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 second slate of this DFS tennis week has 18 matches with ATP and WTA players in action.
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Roger Federer (DraftKings $11,200; FanDuel N/A)
Roger Federer, aka the GOAT, will try to put the Wimbledon choke behind him going into the hard court season. He only blew two championship points on serve against the best player in the world, but no big deal, Roger should be fresh and ready to go. Roger is 16-1 in his last 17 hard court matches, while taking down three titles over the last 12 months. He doesn’t need much more of an introduction, so let’s get right into it.
Roger’s first match will be against Juan Londero, the ATP world number 55. Londero was one of the most consistent players during the clay court season, but he’ll have a hard time matching that on the hard surfaces. He’s played only three hard court matches over the last two years, with those matches coming over the last two weeks. Londero dropped serve five times while winning 74% of first serve points, but he’ll have to be better against Fed. I fully expect Roger to win in straight sets with ease.
Novak Djokovic (DraftKings $11,000; FanDuel N/A)
The best player on the planet is back in action, as Novak Djokovic is looking to defend his title in Cincinnati. Novak is 61-8 over the last 12 months, while capturing six titles including three of the last four majors. I hate to break it to any Federer fans out there, but Novak will go down as the best player to play the game at the end of his career. Last year’s Cincinnati tournament was the start of a 22-win match streak for Novak, and I hope to see that repeat itself. No one can get in his way, and at this point I’ll pay any price to roster him.
Djokovic will face off against Sam Querrey, the ATP world number 45 from the US. Querrey had an impressive grass court season given it’s his best surface, but now he’s going back down to reality. The big serving American is 7-6 on hard courts in 2019, while firing down aces at a 20% rate and winning 80% of first serve points. However, those stats do not matter when it comes to playing against the best serve returner in the history of the game. Djokovic owns a 6-2 record against Querrey while winning the last seven sets on hard courts. Querrey will have to serve out of his mind to stay in it, but I don’t see that happening.
Petra Kvitova (DraftKings $8,300; FanDuel N/A)
Petra Kvitova has been nothing short of stellar on the hard courts in 2019, with a 20-6 record while capturing a title in Sydney. Kvitova made a run to the finals at the Australian Open but fell short in three sets to Naomi Osaka, and I think she can match that at the US Open. It has been over a year since she last lost to a player ranked outside the top 50 on a hard court, which shows just how consistent she is compared to the field. The WTA world number six is looking to make some noise in Cincinnati, and that starts out against a familiar foe.
Kvitova will go up against Maria Sakkari, the WTA world number 33 from Greece. Sakkari has been solid on the hard courts over the last few weeks, with a 4-2 record while making a semis run in San Jose. Her last match against Camila Giorgi was not attractive however, as Sakkari won just 57% of service points while double faulting at a 7% rate. I’m not sure how she managed to win with those kind of stats, but it won’t be good enough against Petra. The last time these two met on a hard court was in March, with Kvitova coming out on top 6-2 6-4. I expect a similar result in this match, with Petra at a somewhat cheap price.
Possible upset/value plays: Pablo Carreno Busta (DraftKings $6,900; FanDuel N/A)
Pablo Carreno Busta is off to a hot start in Cincinnati, as he took down the young gun Casper Ruud in straight sets. 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 as well, 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’s second round match is against the big serving American, John Isner. Isner has not been impressive as of late for his standards, as he’s lost four service games over his last two matches. Both matches were against clay court dominant players as well, which is not a good sign for John. He is 3-3 over the last few weeks on the hard courts while booming down aces at a 24% rate. However, he did face 10 break points against Dusan Lajovic and that worries me. I think Pablo can win this match if he plays at his best, and at a relatively cheap price.
Best of luck!