Steve Johnson vs Alexander Zverev ATP Picks - 6/19/2019
Steve Johnson vs Alexander Zverev
4 am EST, 19th June 2019
ATP Halle, Germany
Another day, another forgettable performance by Alexander Zverev. I know that might sound bit strange, looking at the result and seeing him winning in straight sets, but we have to call it as it is. It was not like Haase played on an elite level and challenged him. They were both playing mediocre tennis, being passive, committing too many errors despite nobody pressuring them. Zverev's problems with his serve continiues. This time he didn't serve double digits in the double faults category. But he did face 11 break chances. Kudos to him for saving 9 of those, but that doesn't mean it was not a sloppy serving performance. Haase took control over in the second set, and should have pushed the match into a decider, but was unable to close it out with the 5-2 lead in his hands. Sascha punished that with 5 games in the row and moved on to the 2nd round. Somewhere in the second set, he slipped badly trying to run down a drop shot close to the net. Asked for medical help, but proceeded to play.
He will play Steve Johnson on Wednesday. American caused an upset in the first round with a very clean performance vs Philipp Kohlschreiber. It was a second unexpected grass court loss for the German in a row, after losing to Miomir Kecmanovic in Stuttgart. But, we still can't take much away from Johnson who really deserved this one. He served on a very high level with 13 aces without any double faults. Won 70% of the points behind his serve and faced 0 break chances. When returning, he patiently waited for his opportunities. Rallied well with Kohlschreiber who was supposed to have an upper hand in that area of the game, but he didn't. Steve stood his ground, kept the ball deep with his forehand, showed more variation with his backhand and was not afraid to come to the net and ask the question. It worked out perfectly all together resulting in a very comprehensive 6-3, 6-3 win after only 69 minutes.
It is very interesting that Johnson won the only previous match between them. It was in 2016 in Miami on hard courts. Back then, Zverev was still up and coming player and not a Top 5 like at the moment. So taking that result too seriously into the equation could be counter-productive. But that doesn't mean we should write off Johnson in this match. Zverev is simply too inconsistent at the moment and is offering his opponents way too many opportunities. They will definitely be there for the American. If he takes them or not will be up to him.
Betting odds & prediction
And most of those opportunities should come during Sascha's serving games. He offers way too many to his opponents, whether through double faults or lapses of concentration where he simply plays a sloppy game of tennis. Vs Haase, he wasn't punished for it. But playing against a better server will be way trickier. Because once you're break down vs Johnson, it's way more difficult to climb back up then when you're playing someone that can't hold his serve at that high of a rate. I expect many ups and downs in this match for both players. Changes of leads and possibly a third set. To make a profit from such a dynamic match, over 22.5 is the way to go.
Tony's Pick: over 22.5 games (-108)
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