Joao Sousa vs Lorenzo Sonego ATP Picks and Tips - 6/23/2019
Joao Sousa vs Lorenzo Sonego
9 am EST, 22nd June 2019
ATP Antalya, Turkey
Joao Sousa is coming to Antalya after a disheartening loss vs Borna Coric in the 2nd round of 500 series tournament in Halle, Germany. But the way he performed last week can encourage him and give him more confidence going into the remainder of the grass court season. Mentioned match vs Coric was a grueling 3-hour long encounter with many hard-fought rallies, which are not that usual for the grass surface. But they simply moved so well and challenged each other with some quality ball striking from behind the baseline. He got into that second round by winning two matches in the qualifiers and then eliminated Hubert Hurkacz with a strong performance in the first round, even though he was considered as an underdog in that one. He is clearly playing better on grass than in some other years when he accumulated 10-17 record and as I said, it must be encouraging before going to Antalya, where he's defending quarterfinals from last year.
In the first round, he'll be playing Lorenzo Sonego from Italy. Young Italian definitely has a lot of talent, but very little experience on this surface. Last year was the first in his pro career when he got some taste of the grass courts. He actually wasn't doing that bad, getting into the last round of Wimbledon qualifiers where he lost to Ernests Gulbis. Entered the main draw as a lucky loser where he lost to Taylor Fritz, but managed to steal a set from favored American, just like he did in qualifying rounds of Queen's club, where he lost to the same player. Playing 5 times on grass didn't really help him much this year. He played two specialists so far. Losing to Kukushkin in the first round of Hertogenbosch and then to Bachinger in Q1 of Halle.
Racking up defeats is not a good look for the remainder of the grass court season. Can't really say I'm surprised with these results. His game was always better suited for slower and more importantly, higher bouncing clay courts. That is because we're talking about a taller guy that is not comfortable with the lower bounce and hitting the ball at his knees. He needs it to bounce to his waist, where he can take a big swing and construct the point with his forehand. On grass courts, he's unable to do that which forces him to change his usual game plan and play out of his comfort zone. As we can see from his results, he's struggling with that and losing the matches.
Sousa's game is much better suited for these conditions because he doesn't put as much topspin on either wing. Also, he's someone that moves well around the court and is not overwhelmed by the pace of the grass courts.
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Betting odds & prediction
The market opened with Portuguese favored at -135. That number was not available for very long, as expected, after a good week in Halle. I completely agree with the move, not only because of Sousa's current form but also because of Sonego not performing that well on the grass courts at the moment. Total is sitting at 23, which should be quite an accurate number, but I still think this one has some chance of escaping over the posted line. Sousa is a better player, but Sonego is someone that doesn't get broken very easily. With grass courts still intact and pretty fast I guess, we could see set going the distance and giving more chance to Italian to push the match into the third set.
Tony's Pick: Joao Sousa -161
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