Yesterday’s matches were pretty disappointing. All 4 matches had the potential to be tight but all ended in 2 sets. That is always a possibility with exhibitions. Which is why I always say……
Exhibitions = REDUCED STAKES!
Next week looks promising for more of the top players being involved in the matches including WTA players.
Bautista Agut (1.34) v Novak (3.55)
Due to start at 12:00
This will be their first meeting.
Bautista Agut’s win percentages in the last 12 months and in 2020 are a little better. The gap is a little bigger when you take into account the fact that Novak’s best results were mainly in Challengers. Bautista Agut’s clay results are also a little stronger.
Bautista Agut was a little disappointing in his match with Berrettini. To be fair to him Berrettini played an excellent match. Bautista Agut hit 7 double faults. He only faced 4 break points but was broken 3 times.
Novak has served extremely well this week. He was also broken 3 times by Berrettini. Yesterday in his match with Khachanov he faced 4 break points and saved all of them. He won that match in straight sets as underdog.
Will Bautista Agut be vulnerable on serve again today? Even though Berrettini played well yesterday those 7 double faults from Bautista Agut were all his own fault. You could argue that Berrettini putting him under pressure brought about the errors. I have always thought that Bautista Agut’s apparent strategy of taking care of his own serve and really going for a single break of his opponent’s serve is risky. It is easy to get caught out and end up losing the set.
Let’s try a small lay on Bautista Agut around 1.25 and remove the liability at 1.50. Back him if he loses set 1.
Rublev (1.42) v Ruud (3.2)
Due to start at 1:30 pm
Rublev won their only previous meeting in July last year on clay. He won in 3 sets after Ruud took the opening set.
Much better overall results for Rublev in the last 12 months. His clay results are also a little better although Ruud has had some excellent results in Challenger tournaments.
Rublev came through a tight first match with Jan-Lennard Struff on Tuesday. He saved 2 match points in the deciding tie break. I had said that he would need to improve his serve against Dominic Thiem and he did. It wasn’t enough to beat Thiem and in fact wasn’t enough to take a set from him but obviously he was up against a strong opponent.
Ruud served well in the first part of his match with Struff but by the end he had been broken 5 times. He needs Rublev to have a poor day if he is to win this one.
Rublev has been broken first in both his matches this week and we need the same again. Back Rublev if he gets broken first or loses set 1.
Thiem (1.27) v Struff (4.3)
Due to start at 3 pm
Thiem leads their previous meetings 3-1. He won their last 3 matches. Their most recent match was on an indoor court in St Petersburg in September 2018. Thiem won in 2 sets. He won their only clay match in Monte Carlo in April 2016. Struff took the opening set. Struff’s only win was on a hard court in Auckland in January 2015. Thiem took the opening set in a tie break.
Thiem’s overall results in the last 12 months are much stronger and he is ranked second in the world on clay.
Thiem has served well this week but his return game is not quite at its best. Both his matches had close sets.
Struff’s serve has been pretty effective this week. He had 2 match points in his match with Rublev. Yesterday he started a little slowly against Ruud but got stronger as the match went on.
Struff’s best chance of taking a set is probably a tie break. We could try a lay of Thiem around 1.15 and remove liability at 1.30 or we can wait for Thiem to lose set 1 before backing him.
Berrettini (1.34) v Khachanov (3.75)
Due to start at 7:15 pm
Berrettini has won all 3 of their previous matches. All their matches were in 2019. Two were on grass and one was indoors.
Berrettini has better overall results in the last 12 months and also in 2020. His clay results are significantly stronger.
Khachanov has lost both his matches this week. He was particularly poor against Dennis Novak yesterday.
Berrettini has won both his matches. He was too consistent for Bautista Agut yesterday. He has not lost a set so far.
Ideally we want Berrettini to get broken first but we probably have more chance of him only facing a break point. Back him with part stake if he faces a break point and add the rest after he gets broken.