-Sultan: Day 4
If you won money on Day 3, you likely had Kevin Anderson and Mackenzie Mcdonald in your lineup(s). Both players impressed with Anderson putting up a rare 83 point outing. A 6-1 set for him will do that. Mcdonald was able to take advantage of a bad-serving Bublik. Bublik served 11 aces, eight double faults, and only got his first serve in 49% of the time. Mcdonald continued his great serving with a 76% first serve in rate.
Sometimes, the analysis is as simple as that.
We’ve got one last slate for Vienna and Nur-Sultan before we transition to the Rolex Paris Masters 100, the last premier tennis event before the ATP Finals in London. With the new restrictions in place in France, it’s no guarantee we see the tournament be played, but this recent memo from ATP Player Relations looks promising but concerning at the same time. It’s truly a “wait and see” situation.
My Favorite Favorite: Mikhail Kukushkin (vs. Benoit Paire)
We’re going right back to the well playing against Benoit Paire. I will quote what I said about Paire from his last match in Cologne 1, because the exact same analysis applies.
There are a handful of players in which handicapping motivation is critical. The Big 3 in this grouping are Nick Kyrgios, Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire.
Paire is coming off of a tumultuous month of September after testing positive for COVID-19 multiple times which forced him to withdraw from the U.S. Open and Hamburg. Here are some quotes from Paire from a September 27 ESPN article:
“Honestly, physically I’m not good and mentally I’m not good enough. It is something different in the head. I’m not 100% now.”
“I really don’t care about the system, about what happened,” Paire said. “The only thing I know is sometimes [I am] positive, sometimes negative. If I’m positive I go home. I will be happy to go home a little bit.
This doesn’t sound like a person who wants to be playing tennis. Frankly, I’m not even sure why he is still playing tournaments in 2020. Regardless, this pick is a pure fade of Paire.
This time around, the market seems to be catching up. Mikhail Kukushkin is the favorite, but I still think it is the right side. This is Kukushkin’s home country so you know he will show up. Paire? It’s much more doubtful.
An Underdog For Your Consideration: Jurij Rodionov (vs. Dan Evans)
Of the eight matches on this slate, I only feel really good about that first one.
Obviously I could write hundreds of words about why Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev are the best plays in a raw sense, but that doesn’t add any value to this blog.
If you’re looking to get those guys in your lineup, however, you’ll need some underdogs. I think you could take a chance on Jurij Rodionov as a punt play.
Dan Evans’ game can lead to a bit more variance than the average tour player. He only holds serve at a 77% clip this season, so he isn’t immune to breaks. The challenge is that he breaks at a 27% clip which is well above average.
Rodionov is Austrian, so he gets a home country bump. He was tearing it up on the hardcourt challenger tour this season before the restart, going 15-2 with two titles. He lost his first three matches after the restart but started to play well in September. He qualified into Roland Garros this year and won his R128 matchup vs. Jeremy Chardy.
Obviously he doesn’t have too much experience at the tour level. But for this matchup and on this slate, you’re happy if he takes a set off of Evans. Anything else is gravy. Rodionov allows you to get Medvedev, Thiem, or some other upper mid-range players.
Thank you all so much for reading. If you have any suggestions for the blog, please let me know in the comments. Best of luck in all of your contests and may the ball bounce your way!