Jan-Lennard Struff vs Karen Khachanov Expert ATP Picks Against the Spread - 6/19/2019
Jan-Lennard Struff vs Karen Khachanov
4 am EST, 19th June 2019
ATP Halle, Germany
This match nearly happened last week in Stuttgart, when they were as well placed in the same part of the draw. But Matteo Berrettini was just too strong and eventually cleared both these players out of his way, on the road to the title. This week they have another thing in common because they both played vs a young player out of Serbia. Khachanov had an easier opponent on paper, with Miomir Kecmanovic lacking experience on grass courts. But, he was still forced to work really hard to get a win and wash the bad taste out of his mouth from last week's early elimination. Straight sets win looks nice, but it doesn't reveal all the details that you could notice by watching the entire match. Khachanov was pretty inconsistent with his play from the baseline. He had some really good winners, but when Kecmanovic managed to keep the ball in play for a longer period of time, he often drew errors from Russian, who was becoming impatient and trying to risk too much. But thanks to a stellar serving performance, he dodged a bullet here and found a way into the second round. Served up 10 aces with only 1 double fault and won 74% of points behind his serve. Also managed to put a very high percentage of 1st serves in play (70%)
On the other side, Jan-Lennard Struff edged out Laslo Djere and is continuing to perform on a very high level. Last week, he was in semifinals of Stuttgart, and if he keeps playing like this, he might be able to build on that and be among contenders for the title in Halle. Managed to get past Djere with final score 6-4, 6-4. The match itself was pretty close with Serbian playing some surprisingly strong tennis, despite not being a massive fan of these playing conditions. He didn't let him bother that and simply played his usual brand of tennis, that already won him some trophies this year. Very solid from the back end of the court, not committing too many errors and forcing the opponent to earn every single thing out there. And Struff did earn it. Again serving really well as the entire last week. 80% of the points won behind his serve, not putting his games in danger too often and even when he did that, he was able to come up with some clutch strikes to save them.
These two guys played each other a couple of times already, but it was a long time ago. They were still playing on the challenger tour, where they've split it to one each. It's a forgettable stat because they've grown so much as players since then and have very little in common with those youngsters trying to scrap together some points and find their way to the main tour.
In my opinion, for Khachanov this matchup is very similar to the one he had against Berrettini last week. He is facing an in-form guy who can hold his serve at a high rate and has the power to spare on his groundstrokes. And we all saw how that ended for him in the 2nd round of Stuttgart.
Betting odds & prediction
Karen Khachanov is a higher ranked player with a better pedigree and more potential to make a great career in the future. All those reasons are influencing the odds and making him a favorite, even though those things will not help him tomorrow. The truth is that Struff is playing better tennis at the moment. He is holding his serve at a higher rate, hits the ball with more precision and doesn't make as many mistakes. He is also more confident in his game at the moment and playing in front of the home crowd can't hurt either.
Josh's Pick: Jan-Lennard Struff -102
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