With a combination of first-round upset and COVID news, it was a hectic few days at the Championships.
Names like Matteo Berrettini and Marin Cilic have been out due to COVID, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Hubert Hurkacz have been sent packing.
Let’s take a look at a pair of matches featuring some of the ATP Tour’s lesser-known names as they prepare to open the second round.
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Ryan Peniston (-145) against Steve Johnson (+115)
6 a.m. ET
The first game pits wild card Ryan Peniston against veteran Steve Johnson, each on different career paths, as well as in very different ways from their first-round matches.
Johnson was the beneficiary of an unfortunate injury to Grigor Dimitrov, who looked strong taking the first set, before stumbling in the second set and eventually retiring.
Peniston made quick work of Henri Laaksonen to clinch their ticket to the next round, building on what has been a rather impressive season on grass. The 26-year-old now has nine wins on the slick surface, most against ATP Tour level talent.
With Johnson having a lackluster grass season at this point and potentially past his prime, the form advantage here goes to Peniston.
In terms of matching, the Briton also has the style to give Johnson adjustments. With the American’s strengths being his first serve, forehand and sliced backhand, Peniston fit the bill.
An athletic southpaw who can return serve and extend rallies, while having no trouble reaching low-bounce slices and running them back to Johnson’s backhand wing isn’t ideal.
On serve, Peniston will be able to target that backhand wing as much as he wants, allowing him to dictate and build points against an opponent who simply cannot attack from that wing and rarely, if ever, hits a backhand without a slice. .
With similar hold and break percentages on the surface this year, Peniston possessing the better return game and tougher schedule strength over the past few weeks and career trajectories going oppositely, I agree with Peniston at just -145.
Pick: Peniston ML (-145 via DraftKings)
Oscar Otte (-500) vs. Christian Harrison (+333)
7:15 a.m. ET
In another matchup between two guys who may not be familiar to many watching Wednesday’s second-round action, big servant Oscar Otte takes on Christian Harrison.
With the books having this match such a lopsided affair, the derivatives markets that typically correlate to line of credit pricing have some intriguing options to consider.
For starters, both of these men have solid serve and forehand combos. While Otte’s serve is elite on the grass, Harrison’s is still strong – especially against a rather mediocre returner in Otte.
The German may have come through in his first-round match against Peter Gojowczyk, but I wouldn’t put too much weight on that considering his compatriot has won three professional matches since the end of February – all in qualifying draws.
Apart from this match, Otte managed to go under 10% of the time this season on grass and had many close sets and matches.
With Harrison having played a decently long two-set match against Jay Clarke for two days in the first round and not knowing best-of-five matches at all, I prefer the first set over the full match total at this point.
BetMGM is snagging a +190 for the set to end 7-5 or 7-6, so we are also getting a cheap price in this market.
Pick: 1st set Over 10.5 games (+190 via BetMGM)
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