The Atlanta Open kicks off a string of hard-court tournaments in North America leading up to the US Open.
Headlined by three huge servers as the favorites for this tournament — Nick Kyrgios, Reilly Opelka and John Isner — the faster courts of Atlanta will suit some better than others.
With these court conditions and the weather reaching the mid-90s, it will take a combination of adapting and mental fortitude to thrive here this week.
Let’s break down where the value lies on Tuesday.
Match times are subject to change. For tips on watching tennis matches, click here.
Ben Shelton (-138) vs. Ramkumar Ramanathan (+112)
1:40 p.m. ET
Ben Shelton has begun his ATP career in impressive fashion. Earlier this year, Shelton was crowned the NCAA singles champion, and since then, he has amassed a 12-4 record on the Challenger Tour.
His match on Tuesday will be his ATP main draw debut, but he’ll be high on confidence and ready for the challenge.
Shelton possesses a massive lefty serve and hits a huge ball from the baseline. He loves to play an aggressive brand of tennis, keeping his opponents on their back foot and hitting through any level of defense.
Despite his brief outings on tour this year, Shelton has faced opponents ranked higher than Ramkumar Ramanathan, so this level should be well within his comfort zone.
Ramanathan has had an extremely disappointing year so far. At just 9-22 in 2022, Ramanathan was in the midst of a six-match losing streak before qualifying here in Atlanta.
He handled the match vs. Stefan Kozlov well before pulling off an enormous upset over Jack Draper. With Ramanathan’s serve-and-volley strategy, Draper struggled to find his way into his service games.
Ramanathan will be hoping that this upset will be the turning point of his year, as his ranking has begun to slip.
The faster courts in Atlanta should suit both players well. Shelton’s aggressive play and Ramanathan’s serve-and-volley technique will lead to even fewer breaks in these conditions.
Shelton has been the better player by far over the past few months, and although Ramanathan may be difficult to break, Shelton should have no trouble holding serve.
Even though Ramanathan did well to qualify here as a massive underdog, I don’t think he has what it takes to beat an inspired Shelton in his ATP debut.
Pick: Ben Shelton -1.5 Games (-140 via BetMGM)
Jenson Brooksby (-850) vs. Benoit Paire (+530)
11:00 a.m. ET
Jenson Brooksby burst onto the scene last year, winning ATP Newcomer of the Year. Amassing a 49-12 record in 2021, he transitioned from the Challenger Tour to ATP events with great success.
Built on a remarkable — yet unconventional game where he seemingly does not miss a shot — he has frustrated and caused opponents of all levels to feel extreme discomfort, including Novak Djokovic.
Meanwhile, the mercurial Benoit Paire has been consistently horrendous this year. Once ranked inside the top 20 with talent that amazed the world, it seems as though Paire has lost interest in trying over past seasons.
With a 6-21 record in 2022, fans are rarely getting to see the once-entertaining Frenchmen.
Whether it be a lack of form, a hate for the sport or his difficult battle with depression, it’s sad to see the state Paire is currently in.
Regardless, Brooksby will be a nightmare matchup for Paire. Although the faster conditions would normally suit the Frenchman’s game, Brooksby’s relentless shotmaking will most definitely frustrate Paire in the extreme heat of Atlanta.
I strongly expect Paire’s effort to decline throughout the match, as Brooksby makes winning points as difficult as he often does. The American will force the Frenchman to over press time-and-time again, refusing to let him find any type of form.
This should be a quick match in favor of the American — if Paire even manages to finish.
Pick: Under 20.5 Games (-130 via DraftKings)