Jan-Lennard Struff vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas Cincinnati Open Picks 8/14/2019
Jan-Lennard Struff vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas
10 am EST, 14th August 2019
Cincinnati, Ohio (USA)
After finishing of clay court season on a high note, Stefanos Tsitsipas wasn't able to keep that form entering this grass/hard court part of the season. The combination of a semifinal in Washington and three first-round eliminations in this period are a clear indicator that his overall performance was very inconsistent. Based on his talent alone, he is still one of the "dark horses" in this upcoming US Open. I would agree with these high expectations because someone with his skillset can turn it on at any time and should never be overlooked. If that is going to happen in Cincinnati, remains to be seen. We don't have a lot of data about him performing in these fast conditions, because he made his debut here in 2018 when he lost to David Goffin in the first round. Receiving a first-round bye this year might not be the best thing for him, considering his current form and the fact he could use a competitive warm-up hit to get used to these playing conditions.
Without it, he will have more problems stopping some juggernaut with his head full of steam in the second round. And I believe that is exactly what is about to happen here. Jan-Lennard Struff is having the best season of his career at 29 years of age. And he's coming of a strong performance vs Ivo Karlovic in the first round. Whenever you're able to continuously put Karlovic's serve under pressure in this type of playing conditions, it's a sign you're feeling it at the moment. Struff kept Ivo under 70% of service points won and had 5 breakpoints spread across 4 separate service games. He only converted one of those, but it was more than enough for a comfortable win considering his serve was not in danger at all (0 break opportunities against).
These two had 2 very competitive encounters this year. In February, Tsitsipas was slightly better in Sofia (7-6 6-4), while Struff managed to get his revenge in Barcelona a couple of months later. But I think none of those two tournaments were played in this type of conditions. Courts in Cincinnati are among the fastest on the tour and are obviously favoring guys who play with a lot of power etc. I don't think Tsitsipas will enjoy that, especially not in the current form. He is more of a finesse player. Plays with a lot of precision, touch and thought behind his points construction. While Struff is all about the clean ball striking and generating as much power as he can behind all of his shots. On these courts, he can dictate the pace, take away the time from Tsitsipas and drag him into a shootout where his chances for an upset are higher.
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Betting odds & prediction
Despite everything I wrote above, Tsitsipas was still opened as a -200 favorite. That was expected considering we're talking about the No.7 player in the world. But the money came in on the other side right away, meaning I'm not the only one that thinks Struff has a legit shot at an upset here. He has a booming serve and very powerful groundstrokes that will allow him to at least stay close to Tsitsipas and have a puncher's chance in the end. With his flat, low margin groundstrokes, he'll put Tsitsipas under pressure and force him to react rather than dictate and construct the points the way he usually does. Total is at 23 right now, which seems pretty accurate. I'd lean towards the over though, considering the fast conditions and a possibility of a true dog fight in this one.
Pick: Jan-Lennard Struff +2.5 (-102)
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