We are just two weeks away from the US Open, and all of the top ATP and WTA players will be on display this week in Cincinnati. Can Novak Djokovic defend his title here and carry that momentum into the US Open once again? This week will be a real test for the young players before the next major, and we’ll see if anyone is able to pull off some upsets. The first slate of this DFS tennis week has 20 matches with ATP and WTA players in action.
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Nick Kyrgios (DraftKings $10,000; FanDuel N/A)
Nick Kyrgios is without a doubt the one player that people despise due to his erratic behavior and on-court antics, but when he’s trying his best, he is arguably the best player on the ATP tour. Kyrgios took down the title in Washington just two weeks ago, dropping just one set while losing only five service games. He fired down aces at an outstanding 25% while winning 86% of first serve points. If he can somehow manage to not let the little things get to his head, he could win a few majors.
Kyrgios has a first round meeting with Lorenzo Sonego, the ATP world number 47 from Italy. Sonego has been stellar on the clay courts, but it’s still up in the air on if he can match that intensity on the hard surface. His last three hard court matches against serve dominant players all resulted in a straight set loss, and I think that’ll happen against against Nick. Sonego is 12-11 on the hard courts over the last 12 months, with a 2-4 record against top 100 opponents. If Kyrgios can keep his head in the game, he should win this match fairly quickly.
Reilly Opelka (DraftKings $8,300; FanDuel N/A)
Reilly Opelka remains to be one of the biggest threats on the hard courts due to the nature of his game, and he has a favorable matchup in his first round. Opelka is one of the top servers on the ATP tour, serving aces at a 28% rate in hard court matches in 2019. His record on the surface is 19-9, and he captured a title in New York in February. He’ll have the home crowd behind him in this match, and it could get ugly quickly.
He’ll face off against Borna Coric, the ATP world number 14 from Croatia. Coric is coming off of some injury problems, and his level of play has dropped immensely. He barely managed to squeeze by his first match in Montreal, and then he got embarrassed by Adrian Mannarino. Coric lost that match 6-2 6-1 while dropping serve five times and winning 45% of service points. He has looked terrible to say the least, and he can be in some big trouble against a server like Opelka. I’m going with the big man to win in straight sets, if Coric keeps up this poor level of play.
Jan Lennard Struff (DraftKings $7,100; FanDuel N/A)
This is one of the many missprices on this slate due to the lines coming out late, but with Jan Lennard Struff at -250, this makes him a lock. Struff had an outstanding clay and grass court season, as he took down seven top 25 players. The ATP world number 35 started his Montreal campaign with a bang against Jo Wilfried Tsonga, with a 6-2 6-2 win, and I hope he can bring that fire power in Cincinnati. Struff has the ability to fire down aces at a 20%+ rate and win 85% of first serve points, and I think those numbers will rise in this match.
Struff is up against Ivo Karlovic, the ATP world number 81. Karlovic is 11-8 on the hard courts in 2019, and he’s showing why he’s one of the most dangerous players when he’s on. Karlovic heavily relies on his serve, as he fires down aces at a 27% rate and holds serve 96% of the time. However, outside of that serve, he is not an excellent player. Karlovic saved all nine break points in his last match against Philipp Kohlschreiber, and I expect Struff to be able to take control in this opportunities. This could be a tiebreak battle, but given the line on Struff to win this match, he is a lock in all formats.
Possible upset/value plays: Pablo Carreno Busta (DraftKings $6,800; FanDuel N/A)
This is another player that was priced incorrectly on DraftKings, as Pablo Carreno Busta is a -150 favorite to win this match. The former ATP world number 10 is coming off of an injury stint, but he is looking better and better as each tournament rolls on. Carreno Busta won his first qualifying match in Cincinnati with ease, 6-2 6-2 over Marius Copil. He won 73% of serving points while not dropping a service game, and he backed that performance with another convincing win. Carreno Busta is starting to look like his old self, and when he gets back to 100%, that’ll be bad news for the top players.
Pablo will face off against Gilles Simon, the ATP world number 34 from France. Simon has been poor on the hard courts as he has lost his last four matches, including two over the last two weeks. His most recent match against Radu Albot was poor to say the least, as Simon served double faults at an 8% rate while winning just 60% of first serve points. Carreno Busta currently owns a 3-2 head to head record against Simon, and given both of their current forms, I expect that to be 4-2. If you’re playing in cash games, don’t think twice and just lock this play in.
Best of luck!