Matteo Berrettini vs Karen Khachanov ATP Picks - 6/13/2019
Matteo Berrettini vs Karen Khachanov
4 am EST, 13th June 2019
ATP Stuttgart, Germany
Great performance by Berrettini yesterday. Coming into the match, he was not viewed as someone that has much of a shot at the upset. Nick Kyrgios is someone who can be a tough nut to crack on grass court, even when having an off day. And it didn't really seem that was the case yesterday. I mean sure, he had a couple of head-scratching decisions like serving 130mph second serve. But that's all part of Kyrgios' usual performance. For the majority of the match, he was focused and in my opinion even happy to accept a challenge from another brilliant ball-striker in Berrettini, but most often then not, he was coming up short in those exchanges. And those 130mph second serves were actually provoked by the Italian. He was extremely aggressive with his return game, jumping on every opportunity that Nick offered him (talking about slower second serves). He hit numerous winners from those, forcing Aussie to do something else with that shot. It didn't work, because he ended up winning only 40% of the points behind his second serve. And his serve was just as good if not better then his return game. He won 82 percent of the points when serving, not offering a single break opportunity to his opponent in the entire match. It was a very clean performance by the Italian in every segment of the match. Was that a sign that he is finding a way to win in faster conditions, or was it just a very good day on the shooting range? We are going to find that out in the next round.
He will be playing another very strong player in Karen Khachanov, who is #2 seed here, which means he had a bye in the first round. The sample size is not very big, but winning over 70% of his matches on grass courts is pretty impressive. Still, we have to approach it with a dose of caution, with him making its debut in Stuttgart and not really having a great season so far. But looking at some short term history, it seems like his form is finally trending upwards. He had a very good Roland Garros, with a quarterfinal appearance and it seems like those issues with the equipment and the racket changes are behind him now.
Being born in the same year, these two guys obviously know each other really well. They've met a couple of times, still being juniors in 2013. Both meetings were very lopsided with Khachanov taking the wins. It seems he was the more talented player growing up because he also had higher ranking then Berrettini as a junior. Also broke onto the ATP scene much sooner. But Berrettini worked hard, waited for his opportunity and grabbed it with both hands when it came. He managed to revenge one of his losses this year in Sofia, defeating Karen in 3 sets.
Despite looking brilliant in the first round, problem for Matteo here will be repeating that type of numbers from the match against Kyrgios. It is just not possible for a player to keep winning 80%+ points behind his serve and offer 0 break opportunities while doing so. Especially when we take into consideration that Khachanov is a different type of opponent then Nick. That previous match looked more like a showdown between two cowboys. Pulling the trigger at every opportunity given, going for the winners. Khachanov has enough power and shotmaking ability to get into a similar type of match. But he is more consistent and patient from the baseline. Hewill bring more balls back into the court and really test Berrettini.
Betting odds & prediction
Odds were opened pretty close when talking about the money line market. Obviously, the linemakers were still under the impression of Berrettini's great match against Kyrgios. But as I already mentioned above, those type of performances are difficult to re-create day after day. Especially when another opponent starts to throw different things at you and force you to adjust. When the shots are suddenly not landing on the lines, but couple inches out, then you are forced to deal with some adversity. Previous round was all sunshine and roses for Matteo. We haven't seen him deal with any problems, because he hasn't faced any yet.
Tony's Pick: Karen Khachanov -130
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