Nikoloz Basilashvili to beat Jenson Brooksby at +210 at BetMGM
Over 0.5 tie-breaks in Lorenzo Sonego v Ugo Humbert at at +110 at bet365
First-set score 7-6 in Lorenzo Sonego v Ugo Humbert at +300 at Caesars Sportsbook
Over 1.5 tie-breaks in Reilly Opelka v Nick Kyrgios at +250 at bet365
John Isner to win ATP Toronto at +5000 at bet365
|ATP Toronto Information|
|What||ATP National Bank Open|
|Time||Monday, August 9 to Sunday, August 15|
|How to Watch||Tennis Channel|
Brooksby has been a massive eye-catcher in recent weeks, making the final in Newport and then backing that up last week with a semi-final run in Washington.
That’s darn good for a 20-year-old with little prior experience of the main tour but making him -250 for this contest looks wrong.
Basilashvili has blown very hot and cold this season but he’s a two-time title winner in 2021, one of those successes coming on the Doha hardcourts where he beat Roger Federer, Taylor Fritz and Roberto Bautista Agut in the last three rounds.
Most recently, Basil has been to the third round of the Olympics (also on a hard surface), defeating Roberto Carballes Baena and Lorenzo Sonego before losing a tight contest to eventual gold medallist Alex Zverev.
That’s not bad form to bring into this match, while another boost for his chances is the fact he is one of few established ATP players to have faced Brooksby before.
He won their 2019 US Open contest in four sets, despite serving 15 double faults. He also created 21 breakpoints that day.
Of course, Brooksby has improved since then, as recent results prove. However, some of those victories are probably being overstated in his pricing.
Across those two good weeks, Brooksby beat only two top-50 players, with only one of those – an out-of-sorts Felix Auger-Aliassime – being ranked higher than Basilashvili is currently.
Basilashvili’s flat-hitting shot-making should cause the youngster problems and he simply looks too big at +210.
Odds-against quotes about a tie-break in this match look big given these are two strong servers.
Humbert, in particular, relies on his awkward lefty delivery. His return game is in need of improvement and that combination results in plenty of tie-breaks.
Indeed, if you include his 9-7 fifth set at Wimbledon against Nick Kyrgios (that set would have gone to a tie-break had it been played on the regular tour), Humbert has now seen a tie-break in his last 13 matches.
Sonego can’t match those stats – can anyone? – but he also possesses a good serve. He’s in 23rd for service games won this year on a hardcourt (Humbert up in eighth) and the new Laykold courts in Toronto are expected to speed conditions up a bit. They certainly did at last year’s US Open.
Sonego played a breaker in all three matches on Miami’s Laykold courts earlier this season so there’s plenty to like about a tie-break in this match at +110.
I’ll also try a wager on a first-set tie-break at +300.
If ever a match screamed tie-breaks, it’s this one.
It features two of the biggest servers on the tour, who are also two of the poorer returners, and is also being played on new, slick Laykold courts.
The data backs it up.
Opelka is third in the 2021 list for service games won on hardcourts, while over the last year he’s broken serve on the surface in just 9.4% of games. Kyrgios’ equivalent figure is 11.5%, slightly better but still well down on the average.
With neither man having seen the other’s serve before, at least on the match court, there’s every chance asset or two go the distance.
A first-set tie-break is offered at +120. That’s generally a pretty short price in this market but the above evidence shows why it’s that way.
While it’s backable, I’m going to try something bigger, namely the +250 about there being at least two breakers in this match.
Opelka has played two tie-breaks in three of his last six matches – his clash with Taylor Fritz in Atlanta saw all three sets go the full 13 games. He also had a three-tie-break match with Marton Fucsovics in Rotterdam earlier this season.
Kyrgios’ stats are less convincing but he’s still had two tie-breaks in six of his last 24 hardcourt matches, none of which have been against a serve as big as Opelka’s.
The National Bank Open is an event where the seeds all get a first-round bye and there are plenty potentially facing tricky openers in Toronto this week.
They include Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz, who could meet Kei Nishikori, a player who has played some good stuff in recent weeks, making the quarter-finals of the Olympics and the semis in Washington.
Maybe the amount tennis and travelling will catch up with the Japanese but if not he’s capable of winning that one as a slight underdog.
Denis Shapovalov also featured in the last four at Wimbledon where he was unlucky to lose in straight sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.
He’ll be under pressure to perform at his home event and strangely seems to be inviting that pressure, saying at the weekend: “I feel like I’m becoming a really big threat.”
That’s quite a statement from a player who lost his last match to the world number 249.
Seb Korda is ranked considerably higher than that and given he’s already bedded in on the North American hardcourts, he’ll have a good chance of sending Shapo packing early on.
Finally, Stefanos Tsitsipas may struggle to overcome Ugo Humbert should they meet.
Humbert won their only previous match, at the Paris Indoors last autumn, and has the attacking game on a hardcourt to trouble most players.
The top four seeds this week are Daniil Medvedev, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev and it’s not hard to find fault in each of their cases.
None appeals at the prices and instead I fancy a long shot in the shape of John Isner at +5000.
The American used his big serve to full effect in Atlanta recently, claiming the title, and if the conditions do play fast again in Toronto then he’ll have a good chance of further success.
Isner is in Rublev’s section of the draw and he’s already beaten the Russian on the Madrid clay this season. The hardcourts here suit his game better and he looks worth a try at big odds.
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Andy is a sports journalist of more than 20 years’ experience and is a former betting editor of the UK-based website, Sporting Life. He has specialized in tennis for many years, previewing hundreds of ATP Tour events and reporting from tournaments such as the ATP Finals and Davis Cup final. Andy has also covered numerous other sports, with a particular interest in soccer and cricket.More info on Andy Schooler
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