Karen Khachanov vs Juan Martin del Potro French Open Picks Against the Spread - 6/3/2019
Karen Khachanov vs Juan Martin Del Potro
4am EST, 3rd June 2019
Roland Garros (Paris, France)
No sign of Del Potro's knee injury. Was it really only a scare or the match against Thompson wasn't challenging enough to properly test the condition of that knee. In my opinion, it could be both really. Something did happen in the second set vs Nishioka. His movement was limited after that slip. Managed to somehow fight through it that day, but it affected the lines for his next match quite significantly. A lot of money came in on Thompson early on because it looked like that injury might play a big role. Didn't turn out that way. Thompson was simply outmatched on a warm day in slightly faster conditions and he simply had no answer for Del Potro's power. Some of the stats were very telling. 38/16, winners to unforced errors ratio. 12 aces, with only 1 double fault. Winning 72% of all his service points, offering only 2 break opportunities in the entire match. Thompson didn't really succeed at keeping the ball in play long enough, extending rallies, force Del Potro to change directions a lot and potentially find out if that knee is still bothering him or not.
After winning Paris masters to close out 2018, Karen Khachanov is having a pretty rough year for a talented player, from whom big things were expected in 2019. I mean 10-12 ytd record is pretty underwhelming for a player on brink of top 10. Some (or majority) of the reasons for poor 2019 were attributed to the racquet change. He switched from Wilson to Head in the start fo the year and everything fell apart. He was really struggling to produce some of his trademark shots at his usual level with this new equipment. After a couple of months, he then played with "blacked out" racquet, which is usually a sign of returning to his former gear and then in Indian Wells even openly used his old Wilson H22, despite sponsorship deal with Head. But from that point, it was just difficult to immedialtely pick up the old form, but he was slowly starting to feel better on the court. And this week, he looked pretty sharp. He produced some of his best tennis this year. Had a blackout in the third set of Barrere match, getting bageled, but I was not too worried about it since he won all the other sets in this tournament.
Del Potro dominating the H2H with winning all 3 of their previous matches. And all of them were fairly recent, being played in 2018. But, we have to take into consideration that they were played on hard courts, where playing conditions were way faster. Especially Beijing is known for some fast courts, while heat inside the Melbourne Park in January can make those ball fly through the air with lightning speed. It will be completely different on Monday in Paris. Clay courts here are slow and the weather is not going to help. Cloudy with some rain and temperatures below 20 degrees. We could already notice some differences in Del Potro's efficiency when the weather is different. I already mentioned sharp performance vs Thompson. But vs Nishioka and Jarry in colder weather, his winners to unforced errors ratio was way closer to 1-1. His power will not be as deadly here. Khachanov will be able to put the ball back in play more and get some long rallies going and maybe test that knee. When winners are more difficult to come by, usually a less aggressive player has an edge and that would be Khachanov in this case.
Betting odds & prediction
The line opened favoring argentine -200. It is not surprising considering his H2H dominance, Karen's ytd record and the way he looked his last time out. But, there are many changing variables in tennis that need to be taken into consideration. And I believe some of those will put Khachanov in an easier situation to steal a win here, comparing to some of their earlier matches.
Total looks bit intimidating, sitting at 39.5. But since both guys can serve it out and I expect a close encounter, I'd lean towards the over here.
Josh's Pick: Over 39.5 games (-111)
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