Day two of main-draw action is set to be underway, with Carlos Alcaraz headlining the field. As the stakes increase to the 500 level, we’re treated with four top-20 players in Hamburg, and plenty of other worthy opponents across the draw.
With the fan favorite, Alcaraz, returning to clay-court action and an ironic matchup between Nikoloz Basilashvili and Aslan Karatsev, let’s dive into where we can find value in this ATP 500 event.
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Aslan Karatsev (-138) vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili (+114)
8:50 a.m. ET
Two players who are under extreme heat from the media and ATP Tour for potential match fixing find themselves on opposite ends of the court on Tuesday.
Basilashvili had a commanding 5-2 lead over Hugo Gaston in the first set last week before falling down 6-7, 0-3 and retiring with an elbow injury. With seven days to recover, there will be questions about whether he’s at 100%.
If we assume Basilashvili is ready to go, he could be a real threat this week in Germany. Basilashvili holds a 13-2 record here in Hamburg.
After winning the title in 2018, he followed it up with a title defense in 2019 following consecutive wins over Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev to close out the tournament.
Despite his horrendous 12-22 record in 2022, Basilashvili can beat any player when he’s on.
And in good news for him, he often loves to make runs at familiar tournaments, as we saw in Doha earlier this year.
Before last week, Karatsev was 1-6 on clay in 2022. He picked up two solid wins before bowing out to the eventual champion, Francisco Cerundolo. Karatsev likes to hold the baseline and take the ball early — similar to Basilashvili — but he hasn’t been able to transition this strategy to clay quite as well.
Very few people on tour hit the ball as hard as Basilashvili. He’s consistently pumping pace into his groundstrokes, and as Karatsev tries to hold the baseline on this surface, I don’t think it will fare well for him.
Expect Basilashvili to out hit Karatsev from the baseline — despite his retirement the previous week — and get his Hamburg success off to a running start.
Pick: Basilashvili ML (+114 via FanDuel)
Carlos Alcaraz (-3500) vs. Nicola Kuhn (+1400)
8:00 a.m. ET
Alcaraz is returning to the clay courts in just his second tournament since the French Open.
In his return to action, Alcaraz is not only a heavy favorite in the first round, but is the favorite to win Hamburg, sitting at -150 odds.
He faces Nicola Kuhn, who’s playing just his second ATP main draw match this year after falling to Brandon Nakashima at Wimbledon.
Kuhn is 11-14 across all levels this year, an underwhelming record, especially considering the results are largely from the Challenger Tour.
Alcaraz will be the first top-10 player Kuhn has faced in his career, and Kuhn holds a clay elo-rating nearly 600 points below his opponent. This match is not expected to be close.
Despite Alcaraz’s lack of tournaments in recent times, he should be firing on all cylinders as he arrives on the courts in Hamburg. His intensity and commitment resemble that of Rafael Nadal’s, as he’s unhindered whether he’s up 5-0 or down 0-5 in a set.
He will bring 100% every point.
Kuhn has no weapons that can hurt Alcaraz — especially on clay — and Alcaraz possess all the weapons in the world to trouble his opponent.
Unless we see a mighty uptick in the German’s level of play in his home country, Alcaraz will see his way through to the second round in swift work.
Pick: Alcaraz -6.5 Games (-114 via FanDuel)