The first major of the year has arrived! Players have been in action over the last few weeks to prepare for the Australian Open, and we’ll get to see a glimpse of everyone at their best. We’re going to break down each first round match of the Daniil Medvedev quarter of the bracket for your best bets and Tennis DFS lineups. Will anyone be able to take him down?
The Medvedev Bracket Tennis DFS and Betting Preview for the 2020 Australian Open
Daniil Medvedev (No. 1) vs. Frances Tiafoe
Nobody had a better summer hard court swing that Medvedev. In essentially consecutive weeks, he made it to the finals in Washington and Toronto, won in Cincinnati, made it to the U.S. Open finals and then won St. Petersburg and Shanghai.
Tiafoe, meanwhile, is a pretty exciting prospect out of the Washington D.C. area. His parents immigrated from Sierra Leone and his father was a custodian at a tennis facility in Maryland, which gave Tiafoe an opportunity to get training he may not have otherwise been able to afford from a very young age. Unlike most other American prospects, he doesn’t rely on a massive serve. Instead, he utilizes an aggressive return game and his athleticism to keep him in points. Last year in this tournament, he upset a seeded Kevin Anderson on his way to a quarterfinal appearance. He definitely has the quality to give Medvedev some trouble, but in the end, I expect Medvedev’s form to see him through in four sets.
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Dominik Koepfer vs. Pedro Martínez
Dominik Koepfer put together a Cinderella run at the U.S. Open, working his way through qualifying all the way to the round of 16. There he took a set off Medvedev before bowing out in four.
Martínez is a 22-year-old out of Spain who has basically only competed at the Challenger level (the level below the ATP tour). He’s never beaten a top-100 player before and I don’t expect him to here.
Hugo Gaston vs. Jaume Munar
This represents the 19-year old Gaston’s Grand Slam main draw debut. He crushed at the ITF level (the level below Challenger) in 2019, going 48-12, but has yet to make a run in any tournament at the Challenger or ATP levels.
Munar was a fixture on the ATP tour last year for the first time in his career. Munar’s game is more suited to slower clay courts as he doesn’t boast a big serve (4.7% Ace percentage) and relies on winning rallies — his best win was over Alexader Zverev on a clay court last February. In 2019, he went 30-19 on clay and 6-13 on every other surface.
Because of Gaston’s youth and Munar’s inconsistency on hard courts, there’s some uncertainty here despite the fact that Munar is a -300 favorite. However, Munar should prevail here.
Alexei Popyrin vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (No. 28)
This match is a fascinating pairing between the old guard and the new. Tsonga has made it to a couple Grand Slam finals and semifinals in his career, but is now 33 and hasn’t made a run in a couple years.
Popyrin, who is from Australia, is trying to build on a third round appearance in this tournament last year. This should be a really good test for him as he hasn’t beaten a player ranked as high Tsonga yet in his young career.
Both players have big serves and both hold on serve over 80% of the time. I expect this to be a tight match that is decided in tiebreakers, so I’ll take Popyrin as an underdog.
John Isner (No. 19) vs. Thiago Monteiro
There’s not much to really say about Isner at this point. He’s going to get a ton of aces and whether or not this match lasts more than three sets depends on Monteiro’s ability to hold serve. Isner is a decent favorite, but he’s looked terrible to start the year and when you bet Isner you always have to deal with the uncertainty of tiebreaks. I’ll take him here, but don’t feel great about his chances of advancing far in this tournament.
Alejandro Tabilo vs. Daniel Elahi Galán
Both players have had to advance through qualifying to make it to the main draw and are similarly ranked (Tabilo is No. 208 in the world, Galán No. 186). Galán is slightly better at holding serve — 77% hold percentage compared to 73.1% — but Tabilo is slightly better at generating breaks with 27% break percentage versus 26%. I’ll trust the Vegas odds and take Galán .
Miomir Kecmanović vs. Andreas Seppi
There’s a decent chance this is Kecmanović’s breakthrough year. He’s already started it off by making it to the semifinals in Doha. Tennis Abstract has this as a 50-50 match, but I think anything less than a win here would be a huge disappointment for Kecmanović.
Damir Džumhur vs. Stanislas Wawrinka (No. 15)
Wawrinka is a -700 favorite, but Džumhur is actually 2-1 in his career against Wawrinka. That said, I don’t see any way that record improves to 3-1.
David Goffin (No. 11) vs. Jérémy Chardy
I always seem to underrate Goffin. He never really seems to be particularly dominant and doesn’t have many of the attributes you’d expect from a top-10 player. However, the Belgian continues to grind out results and hang around the top of the rankings.
Meanwhile, Chardy is on the tail end of a decent career in which he never broke through to the top 20 of the rankings. These two have met twice before; Chardy won in the French Open in 2015 and last year, Goffin swept Chardy at Wimbledon.
Chardy’s serve may be enough to keep the match somewhat competitive, but Goffin should advance without too much trouble.
Pierre-Hugues Herbert vs. Cameron Norrie
Truthfully I’m not sure what to do with this match. Herbert is currently a -140 favorite, so it’s close to a pick ‘em, and both players have pretty similar stats on hard courts. Herbert has had a slightly better start to the season than Norrie, so I’ll take Herbert but this feels like a true coin flip to me.
Yūichi Sugita vs. Elliot Benchetrit
Benchetrit is another youngster who worked his way through qualifying to make the main draw. Sugita has a massive edge in experience though and expect to see him through to the next round.
Christopher O’Connell vs. Andrey Rublev (No. 14)
In my tournament preview I talked about how much I like Rublev in this tournament. He should win this in three easy sets.
Nikoloz Basilashvili (No. 26) vs. Soonwoo Kwon
Basilashvili had an up-and-down 2019, only going 14-15 on hard courts. His opponent, Soonwoo Kwon is just starting his ATP career but already has some impressive wins over Lucas Pouille, Richard Gasquet and Juan Ignacio Londero. He also went 52-20 on hard courts last year (though a lot of those were Challenger matches). I think the surface favors Kwon a lot more than Basilashvili, so I’ll take the underdog.
Fernando Verdasco vs. Evgeny Donskoy
Verdasco has been really impressive in maintaining a top 50 ranking despite being 36 years old. At some point his form has to fall off, but even so far in 2020, he won two matches in Doha before losing a close match to Corentin Moutet. Donskoy and Verdasco have similar numbers on hard courts so this match could be closer than expected. However, I see Verdasco advancing in four sets.
Casper Ruud vs. Egor Gerasimov
This match is tricky because the favorite (Ruud) isn’t playing on his favorite surface (clay). Gerasimov is one of my favorite players to bet on because he’s an extreme indoor/hard court specialist. Indoor hard courts are usually the fastest courts on tour which really favor Gerasimov’s game. This tournament is outdoors, but the courts are still pretty fast so I’ll take the value with Gerasimov.
Marco Cecchinato vs. Alexander Zverev (No. 7)
I think Zverev’s outright price at sportsbooks right now is too low for his talent. As long as he can stay out of his own way and doesn’t give in to the pressure of a Grand Slam, he has a great draw and should advance a long ways. Cecchinato went 4-11 on hard courts in 2019 so in theory, this should be a blowout for Zverev. That said, if you’re going to bet on this match, take the underdog and absolutely do not include Zverev in a parlay because of his inconsistency under pressure.
Projected fourth round matchups
Daniil Medvedev vs. Stan Wawrinka
Andrey Rublev vs. Alexander Zverev
Projected quarterfinals matchup
Daniil Medvedev vs. Alexander Zverev
Group Winner and Australian Open Semi-Finalist