Robin Haase vs. John Millman Winston Salem Open Picks 8/21/2019
Robin Haase vs. John Millman
2 pm EST, 21st August 2019
Winston Salem, North Carolina (USA)
Looking at some of his latest results, I was afraid that Robin Haase might give up on singles and focus on the doubles completely from now on. He arrived in North Carolina with 4 consecutive losses in singles but had some massive success in the doubles. Out of last 4 tournaments, he played finals in 3 of them and won a title in Umag. Fact that he was not playing with the same partner in all of those tourneys didn't seem to bother him. But worrying about his singles game was unnecessary. In the first round match here, he eliminated Denis Kudla, who can be a very tricky opponent in the fast conditions like these. Haase knew that he has to mix things up and offer Kudla different looks to throw him off. He succeeded because Kudla struggled to find the rhythm on his groundstrokes and ultimately had to congratulate his opponent on a fully deserved win. In the second round, things got more complicated for the Dutch. The tables have turned and now he was the one who had to find a way to punch through a defensively oriented player. Whether he really did it by being more aggressive is not important anymore. He did return better than his opponent, which can be crucial in such fast playing conditions. He won 35% of all returning points, which allowed him to put more pressure on the opposing serve and get himself in a better position to win the match.
In the third round, he'll be playing John Millman, who also struggled to find some decent form lately. He lost in first rounds of both Los Cabos and Cincinnati. And he played the main draw of Montreal as a lucky loser. Received a first-round bye in Winston Salem, but continued with mediocre play in the second round, where he barely got past Marco Cecchinato. Italian was never a powerhouse on the hard courts and is having a disappointing season on top of it. Millman needed to dig deep to come back from a set down and somehow he managed to do it. It was a gritty performance, typical for the relentless Aussie.
But the grit and fighting spirit can only take you so far. Because, as I already mentioned, his level of performance was underwhelming lately. The ball is simply not coming off of his racket as clean as we're used from him and that can be very dangerous against an opponent like Haase, who knows how to put you in bad positions and force you to hit a great shot in order to win the point. Considering that we're talking about two veteran journeymen, it's quite incredible that they haven't played an official match on the tour yet.
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Betting odds & prediction
There are two possible scenarios in this match. The first one includes Millman finding his solid baseline play and drags Haase into long rallies, testing his patience and eventually forcing him to get out of his comfort zone and try to be more aggressive. Either that or Millman continues to be mediocre from behind the baseline, struggling to find depth on his shots and Haase picks him apart with his variety and serve. I believe that this second scenario is more probable at the moment. That is why I don't agree with oddsmakers, who opened Robin as an underdog in this match. I mean sure, Millman is higher ranked and Haase was in a major slump before this tournament. But the matchup in these fast conditions is favoring him, so I believe he's the right play at plus odds.
Pick: Robin Haase +148
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