Benoit Paire vs Viktor Troicki ATP Point Spread Picks - 6/26/2019
Benoit Paire vs Viktor Troicki
6 am EST, 26th June 2019
ATP Antalya, Turkey
Paire failed to continue with the strong play on grass, after playing on a very high level to conclude the clay court part of the season. He entered Roland Garros coming off a title run in Lyon week before but was stopped by Kei Nishikori in the 4th round, after a 5-set battle. Still, it was a very solid tournament for him, where a couple of points were dividing him from making a career result in a Grand Slam tournament. After sitting out the opening week of the grass court season, he traveled to Halle, where he faced Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and lost in straight sets. After that, he came to Antalya, where he is a No.1 seed. It is an interesting decision to play in Turkey, considering that in the past, he was avoiding playing tournaments the week before Wimbledon. And with a guy that shows a questionable effort in 2/3 of tournaments he plays, I am not sure if he can be trusted in this spot. Especially when taking into consideration that grass courts are probably not his favorite, holding a negative record (20-21) on grass so far in his career.
After receiving a 1st round bye, he'll face Viktor Troicki in the second round. In contrast to the Frenchman, grass courts might be the favorite surface for the Serbian player. He played quite a lot of grass court tennis so far this season. Mostly it was on challenger level, but there were some decent players in those tournaments. He opened it up with a strong run all the way to the finals in Surbiton, where he was stopped by Dan Evans. During that run, he beat Ugo Humbert, Ivo Karlovic, and Denis Kudla among others. After that, he retired in the first round of Nottingham to Dominik Koepfer. And his third grass tournament is this one in Antalya, where he fought through the qualifying rounds, before eliminating Jozef Kovalik in the first round of the main draw. We can't say it was all sunshine and rainbows so far because he had to dodge 3 match points vs Ortega Olmedo in the final qualifying rounds.
Versus Kovalik, he relied on his most trusted weapon on this surface - his return. It is very difficult to get any free points behind your serve when playing against Troicki and Kovalik experienced that himself in this match. Viktor won almost 40% of all the returning points and converted all of his 3 break chances. That's called efficiency.
These two guys already played each other on this surface. The venue was ATP Stuttgart in 2017 when Paire won comfortably in straight sets. I have to say that result forced me to rethink this entire matchup. It's true that Viktor might like these playing conditions more, but he also likes to play a different type of opponent, where his return will give the best result. And those are mostly the serve-bot type of players that need those aces to make their game efficient. Once Troicki denies them those and forces them into some longer baseline exchanges, their win probability drops quite a lot. But playing against players that are not as dependent on their serve, he is not as dangerous, as we could see in his previous two matches vs Ortega-Olmedo and Kovalik.
Betting odds & prediction
Benoit Paire opened as a slight favorite in this one, with betting public obviously not being too excited about it, since the line hasn't moved since then. I share the feeling since it's very difficult to predict the winner here, without knowing how motivated Benoit really is in this tournament. But looking at some other betting options for this match, we might find some value. The total line might be too high, sitting at the 23.5. We don't have two reliable servers in this one that would hold their serves at a 95% rate. And I don't think they are too excited about battling it out for 3 hours in unforgiving Turkish heat.
Guy's Pick: under 23.5 games (-115)
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