Day 4 in Rome was about as crazy and ugly of a slate as you’ll see in tennis DFS with only two players above $9,000 on DraftKings winning their matches: Casper Ruud and Garbine Muguruza. Fortunately we called a few of those upsets yesterday and got our favorites right as well, so it was a good day in the win camp. Today’s slate is again 12 matches, but unlike yesterday we get bona fide beasts in Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, and they’ve upped the top prize back to $10,000 in the Line Painter. Let’s find today’s Victoria Azarenka.
Tennis DFS Picks | DraftKings | Sept. 18
As was evident yesterday, clay court tennis is a completely different animal from grass and hard court play because of the surface and its deliberate attempt to slow down shots and players. To help me figure out who can navigate the red dirt, I’ll look at the player’s history and recent form on this surface because of its specific style while integrating a few metrics to hopefully create a pool with optimal plays for tennis DFS — yesterday’s winner of the Line Painter only spent $48,300.
By the Numbers | Simona Halep ($9,900) | Opponent: Dayana Yastremska
Simona Halep is the No. 1 seed in this tournament for good reason, and I am not sure I can find one reason to not tell you to jam her in wherever possible. She is 6-0 thus far this year on clay with a title in Prague last month, and she is cruising past opponents with just two sets lost along the way. Dayana Yastremska is probably shaking in whatever kind of boots she is wearing, and rightfully so. Yastremska is 4-1 on clay this season, so she comes in with some confidence, but the talent gap is still too much for her to overcome in my opinion, and with her propensity for mistakes (25 double faults in last two matches), Halep should sweep.
Also something to consider in this situation is ownership up top. With Nadal and Djokovic on the slate, you may be able to snag Halep at a slight discount with one of the most opportune matchups of the three.
By the Numbers | Victoria Azarenka ($9,700) | Opponent: Daria Kasatkina
After Day 4’s performance with 95.3 fantasy points on DraftKings, I don’t think there was any way I could leave Azarenka out of my picks. She has looked other-worldly since our return from the COVID break with wins in 14 of 15 matches and no signs of slowing down with her double bagel against Sofia Kenin. Like many of the upper-echelon players in the WTA, she doesn’t compete in many clay tournaments throughout the year but has a nice career record of 126-56 and reached the quarterfinals here last year.
Along with being a more accomplished and talented player than Kasatkina, she also dominates her in every statistical category known to man, including: Hold percentage, ace percentage, break points won percentage, return points won percentage, to name a few. There is nothing to dislike here either, but with her recent form and yesterday’s monster score, she might be very popular.
Ownership Play | Denis Shapovalov ($9,600) | Opponent: Ugo Humbert
Falling just below the two mentioned above, Nadal and Djokovic, we get Canada’s Denis Shapovalov. Continuing his form from the U.S. Open here in Rome, Shapovalov put up more than 70 DraftKings points in both outings this tournament. Shapovalov isn’t know for being a great clay player, but he has more than double the wins of Humbert on the red dirt and will likely carry a nice bit of leverage in GPPs.
Fade Pick | Garbine Muguruza ($8,800) | Opponent: Johanna Konta
After an ugly win yesterday versus a much more inferior opponent, I am not sure I can support putting Muguruza back in your lineups. It’s likely she comes at an ownership discount, but Johanna Konta is only a slight dog, so the pricing also doesn’t match the odds nor the ceiling. They are 2-2 in head-to-head matches, so it should be a great match to watch but not so much for tennis DFS.
Upsets I like: Johanna Konta ($6,100), Dominik Koepfer ($6,600), Polona Hercog ($7,100)
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