F Tiafoe – + 7.5 games handicap vs R Federer @ 5/4
Federer is in terrific form this year, but some slightly concerning news came from his camp when he had to pull out of Cincinnati shortly after suffering a slightly surprising loss to Zverev. In fairness, Zverev deserved the win, but it was clear that Roger was hindered by something. Just days after that Tiafoe beat Zverev, which finally justified the widespread praise he got for being one of the up and coming American hopes.
These two played earlier in the year, in Miami, where Federer was at the top of his game and perfectly healthy, so the fact that Tiafoe held his own in that match gives us extra confidence that this one won’t be as easy as it looks like on paper.
R Nadal – Under 27.5 total games v D Lajovic @ 5/6
Rejuvenated Nadal isn’t a player who parks way behind the baseline any more in these sorts of matches, which helps him get through the early rounds easier. He’s still prone to some surprising losses, but those are usually coming against players with aggressive playing styles, who can hit lot of winners against him.
Lajovic isn’t that type of a player and usually struggles quite a lot on hard courts. Just a few days ago, Nadal’s compatriot Bautista handled him with ease and he lost comfortably under this line against Tsonga in Australian Open this year. Nadal, without a doubt, is much harder to win points against than Tsonga, and he also demolished Lajovic in their only meeting (gave him 4 games in 3 sets), so things aren’t looking great for the Serb.
Karlovic v Fratangelo – First set score 7-6 to either player @ 4/5
When Karlovic is in the equation, there’s pretty much only one offer you need to look at and it’s odds on first set tie break. The big serving Croat with next to no return game relies mostly on aces and serve winners and when he comes across a somewhat similar player, the tie breaks have an even higher expectancy. Fratangelo played first set tie breaks with players like Garin, Marchenko, Santillan and Eubanks, whose serves don’t even come close to Karlovic’s but who all have slightly more chance on return than “doctor” Ivo. So this is very solid value for a meeting of players who are more than happy to just play it out in tie breaks.
T Maria – Under 19.5 total games v A Kratzer @ 4/5
Kratzer doesn’t belong here and she likely never will. Ranked 342, she’s making nice progress as an 18-year-old, but she’s far away from competing with the big guns. Just for comparison, she played two matches this year against Sofia Kenin, who’s ranked 140, and won 4 games in total. And Maria is several levels above that.
A proud mom, Maria is looking to fight for all WTA mothers out there (with Serena expecting and Azarenka a most recent mom on the tour) and for easy progress to next round. She will simply overpower the young American in all aspects of the game and it’s very hard to see a competitive match here.