Andrey Rublev vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili Cincinnati Open Picks 8/13/2019
Andrey Rublev vs. Nikoloz Basilashvili
10 am EST, 13th August 2019
Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)
After finishing up clay court season on a high note, the transition to the American hard courts wasn't as smooth as Rublev would have liked. He played great tennis in Hamburg, being only a set away from winning the title of that ATP 500 event. But those slow conditions there were suited perfectly to his playing style, which cannot be said for faster hard courts. That resulted in losses to Gojowczyk in the first round of Washington and even a more surprising loss to Marc Polmans in the first qualifying round of Montreal. He managed to bounce back in Cincinnati, successfully getting through the qualifiers into the main draw. It remains to be seen how relevant those two wins were, considering Tomic retired after only a couple of games and after that, he had a close, 3-set win over Kukushkin. His record in Cincinnati was 0-2 prior 2019.
Interesting fact is that Basilashvili was the one who stopped Rublev in that Hamburg finals a couple of weeks ago. But unlike his opponent, he didn't have any issues with continuing his winning streak on another playing surface and continent. He was very decent in Montreal, where he was on the brink of quarterfinals, but fell short to Alexander Zverev in a three-set thriller. Hasn't played in this tournament last year, but had a 3rd round appearance in 2017, which is indicating that he's not bothered by extreme playing conditions here.
Ok, I might have exaggerated with describing the playing conditions with the word "extreme". But the fact is that the hard courts in Cincinnati are among the fastest on the tour. Some of the players can really struggle with that and simply can't cope with the pace. One of the players that are not very fond of such conditions is Andrey Rublev. Although he can hit the ball hard, his game is not well suited for fast conditions. He has a big backswing on his groundstrokes and needs some more time for the perfect execution of those. Also, he is not a great defender, nor an athlete. Opponents with enough power to push him back and force him to scramble side by side are putting themselves in a great position to win the match. Basilashvili can definitely do that and the proof is in their H2H record, where Nikoloz is holding a 2-0 lead. Both of them being pretty recent. The first time they met earlier this year in Doha (hard courts), while in the second match, the Hamburg title was on the line. I'm sure Rublev will be motivated to get revenge, but I don't think this tournament is the right place to do it.
Betting odds & prediction
Basilashvili opened as a slight favorite at about -120 and it steadily moved towards -140 with the total sitting at 22.5 games. I can't really argue this move. The opener was indeed too short and those odds were offering some nice value. But even in the current situation, I think Basilashvili is a good bet. He'll force Rublev to retreat back behind the baseline, where he is not very comfortable. Combining that with fast playing conditions and their current form on American concrete, I consider Basilashvili as a -160 favorite in this spot.
When it comes to betting the total, faster conditions combined with two pretty evenly matched opponents usually point towards the over. But in this case, we are talking about two players that are very streaky and erratic at times. Because of that, we will probably not see any sets going the distance, meaning you'll almost certainly need three sets to cash the over. Pass.
Pick: Nikoloz Basilashvili -135
Read more articles by Tony Sink
Get all of Today's Free Tennis Picks
Get all of Today's Guaranteed Expert Tennis Picks