The tennis season has truly arrived at the warmup stage for the US Open, now that the entire tennis world (or at least the top-level tours for the men and women) are back in North America.
After a short stint on European clay after Wimbledon, all four ATP and WTA events are being played on this side of the pond.
With the men playing in Washington, D.C. and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, we have a few matches to choose from for Thursday’s action.
Let’s delve into a pair of intriguing matchups on the ATP side of things.
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Sebastian Korda (-135) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (+115)
3 p.m. ET
The match that intrigues me most from the American capitol comes between Sebastian Korda and Grigor Dimitrov. With two players capable of hitting some flashy shots, the fans in attendance should be treated to some fun baseline exchanges.
Ultimately, the young American is the clear favorite for my money, and the -135 line on offer at FanDuel isn’t quite enough. While Dimitrov may be the stronger server, once the point is into a baseline exchange, I’ll take Korda to win the majority of those points for a few reasons.
First, there is far more consistency to his game. I wouldn’t expect to see nearly as many errors (forced or unforced) from his side of the net.
Secondly, his backhand is more solid than Dimitrov’s. The one-handed backhand of the Bulgarian is susceptible to committing unforced errors, but it can also be rushed far more on that wing.
Finally, the ability to return is a key asset on courts that play anywhere from medium pace to medium-fast. There’s no doubting that Korda is the better player in that regard. Dimitrov has never been strong at getting back to neutral in rallies in return games and then constructing points well enough to apply pressure to his opposition.
Statistically, Korda has broken his opponents on hard courts this season at a 30% clip — well ahead of Dimitrov’s 18%.
I’ll take the slight favorite at a nice price in this one.
Pick: Korda ML (-135 via FanDuel)
Cameron Norrie (-1000) vs. Radu Albot (+600)
11 p.m. ET
At first sight, the moneyline markets on this match seem outrageous. Even the spread sitting at -5.5 is eye-watering and would likely require a straightforward win in two sets to cash. Yet the total is set at an enticing 19.5 games, which Cameron Norrie should be able to handle, considering the conditions in Los Cabos.
We know that slower hard courts are the Brit’s preference, and there are arguably none slower than those in Baja California. The fact that this tournament is played solely in the evening/at night locally also contributes to slower conditions.
Norrie has absolutely dominated opponents at this venue, dating back to his title here in 2021. He has played no more than 16 games in a match at this venue in any of his last four matches.
In fact, the majority of his matches on slow hard courts that have seen him win — but go over the number — have been against the likes of Reilly Opelka, John Isner, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Sebastian Korda. The common theme among those four? They are all very tall and can find a ton of free points with their serves (and plus-one forehands).
With Radu Albot on the opposite side of the net, Norrie is in a much better situation to replicate his dominant wins over the likes of Chun-Hsin Tseng (in his first match), Brandon Nakashima, Taylor Fritz or Ernesto Escobedo (his last three wins in last year’s edition of this event).
I’ll take the under here and trust Norrie to keep rolling at an event where he thrives.
Pick: Under 19.5 Games (+104 via DraftKings)