Saturday's ATP Tennis Best Bet: Wimbledon, July 2nd
ATP Wimbledon BEST BET: KYRGIOS vs TSITSIPAS
Saturday, July 2nd, TBD
In what is surely the premier match of the third round from Wimbledon, the always moodily-mercurial Nick Kyrgios is set to take on Stefanos Tsitsipas on Centre Court.
While the markets have this one as a near toss-up, I’m not convinced that Tsitsipas – despite his recent successes on the grass – is a near 50-50 proposition to win.
A few things to consider here. First, while Tsitsipas is on the most sustained win streak of his career on the lawn courts, he hasn’t really been dominant outside of his most recent match with Jordan Thompson (who worked himself into a fit over an official’s call and lost the second set 3-6 from 3-1 up). The Greek has covered the handicap just in under half of the matches he’s played as a favourite, suggesting he’s winning much closer matches than you’d expect.
Second, is Kyrgios’ natural ability on the grass courts. He proclaimed in an interview in the last few weeks that he believes he’s among the best five or ten grass-court players in the world. That was met with resistance from some in the tennis community, but considering his game and results this season (now that he finally appears locked in), it’d be hard to argue with.
He stands 1.93 metres tall and possesses one of the best serves on the men’s tour. His forehand is also an incredible weapon and his backhand is compact, which becomes more effective the quicker the court (it takes less time to wind up, so players with more compact swings end up feeling rushed far less often).
He’s also one of the best athletes on tour for his height, moving very well and he’s got the wingspan and touch to be incredible at the net.
Contrast this with Tsitsipas, whose serve and forehand combination is elite. There is no denying that. His backhand, however, is still left wanting – especially on return. Employing a one-handed backhand, it’s important to have an effective slice and block return on the quick, slick grass. His slice has improved leaps and bounds from previous years, but his block return is still poor. From the baseline, he finds it difficult to attack with the backhand and is normally rushed into central, topspin backhands.
The improvement is there, but it’s not enough to take on someone with a well-rounded and elite grass-court game just yet.
Now put all this together and think about how it matches up in a head-to-head scenario. As mentioned earlier, Tsitsipas has amassed wins over the course of the grass-court season, but many have been closer than expected. He also hasn’t come up against a server of Kyrgios’ calibre (outside of Kyrgios himself, in a match Kyrgios would win in three sets) that can pick on the weaker backhand wing.
With the best players he’s played the last few weeks being Kyrgios, Andy Murray and Roberto Bautista Agut and having failed to cover in the lone win (a third-set tiebreak victory against Bautista Agut) while dropping the other two, I’m not convinced Tsitsipas has earned being deemed the slightest of underdogs against the top-level grass courters on tour just yet.
The only thing stopping me from making this one of the higher-stakes bets of the tournament is Kyrgios himself. There is no doubt that in terms of the skill and matchup, this match is on the Aussie’s racquet. His penchant for letting the smallest of disturbances get under his skin is troubling though. We’ve seen Kyrgios lose sets over what he perceived as missed let calls before.
I’m going to back the stronger player at a cheap price, but not for the larger staking I would if this was a best-of-three set match with less time for his game to implode.
- Selection: Kyrgios to win
- Odds: 1.78 (Coolbet)
- Stakes: 3/10
Odds are valid as of 7:30 pm on 1st July 2022. Odds may now differ.