Welcome back, tennis fans! It’s Day two of the grass court season, and some of the big names in tennis will start their 2019 grass campaign today. The second slate of this week has 18 matches with both men and women in action.
The players listed below can be used in any contest, whether it’s for cash or GPP. I personally like to use the same lineup in both, since the goal is to pick players who are going to win their match. If you choose to go down the route of playing the “stars and scrubs” strategy, you might be forced to choose players who are bound to get crushed. This strategy is risky as upsets happen quite often in tennis, and if one of your most expensive players gets beat you have a very low chance to cash. Let’s get into my top 3 plays for the slate!
Note: Tennis is available on DraftKings ONLY. This slate is best of three set scoring for all players.
Kiki Bertens $10,400
Kiki Bertens had a disappointing end to her French Open run, forcing to retire due to an illness. However, the world number four is back in action as she tries to hold onto a top five ranking. Bertens has had a stellar 2019 season, posting a 26-10 record while capturing two titles. In 2018, she had a 5-3 record on the grass courts while making a run to the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Bertens has developed her game since this time last year, which makes her an immediate threat to win some more titles. Her first round match is against Johanna Larsson, the world number 172 from Sweden. Larsson had a 3-3 record on grass last season, while only defeating players ranked outside of the top 100. In those six matches she dropped serve 24 times, which is not going to lead to success, especially on the grass. Bertens is on a roll this season, and I don’t see anyone giving her any fits until the later rounds of tournaments. Bertens should come out on top in straight sets.
Gael Monfils $9,200
Monfils has been nothing short of sensational in 2019, with an 18-6 record and taking down a title Rotterdam. The world number 17 is gradually working his way back up the rankings, and the grass court will certainly help him get even higher. Monfils had a 5-2 record on the grass last season, making a run to the round of 16 in Wimbledon but falling short to the eventual finalist Kevin Anderson in four tight sets. Monfils has a dangerous serve when it’s firing, as he managed to hit aces at a 15% rate on the grass last season, which is ultimately the recipe for success. He’ll face off against Steve Johnson, the world number 65. Similar to Monfils, Johnson has a big serve that he relies on in order to win matches. In 2018, Johnson had a 5-3 record on the grass but only defeated one opponent ranked inside the top 150. He’s had some major struggles over the last year, posting a 16-24 record across the board while the ace rate plummets as well. Monfils can outplay Johnson in all aspects of the match, and I think he wins here in straight sets while unloading on the aces.
Mikhail Kukushkin $8,300
After having a poor clay court season, Mikhail Kukushkin is looking to get back on track on the grass. He had a 12-7 record on the season before the clay court campaign, while managing to take down multiple top 25 opponents. His style of play fits the hard and grass surfaces more than the clay, so he may go under looked in DFS due to recency bias. Last season, Kukushkin defeated four top names in tennis on the grass courts and took 11 games off of Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon. His first match is against Lorenzo Sonego, the world number 74 from Italy. Sonego had an outstanding clay court season, defeating multiple top 50 players, but his game style does not match well with the grass. Sonego had an 0-2 record in 2018 on the grass, losing serve 11 times in those two matches. Kukushin’s game has developed immensely, and I think he’ll give Sonego some troubles. Kukushkin should win this fairly easily, at a somewhat cheap price.
Possible upset/value play: Matteo Berrettini $6,300
Matteo Berrettini had a somewhat successful 2018 grass court season, posting a 5-4 record and making the second round at Wimbledon. He was ranked 81 at the time, he has since risen to 31 and playing better than ever. During his clay court season, Berrettini was serving aces at a 13% rate, which is bound to go up even more on the faster grass surfaces. He is 17-4 over his last 21 matches, and it’ll be interesting to see if he can make some noise on this surface. He’ll face off against the wildly inconsistent Nick Kyrgios, the world number 36 from Australia. It’s almost impossible to tout Kyrgios, as no one knows which version of him is going to show up to a match. Kyrgios was 7-3 last season on the grass, firing aces at a 30% rate, but his current mental state is starting to drag him down. He doesn’t have any love towards the sport of tennis, which he’s announced multiple times, and it almost seems like he gives up in the middle of matches. His serve is what keeps him alive, but if he gets down it is a train wreck. I think Berrettini can keep up with him on serve, and Kyrgios may crack in the end.
Best of luck!