With a mix of first round upsets and COVID news, it was an eventful few days at The Championships.
Names like Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic are out due to COVID, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz have been sent packing.
Let’s take a look at a couple of matches featuring some of the lesser-known names on the ATP Tour as they prepare to open the second round.
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Ryan Peniston (-145) vs. Steve Johnson (+115)
6 a.m. Eastern time
The opener pits wild card Ryan Peniston against veteran Steve Johnson, each with different career paths, as well as coming out on top in a very different way than their first-round matches.
Johnson was the beneficiary of an unfortunate injury to Grigor Dimitrov, who looked strong taking the first set, before stumbling in the second set and eventually retiring.
Peniston made quick work of Henri Laaksonen to punch their ticket to the next round, capitalizing on what has been a pretty impressive season on the grass court. The 26-year-old now has nine wins on the slippery surface, most against ATP Tour-level talent.
With Johnson having a lackluster grass-court season to this point and potentially past his prime, the form advantage here goes to Peniston.
As far as matchups go, the Brit also has the flair to piss Johnson off. Given that the American’s strengths are his first serve, forehand and backhand slice, Peniston fits the bill.
An athletic southpaw who can return serve and prolong rallies, while having no problem getting to low-rebound cuts and spinning them into Johnson’s backhand is not ideal.
On serve, Peniston will be able to target that backhand wing as much as he wants, allowing him to dictate and rack up points against an opponent who simply can’t attack from that wing and rarely, if ever, hits a backhand he doesn’t. be cut off.
With similar hold and break percentages on the surface this year, Peniston possessing a much better return game and stronger schedule in recent weeks and career paths going in opposite directions, I’m okay siding with Peniston at just -145 .
Pick: Peniston ML (-145 via DraftKings)
Oscar Otte (-500) vs. Christian Harrison (+333)
7:15 a.m. Eastern Time
In another match between two guys who may not be familiar to many who watched Wednesday’s second-round action, big-serving Oscar Otte takes on Christian Harrison.
Since the books have this coincidence as such an unbalanced affair, the derivatives markets that generally correlate to the price of the money line have some interesting options to consider.
For starters, these two men have good serving and forehand combos. While Otte’s serve is elite on grass, Harrison’s is still strong, especially against a fairly poor returner in Otte.
The German may have made it through his first-round match against Peter Gojowczyk, but he wouldn’t put too much stock in it, considering his compatriot had won three professional matches since the end of February, all on the leaderboards.
Outside of that match, Otte has managed to break under 10% of the time this grass-court season and has played many close sets and matches.
With Harrison playing a decently long straight-sets match against Jay Clarke over two days in the first round and not being as familiar with best-of-five matches, I prefer the first set to the match total at this spot.
BetMGM is hanging a +190 for the set to end 7-5 or 7-6, so we are getting a low price on that market as well.
Selection: 1st set Over 10.5 games (+190 via BetMGM)
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