Andrey Rublev vs Robin Haase ATP Picks - 7/16/2019
Andrey Rublev vs Robin Haase
9 am EST, 16th July 2019
ATP Umag, Croatia
Part of the ATP caravan is heading back to the clay courts, after spending the last 6 weeks on grass. Some of the players will embrace that change with open arms, and Andrey Rublev will be one of them for sure. He struggled mightily on the grass, reaching the second round in Wimbledon, but failing to get through the qualifiers in both Halle and Eastbourne. Those results at the beginning of the grass-court season might be affected by the wrist injury, that forced him to skip Roland Garros and ATP Stuttgart. In Wimbledon, he looked much better, especially in the win over Christian Garin. But overall, he still had a very mediocre season thus far (8-8). Bringing back good memories from 2017 might help him to jumpstart his season. Back then, he won his sole ATP title at this event, doing so as a "lucky loser." Failed to protect those points last year with a loss in the quarterfinal, rounding up a 6-2 record in Umag.
His next opponent, Robin Haase, stopped him there with a straight-set win. Most things said for Rublev can be repeated in the case of the Dutch player. Mediocre season (11-14), not being able to do anything special on the grass (2-3) and high expectations on the Croatian coast encouraged by a positive record in this tournament (5-2). Haase actually played better recently than his results are indicating. But there was too much "choking" involved, whenever he tried to stay ahead. Most notably in the second round of Wimbledon, where he broke Raonic's serve at the end of the 1st set but surrendered a re-break in the very next game.
These two are not the only one that should enjoy the change of the surface. There are many clay-court specialists this week in Croatia. Top-seeded players are mostly from the region, that should fill up the seats on the center court. Borna Coric will definitely be the home crowd's favorite. Fabio Fognini (#1 seed) is always well received in Umag with a bunch of his countrymen spending their vacation there. Djere and Lajovic from Serbia are seeded as No.3 and No.4 respectively. They should have some fans in the stands as well, with this event being one of the best opportunities for their friends and family to watch them live in action. We should be aware of these "home court" advantages in a tournament with the majority of the matches being played in the evening and the crowd getting involved, creating great atmosphere.
As mentioned, Haase did stop Rublev last year in this tournament, but the young Russian got the better of him on 3 other occasions, which is not very surprising in my opinion. Rublev is a very talented player and is way better than Haase, when not being injured or in terrible form. Robin is a quite limited player that focuses on preventing the opponent from playing his game. He does it by using a lot of slices, trying to wrong-foot his opponent and take the pace off the ball. I don't see that bothering Andrey whole lot. He can hit the low ball and doesn't struggle to generate the power of his own when given time. Fast conditions and someone bullying himwith power are his weak spots. He'll see none of that on Tuesday.
Betting odds & prediction
Rublev opened as a -175 but is currently sitting at -149. Casual bettors like Haase in this spot for some reason and I'll gladly take advantage of that. Rublev is a better player and showed that his form is trending upwards in his recent matches. Returning to the event where he won his only title so far (on his favorite surface), can't hurt either.
Tony's Pick: Andrey Rublev -149
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