Tennis season is winding back up with warm-up tournaments Down Under leading into the 2018 Australian Open. Everyone’s a little rusty and finding their feet under them. Some of your favorites are playing in the Hopman Cup, a fun international team tennis tournament, and others are at the Brisbane International, an ATP 250-series tournament.
ATP Brisbane Quarterfinals
Michael Mmoh (11/10) vs Alex De Minaur (8/11)
Two young guys! De Minaur is the slight favorite, having just beaten Milos Raonic pretty handily. He’s also coming off a much easier schedule: He’s played just four sets in the lead-up to this match, while Mmoh has played nine on his way through the qualies and past Mischa Zverev. Mmoh struggled a little putting the match against Zverev away, and had to stage something of a dramatic comeback in the third set.
It’s up to you to decide who the favorite is here, there is not a lot of data on either of these two youngsters. The disparity in schedule and rest dramatically favors De Minaur, and his play against perennial Grand Slam quarterfinalist Raonic was deeply impressive. Might be worthwhile to take advantage of a slim line.
Pick: Mmoh (11/10)
Nick Kyrgios (8/15) vs Alexandr Dolgopolov (6/4)
Kyrgios is strongly favored against a wonky opponent after he ended last season with persistent, low-level injuries, which may have reemerged. What would be more typical than Kyrgios getting upset and losing this game, somehow? Very little.
However, don’t bet on Dolgopolov. Plus, Kyrgios says that the pain in his leg subsided as the match wore on, which is typical of low-level injuries. Also, the Celtics beat the Cavaliers 102-88, so Kyrgios is likely to be in a good mood. I wish that wasn’t actually important, but here we are.
Pick: Kyrgios (8/15)
Denis Istomin (4/5) vs Ryan Harrison (1/1)
About as close a line as the sportsbooks can offer, with Denis Istomin as a very slight favorite. That could just be name recognition: Harrison competes more as a doubles player but has recorded some impressive results recently, certainly comparable to what Istomin has achieved in the last six months. Harrison has a big serve, certainly bigger than Yannick Hanfmann could keep up with, and could surprise the former world #33.
Harrison could be the value pick of the group hear, certainly if you’re as averse to betting on Dolgopolov as I am. It’s not exactly clear why Istomin is the favorite, and that slim margin presents a little value.
Pick: Harrison (1/1)
Grigor Dimitrov (4/11) vs Kyle Edmund (9/4)
The biggest favorite of the bunch, punters are obviously hoping that Dimi has finally “turned the corner” or “taken the next step” or whatever cliche we want to use for developing into an elite player. He did win the ATP Finals at the end of last season, and he’s overwhelmingly the favorite in this field. He struggled against John Millman, though, and even saved match point in the second set with an absolutely stunning rally.
Dimitrov’s priority is staying healthy and sharp ahead of the Australian Open, his result in a 250 tournament isn’t a huge concern. There could be some motivation issues, but Dimitrov has a pretty good record of remaining competitive even when there’s little reason to do so.
Pick: Dimitrov (4/11)
Wild Bet of the Week: $40k on Nick Kyrgios to win the Australian Open (20/1)
It’s being reported that somebody has placed a $40,000 bet on Nick Kyrgios at 20/1 to win his home slam. Kyrgios is a fantastic talent, and with the rash of injuries that are hollowing out the field and Roger Federer turning 79 this March, Kyrgios might be a value pick. He’s always been talented, but his problems at slams have never been on the other side of the net. The flashy Australian hasn’t made it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the 2015 Australian Open, and has admitted to tanking several times in tournaments. I wouldn’t feel comfortable betting $40k for Kyrgios to even appear at the Australian Open, but somebody obviously feels differently.