ATP Tennis Betting: Kwon can spring a surprise against Opelka in windy Delray Beach

February 21, 2020January 7th, 2022

The Open 13 in Marseille was not a good place for us on Thursday as we lost one bet in comedic fashion after an outright had gone down in a frustrating manner.

Having talked up the chances of a tie break in the clash between Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Felix-Auger Aliassime I went for a set one tie break only to see a bagel opening set followed by two breakers in the next two sets.

Prior to that we lost our remaining outright in what’s been a disappointing week on that front on Thursday when Aljaz Bedene managed to throw it away from *6-4 up in the opening set tie break against Gilles Simon in Marseille.

He then got broken from 40-0 the next game and that was that for Bedene.

Moving on swiftly to Friday’s quarter finals and we’ll see how committed Stefanos Tsitsipas is to defending his title this week when he takes on the in-form Vasek Pospisil in what’s likely to be another serve-dominated affair in Marseille.

The Greek wasn’t challenged by an off-form Mikael Ymer in his opening round match, but Pospisil has much more power on serve than the young Swede and has held his own deal 88.9% of the time this season so far (89.8% indoors only).

We know that the main weakness of Tsitsipas is that he doesn’t break serve enough and against the big servers in my database he’s 5-10 win/loss and broken serve only 7.6% of the time, playing 0.49 tie breaks per set (holding 90.6% of the time himself).

Pospisil isn’t a huge server, but he’s big enough in these conditions to make it tough for Tsitsipas, who’s already played 0.35 tie breaks per set in his eight main level matches in 2020.

The Canadian has been sending the aces down this year, with 0.84 per game, and we’ve already seen more than 50% tie break matches in Marseille this week and one seems likely here, but 3.10 about one in set one is perhaps a little too short.

Alexander Bublik has won his last six matches against left-handers, but he’s only faced two top-50 ranked lefties in his career (Mannarino and Ramos), and he won both those, too.

He faces Denis Shapovalov today and Bublik is certainly capable in these conditions and an upset is certainly possible if Shapo has one of his fairly regular off days.

“I felt that my game has been there, but it’s been more of a head issue,” Shapovalov said of his recent patchy form.

Egor Gerasimov was quite surprised to beat David Goffin yesterday, but it was another one of those peculiar, flat performances from the Belgian.

“I’m very happy, I’m still a bit confused,“ Gerasimov said after the match.

He might be surprised again if he finds that Felix Auger-Aliassime has run out of gas after a tough spell of tennis in the last few weeks, but Bublik and maybe Pospisil look more viable underdog winners.

Over in Delray Beach the two players that I said at the start of the week might go well here in these slowish and often quite windy conditions are into the quarter finals.

Soon Woo Kwon and Yoshihito Nishioka are both good movers and very solid and clever players, similar in some ways to Dan Evans and Radu Albot who made the final here a year ago.

But Nishioka’s injury last week put me off him, while I didn’t think 25-1 was quite big enough on Kwon, but maybe we can still make some money on him this week.

He takes on Reilly Opelka, who doesn’t sound like he’s particularly looking forward to the first career meeting between the pair:

“He doesn’t make any mistakes,” Opelka said of Kwon. “He’s a nightmare. He moves well, returns well, serves well, he’s fast. Just a very skilled, high IQ tennis player and knows his game well, so I have to play at a high level.”

It’s forecast to be pretty windy in Delray Beach on Friday, with speeds of 32kph expected, which you’d think would play into the hands of the better mover, which is clearly Kwon, and make serving tougher.

Kwon beat Milos Raonic last week indoors with no wind to hamper the Raonic serve, so conditions may well play in Kwon’s favour in this match.

On a snapshot of current form (their last three months at main level) there’s nothing in it, with Kwon having a service hold/break total of 103.1 and Opelka 103, so in these circumstances, where Opelka may not be able to rely as much on his serve I don’t mind risking Kwon as a 2.55 underdog.

In Rio, we backed Attila Balazs at 100-1 a couple of weeks ago, but typically he looks to have a better chance this week now as a lucky loser in a bigger tournament, where he’s already at the last eight stage.

He’ll have to break a trend if he’s going to go any further though, as no player from the qualies draw has ever been past the last eight in Rio and he faces the underdog we backed on Tuesday now, Pedro Martinez Portero.

Indeed, these two clashed in Buenos Aires qualies not quite two weeks ago when Martinez edged it by six points over three sets as a 2.01 underdog and now Martinez is a bit short at 1.55.

We got a good price on Martinez against Andujar and you’d have to make the Spaniard here, but Balazs is streaky and has already won twice as underdog in the main draw against Pablo Cuevas and Thiago Monteiro, so this could be tough for Martinez.

Cristian Garin looked to be playing much better against Federico Delbonis than he did in his opening round match and he should be too strong for Federico Coria, but Dominic Thiem may not be in the right condition to be backed as short as 1.10.

“I'm not in the same shape as I was in Australia, which is normal,” Thiem said after a struggle of a win over Jaume Munar. “I haven't played on clay since last August. What matters is that I won, and that I fought from the first to the last point.”

Gianluca Mager will probably be a bit nervous facing Thiem in a Rio quarter final, but he’s been playing some good, aggressive tennis this week and in these circumstances he could be worth a small interest at odds of around the 6-1 mark.

Thiem has 1000 points to defend at Indian Wells shortly and it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to think he might well pull the plug on this week if he's struggling with injury. 


Best Bets


0.5 points win Kwon to beat Opelka at 2.55
0.5 points win Mager to beat Thiem at 7.0