Taylor Fritz vs Roberto Bautista Agut ATP Picks & Predictions - 6/18/2019
Taylor Harry Fritz vs Roberto Bautista Agut
5 am EST, 18th June 2019
ATP Halle, Germany
Roberto Bautista-Agut is opening his grass court schedule this week in Halle where he is holding a #7 seed and a chance for potential quarterfinals meet with Roger Federer. Because of being Spaniard with a grinding, defensive-minded approach, many will make a mistake and consider Roberto as a clay court specialist. That could not be further from the truth, with his win percentage on clay courts being the lowest out of all 3 surfaces. The best one is actually on grass courts, where he has a 24-11 record (68,6%) and one title. After playing in Queen's club for a couple of years, he switched to Halle and did not regret that move. Lost in 3 sets to Alexander Zverev in 2017 quarterfinals and was unfortunate to retire in the first set of the semifinals last year vs Borna Coric.
We have a diametrically opposite case with his opponent. Being a typical product of American tennis, everybody would expect Fritz to be very successful on a grass court with his big game. But he simply can't get it going. His grass court record is by far the worst when comparing his results on all three playing surfaces. Although the sample size is pretty small, 4-11 is just not good enough. Last week I admit I expected more from him. After barely edging out Jurij Rodionov in the first round, he fell to Borna Coric in second, failing to impress the way he played. Focus in some key moment was simply not there. For example, he failed to save any of 3 break chances, while converting only 1 from 4 when returning.
These two guys know each other really well. They met twice already in last month or so. After Fritz's surprising win in Lyon, week before Roland Garros, Spaniard managed to avenge that loss and take a straight sets win in Paris. But both of those matches were played on clay and I don't think it can help us make any strong theories on how this one should unfold. But, some of the earlier matches might. Because they played twice before that and both times it was on hard courts, with Bautista taking home the 2-0 win in both cases. That happened in Shanghai and Winston-Salem. Both events with quite fast courts, which could be comparable to grass. Bautista is someone that deals really well with all the pace coming at him. He is one of the best counter-punchers on the tour. You cannot bully him with power, because he will turn it against you and I believe that is the main reason why Fritz is behind 1-3 in this H2H.
Betting odds & prediction
Not only that Bautista deals with the pace of the courts really well on grass, but it also helps him in other areas of his game. For example, his serve can be somewhat of an issue on slower playing surfaces, resulting in him being exposed vs a good and aggressive returner. But on grass, good placement and variation of his serves have more effect. Lack of power makes him less vulnerable here and that is one of the reasons why he's so successful on this surface. I don't see this one playing out any other way then Bautista taking an easy win, probably in straight sets. My spread line was slightly above -3, which means that there is a lot of value available at this current line. Total sitting at 23.5 looks just about right in these playing conditions. Fritz could push a set into a tie-breaker playing behind his big serve and in those, pretty much anything can happen.
Guy's Pick: Roberto Bautista Agut -2.5 (-101)
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